Russia rejoins deal to ship vital Ukraine grain exports

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A view of wheat grains in a grain storage facility on a farm near Izmail, Ukraine, on June 14, 2022. (File photo: AFP)

MOSCOW — Russia on Wednesday rejoined a deal to allow Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea but Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Moscow could pull out of the agreement again.اضافة اعلان

The revival of an agreement aimed at easing fears of global food insecurity came just as Washington warned it was “increasingly concerned” that Moscow could use nuclear weapons in its campaign in Ukraine.

Russia’s defense ministry said it had received “sufficient” guarantees from Kyiv that it would not use the maritime corridor to carry out attacks on Moscow’s military.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “warmly” welcomed Russia’s decision to resume participation in the agreement, which was brokered by the UN and Turkey in July and allows for joint inspections of ships.

President Vladimir Putin said Russia could leave the deal again if Ukraine violates its guarantees but would not “interfere” with any grain deliveries even if it did so.

The Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said Russia’s change of mind just days after announcing it was pulling out of the deal “puts an end to many years of Russian blackmail diplomacy”.

A Turkish security source said the corridor was open again from 9am GMT although no departures from Ukraine were planned Wednesday.

The deal, overseen by the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul, has allowed more than 9.7 million tonnes of grain and other foodstuffs to leave Ukrainian ports.

This has brought much-needed relief to a global food crisis triggered by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which are both major global grain exporters.

Russia on Saturday had said it was temporarily pulling out, accusing Ukraine of misusing the safe shipping corridor to launch a drone attack on its Black Sea fleet.

Moscow warned the route was “dangerous” for shipments without its participation in the agreement but some deliveries from Ukraine still went ahead on Monday and Tuesday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday had urged “reliable and long-term protection” of the corridor while Russia’s Vladimir Putin demanded “real guarantees”.

The Russian defense ministry on Wednesday said it obtained written guarantees from Kyiv “thanks to the participation” of the UN and “assistance” from Turkey.

It said Kyiv guaranteed “the non-use of the humanitarian corridor and Ukrainian ports determined in the interests of the export of agricultural products for conducting military operations against the Russian Federation”.

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