Last ship leaves Ukrainian port before deadline for grain trade in Black Sea Ship’s crew


KIEV, July 16 (Reuters) – The last ship traveling under a United Nations-brokered deal allowing safe Black Sea exports of Ukrainian grain left the port of Odessa early Sunday before a deadline, according to Reuters witness and for the extension of the agreement.

Russia has not agreed to register new ships since June 27, and the initiative expires on Monday unless Moscow agrees to an extension.

A United Nations spokesman said Friday Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was awaiting a response from Russian President Vladimir Putin on a proposal to extend the deal.

Putin told South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in a phone call on Saturday that commitments to remove barriers to Russian food and fertilizer exports have not yet been met, the Kremlin said.

Russia has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the deal negotiated by the United Nations and Turkey in July 2022 following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It had previously been extended by two months on May 17.

Ukrainian officials initially did not comment on whether the ship, the Turkish-flagged TQ Samsun, left Odessa.

Ukraine and Russia are among the largest grain exporters in the world.

(Reporting by Iryna Nazarchuk and Dan Peleschuk; Editing by Barbara Lewis)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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