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Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Russia and Ukraine extend grain deal for 4 months

ANKARA, Turkey ( Associated Press) — A deal that unlocked grain shipments from Ukraine and helped cushion rising food prices around the world will last four months, the United Nations and other parties to the agreement said Thursday. Told. , avoiding price shocks for some of the most vulnerable nations on the planet where many people face famine conditions.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the 120-day extension “an important decision in the global fight against the food crisis”. The initiative, realized during Russia’s war in Ukraine, established a Black Sea shipping corridor and inspection procedures to address concerns that cargo ships could be carrying weapons or launching attacks.

The deal, which Ukraine and Russia signed in separate agreements with the United Nations and Turkey on July 22, was due to expire on Saturday. Moscow confirmed the extension, but said it hoped to make progress in removing barriers to Russian food and fertilizer exports.

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Ukraine and Russia are two of the top global suppliers of wheat, barley, sunflower oil and other food to parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia where millions of people do not have enough to eat. Russia was also the world’s leading exporter of fertilizer before the war. The loss of these supplies after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 sent food prices skyrocketing around the world and raised concerns about a food crisis in poor countries.

While the expansion prevents price shocks in developing countries that spend far more on food and energy than richer countries, places like Somalia remain at risk from drought and weak currencies around the world, making imported grain more expensive to buy. it happens.

“I am pleased to note that Istanbul, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations have reached an agreement to expand the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allows free exports of Ukrainian grain,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio ” Antonio Guterres.

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Russia has expressed its dissatisfaction with the deal facilitating Russian grain and fertilizer exports, indicating it may not approve an extension and also briefly suspending its part of the deal late last month. Could They cited as a reason the risk of their ships operating following a Ukrainian drone attack on the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

Although Western sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine do not apply to food exports, many shipping and insurance companies were reluctant to deal with Moscow, refusing to do so or raising prices sharply.

Guterres said the UN was “fully committed” to removing barriers to the movement of food and fertilizer from Russia.

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Bonnell reported from London.

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Associated Press writers Jamie Keaton in Geneva and Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.

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