Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday announced that the deal between Ukraine and Russia that allows the export of Ukrainian grain will be extended for 120 days.
The deal, brokered by Turkey and the UN, was first signed in July and has been a success as it has unlocked Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. According to Erdogan, approximately 500 ships carrying 11 million tonnes of grain and other foodstuffs have left Ukraine under the deal.
The Turkish leader wrote on Twitter that under a resolution reached by Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and the UN, “the Black Sea Grain Initiative was extended for an additional 120 days beginning November 19, 2022.”
The deal creates safe corridors for ships leaving Ukraine. Russia briefly suspended its participation after a drone attack on its Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, Crimea. Russia said some of the drones launched the attack after traveling through the safe corridors, but Turkey worked quickly to get Moscow to agree to reenter the deal, and shipments were not interrupted.
Another aspect of the deal was a pledge that the UN would work with Western countries to ease restrictions on the export of Russian grain and fertilizer. US sanctions technically have exemptions for agricultural goods, but they still cause major issues as the sanctions discourage banks and shipping companies from doing business with Russia altogether.
Russia says more needs to be done to ease the restrictions and wants it to be worked out during the 120-day extension. “All these issues must be resolved within 120 days for which the ‘package deal’ is extended,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that he is “fully committed” to removing the hurdles to shipping agricultural products from Russia.