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Russia Says It Will Join Black Sea Grains Deal – POLITICO


Russia will resume cooperation with a diplomatic agreement brokered by Turkey and the United Nations to facilitate the export of Ukrainian foodstuffs, its defense ministry announced on Wednesday.

The turnaround came after talks on Tuesday between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Moscow on Saturday suspended its participation in the deal that allowed Ukraine to ship some 10 million tons of food to the world market, helping to ease a global crisis in food accessibility.

“The Russian Federation considers the guarantees received at this stage to be adequate and resumes implementation of the agreement,” the Russian Defense Ministry said on Telegram.

The statement makes clear that Russia wanted guarantees that Ukraine would not use the corridor to launch attacks against its navy, and it alleges that is what happened in the drone strike against its fleet at the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Crimea last weekend.

Ukraine rejected this and the UN said no ships were passing through the corridor when the attack took place.

Erdoğan also said Russia would resume cooperation, after holding talks with Putin, according to Reuters. Erdoğan added that shipments would now take place on Wednesday, despite an earlier plan not to transport food until Thursday.

Amir Mahmoud Abdulla, the UN coordinator for the Black Sea Grain Initiative, said he welcomed Russia’s decision to return to the deal. “Grateful for the Turkish facilitation. Looking forward to working again with all parties to the Initiative,” he said. tweeted.

Even though Russia had said it could no longer guarantee the security of the corridor, Turkey, the UN and Ukraine maintained the agreement on Monday and Tuesday, simply informing Russia of their operations.

The agreement, signed by the four parties in Istanbul in July, will have to be renewed around November 19. Ukraine, the UN and Turkey pushed for a much longer extension, while Russia wanted to improve the situation for its own food and fertilizer exports.

Wilhelmina Preussen contributed report.

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