U.N. seeks to extend Ukraine grain blockade deal

U.N. seeks to extend Ukraine grain blockade deal

The United Nations said it was working to bridge differences to extend the agreement, which has helped reduce food shortages and limit price increases with the end of a crucial deal that allowed Ukrainian grain shipments through a Russian naval blockade.

Russia and Ukraine are at odds over how long it will take to extend the deal, which is due to expire late Saturday. Moscow has said it would agree to an extension of 60 days because of the sanctions against its own food and fertilizer exports. Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations have pushed for a 120 day renewal in line with the initial agreement in July and a subsequent extension in November.

The agreement allows ships carrying grain and fertilizer from Ukraine to Turkish waters, where they are inspected by a joint team of Turkish, U.N. Ukrainian and Russian officials.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine and Russia in February 2022, Russia has held the deal hostage at various points during the war. In late October, the Kremlin abruptly suspended its participation in the agreement after an attack on its warships in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol, but it rejoined a few days later.