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US says Russia blocking ships from loading grain in Ukraine's ports
U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Bridget Brink, said on Twitter on May 9 that Russia was "again blocking ships from loading grain in Ukraine's ports to feed people who need it around the world."
In the tweet, Brink quoted a similar comment by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said "the world shouldn’t need to remind Moscow every few weeks to stop using people’s hunger as a weapon in its war against Ukraine.”
Earlier on May 8, the United Nations said that no ships had been inspected for two days under the Black Sea Grain Initiative that allows for the export of Ukrainian grain through Ukraine's Black Sea ports. Russia has been accused of deliberately delaying inspections.
The UN and Turkey-brokered deal, first signed in July 2022, has been vital in subduing soaring food prices worldwide and providing much-needed grain to certain countries, given that Ukraine is one of the world's top grain suppliers.
The deal was extended for another 120 days on March 18, after weeks of Russia threatening to back out of it if certain terms were not met. The deal is set to expire next on May 18, but talks to extend the deal are ongoing.
Russia "has signaled it will not allow the deal to continue" given that it believes "a list of demands to facilitate its own grain and fertilizer exports has not been met," Reuters reported.