Ukraine says 218 vessels blocked after Russia suspends grain deal

KYIV (Reuters) - A total of 218 vessels are "effectively blocked" due to Russia's decision to suspend its participation in a grain export deal, Ukraine's infrastructure ministry said on Sunday.

Russia said on Saturday it suspended participation in the U.N-brokered deal to export agricultural produce from Ukrainian ports following attacks on its fleet in Russian-annexed Crimea.

As Ukraine did not have permits from the scheme's Joint Coordination Center to pass through the safe corridor, "218 vessels are ...blocked in their current positions," the ministry said via the Telegram messaging app.

The ministry said 95 loaded vessels that had left Ukrainian ports were awaiting inspection for shipment to the final consumer, and 101 empty ones awaited inspection at the entrance to Ukrainian ports.

It said 22 ships with agricultural goods were waiting to leave Ukrainian ports.

Ukraine has said the deal, which unblocked three Black Sea ports, has allowed it to export around 9 million tonnes of agricultural cargo so far.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; editing by John Stonestreet)