An unnamed senior Ukrainian government official later told Reuters that Kyiv would demand a 120-day extension.
The agreement was extended for 120 days in November and will expire on Saturday. If Russia or Ukraine does not object, the validity will be extended automatically. However, Russia has long expressed dissatisfaction with the arrangement and demanded more support for its food and fertilizer exports. Representatives for Moscow were already talking about a 60-day extension after Monday’s meeting.
“We actually extended the agreement – for 60 days,” TASS quoted Gruška as saying. UN officials have yet to comment, and according to Reuters it is not clear how it could be extended only half the time.
“We will strictly adhere to the agreement,” a Ukrainian official, who wished to remain anonymous, said afterwards. The terms, according to Kyiv, clearly state that the agreement can be extended for at least 120 days. If either party is interested in shortening this time, the adjustments will need to be negotiated.
“The UN will do everything to maintain the integrity of the agreement and ensure its continuation. Consultations with all parties are continuing at all levels,” said a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), whose head chaired the meeting. negotiations, according to AFP.
The deal reached last August allowed for the resumption of exports of grain and other agricultural crops from Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea coast, which were blocked by Russia after the start of its invasion of Ukraine.
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