Russia allows extension to grain deal
Russia is “allowing a technical prolongation” of the Black Sea grain initiative, which is set to expire later this week, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday. It added that it reserved the right to forestall any attempt to use the scheme for “provocations.”
The terms of the grain deal agreed by Moscow and Kiev to facilitate exports of crucial harvest from the region allow an automatic renewal of 120 days, unless any participant poses objections. The ministry’s statement said that no grievances had been raised so far, including from Russia, paving the way for the scheme to be extended beyond its expiry on Saturday.
Russia expects the UN to deliver on its promise to lift restrictions on Russian exports of food and fertilizers, made when the grain deal was first signed in July. The Foreign Ministry noted that some progress has been made on the issue recently and said it expected the situation to be fully resolved “within 120 days.”
“It should be absolutely clear that any attempts to use the humanitarian corridor in the Black Sea for provocative military objectives will be firmly stopped,” the statement added.
The Russian Defense Ministry previously accused Ukraine of launching a naval drone attack on the port of Sevastopol from the maritime corridor designated for use by grain ships. Moscow suspended its participation in the deal for several days until Ukraine offered guarantees that such incidents would not happen again.
The extension of the grain scheme was also confirmed earlier on Thursday by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who welcomed the agreement.