Ukraine and Russia are ready to 'sign a grain agreement'


 Turkey says an agreement has been reached with Russia to allow Ukraine to resume grain exports through the Black Sea.

The agreement will be signed on Friday in Istanbul by Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Ukraine's global grain shortage since the Russian invasion on February 24 has left millions at risk of starvation.

The invasion caused food prices to rise, so the plan to open Ukraine's ports is important. 20 million tons of grain are stuck in warehouses in Odesa.

Ukraine's foreign ministry confirmed that another round of UN-led talks to curb grain exports will take place on Friday in Turkey - and a deal "can be signed".

But a Ukrainian parliamentarian close to the talks warned about the plan.

"We still don't have an agreement," Odesa MP Oleksiy Honcharenko told BBC Radio 4's World Tonight program. "We don't trust the Russians at all. So let's wait until tomorrow (today Friday) for the final decision and that there will be no objections from the Russians and changes of the last minute."

The US State Department welcomed the UN-led initiative, but said it aimed to hold Russia accountable for implementing it.

"We should never have been in this position in the first place. This was a deliberate decision on the part of the Russian Federation to possess the food," said department spokesman Ned Price.

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