The United Nations and the Ukraine government have announced a 120-day extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

The deal between Ukraine and Russia was due to expire on Saturday but there were concerns Russia would not agree to an extension.

It appears the agreement may have been struck after concessions were made to include more Russian grain and fertilisers.

UN secretary general Antonio Guterres said on social media site Twitter: “I welcome the agreement by all parties to continue the Black Sea Grain Initiative to facilitate the safe navigation of export of grain, foodstuffs and fertilisers from Ukraine.

“The initiative demonstrates the importance of discreet diplomacy in finding multilateral solutions.”

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also Tweeted a 120-day extension had been agreed, but Russia and Turkey have yet to comment on the deal.

So far more than 11m tonnes of grain and other agricultural products have been shipped out of Ukraine since the Black Sea Grain Initiative shipments started in August.

The extension falls well short of the one-year agreement that Ukraine and the UN were hoping for.

The deal is seen as critical to helping alleviate global food insecurity.

At this stage, it is unclear whether the extension will also include the port of Mykolaiv, which would allow more Ukraine grain out of the country.

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The current agreement only includes the ports of Odesa, Yuzhny and Chernomorsk.

Insurers will also welcome the development as it also keeps the door open for ships that have been caught in the conflict since the outbreak of hostilities to get out.

War risk underwriters will be liable for the full insured value of the vessels if they remain trapped at Ukraine ports for more than one year.