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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EU Food Aid Deal Will Be Signed Next Week

Russia will sign an agreement with the European Union next week to get $460 million worth of food aid that was negotiated in December, Interfax reported Friday.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Gennady Kulik will sign the agreement in Brussels next Wednesday, Interfax said.

The aid package envisages supplies of 1 million tons of grain and hundreds of thousands of tons of other foodstuffs intended to help relieve the impact of Russia's economic crisis on the poor.

Russian stores remain well-stocked, but inflation that has soared since the crisis hit in mid-August has put some food out of the reach of impoverished Russians. According to official estimates, nearly one-third of the population is living below the official poverty line of about $30 a month.

There are also concerns about supplies in Russia's far-flung northern regions, though no serious shortages have been reported.

The EU aid package was negotiated last month, when Russia also signed a similar $625 million deal with the United States. Both were intended to help Russia through the long winter, but no aid shipments are expected until next month at the earliest.

Both the United States and EU officials have been seeking assurances from the Russian government that the food aid reaches those who need it most. Previous aid deals have been tainted by charges of corruption.