Market News & Headlines >> Grain Deal Talks Continue After Russia Claims Shorter Extension

Talks on renewing the Black Sea export demand, which allows Ukraine to export grains and oilseeds through three of its Black Sea ports, continue and an extension is expected to be worked out before this Saturday, when the current deal will run out.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is "doing everything possible" to ensure continuity of the Ukraine Black Sea export deal "in the present circumstances," spokesman Stephane Dujarric said late on Tuesday.

Russia has reportedly agreed to extend the export deal, but is pushing for only a 60-day extension compared to the 120-day extension that was agreed upon in November.  In fact, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko, who has been negotiating with the UN, claimed that deal had already been extended for 60 days.

However, Russia’s proposal was sharply criticized by Ukrainian officials, who claimed that the initial export agreement signed last July clearly states that extensions are possible for a minimum of 120 days. “The Russians realized that 60 days (extension) is not legally possible, so they are trying to find a way out," a senior Ukrainian government official told Reuters on Tuesday.