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Russia resumes participation in Ukrainian grain export deal

Russia said on Wednesday it would resume its participation in a deal that liberalizes Ukraine’s grain exports, reversing a move that world leaders said threatened to increase world hunger.

Moscow announced the sudden reversal after Turkey and the United Nations (UN) helped keep Ukrainian grain flowing for several days without Russian participation in inspections.

The Russian Defense Ministry justified the turnaround by saying it had received assurances from Kiev that the Black Sea grain corridor would not be used for military operations against Russia. Kiev did not immediately comment on the matter, but has denied in the past that it used the transport corridor as cover for attacks.

“The Russian Federation considers that the guarantees received at the moment seem sufficient and resumes the implementation of the agreement,” the Russian ministry said in a statement.

The grain deal, originally struck three months ago, dispersed a global food crisis by lifting the Russian blockade on Ukraine, one of the world’s biggest suppliers. The prospect that the treaty could fall apart this week has revived fears of global famine and pushed up supply prices.

Russia suspended its involvement in the deal on Saturday, saying it could not guarantee the safety of civilian ships crossing the Black Sea after an attack on its fleet.

Ukraine and Western countries have called the argument a false pretext for “blackmail” by making use of threats to the global food supply.

But Russia’s suspension did not stop the shipments, which resumed on Monday (31) without Moscow’s participation, in a program supported by Turkey and the United Nations. According to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told his Turkish counterpart that the deal would return.

“Grain transports will continue as previously agreed from 12pm today,” Erdogan said, apparently reading a note an aide passed him as he addressed members of his AK party.

(Additional reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun on Ankara and other Reuters newsrooms)

Source: CNN Brasil

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