Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine
Turkey is “hard work” to expand a UN-backed initiative that has enabled Ukraine to export grain from ports closed by Russia since its invasion, its Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday, according to the country’s state media Anadolu.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative, launched by the United Nations and Turkey in Istanbul last July, allows grain to be exported from Ukrainian ports.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned earlier this week that the current deal is due to expire on March 18, and that Russia has not agreed to extend the landmark agreement.
Anadolu added, “We are working hard to implement and advance the Black Sea Grains Agreement smoothly,” Cavusoglu said in a speech at the United Nations Summit on Least Developed Countries in Doha, Qatar.
Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that more than 22 million tons of food had been sent to more than 43 countries through the initiative.
Russia said on Wednesday it would agree to an extension only if the interests of its own agricultural producers were taken into account. Reuters reported
Some references: Deal expansion is essential for global food supply chains. In normal times, Ukraine – one of the breadbaskets of the world – would export about three-quarters of the grain it produces. Together with Russia, it accounted for a quarter of global wheat exports in 2019.
Currently, the world is grappling with one of the worst food crises in modern history, already shaken by extreme weather conditions and the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Ukraine crisis has had this persistent negative impact on world food prices and [added] Even more volatility,” said Abby Maxman, CEO of Oxfam America. “Supply chains and how they flow in places like East Africa and the Horn of Africa are taking big hits.”
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