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Russia must stop ‘scandalous’ blocking of Ukraine’s ports – EU’s Michel ahead of G20 Summit

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« Russia must stop blocking and attacking Ukrainian sea ports, said the European Commission’s President Charles Michel ahead of the G20 Summit in New Delhi on Friday, calling an offer by Moscow to supply 1 million tonnes of grain to African countries that are most in need ‘cynical’ against the background of the Black Sea grain deal.
« It’s frankly scandalous that Russia, after having terminated the Black Sea Grain Initiative, is blocking and attacking Ukrainian sea ports. This must stop, » said Michel while speaking to reporters.
The Black Sea grain deal « had delivered 32 million tonnes to the market, especially in the developing countries. This Kremlin’s offer of one million tonnes of grain to Africa is therefore absolutely cynical, » added Michel.
Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in Sochi to discuss the agreement. Putin said after the meeting on Monday that the landmark deal would not be restored until the West had met its obligations, while Ukraine and its allies have dismissed it as a pretext to advance Moscow’s own interests. On Wednesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said that Turkey had agreed to handle one million tonnes of grain to be shipped to Africa at a discounted price,
The Black Sea grain deal, signed in Istanbul in July 2022 between representatives of Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Nations, expired on July 17.
While the agreement allowed for the export of Ukrainian grain and Russian food and fertilisers, Moscow repeatedly insisted the latter part of the deal was not being implemented.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that ‘the blatant sabotage’ of the Istanbul agreements ‘defeats the purpose of continuing the Black Sea Initiative which did not live up to its humanitarian rationale’, while Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov said that it could return ‘as soon as the Russian part is implemented’.
However, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to continue the Black Sea Grain Initiative with the UN and Turkey. »

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