Ukraine moves closer to resuming grain exports as UN-backed deal is agreed

·1-min read
© Reuters/Alexander Ermochenko

Ukraine has said it has restarted operations at its blockaded Black Sea ports as it moved closer to resuming grain exports with the opening of a coordination centre in Istanbul to oversee a UN-backed deal.

Ukraine and Russia last week agreed a plan with the help of Turkey and the United Nations to allow grain stranded by Moscow's naval blockade to be exported from three ports.

Kyiv has said it hopes to begin sending out the first of millions of tonnes of grain this week despite a missile strike by Russia over the weekend on the port in Odessa.

Ukraine's navy said "work has resumed" at the export hubs to prepare for ships to be escorted through the mine-infested waters to reach world markets.

As part of the deal, a coordination centre involving Ukrainian and Russian representatives opened in Istanbul to monitor the safe passage for shipping along established routes and oversee inspections for banned weapons.

The blockage of deliveries from two of the world's biggest grain exporters has contributed to a spike in prices that has made food imports prohibitively expensive for some of the world's poorest countries.

Progress towards fulfilling the landmark agreement came as Kyiv's artillery struck a key bridge in Moscow-controlled territory in south Ukraine, damaging an important supply route as Ukrainian forces look to wrest back the Kherson region.

And as German authorities said Russia drastically reduced gas deliveries to Europe in a move seen as revenge for Western sanctions over the invasion, Ukraine announced plans to increase its electricity imports to Europe.

(with newswires)

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