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Ukraine hopes to continue grain deal without Russia: Zelensky
Zelensky noted that he ordered the Foreign Ministry to prepare "official signals" to the United Nations and Turkey regarding the continuation of the deal
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that his country hopes to continue the Black Sea grain deal after Russia's withdrawal, Zelensky's spokesman Sergii Nykyforov said on Facebook.
"Even without the Russian Federation, everything must be done so that we can use this Black Sea corridor," Zelensky was cited as saying.
Zelensky noted that he ordered the Foreign Ministry to prepare "official signals" to the United Nations and Turkey regarding the continuation of the deal, Xinhua news agency reported.
The companies that own ships are ready to continue supplying grain if Ukraine and Turkey will allow the passage of the vessels, Zelensky said.
In July last year, Ukraine and Russia separately signed a deal with Turkey and the United Nations in Istanbul to resume food shipments from Ukrainian ports to international markets via the Black Sea.
Since then, the deal was extended several times and is due to expire on July 18.
Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that Russia objects to the extension of the grain deal, according to media reports.
Ukraine has exported 32.5 million tons of foodstuffs to 45 countries in the first 11 months of the functioning of the agreement, the Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported Monday, citing data from the State Enterprise "Administration of Sea Ports of Ukraine".