Türkiye: Agreement on extending Black Sea grain deal nearing

Parties to the Black Sea grain deal are approaching an agreement on extending it after two days of talks in Istanbul between Ukrainian, Russian, Turkish and United Nations officials.

"We are heading toward an agreement on the extension of the grain deal," Türkiye's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement released by the ministry on Friday.

The parties met in Istanbul on May 10-11 for negotiations on another extension of the deal, which is due to expire next week.

The Kremlin said early on Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin could speak with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan at short notice if needed regarding an extension of the deal, but that there were no such plans yet.

Türkiye and the UN brokered the agreement in July last year to help tackle a global food crisis that has been worsened by Moscow's war in Ukraine.

Moscow seeks guarantees

The deal allows grain exports from Ukraine via the Black Sea, helping ease shortages and resulting price spikes triggered by the Russian offensive on the breadbasket nation.

So far, more than 30 million tonnes of grain were transported to those in need under the deal.

But Russia has not committed to a third renewal before the deal expires on May 18.

Moscow demands guarantees that its demands, including the removal of obstacles to its grain and fertiliser exports, are met by the deadline in order to renew the deal.