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336150

Ukraine sets out plan to export more grain to poor countries

By Dan Peleschuk

KYIV, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Ukraine wants to feed at least 5 million more people facing acute food shortages by the end of next spring under proposals set out by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to the Group of 20 nations on Tuesday, a senior aide said.

Zelenskiy also told a G20 summit that a U.N.-brokered deal that has eased a Russian blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports should be extended indefinitely and include two more ports - Mykolaiv and Olvia.

Three ports are already included in the U.N.-brokered deal, which Zelenskiy said had enabled Ukraine to export more than 10 million tonnes of food products since July. The deal is set to expire on Nov. 19 and talks are under way on extending it.

"The right to food is a fundamental right of every person in the world," Zelenskiy said in a video address to G20 leaders gathered in Bali.

Setting out what he called the "Grain from Ukraine" plan, he urged all countries to join "our initiative to help the poorest with food".

Ukraine is one of the world's largest grain exporters and the sea blockade following Russia's invasion of the country in February contributed to a global food crisis.

Andriy Yermak, the chief of Ukraine's presidential staff, said on the Telegram messaging app that Ukraine would set aside a portion of harvested wheat for partner countries to purchase on behalf of African countries on the brink of famine.

"The programme envisages providing grain to at least 5 million people by the end of spring 2023," he wrote, adding that it would be implemented in partnership with the World Food Programme.

"We will not give the Russians any opportunity to create a Holodomor 2.0," Yermak added, referring to the death by starvation of millions of people in what was then Soviet Ukraine in the 1930s.

He said a ship carrying 27,000 tonnes of wheat had already left for Ethiopia as part of the programme and in coordination with the German government.

(Reporting by Dan Peleschuk; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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