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A large convoy of ships left the deep sea port of Odessa on 31 October despite Russia withdrawing from the Ukraine grain export corridor deal a day earlier, The Guardian reports.

The vessels were shipping a record daily tonnage of 354,500 tonnes of grain, the 31 October report quoted a spokesperson from Odessa’s military administration as saying.

Four other vessels had also received clearance to head to Ukrainian ports as they had already been inspected by representatives of the UN, Turkey, Ukraine and Russia, Ukrainian Infrastructure minister Oleksandr Kubrakov wrote on Twitter.

Russia’s withdrawal from the United Nations (UN)-brokered grain export corridor deal on 30 October had cast doubt on future shipments from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.

A spokesperson from Lloyd’s of London insurer Ascot told Reuters on 31 October that it had paused writing cover for new shipments using the export corridor until it had more clarity about the situation.

Russia said it had withdrawn from the grain corridor deal – due for renewal on 19 November - in retaliation to a drone attack on warships based in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol.

The grain deal had enabled Ukraine to export more than 9M tonnes of grain and other food products during the last three months, World Grain wrote on 1 November.

Russia’s withdrawal from the agreement had prompted condemnation from Ukraine, Nato, the European Union and the USA, with Joe Biden saying Russia’s move was “purely outrageous” and would increase starvation, The Guardian wrote.

Ukraine accused Moscow of “blackmailing the world with hunger”.

Ukrainian grain exports in October had reached 4.2M tonnes, with around 1.3M tonnes of grain shipped during the final week, according to data from the country’s agriculture ministry reported by AgriCensus on 31 October.

Trade sources were expecting November volumes to drop significantly, while river port capacity and truck and rail borders were limited, AgriCensus wrote.