US hails Turkish-brokered Ukraine grain deal, urges Russia to act

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The US on Thursday hailed a Turkish-brokered deal to export grain from Ukrainian ports and urged Russia to implement it.

“We welcome the announcement of this agreement in principle, but what we're focusing on now is holding Russia accountable for implementing this agreement and for enabling Ukrainian grain to get to world markets,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

“We should never have been in this position in the first place. This was a deliberate decision on the part of the Russian Federation to weaponize food,” Price said.

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Price applauded diplomacy by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and “the diligent work of our Turkish allies,” who in recent years have often been at odds with the US on issues including Syria and arms purchases from Russia.

He said that the US was kept abreast of details on the grain deal, which is to be signed Friday.

Food prices have soared around the world, hurting poor countries the hardest, since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, a major grain exporter.

Up to 25 million tonnes of wheat and other grain have been blocked in Ukrainian ports by Russian warships and landmines Kyiv has laid to avert a feared amphibious assault.

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