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Ukraine and Russia sign deal to allow grain exports from blockaded Black Sea ports amid growing fears of global food catastrophe

Katie Anthony   

Ukraine and Russia sign deal to allow grain exports from blockaded Black Sea ports amid growing fears of global food catastrophe
  • Russia and Ukraine came to an agreement to allow grain exports from blockaded Black Sea ports.
  • The deal is aimed to help avoid a "food shortage catastrophe."

Ukraine and Russia signed a deal backed by the United Nations to allow grain exports from blockaded Black Sea ports, helping to avoid "a food shortage catastrophe for millions worldwide," a UN official said.

António Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN, called the deal a "beacon of hope, possibility & relief," in a tweet on Friday.

The agreement aims to allow the passage of grains and essential goods from three Ukrainian ports and the passage of essential Russian-made fertilizer products to ease the global food crisis brought on by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, The Guardian reported.

At the signing, Guterres said the deal would benefit developing countries "on the edge of bankruptcy and the most vulnerable people on the edge of famine," per The Guardian.

The Kremlin has been widely accused of weaponizing food over the blockade of Ukrainian ports. The EU decried the blockade as a war crime. "You cannot use the hunger of people as a weapon of war," Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief, said last month in Luxembourg.

Ukraine provides roughly 10% of the globe's wheat exports, 15% of corn exports, and close to half of the world's sunflower oil. It's often referred to as Europe's breadbasket. Cutting off that supply posed a particularly grave threat to lower-income countries in Africa and the Middle East that rely heavily on Ukrainian grain.

"The Russian invasion into Ukraine exacerbated an already bad situation" and it's "affecting the entire global community," Ertharin Cousin, who served as executive director of the UN World Food Programme from 2012 to 2017, told Insider in late June.

Moscow rejected the notion that it was to blame for the escalating food crisis, but Cousin said that Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine "is what created this problem overall."

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