Ukraine Monitor presents the latest news concerning internal and external matters of Ukraine – a unique country where the interests of the East and the West clash almost every day.
Date: 24 March 2023 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński
Russian-Ukrainian Grain Deal Extended For Another 120 Days
A deal to allow vital grain exports to continue from Ukraine’s southern Black Sea ports has been extended for another four months. Despite that, the war in Ukraine has made wheat farming and export difficult. One-fifth of Ukraine’s wheat will not be sown.
The deal for the grain corridor in the Black Sea was due to expire on March 18, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told journalists. Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister responsible for infrastructure, said in a tweet that the agreement had been extended for 120 days. However, Moscow indicated it had only agreed to a 60-day extension, which was swiftly rejected by Kyiv that demanded much more than just that. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal insisted that the grain agreement be open-ended and automatically extended for 120 days. Initially brokered by the U.N. and Turkey last July after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 fueled a global food crisis, the pact was sealed to safeguard global food security. More than 24 million of Ukrainian produce have been shipped under the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The Ukrainian authorities argue that with the Black Sea routes unblocked, they can export twice as much. Russia on October 29 announced it is suspending its involvement in the internationally-brokered deal that allowed Ukraine to export grain from its Black Sea ports. The pact was extended on November 17 for 120 days. The grain corridor does not solve all issues that grapple Ukraine’s agriculture. Ukraine’s farmers will plant up to a fifth less wheat due to the war. With mines and cluster bombs widely scattered, normal harvests seem far in the future. Ukrainian farmers harvested 53 million tons of wheat in 2022, 20 percent down from the country’s five-year average. Total sunflower and soybean yield dropped 52 percent compared to 2021.
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