Ambassador: Ukraine works towards extending, expanding grain agreement despite Russia’s actions

Ambassador: Ukraine works towards extending, expanding grain agreement despite Russia’s actions

Ukraine is interested both in the extension and the expansion of the Black Sea Grain Initiative (in terms of geography and the list of export items) and takes relevant steps in this direction despite Russia's attempts to slow down the work of the grain corridor.

"The agreement expires on March 19. Currently, consultations are underway to extend this agreement, at least for the same period. But it is in the interests of the Ukrainian side not only to extend it but also to expand the geography of the ports, the number of goods that can be exported through this corridor. For us, of course, the extension of the agreement is the important basic element, but we are also working on its expansion," Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Ukraine to Türkiye Vasyl Bodnar told Ukrinform in a comment.

The diplomat notes that the Russian side will try to use all levers of influence to delay the extension of this agreement or to bargain for beneficial conditions for the export of its grain and its goods from its territory.

"In fact, Russia is already putting a spoke in a wheel, and the ships pass through the Bosporus and the Dardanelles with great delay. The inspections that the Russian side is dragging out lead to an insignificant number of ships that undergo inspections," Bodnar said.

Read also: Kim: Big business will resume operation faster if Mykolayiv region joins grain corridor

Ukraine’s Ambassador to Türkiye points out that Ukraine concluded the agreement with mediators, therefore, Russia's actions are directed, first of all, against them.

"In fact, we have a clear agreement that we concluded with the mediators, and we are negotiating with the mediators about this very thing, so that the agreement is extended at least for the period it was signed on July 22, 2022. And the fact that the Russian side is trying to use or manipulate the memorandum it signed with the UN is its relations with the UN. And in this case, it should not be key for us as the Ukrainian side," Bodnar added.

Hennadiy Maksak, Executive Director of the Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism”, points out the grain agreement’s importance for global food security and Türkiye’s interest in its extension.

"We talked about it, and we really have a certain problem that Russia may refuse [the extension of the grain agreement], but there is such a general optimistic vision that the agreement will be extended, and we are waiting for it... We see that Türkiye is very interested in being a partner in this process, expresses solidarity with Ukraine and the need to have this grain corridor for the export of grain because this is not only an issue of our economy but a global issue as it deals with food security," Maksak told Ukrinform.

As reported, negotiations between UN representatives and Russian deputy foreign minister Sergey Vershinin on the possible extension of the grain agreement began today in Geneva.

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