Russia agrees to (shorter) grain deal extension
Russia has agreed to extend the Black Sea grain deal with Ukraine, but for only 60 days rather than the 120 days of the original agreement. The UN-brokered 2022 deal, due to expire March 18, enables the safe shipment of grain from Ukraine's blockaded ports to boost global supply and stabilize prices. The agreement rolled over in November, but Russia has since argued that the "second part of the deal"—the easing of restrictions on its own agricultural and fertilizer exports—has not been met. Consultations are continuing, the UN says. So far, 24 million tonnes of grain have been exported under the initiative.
But the International Rescue Committee noted that only 10% has gone to five countries most in need—with China and Spain instead the largest recipients. It has called on the UN to broker a 12-month deal to help ease global hunger, pointing out that food price inflation is at 40% in countries most at risk of "humanitarian catastrophe"—double the rate of the rest of the world.
From The New Humanitarian, March 17
Russia is accused of weaponizing wheat, as the war and disruption of Ukrainian exports have resulted in a global food and energy crisis.
Another reprieve for Black Sea grain deal
Russia has agreed to a two-month extension of the Black Sea grain deal that allows safe passage for Ukrainian maize and wheat to world markets. Questions had hung over the survival of the Turkish- and UN-brokered agreement after Russia threatened to bow out. Moscow argues a separate deal, to facilitate the shipments of Russian food and fertiliser, has not been upheld. (TNH) There are no sanctions on Russian exports of food and fertilisers to global markets but the problems are related to the secondary sanctions imposed on shipping and insurance companies as well as banks. (SCMP)