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ANKARA:  A deal allowing the export of Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports that was due to expire on Saturday (Mar 18) has been renewed, Türkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

“The deal for the grain corridor was due to expire today. As a result of our talks with the two sides, we have secured an extension to this deal,” Erdogan said in a speech on Saturday in the city of Canakkale, without specifying the length of the agreed extension.

Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said the deal had been extended for 120 days. 

“(The Black Sea Grain Initiative) agreement is extended for 120 days,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Grateful to (United Nations General Secretary Antonio) Guterres, (the) UN, President Erdogan, Minister Hulusi Akar & all our partners for sticking to the agreements.”  

However, Russia has notified all parties to the Black Sea grain deal that the agreement has been extended for 60 days, the RBC media outlet quoted Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying on Saturday.

The pact was brokered with Russia and Ukraine by the United Nations and Turkey in July – and renewed for a further 120 days in November – to combat a global food crisis that was fueled in part by Russia’s Feb 24, 2022 invasion of Ukraine and Black Sea blockade.

Russia has previously called for renewing the deal for only 60 days, half the term of the previous renewal period, while Ukraine was insisting on a 120-day renewal.