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Ukrainian ships keep sailing despite Russia suspending grain deal

Three outbound vessels had left Ukrainian ports by midday on Tuesday under the Black Sea grain export deal, the United Nations-led coordination centre said. The Ukrainian ships left the port despite Russia suspending its participation in the initiative.

The Istanbul-based Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) said in a statement on October 30, that the ships’ movement was agreed upon by the Ukrainian, Turkish and UN delegations working there and that the Russian delegation had been informed.

Amir Abdulla, the UN Coordinator for the Black Sea Grain Initiative, “continues his discussions with all three member state parties in an effort to resume full participation at the JCC,” the statement said.

Civilian cargo ships can never be a military target or held hostage. The food must flow. #BlackSeaGrainInitiative

— Amir M. Abdulla (@AmirMAbdulla) October 31, 2022

UN and Turkish teams continued their inspections on Tuesday of outbound vessels anchored in Istanbul, the JCC statement said, having cleared 46 ships to sail on Monday.

Problem-solver Erdogan

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Vladimir Putin that Ankara is making efforts with all sides to solve problems regarding the implementation of the deal.

During the phone call with the Russian leader, he said that “he is sure a solution-oriented cooperation will be established on this issue, as in many other topics,” the Turkish president’s office said.

In turn, Putin said that Russia could consider resuming a deal allowing grain exports from Ukrainian seaports only after the completion of an investigation of drone attacks on the Crimean naval port of Sevastopol.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative

The export deal was agreed upon by Russia and Ukraine and brokered by Turkey and the United Nations in July to ease a world hunger crisis caused by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and an earlier blockade of its ports.

"Ports are our life," says Volodymyr, a farmer from Ukraine, who could only export his produce this year thanks to the #BlackSeaGrainInitiative.

The agreement must continue so farmers like Volodymyr can maintain their livelihoods and the world can combat the hunger crisis.

— OCHA Ukraine (@OCHA_Ukraine) October 28, 2022

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