Ukraine says Russia deliberately delaying passage of 150 grain ships
Oct 21 (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Friday accused Russia of deliberately delaying the passage of ships carrying grain exports under a U.N. brokered-deal, and said 150 vessels were waiting to be loaded.
Kyiv has exported almost 11 million tonnes of grains and other foods since July, when the United Nations signed the agreement with Russia, Ukraine and Turkey.
In a video address, Zelenskiy said the delay meant Ukraine grain exports were short 3 million tonnes - which he said was enough to feed 10 million people.
The deal runs out in November but talks on an extension are not making much progress because Russian concerns are not being taken into proper account, Russia's U.N. ambassador in Geneva said on Thursday.
Zelenskiy said in Friday's video address that "the enemy is doing everything to slow down our food exports... as of today, more than 150 ships are queuing to fulfill contractual obligations on the delivery of our agricultural products."
"This is an artificial queue. It only arose because Russia is deliberately delaying the passage of the ships," he added, but did not give details.
The Russian foreign and defence ministries did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Earlier in the day, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying he saw no obstacles to extending the deal.
Moscow says Western sanctions are hamstringing its own exports of grain and fertilizer, even to poor countries that need the supplies. (Reporting by David Ljunggren Editing by Chris Reese and Rosalba O'Brien)
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