Ukraine says no more talks planned on Black Sea grain deal this week
KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine cannot rule out that a deal allowing the safe Black Sea export of Ukrainian grain will end on May 18, when it is due to expire, and no additional talks are planned this week, a foreign ministry official said on Monday.
Olha Trofimtseva, a foreign ministry ambassador at large, told a briefing that Ukraine was receiving conflicting signals about the future of the deal, the extension of which was discussed at talks in Turkey last week.
Ukrainian Black Sea ports were blockaded after Russia's invasion last year, but access to three of them was cleared last July under a deal between Moscow and Kyiv that was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.
"The situation overall (after talks) has not changed much, and we receive quite conflicting information about the grain deal and the possibility of its continuation," she said.
Moscow has threatened to quit the agreement on May 18 unless a list of demands is met to remove obstacles to Russia's own grain and fertiliser exports.
"Such a termination, (Russia's) exit from the grain initiative is possible, but for everyone and primarily for the Russian side that will mean an escalation of the situation and they will complicate their future negotiation position for themselves," Trofimtseva said.
She said Ukraine had exported 2.5 million tonnes of agricultural goods in April despite a slowdown in the use of the grain corridor.
(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Timothy Heritage)