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Putin warns Moscow could leave grain deal again

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President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday threatened to leave the Ukraine grain deal again if Kyiv violated security guarantees, hours after Russia said it was rejoining the agreement.

“Russia retains the right to leave these agreements if these guarantees from Ukraine are violated,” Putin said in televised comments.

But he added even if Moscow withdraws again, it “will not interfere” in grain deliveries from Ukraine to Turkey.

He pointed to Turkey’s neutrality, “the opportunities of the grain processing industry of the Turkish republic” and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s mediation efforts as reasons for the Moscow stance.

Putin spoke with Erdogan before Russia announced it was re-entering the deal.

The Kremlin chief also said that even if Russia pulled out of the deal again, it would continue to “supply the entire volume (of grain) that has so far been delivered from the territory of Ukraine to the poorest countries, free of charge.”

Russia resumed its participation in the UN-brokered deal earlier on Wednesday, saying it had received written security guarantees from Ukraine on demilitarising the maritime corridor.

The announcement came four days after it suspended its part in the agreement over a drone attack on its Black Sea Fleet in Moscow-annexed Crimea.

Later in the day, Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said however that Russia has yet to decide if it remains part of the deal after November 18.

The Turkey and UN-brokered deal to unlock grain exports was signed between Russia and Ukraine in July. It was due to be renewed on November 19.

The extension of the deal is “a separate issue” and that decision will be made “taking into account all the accompanying factors,” Rudenko was quoted as saying by state news agency RIA Novosti.

He signalled Moscow’s displeasure with the implementation of the deal.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing a massive disproportion here,” Rudenko was quoted as saying.

“The Russian part is being implemented very poorly. We will take this into account.”

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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