Negotiations continue between Russia and Ukraine to extend a deal securing Kyiv’s grain exports via its Black Sea ports before it expires on Saturday, the Financial Times reported.

Brokered by the United Nations (UN) and involving mediation by Turkey, the grain deal agreed on 22 July has been playing a crucial role in alleviating a global food crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, according to the 15 November report.

The deal would be renewed automatically unless one of the parties objected, the report said.

The extension was being negotiated by the UN, a process that has involved bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, where UN secretary-general António Guterres held talks with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, the Financial Times wrote.

Under the revised agreement, Russia would be able to use the same Black Sea route transporting the bulk of Ukraine’s agricultural exports, the report said. In exchange for extending the deal, Russia would be able to use a pipeline that transports ammonia through Ukrainian-controlled territory before reaching a port near Odessa.

According to four sources, negotiators were confident the opposing sides would agree to extend the agreement before it expires, the Financial Times report said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying in a VOA News report on 16 November that he believed an agreement allowing Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea would remain in place beyond its renewal date.

Erdogan told reporters at the G20 summit that he planned to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin after returning from the summit, according to the report. In an earlier report on 11 November, the US State Department’s top official on economic affairs Ramin Toloui told VOA News there would be daunting consequences on global food security if Russia did not renew the deal.

According to the UN, about 11M tonnes of grain and food products have been exported to 42 countries since the deal was introduced.

Russia launched waves of airstrikes on Ukraine on 15 November, targeting 10 regions, including the capital of Kyiv, following Ukraine’s takeover of the key southern city of Kherson the previous week, VOA News wrote.