Moscow agrees to resume cooperation in Ukraine grain export deal

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Russia had agreed to resume the deal to allow the export of Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea as of midday on Wednesday. Erdogan said that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had spoken to his Turkish counterpart and told him that the grain corridor had the go-ahead from Moscow to continue. “After the call we held yesterday with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, Russian Defence Minister Shoigu called our National Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and expressed that the grain transports will continue as agreed before as of 12 p.m. [0900 GMT] today,” Erdogan said. The Turkish president added that exports to African nations would be prioritized, saying that Russia had been concerned most of the exported grain was ending up in richer countries. Moscow also confirmed its U-turn decision on suspending its involvement in the grain exports deal. “The Russian Federation considers that the guarantees received at the moment appear sufficient, and resumes the implementation of the agreement,” its Defense Ministry said in a statement. Russia suspended its role in a UN-brokered accord over the weekend that allowed the safe export of grains from Ukraine. It made the decision after an attack on its Black Sea fleet. The UN said on Monday, however, that grain had continued to leave Ukrainian ports despite the Russian suspension of the deal. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “warmly welcomes” Moscow’s resumption of the deal, his spokesperson said in response to the decision.