By Pavel Polityuk
KIEV (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – Ukraine will abide by the terms of the deal signed last year on a 120-day extension of the Black Sea grain export initiative, a senior Ukrainian government official said on Tuesday.
“We will strictly follow the agreement,” the official, who declined to name, told RockedBuzz via Reuters.
Russia’s TASS news agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko as saying the deal, which helps Ukraine export agricultural products after Russia invades, has been extended to previous terms.
Grushko said the deal was extended for 60 days. A Russian source separately said on Tuesday that the 60-day extension means that after 60 days one of the parties could raise the issue of terminating the agreement.
Ukraine, however, indicated that the July agreement clearly states that extensions are possible for a minimum of 120 days and that the original agreement would have to be modified if the parties wish to shorten the terms.
“The Russians have realized that 60 days (extension) is not legally possible, so they are trying to find a way out,” the senior Ukrainian government official said.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey last July and was extended in November.
Kiev has declared that it wants to extend the agreement by at least a year and that Ukraine wants to include the ports of the city of Mykolaiv.
Since Russia and Ukraine signed the deal in Turkey last July, millions of tons of grains and other foodstuffs have been exported from Ukrainian ports.
(Report by Pavel Polityuk, Editing by Timothy Heritage)