Russian and Ukrainian officials have signed a deal to reopen grain exports from Ukrainian Black Sea ports.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said the agreement would help ease a global food crisis.

The neighbouring, warring countries are among the world’s biggest exporters of food, but Russia’s invasion led to a de-facto blockade of the Black Sea, resulting in Ukraine’s exports dropping to a sixth of their pre-war level.

Russian defence minister and Ukraine’s infrastructure minister signed the deal separately, carefully avoiding sitting at the same table and avoiding shaking hands.

The signing ceremony took place in Istanbul in the presence of Erdogan and Guterres.

In light of the deal, which was brokered by Ankara and the UN, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he expected that the blockade on his country’s seaports will soon be lifted.