Russia said on Friday that only 3 per cent of food exported under a U.N.-brokered deal to release grain from blockaded Ukrainian ports has gone to the poorest countries and that Western countries account for half of all shipments.

"The geography of the recipients of these cargoes has turned out to be completely inconsistent with the initially declared humanitarian objectives," it said in a statement.

"Needy states such as Somalia, Ethiopia, Yemen, Sudan, (and) Afghanistan have received just 3 per centof food, mostly from the World Food Programme," it said.

Since Russia and Ukraine signed the U.N.-backed Black Sea Grain Initiative in Turkey on July 22, several millions of tonnes of corn, wheat, sunflower products, barley, rapeseed and soya have been exported from Ukraine.

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The war cut off shipments of grain and fertiliser from the two key world suppliers, causing food shortages and rising prices

President Vladimir Putin and Russian officials have since complained that there are serious problems with the deal, raising fears Moscow could pull out altogether unless its demands are met.

Any supplies to global markets from Ukraine, one of the world’s largest grain exporters, ease the food crisis, according to Western officials briefed on the grain talks.