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Putin says Russia considering withdrawal from grain deal

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MOSCOW (Reuters) -President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia was considering withdrawing from the Black Sea grain deal, saying that Moscow had been “cheated” over implementation of the parts of the accord that concerned its own exports.

In a televised meeting with pro-Kremlin war correspondents, Putin said the deal was intended to help “friendly” countries in Africa and Latin America, but that Europe was the largest importer of Ukrainian grain and this was providing a key source of foreign currency to Kyiv.

Putin said he would discuss the future of the grain deal with some African leaders who were expected to visit Russia, adding that Moscow was ready to supply grain for free to the world’s poorest countries.

The deal was brokered last July by the United Nations and Turkey and allows for the safe export of grain from several Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea.

The West has not imposed sanctions on Russian grain and other food exports but they have been hampered by other restrictions on insurance and other areas.

(Reporting by Reuters; writing by Gareth Jones; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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