Six grain ships leave Ukraine ports after Russia rejoins deal: Turkey

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Six grain ships left Ukraine’s ports on Thursday, a day after Russia rejoined a deal to allow exports through the Black Sea, Turkey’s defense minister said.

“After the resumption of the grain initiative, six ships left Ukrainian ports,” Defense Minister Hulusi Akar was quoted as saying by the official Anadolu news agency.

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Moscow had said on Saturday that it was temporarily pulling out of the grain deal, accusing Ukraine of using a safe shipping corridor established under the agreement to launch a drone assault on its Black Sea fleet.

Turkey and the United Nations – who brokered the July deal – engaged in intense diplomacy to save the agreement designed to ease global food crisis caused by the Russian war in Ukraine.

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

Meanwhile, the Russian delegation on Thursday resumed work at the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) that runs the Black Sea grain deal operations in Istanbul and joined vessel inspections on Thursday, the UN Secretariat at the center said.

It said the queue for inspections has been significantly reduced, with there currently being over 120 ships waiting to move, mainly those planning an inbound voyage.

The Kremlin, however, on Thursday said that Russia had yet to decide if it will extend its participation in the grain deal that expires later this month.

“Before making a decision on an extension, we will need to give an overall assessment of the effectiveness of the deal,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. The Turkey and UN-brokered deal to unlock grain exports signed between Russia and Ukraine in July was due to be renewed on November 19.

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