Ukraine grain export deal seen within days

STORY: In Ukraine, some farmers have to brave shelling to harvest their crops.

It’s easier to be inside the harvester says this one, because you can’t hear the blasts so much.

But a lot of the produce the farmers bring in is stuck in the country.

Some 20 million tonnes of grain sits in silos at Odesa port amid a Russian blockade.

On Thursday (July 14), it seemed a deal to resume exports could be close.

Talks involving Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations took place in Istanbul.

Now Turkish defense minister Hulusi Akar says a deal is within reach:

"We have seen that an agreement has been reached on many technical matters including establishing a joint coordination centre carrying out joint controls at the entrance and exit of the harbours and ensuring the safety of the routes of the ships that will carry grain and other types of food.”

Turkey says an agreement will be signed next week, when all parties meet again.

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres was more cautious, saying only that there were signs of momentum.

There was no immediate comment from Moscow, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy also said there was progress.

A deal is seen as vital for global food security, with Ukraine and Russia both normally major exporters of wheat and other produce.

The U.N. is also working to facilitate Russian grain exports, which have been hit as ship owners prove reluctant to operate in the region.

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