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Last ship leaves under expiring Black Sea grain deal


Workers load grain at a grain port in Izmail, Ukraine. Image AP

A deal allowing Ukraine grain exports to have safe passage through the Black Sea is about to lapse, with no new commitment from Russia.


The last ship to travel under a UN-brokered deal that allows the safe Black Sea export of Ukrainian grain has left the port of Odesa, as a deadline for extending the agreement looms. 


Russia has not agreed to register any new ships since June 27 and the initiative will expire on Monday unless Moscow agrees to extend it.


A United Nations spokesman said on Friday that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was waiting for a response from Russian President Vladimir Putin on a proposal to extend the deal.


Putin told South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in a phone call on Saturday that commitments to remove obstacles to Russian food and fertiliser exports had yet to be fulfilled, the Kremlin said.


Russia has repeatedly threatened to quit the deal, brokered by the UN and Turkey in July 2022 following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. It had been previously extended for two months on May 17.


Ukrainian officials did not immediately comment on whether the ship, the Turkish-flagged TQ Samsun, had left Odesa.


Ukraine and Russia are among the world's top grain exporters. 


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