A deal aimed at easing global food shortages by facilitating Ukraine’s agricultural exports from its southern Black Sea ports was extended for 120 days on Thursday, though Moscow said its own demands were yet to be fully addressed.
The agreement, initially reached in July, created a protected sea transit corridor and was designed to alleviate global food shortages by allowing exports to resume from three ports in Ukraine, a major producer of grains and oilseeds. “I welcome the agreement by all parties to continue the Black Sea grain initiative to facilitate the safe navigation of export of grain, foodstuffs and fertilizers from Ukraine,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a statement. Guterres said the UN was also “fully committed to removing the remaining obstacles to exporting food and fertilizers from the Russian Federation” – a part of the deal Moscow sees as critical. Russia’s foreign ministry confirmed the extension of the Black Sea grain deal for 120 days starting from Nov. 18, without any changes to the current one.
The export of Russian ammonia via a pipeline to the Black Sea has not yet been agreed as part of the renewal, two sources familiar with discussions told Reuters. But Russia would continue efforts to resume those exports, one of the sources added.
Ammonia is an important ingredient in fertilizer. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in September he would only back the idea of reopening Russian ammonia exports through Ukraine if Moscow handed back prisoners of war, an idea the Kremlin quickly rejected.