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Russia gives reassurances over landmark grain deal after missile attack

After fears that the supply chain might be disrupted by missile strikes in a key Ukrainian city, Russia has reaffirmed its confidence about global grain stocks.

Russia and Ukraine have signed a historic deal last Wednesday, allowing grain exports from Black Sea ports to resume after they were blocked by Vladimir Putin’s forces.

At the ceremony in Istanbul, the UN and Turkey also signed the deal. This raised hopes that the international food crisis caused by Russia’s invasion would be addressed.

However, less than 24 hours later the port of Odesa was struck by a missile strike. This attack was described by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zeleskyy to be “barbarism”.

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He stated that Russia could not be trusted to execute the deal and that global importers were concerned about stocks being again in balance.

However, Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, offered some reassurances during a visit in Cairo, Egypt.

Following a meeting with Sameh Shoukry in Egypt, Mr Lavrov stated that he had “reaffirmed” the Russian grain exporters’ commitment to fulfill all their obligations at a press conference.

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He said, “We discussed the specific parameters of cooperation, agreed on further contact between the relevant ministries and have a common understanding about the causes of the grain crises.”

Egypt is a major importer of wheat in the world and imported about 80% of its imports last year from Russia and Ukraine.

A blockade of Ukrainian ports by Russia’s Black Sea fleet has entrapped tens of million of tonnes of grain and disrupted shipments. This led to a rise of global commodity prices and worsened supply chain bottlenecks.

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Missile strikes strike port of Odesa

Ukraine is pursuing efforts to resume grain exports. However, it has warned that deliveries could be affected if Odesa’s Russian missile strike was an indication of future events.

Ukraine believes it could export 60,000,000 tonnes of grain within eight to nine months, if its ports don’t get blocked.

The strikes were condemned by the United Nations, the EU and the US as well as Britain, Germany and Italy.

Russia claimed that its forces had struck legitimate military targets, including a Ukrainian warship, and an Odesa weapons store, with high-precision rockets.

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