Russia rejoining Ukraine grain shipment agreement
Russia on Wednesday agreed to rejoin a wartime deal to allow grain shipments safe passage out of Ukrainian ports after abruptly halting the deal last week, according to Turkey’s president.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said his defense minister had heard from Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that the deal would “continue in the same way as before” as of noon Wednesday.
Moscow suspended the deal, brokered by Turkey and the United Nations, after a Russian warship in the Black Sea was damaged. Russia blamed the incident on a Ukrainian drone strike.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russia’s suspension of the deal meant Moscow was “weaponizing food in the war it started,” and officials from the United States and Ukraine accused Russia of bad faith.
Ukrainian President Zelensky accused Russia of creating an “artificial famine,” and U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres jumped into negotiations to revive the crucial humanitarian food corridor.
Ukraine and Russia are both top global suppliers of wheat, barley, sunflower oil and other food, particularly to countries in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia.
“This is an absolutely deliberate blockade by Russia. This is an absolutely transparent intention of Russia to return the threat of large-scale famine to Africa and Asia,” Zelensky said last week.
The United Nations and Turkey had both brokered separate deals with Russia and Ukraine this summer to establish the exports’ safe passage as Russia’s war on Ukraine wages on.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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