The ship Navi-Star sits full of grain since the start of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine as it waits to sail from the Odesa Sea Port, in Odesa, Ukraine, July 29, 2022. (DAVID GOLDMAN / AP)
KYIV/ISTANBUL – Ukraine had suspended foodstuffs exports due to blockage of the "grain corridor," the country’s infrastructure minister has said.
"Due to the blockage of the grain corridor by Russia the export is impossible," Oleksandr Kubrakov tweeted on Sunday.
The minister said a vessel carrying 40,000 tonnes of grain intended for Ethiopia got stuck in the port in Ukraine on Sunday.
On Saturday, the Ukrainian government-run Ukrinform news agency reported that Russia had announced its withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative after accusing Ukraine of "terrorist attacks against ships of the Black Sea Fleet and civilian vessels involved in guaranteeing the security of the grain corridor."
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Since signing of the deal on Aug 1, Ukraine has exported more than 9 million tonnes of foodstuffs via its seaports
Ukraine and Russia separately signed a document on July 22 with Türkiye and the United Nations in Istanbul to resume food and fertilizer shipments from Ukrainian ports to international markets via the Black Sea.
Since the deal came into effect on Aug 1, Ukraine has exported more than 9 million tons of foodstuffs via its seaports. The agreement was due to expire on Nov 19.
'Turkish efforts to continue'
Following Russia’s suspension of its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that his country will continue its efforts to alleviate the global food crisis.
"With the joint initiative established in Istanbul, we have achieved a relative alleviation of the global food crisis by bringing 9.3 million tonnes of Ukrainian wheat to the world," Erdogan said at the 8th Turkish Medical World Congress in Istanbul.
“About a third of the world's wheat is produced by Ukraine and Russia. You (people) were close witnesses to all our efforts to deliver this wheat to countries that face a threat of famine.”
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Total 408 ships have left Ukrainian ports, carrying wheat, corn and other foodstuffs since the Black Sea Grain Initiative became operational in August,, according to a report by the Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency.
"Although Russia is hesitant because of not having the same ease of operation (compared to Ukraine), we will continue our efforts to serve humanity," said Erdogan.