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UN Proposal to Extend Ukraine's Grain Deal Under Consideration

Discussions were held on Thursday between Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and the United Nations to consider extending a deal that allows for the safe export of Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea.

Shivam Dwivedi
UN Proposals Under Consideration in Talks to Extend Ukraine's Grain Deal (Photo Source: Reuters)
UN Proposals Under Consideration in Talks to Extend Ukraine's Grain Deal (Photo Source: Reuters)

This agreement was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in July of last year to address the global food crisis, which has been exacerbated by Moscow’s war in Ukraine. At the same time, the UN agreed to help Moscow facilitate its own agricultural shipments. However, Moscow threatened to quit the agreement on May 18 due to obstacles to its grain and fertilizer exports.

The meeting of senior officials in Istanbul on Thursday appeared to have ended without a Russian agreement to extend the Black Sea deal. The Kremlin said that Russian President Vladimir Putin could speak with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan if needed regarding an extension of the deal, but there were no such plans at present.  The UN presented proposals for the resumption of the Togliatti-Odesa ammonia pipeline, a longer extension of the deal, improvements at the Joint Coordination Centre for stable operations and exports, as well as other issues raised by the parties.

The parties presented their views, and they agreed to engage with those elements going forward. Turkey’s Defence Ministry stated that progress was made in the talks on the Black Sea grain deal, and the parties agreed to continue four-way technical meetings on the agreement. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov stated after the talks on Thursday that the Black Sea grain deal should be extended for a longer period and expanded. He added that the discussions would continue online.

Russia has issued a list of demands regarding its own agricultural exports that it wants to be met before it agrees to an extension of the Black Sea grain deal. Those include restarting a pipeline that delivers Russian ammonia to a Ukrainian Black Sea port, which the UN has been pushing for. While those Russian exports are not subject to Western sanctions imposed following the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Moscow says restrictions on payments, logistics, and insurance are a barrier to shipments.

The Black Sea deal has allowed for the export of 30 million metric tonnes of grain and foodstuffs from Ukraine, including nearly 600,000 metric tonnes of grain in World Food Programme vessels for aid operations in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Yemen, according to the United Nations. The extension of the deal is crucial for both Ukraine and Russia, as it allows for the safe and efficient export of their agricultural products.

So, discussions are ongoing between Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and the United Nations regarding the extension of the Black Sea grain deal. The UN has proposed a longer extension of the deal and improvements to the Joint Coordination Centre for stable operations and exports, among other issues.

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