On Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a two-month extension of a UN-supported agreement that allows Ukraine to export grain over the Black Sea to international markets.
“With the efforts of our country, the support of our Russian friends, the contribution of our Ukrainian friends, it was decided to prolong the Black Sea grain deal for two more months,” Erdogan announced one day before the deal was due to expire.
Erdogan added that he hoped the agreement would be “beneficial for all the parties” and that Russia had promised not to prevent ships from leaving two Ukrainian ports.
He expressed gratitude to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, and Russian President Vladimir Putin for their contributions to the agreement’s extension.
Before Russia invaded in February of last year, Ukraine was one of the main grain exporters in the world.
The Black Sea ports of Ukraine were blockaded by Russian vessels, which caused food prices to soar globally and disproportionately affect the world’s poorest people.
In order to resolve the conflict, a compromise was originally mediated by Turkey and the UN in July 2022. This agreement established secure routes for the shipment of Ukrainian goods.
But ever since, the agreement has been in jeopardy as Russia and Ukraine have been unable to agree on extending it before its expiration dates.
In an effort to increase the amount of agricultural products it exports via land, Ukraine has run into opposition from neighboring EU nations, where farmers claim their goods are being undercut on price.