Ukraine, UN call for extension of Black Sea grain export deal
Ukraine's President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, Wednesday called for the extension of a deal with Moscow that has allowed Kyiv to export grain via Black Sea ports during Russia's invasion.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said after talks with Guterres in Kyiv that the Black Sea Grain Initiative was "critically necessary" for the world, and the UN chief underscored its importance to global food security and food prices.
The 120-day deal, initially brokered by the United Nations and Turkey last July and extended in November, will be renewed on March 18 if no party objects.
Russia's demands, however, have not yet been met, a Turkish diplomatic source said, adding that Ankara was "working very hard" to ensure the deal continues.
"I want to underscore the critical importance of rolling over the Black Sea Grain Initiative on 18th March and working to create the conditions to enable the greatest possible use of export infrastructure through the Black Sea, in line with the objectives of the initiative," Guterres told reporters in Kyiv.
Russia, which lifted a blockade of three Ukrainian Black Sea ports under the deal last July, has signalled that obstacles to its own agricultural exports needed to be removed before it lets the deal continue.
To help convince Russia to allow Ukraine to resume its Black Sea grain exports, a three-year deal was struck last year, in which the UN agreed to help facilitate Russian food and fertiliser exports.