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Food crisis: There is 'hope' for a Russia-Ukraine deal on grain export

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By Euronews
A worker cleans grain after trucks unloaded harvested grain in a grain elevator in Melitopol, south Ukraine, July 14, 2022.
A worker cleans grain after trucks unloaded harvested grain in a grain elevator in Melitopol, south Ukraine, July 14, 2022.   -   Copyright  AP Photo   -  

The European Union is hopeful that a deal between Ukraine and Russia over the exports of grain can be reached this week. 

Negotiators from the two countries met last week in Istanbul, Turkey, alongside representatives from the UN to find an agreement to allow for millions of tonnes of Ukrainian grains currently stuck in Black Sea ports to be exported.

They are scheduled to meet in Turkey again this week. 

For the EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell, "this may be the most important thing that the international community is facing. The most worrisome thing is the lack of food in many countries around the world."

The 27-country bloc and its Western partners have accused Moscow of weaponising food and of deliberately targeting Ukraine's agricultural infrastructure.

Both Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of mining the Black Sea to prevent the other side from launching amphibious attacks which has largely contributed to a halt in exports as the vast majority of Ukrainian grains were previously exported via the Black Sea.

Borrell, who spoke to reporters ahead of a meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers in Brussels, said the bloc is "doing whatever we can in order to support these grains through other ways, through the solidarity lanes, through the Black Sea to Romania, Bulgaria. But that's not enough."

"So I hope, and I think I have a hope, that this week it will be possible to reach an agreement to deblock Odesa and other Ukrainian ports. The life of 1,000, more than 1,000, tens of thousands of people depends on this agreement. So it's not a diplomatic game. It's some issue of life and death for many human beings.

"Russia has to deblock and allow the Ukrainian grain to be exported. Otherwise, we would have to continue claiming that they are using food as a weapon without any kind of consideration for human beings' lives. It has to be said loudly," he added.