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KIEV – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday accused Russia of deliberately delaying the passage of ships carrying grain exports under a UN-brokered deal, saying 150 ships were waiting to be loaded.

Kyiv has exported nearly 11 million tons of grain and other food products since July. The UN has signed agreements with Russia, Ukraine and Turkey.

In a video speech, Mr Zelensky said the delay meant a shortage of 3 million tons of Ukrainian grain exports, enough to feed 10 million people.

The deal expires in November, but negotiations on an extension have not made much progress because Russia’s concerns have not been properly taken into account, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva said on Thursday.

In a video address on Friday, Mr Zelensky said, “The enemy is doing everything to slow our food exports… As of today, more than 150 ships fulfill our contractual obligations for the delivery of our agricultural products.” We are queuing up to fulfill the

“This is an artificial queue. It only happened because Russia deliberately delayed the passage of the ships,” he added, but did not give further details.

Russia’s foreign ministry and defense ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Earlier in the day, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying there would be no obstacles to extending the deal.

Moscow says Western sanctions are preventing its exports of grain and fertilizer, even to poor countries in need of the goods.Reuters Ukraine says Russia is deliberately delaying passage of 150 grain ships

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