Russia has notified all parties to the Black Sea grain deal that the agreement has been extended for 60 days, the RBC media outlet quoted Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying on Saturday.
The United Nations, Türkiye, who brokered the deal last July, and Ukraine wanted a 120-day renewal. Russia only agreed to 60 days, demanding that the European Union, United States and Britain ease sanctions on the supply chain of the Russian agricultural sector if they want the Black Sea pact to be further extended beyond May 18.
This is the second renewal of separate agreements that Ukraine and Russia signed with the United Nations and Türkiye to allow 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 wheat, barley, sunflower oil and other affordable food products that developing nations depend on.
Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said in a statement that 25 million metric tons (about 28 million tons) of grain and foodstuffs had moved to 45 countries under the initiative, helping to bring down global food prices and stabilizing markets.
“We remain strongly committed to both agreements and we urge all sides to redouble their efforts to implement them fully,” Dujarric said.
The war in Ukraine sent food prices surging to record highs last year and helped contribute to a global food crisis also tied to lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate factors like drought.