Ukraine grain export deal back on as Russia resumes participation

  • Turkey says grain trading to resume at noon on Wednesday
  • Russia says it has received assurances from Ukraine
  • Announced guarantees will not go further than the original deal

ANKARA/Kyiv, Nov 2 (Reuters) – Russia said on Wednesday it would resume participation in a deal to free up vital grain exports from war-torn Ukraine after it was suspended over the weekend in a move that threatened to intensify Hunger throughout Ukraine. world.

The Russian Defense Ministry said it had received written assurances from Kyiv that it would not use the Black Sea food corridor for military operations against Russia.

“The Russian Federation considers that the assurances currently received appear to be sufficient and resumes the implementation of the agreement,” the ministry statement said.

Russia on Saturday suspended participation in the deal, saying it could not guarantee the safety of civilian ships crossing the Black Sea, where a fleet, some of which it said came from the grain export corridor, was attacked. Ukraine says this is a false pretext.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said earlier that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had told his Turkish foreign minister that the July 22 grain deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations would remain in effect at noon on Wednesday.

“From 12 pm today, grain shipments will continue as previously agreed,” Erdogan said.

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Wheat, soybean, corn and rapeseed prices fell sharply in global markets following the announcement, allaying concerns about the growing unaffordability of food.

Industry sources told Reuters that despite the suspension, ships continued to carry Ukrainian grain on routes, but this was unlikely to last long because insurers did not issue new contracts because of Russia’s move.

“It was a very unexpected turnaround,” said Andrey Sizov, head of Russia-focused Sovecon agricultural consultancy, of Russia’s decision.

“However, the deal remains shaky as it is now back in speculative mode as to whether there will be an extension. Discussions around this topic will obviously continue two weeks before the extension,” Sizov added.

The deal is due to expire on Nov. 19, a European diplomat briefed on the grain negotiations told Reuters that Russian President Vladimir Putin could use the possible extension as leverage to gain leverage and dominate next month’s event in Indonesia. of the G20 summit.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the recovery showed how much countries could achieve together.

“It shows that those who believe in the international order … stand together in these difficult times and not allow themselves to be blackmailed by Russia,” she told broadcaster Welt.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said earlier that the world should respond resolutely to any attempts by Russia to disrupt Ukraine’s trans-Black Sea export corridor, which was blocked after Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24.

With Ukraine one of the world’s largest suppliers of grain and oilseeds, Russia’s blockade has exacerbated food shortages and cost-of-living crises in many countries.

In a video address Tuesday night, Zelensky said ships were still leaving Ukrainian ports with cargo due to the work of Turkey and the United Nations.

“But food corridors require reliable and long-term defense,” Zelensky said.

“Russia must be well aware that the world will respond forcefully to any measure that disrupts our food exports,” Zelensky said. “The issue here is clearly the lives of tens of millions of people.”

The grain deal is designed to help poorer countries avoid famine and mitigate sharp price increases by flooding world markets with more wheat, sunflower oil and fertilizer. It aims to export pre-war levels of 5 million tonnes per month from Ukraine.

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlu Cavusoglu said earlier that Russia was concerned about its fertilizer and grain exports, echoing claims by Russian officials that even if exports are not covered by Western sanctions, ships carrying them Can’t stop either.

Russia’s statement on recovery did not mention any concessions on these issues.

Russian political analyst Tatiana Stanovaya said Moscow’s decision to revive the deal had nothing to do with any assurances from Ukraine.

“The Kremlin itself is just caught in a trap that it doesn’t know how to get out of,” she said.

“In the face of a bad game, it is necessary to step back and put on a good face (not very successful). That said, Putin, no matter how preoccupied he is with Ukraine, his historic mission and he is right about himself Faith, still a moderately rational statesman, knows how to retreat when necessary.”

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told CNN she was pleased to hear that Russia was back in the deal.

“They can’t stand in the way of feeding the world,” she said.

Additional reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun in Ankara and other Reuters divisions; Writing by Philippa Fletcher; Editing by Angus McSwan

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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