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Six grain ships leave Ukraine ports after Russia rejoins deal: Turkey

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Six grain ships left Ukraine’s ports on Thursday, a day after Russia rejoined a deal to allow exports through the Black Sea, Agence France-Presse reported, citing Turkey’s defense minister.

“After the resumption of the grain initiative, six ships left Ukrainian ports,” Defense Minister Hulusi Akar was quoted as saying by the official Anadolu news agency.

Moscow had said on Saturday that it was temporarily pulling out of the grain deal, accusing Ukraine of using a safe shipping corridor established under the agreement to launch a drone assault on its Black Sea fleet.

Turkey and the United Nations — who brokered the July deal — engaged in intense diplomacy to save the agreement designed to ease a global food crisis caused by the Russian war in Ukraine.

Russia’s defense ministry said on Wednesday it had received sufficient guarantees from Kyiv that it would not use the maritime corridor to carry out attacks.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday thanked his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, for his role in saving the grain export deal after Russia suspended its participation.

In a telephone call, Zelensky “thanked [Erdogan] for his active participation in preserving the grain deal,” he wrote on Twitter following Turkish efforts to revive the July agreement, which has played a crucial role in easing a global food crisis sparked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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