Russia-Ukraine War: Countries Extend Grain Deals

The deal allows grain to flow from Ukraine to countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where hunger is a growing threat.

KIEV, Ukraine — An unprecedented war deal that allowed grain to flow from Ukraine to countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where hunger is a growing threat High food prices are driving more and more people into poverty was extended just before its expiration date, officials said on Saturday.

The United Nations and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the extension, but neither confirmed how long it would last. The United Nations, Turkey and Ukraine had been pushing for 120 days, while Russia said it was ready 60 days to agree.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov tweeted on Saturday that the deal would remain in effect for an extended period of four months. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Russia’s Tass news agency that Moscow had “agreed to extend the deal by 60 days”.

This is the second renewal of separate agreements that Ukraine and Russia signed with the United Nations and Turkey allowing food to leave the Black Sea region after Russia invaded its neighbor more than a year ago.

The warring nations are both major global suppliers of wheatbarley, sunflower oil and other affordable foods that developing countries depend on.

Russia has complained transport of its fertilizers – which should facilitate its deal with Turkey and the UN – has not made it to global markets, which has been a problem for Moscow since the deal first came into effect in August. It was nevertheless extended by a further four months in November.

Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said in a statement that 25 million tonnes (about 28 million tonnes) of grain and food had been shipped to 45 countries under the initiative, which helped push global food prices up lower and stabilize markets.

“We remain strongly committed to both agreements and call on all sides to redouble their efforts to fully implement them,” Dujarric said.

The war in Ukraine sent Food prices are rising to record highs over the past year and contributed to a global food crisis also linked to ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate factors such as drought.

The disruption to grain supplies needed for staples in countries like Egypt, Lebanon and Nigeria compounded economic challenges and helped push millions more into poverty or food insecurity. people in developing countries spend more money on things like groceries.

The crisis has left an estimated 345 million people food insecure, according to the United Nations World Food Program.

Food prices have fallen for 11 months in a row, but food was expensive even before the war because of droughts from America to the Middle East – most devastating in the Horn of Africa, with Thousands are dying in Somalia. It is poorer nations that depend on imported food at dollar prices spend more when their currencies weaken.

The deal also faced setbacks as it was brokered by the UN and Turkey: Russia briefly withdrew in November before rejoining and extending the deal. In recent months, inspections have aimed to ensure that ships are only carrying grain and no weapons slowed down.

This has caused backlogs on vessels waiting in Turkey’s waters and recently reducing the amount of grain Get out of Ukraine.

Ukrainian and some US officials have blamed Russia for the slowdown, which the country denies.

While fertilizers have been stuck, Russia has exported huge quantities of wheat after a bumper harvest. Figures from financial data provider Refinitiv showed that Russian wheat exports more than doubled to 3.8 million tons in January from the same month last year before the invasion.

According to Refinitiv, Russian wheat shipments were at or near record highs in November, December and January, up 24% from the same three months last year. It was estimated that Russia would export 44 million tons of wheat between 2022 and 2023.

Andrew Wilks in Istanbul, Elise Morton in London and Julie Walker in New York contributed to this report. Russia-Ukraine War: Countries Extend Grain Deals

Laura Coffey

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