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Turkey, Russia in talks over possible resumption of Ukrainian grain exports as 218 ships stuck (UPDATED)

by The Kyiv Independent news desk October 30, 2022 5:12 PM 1 min read
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on Sept.16, 2022. (Getty Images)
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Turkey has begun negotiating with Moscow concerning resuming grain shipments from Ukrainian ports, according to the country's defense ministry.

Bloomberg reported earlier that there were "still grounds for optimism" that progress towards a resumption of the shipments could be made.

218 cargo ships are now at a standstill due to Russia's sudden withdrawal from the deal, according to the Ukrainian Infrastructure Ministry.

Of these, 95 are loaded with goods, having already left Ukrainian ports, and now awaiting inspection to depart to their destination, 101 are awaiting inspection to arrive in Ukrainian ports, with the remaining 22 loaded and waiting to leave their berths.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis called for the military safeguard of grain exports out of Ukrainian ports after Russia suspended its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative on Oct. 29.

"Negotiating with Russia doesn't work," Landsbergis said. "Putin breaks agreements and blackmails all of us."

The grain deal, in effect since Aug. 1, enabled 9.3 million tons of agricultural products to be exported from Ukraine, much of which has been crucial for the food security of parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Over the past two weeks, Russia had begun casting doubt on its signing of an extension to the deal, set to expire in late November. Moscow exited the deal early after an attack on the Black Sea Fleet in occupied Sevastopol.

Though the vessels' targets were exclusively military in nature, Russia alleged canceling the deal by saying that the drone boats were launched through the corridor established by the deal.

Russia had not presented proof of its allegations. Ukraine didn't comment on the attack.

Infrastructure Minister: Grain export impossible as Russia reimposes blockade

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