Turkey says Russia has agreed to rejoin Black Sea grain deal

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Turkey Says Russia Has Agreed To Rejoin Black Sea Grain Deal Turkey Says Russia Has Agreed To Rejoin Black Sea Grain Deal
Turkey Russia Ukraine Grain, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Associated Press Reporter

Russia’s defence minister has told his Turkish counterpart that Moscow has agreed to return to a UN-brokered deal that allowed the shipment of millions of tons Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu called Turkey’s Hulusi Akar and informed him that the grain corridor agreement would “continue in the same way as before” as of Wednesday.

Mr Erdogan said that the deal would prioritise shipments to African nations – including Somalia, Djibouti and Sudan – in line with Russia’s concerns that most of the grain was ending up in richer nations.


Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (Russian Defence Ministry Press Service via AP)

Moscow agreed to continue carrying out its role in the deal after receiving written guarantees from Kyiv that Ukraine would not use the sea corridor for military actions, according to a statement by the Russian Defence Ministry.

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But Russian President Vladimir Putin later warned that Moscow reserves the right to withdraw again from the agreement if Kyiv breaks its word.

“We demanded assurances and guarantees from the Ukrainian side that … humanitarian corridors will not be used for military purposes,” Mr Putin told a Security Council meeting, according to Russian state news agencies.

“I have given instructions to the Ministry of Defence to resume our full participation in this work,” Mr Putin said.

The Russian leader praised Turkey’s mediation efforts to get the deal back on track as well as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “neutrality in the conflict as a whole” and his efforts at “ensuring the interest of the poorest countries”.

Russia suspended its participation in the grain deal over the weekend, citing allegations of a Ukrainian drone attack against its Black Sea fleet.

The Russian Defence Ministry said on Monday that ship traffic from ports in southern Ukraine was halted, calling the movement “unacceptable”.

The Defence Ministry said that Ukraine had formally committed to using the safe shipping corridors through the Black Sea “exclusively in accordance with the stipulations of the Black Sea initiative”, a reference to the separate UN and Turkey-backed agreements signed by Moscow and Kyiv on July 22.

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Ships loaded with grain departed Ukraine on Tuesday despite Russia suspending its participation in the UN-brokered deal that ensures safe wartime passage of critical food supplies meant for parts of the world struggling with hunger.

But the United Nations had said vessels would not move on Wednesday, raising concerns about future shipments.

The United Nations and Turkey brokered separate deals with Russia and Ukraine in July to ensure Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia would receive grain and other food from the Black Sea region during Russia’s war in Ukraine.

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