Russia confirmed on Wednesday the renewal for two months of the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSI), involving Ukrainian grain exports through a secure corridor to the Bosphorus in Turkey.
“We confirm the announcement made by the President of Turkey regarding a two-month extension of the Black Sea Initiative, thus offering a chance (…) to ensure global food security”, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a press briefing.
And to add: “Our fundamental assessments of the Istanbul Accords of July 22, 2022 have not changed, and the distortions in their implementation must be corrected as soon as possible”. The allusion is made here to the position of Moscow which judges that the part of the agreement concerning the removal of obstacles to the export of Russian cereals and fertilizers has not been implemented.
Deputy Prime Minister for the Restoration of Ukraine, Oleksandr Kubrakov, also confirmed the renewal of the agreement, the validity of which now extends until July 18.
“We thank our partners the UN and Turkey for the efforts to strengthen food security (…) the main challenge now is to make the agreement effective“, he announced on Twitter.
#BlackSeaGrainInitiative has been unblocked, continue to be valid till 18July as signed before. Grateful for our partners @A 🇺🇳and Türkiye 🇹🇷for efforts in strengthening 🌏 food security. Main challenge now is to make #BSGI efficient by canceling artificial barriers. pic.twitter.com/OIzLD2Nt4W
— Oleksandr Kubrakov (@OlKubrakov) May 17, 2023
A few hours earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the extension for sixty days of the agreement which was supposed to expire on Thursday.
“Thanks to the efforts of our country, the support of our Russian friends and the contributions of our Ukrainian friends, it has been decided to extend the agreement on the Black Sea grain corridor for another two months. I want this decision to be beneficial for all parties.”he said.
The ICMN, concluded on July 22, 2022 in Istanbul by Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Nations, was renewed for the first time on November 17, 2022, then on March 19.
Russia then announced that it accepted the extension of the agreement for a period of 60 days instead of 120 days as was the case in November.