Ukraine: Russia is ready to extend the grain deal by 60 days

(Reuters) – Russia is not opposed to extending an agreement allowing Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea, but only for a period of 60 days, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei said on Monday. Rybakov, quoted by RIA Novosti agency.

Sergei Ryabkov discussed such an expansion with UN officials on Monday in Geneva.

The agreement signed last year under the auspices of the United Nations and Turkey expires on March 18 and Ukraine wants to extend it for a year and extend it to ports other than Odessa.

Russia has previously said it would agree to extend the Black Sea grain agreement if the interests of its own agricultural producers were taken into account.

Russia’s agricultural exports have not been explicitly targeted by Western sanctions, but Moscow says restrictions on its payments, logistics and insurance sectors are hindering exports of its own grain and fertilizer.

A senior Ukrainian official who participated in the talks on the original deal said Kiev considered the 60-day extension a violation of the terms of the deal.

“The agreement clearly states that an extension is possible for a minimum of 120 days,” he told Reuters. “To extend by 60 days, you must change the contract.”

For its part, the UN indicated in a press release that the UN would do everything to preserve the integrity of the agreement and ensure its continuity.

According to US State Department spokesman Ned Price, the talks are at a “critical juncture”.

Ned Price said, “We know the world needs it.” “We hope and expect that it will be extended and expanded.”

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tretreault-Farber and Emma Farge in Geneva; Michael Hogan in Hamburg, Pavel Polityuk in Kiev, Michelle Nichols in New York and Humeyra Pamuk in Washington, French edition Tangi Salon and Kate Enstringer)

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