Putin agrees to extend Black Sea grain agreement — Erdoğan
Photo: EPA

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has agreed to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which expires on July 17, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, according to AFP and Reuters.

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"We are preparing to welcome Putin in August. We are on the same page with him on the issue of extending the Black Sea grain corridor," Daily Sabah quoted Erdoğan as saying.
At the same time, the press secretary of the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov told Interfax news agency that the Russian authorities did not make any statements regarding the extension of the grain operation. "We have not made any statements on this account," said Peskov.

The grain corridor, created for the export of grain from Odesa ports, has been almost non-functional in recent weeks.

Since June 26, the Russians have completely stopped inspecting ships heading to Ukrainian ports for loading.

The last ships were loaded in Odesa at the beginning of this week, the last ships departed from the port of Chornomorsk last week, and the port Pivdennyi has been closed for more than two months, because the Russians "cross out" all the ships that head for it.

In the period from June 1 to July 10, out of the planned 150 inspections of ships (both inbound and outbound fleet), only 70 took place due to the refusal of the Russians to carry out inspections.

Since the beginning of July, only six ships with 215,000 tons of agricultural products left the Black Sea ports.

REFERENCE. On July 22, 2022, an agreement on the safe transportation of grain from the ports of Ukraine was signed in Istanbul in the presence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The document was signed by representatives of Ukraine, the UN, and Turkey. Russia concluded its own similar agreement with Turkey and the UN.

The grain corridor expires on July 17, 2023, and Russia has threatened not to extend it.

On July 13, Putin said he was ready to consider extending the grain agreement, "but only after all the promises made to us by our partners are fulfilled."

The damage caused to Ukraine due to the downtime of ships in the queues of the grain corridor was estimated by the Ukrainian Grain Association at more than $1 billion.

Ukraine has developed an alternative plan to continue the export of agricultural products in the event of the termination of the operation of the grain corridor.