Ukraine Grain Deal Extended by 60 Days

UKRAINE: Russian President Vladimir Putin in an announced visit arrived in Crimea on Saturday to mark the ninth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine.

Putin was greeted by the Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev, and given a tour of the children’s centre and art school.

Meanwhile, a deal allowing the safe Black Sea export of Ukrainian grain was renewed on Saturday for at least 60 days amidst warnings from the Kremlin that no further extension would be allowed unless sanctions against Moscow are softened. For the deal brokered by UN and Turkey, Ukraine had been pushing the extension for 120 day instead of half approved.

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

The extension was announced by the Turkey president hours before it expired. “This deal is of vital importance for the global food supply. I thank Russia and Ukraine, who didn’t spare their efforts for a new extension, as well as the United Nations secretary general, said President Erdogan.

Moscow wants Russian producers to be able to export more food and fertiliser to the rest of the world, but says Western sanctions are preventing them. Howeverz it says restrictions on payments, insurers and shippers makes exports difficult.

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