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Zelensky says Ukraine is ready to maintain grain exports without Russia

Zelensky says Ukraine is ready to maintain grain exports without Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday that Kiev was ready to continue its grain exports through the Black Sea despite Moscow’s announcement of a “de facto” end to the agreement on such shipments.

• Also read: Kremlin says Ukraine grain deal ‘de facto over’

• Also read: Ukraine bombed the strategic Crimean bridge, killing two civilians

“Even without Russia, everything needs to be done so that we can use this corridor (for export) in the Black Sea. We are not afraid,” Mr. Zelensky noted, according to notes shared on Facebook by his spokesman, Sergoyk Nikiforov.

In his daily intervention broadcast in the evening, Mr. Zelensky added that he had sent “official letters to Turkish President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan and to UN Secretary-General (Antonio) Guterres proposing that they continue” with exports.

He stressed that “Ukraine, the United Nations and Turkey can jointly ensure the operation of the food corridor and the inspection of ships.”

According to him, nearly 33 million tons of Ukrainian agricultural products were exported to 45 countries under the agreement, which was adopted by Ukraine and Russia in July 2022 with the mediation of Turkey and the United Nations.

Moscow announced, on Monday, the “de facto” completion of this important global supply agreement, hours after a night attack by the Ukrainian army with drones on the Crimean Bridge, a strategic infrastructure.

Russia is critical of obstacles to its food and fertilizer exports, which have been hampered by sanctions. Rich countries are also accused of taking advantage of the bulk of Ukrainian exports to go to developing countries.

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On the contrary, Volodymyr Zelensky emphasized that “60% of the volumes” were exported to Africa and Asia.

According to UN figures, the three main countries that have benefited from Ukrainian extraditions are China, Spain and Turkey.