Black Sea Grain Deal has now been extended for 2 months

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An agreement allowing Ukraine to export millions of tonnes of grain through the Black Sea despite the ongoing conflict with Russia has been extended.

Yesterday’s two-month extension, negotiated by the United Nations and Turkey, was announced a day before the previous deal was due to expire.

It was first agreed last July following fears of global food shortages as a result of the war in Ukraine. The agreement has been renewed several times since then, despite Russia’s criticism of Western sanctions against its agricultural sector.

Ukraine is one of the world’s top producers of grain, but its access to ports in the Black Sea was initially blocked by Russian warships following the invasion in February last year.

More than 30 millions tons of grain have left Ukraine under the deal – mostly going to the world’s poorest countries. This has been a strain on the agricultural activities of surrounding countries – such as Romania, whose farmers have protested at the European Parliament, declaring they were at risk of bankruptcy in 2023.

Moscow wants Russian producers to be able to export more food and fertilizer to the rest of the world, but says sanctions are preventing them. There had been concerns that Russia could pull out of the pact – in fact, Russia briefly withdrew from the deal in November last year, accusing Ukraine of attacking its fleet in the Crimea – but it re-joined a few days later.

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