Turkish, Russian def mins meet ahead of grain deal

STORY: Russia and Ukraine signed a landmark deal on Friday to reopen Ukrainian Black Sea ports for grain exports, raising hopes that an international food crisis aggravated by the Russian invasion can be eased.

The accord crowned two months of talks brokered by the United Nations and Turkey aimed at what U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres called a "package" that would both restore Ukrainian grain exports while easing Russian grain and fertilizer shipments despite tough Western sanctions on Moscow.

More than 20 million tonnes of grain has been trapped in southern Ukraine since Russia deployed tens of thousands of troops to the country on February 24, with a de facto blockade of the Black Sea resulting in Ukraine's exports dropping to a sixth of their prewar level.

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