Seven food cargo ships leave Ukraine: Kyiv

STORY: The vessels were loaded with 290,000 tonnes of food products and were headed towards European and Asian countries, the ministry said in a statement, without elaborating.

The Kremlin said on Thursday it had not committed to staying in the deal, which has freed Ukraine's grain shipments from a Russian blockade of its Black Sea ports, beyond its current expiry date of November 19. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Russia still needed to assesses whether the deal was working before deciding whether to extend its participation.

Earlier on Thursday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged the United Nations, which brokered the deal, to step up its efforts to ensure Western countries ease restrictions that Moscow says hinder its own agricultural and fertilizer exports, which also formed part of the deal.