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LONDON: President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Russia was ready to facilitate the unhindered export of grain from Ukrainian ports in coordination with Turkey, according to a Kremlin readout of talks with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan

Russia and Ukraine together account for 29% of global wheat exports, mainly via the Black Sea, and for 80% of global exports of sunflower oil. Ukraine is also a major corn exporter.

In a call with Erdogan, Putin reiterated that Russia may export significant volumes of fertilizers and food in case sanctions against Moscow are lifted, according to the Kremlin readout of the talks.

“During the discussion of the situation in Ukraine, emphasis was placed on ensuring safe navigation in the Black and Azov seas and eliminating the mine threat in their waters,” the Kremlin said.

Ukraine’s Zelenskiy says will only talk directly to Russia’s Putin

“Vladimir Putin noted the readiness of the Russian side to facilitate the unhindered sea transit of goods in coordination with Turkish partners. This also applies to the export of grain from Ukrainian ports.”

Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine has roiled the grain market, with Chicago wheat futures hitting a record high in March amid supply concerns.

Moscow is expecting a record crop this year, with exports to be shipped out of Russia’s open Black Sea ports, while Ukraine’s remain blockaded by the Russian navy.

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