Erdogan announces extension of grain deal

Ankara received guarantees from Moscow to extend the grain contract by two months, decided Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Thanks to the efforts of our country, the support of our Russian friends and the input of our Ukrainian friends, it was decided to extend the agreement on the Black Sea Grain Corridor for another 2 months. <…> Our Russian friends have declared that they will not interfere with the departure of Turkish ships from the ports of Mykolaiv and Olvia. We are grateful to them for that,” the Turkish president tweeted.

Erdogan thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for his “sincere support” for Ankara’s efforts, and Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky for “constructive cooperation.”

Contract extension confirmedOfficial representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova. “We confirm the announcement of the Turkish president to extend the Black Sea Initiative for 2 months,” she said during a briefing with journalists. At the same time, Zakharova noted that “distortions” in the implementation of the agreements should be corrected.

Bloomberg reported that the deal would be extended hours before Erdogan’s announcement. According to Turkish officials, Russia has so far agreed to continue participating in the agreement.

Kyiv has not yet officially commented on the extension of the contract. It’s too early, Ukraine’s Deputy Infrastructure Minister Yuri Vaskov told Bloomberg.

In July 2022, an agreement was concluded between the UN, Turkey, Ukraine and Russia, thanks to which Ukraine was able to resume deliveries from its Black Sea ports, which were blocked by the Russian Black Sea Fleet at the beginning of the war. Since then, Ukraine has exported about 30 million tons of agricultural products.

The deal was extended in November, and in March Russia agreed to do so for only half of the stipulated four-month period, until May 18.

Moscow has threatened to withdraw from the agreement unless restrictions on its grain and fertilizer exports are lifted. Russian exports are hampered by difficulties in payments, logistics and insurance, they said in the Russian Federation. In addition, the Russian Ministry of Defense accused Ukraine of violating the agreements: the Armed Forces of Ukraine, according to the military ministry, attacked Crimea from the humanitarian corridor.

In fact, Russia started blocking the deal even before it expired. The Russian Federation refused to register the arriving ships and to inspect them.

As a result, in recent weeks the volume of grain exports from Ukraine has been steadily decreasing, and in recent days it has almost stopped. According to the UN, exports fell by more than a quarter in April compared to March. Although part of its decline is due to a seasonal drop in supplies.


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