Russia and Ukraine signed a landmark deal on Friday to reopen Ukrainian Black Sea ports for grain exports, raising hopes that an international food crisis aggravated by the Russian invasion can be eased.

The accord crowned two months of talks brokered by the United Nations and Turkey which U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said were aimed at restoring Ukrainian grain exports while easing Russian grain and fertilizer shipments despite tough Western sanctions on Moscow.

Guterres said the deal, signed in Istanbul, opens the way to significant volumes of commercial food exports from three key Ukrainian ports – Odesa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny.

“Today, there is a beacon on the Black Sea. A beacon of hope…, possibility…and relief in a world that needs it more than ever,” Guterres told the gathering. Reuters

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