On July 22, 2022, Russia, Ukraine, Turkiye and the United Nations reached an agreement to provide a humanitarian maritime corridor for ships with food and fertilizer exports from Black Sea ports.
The July 2022 grain deal was extended for 60 days, provided that all the promises to lift sanctions on agricultural products given to Russia by partners are fulfilled, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told reporters on Tuesday.
“Our Deputy Minister Sergey Vershinin made a statement yesterday that the deal had indeed been extended, it had been agreed upon that it would be extended for 60 days. Its package nature has been reaffirmed on the condition that all the promises that were made to Russia regarding the implementation of the second track, and this is the lifting of all sanctions, direct and indirect, for the supply of Russian agricultural products to international global markets, are fulfilled,” Grushko said.
A source familiar with the talks told Sputnik earlier in the day that the grain deal can be extended on current terms in the absence of a force majeure.
“In the absence of a force majeure, [the deal] will be extended,” the source said, adding that “it will most likely be [prolonged for] 60 days under current conditions.”
The Turkish Defense Ministry, for its part, stated that it highly appreciates the sides’ steps to prolong the grain deal amid the ongoing coordination and negotiations.
“The steps taken by the parties to extend the initiative are highly appreciated. At the same time, in accordance with our president’s [Erdogan] instructions, [Defense] Minister [Hulusi Akar] is still consulting and working together with his colleagues, and the relevant departments continue to negotiate and coordinate among themselves in order to carry on the activities of the grain initiative,” the ministry said in a statement.
This comes after Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin told reporters on Monday that Moscow does not object to another extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative after the expiration of the second term on March 18, but only for 60 days.
Earlier this month, Executive Director of the UN World Food Program (WFP) David Beasley said that the grain deal, which makes it possible to export Ukrainian crops from Black Sea ports, must be extended at any cost.
In late February, the WFP announced that it had transported more than 481,000 tons of wheat from Ukrainian ports since the conclusion of the Black Sea Grain Initiative in July 2022.
The United Nations-brokered grain export agreement, originally set to expire on November 19, 2022, was renewed for another 120 days until March 18, 2023, unless it is extended once again.
The Kremlin has repeatedly criticized the grain deal for failing to ensure unimpeded exports of Russian grain and fertilizer amid the US-led Western sanctions against Moscow over its special military operation in Ukraine.