Three more vessels left Ukrainian ports on November 1, the UN-led center coordinating the Black Sea grain export deal says, despite a Russian decision to suspend its backing of the program.
The BBC reports that the center says the ships' movement has been agreed by Ukraine, Turkey and the UN, while Russia "has been informed." On October 31, 12 ships carrying 354,500 tonnes of food sailed from Ukraine.
Russia halted its backing for the deal on October 29, accusing Ukraine of using a safety corridor to attack its fleet. The UN says there were no ships inside the corridor that night.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of "blackmailing the world with hunger" — a claim Russia denies.
November 1’s cargoes constituted a record daily volume of exports since the grain deal began, said a spokesperson for Odesa's military administration quoted by Reuters. One of the vessels carrying 40,000 tonnes of grain was destined for Ethiopia, where "the real possibility of mass starvation" existed, the ministry added.
After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, its navy imposed a blockade on Ukraine's Black Sea ports, trapping about 20 million tonnes of grain meant for export inside the country, along with other foodstuffs such as maize and sunflower oil. But in July a deal between Ukraine and Russia was brokered by Turkey and the UN, facilitating a resumption of grain exports through the Black Sea ports.
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