- Three grain ships leave Ukraine’s Black Sea ports
- Turkey says the world cannot end the war by ignoring Russia
- Russia bans some foreign investors from selling shares in major energy projects and banks
ISTANBUL/Kyiv (Reuters) – Three grain ships left Ukrainian ports on Friday as the first incoming cargo ship since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was due to load, with Kyiv calling for the safe passage agreement to be extended to include other shipments such as minerals.
The July 22 agreement marks a rare diplomatic breakthrough as war rages in eastern Ukraine, as Kyiv tries to rebuild its shattered economy after more than five months of conflict.
“We expect that the security guarantees of our partners from the United Nations and Turkey will continue to operate, and food exports from our ports will become stable and predictable for all market participants,” Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kobrakov said on Facebook after the ships set off. .
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The first grain ship left from Odessa on Monday.
“This agreement concerns logistics and the movement of ships through the Black Sea,” Ukraine’s Deputy Economy Minister Taras Kachka told the Financial Times. What is the difference between grain and iron ore?
The United Nations and Turkey brokered a safe passage agreement between Moscow and Kiev after the United Nations warned of a possible famine due to the halt in grain shipments from Ukraine through the Russian-dominated Black Sea.
Fahrettin Altun, a top aide to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said the safe corridor agreement testified to direct diplomacy between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Erdogan, who met again on Friday in the Black Sea city of Sochi.
“The international community cannot end the war in Ukraine by ignoring Russia,” he said.
Putin sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, sparking Europe’s largest conflict since World War II and leading to a global energy and food crisis.
The Turkish Defense Ministry said two grain ships set off from Chornomorsk on Friday and one from Odessa carrying a total of 58,000 tons of corn.
The Odessa regional administration said the Liberian-flagged Turkish bulk carrier Osprey S is expected to arrive in Chornomorsk on Friday to load it with grain.
Russia and Ukraine traditionally produce about a third of the world’s wheat and Russia is the main supplier of energy to Europe. But Ukraine’s Agriculture Ministry said Ukraine’s grain exports have fallen 48.6% year-on-year so far this season.
Economic advisor Ole Ustenko said in July that Ukraine hopes to export 20 million tons of grain in silos and 40 million tons of its new crop. The government hopes to earn $10 billion from those volumes, but Ustenko said it could take 20 to 24 months to export if the ports were not working properly. Read more
Today, Monday, the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority said that there are 68 ships in Ukrainian ports carrying 1.2 million tons of cargo, two thirds of which are food.
After five months of fighting, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky this week described the pressure on his armed forces in the eastern Donbass region as “hell”.
Moscow is seeking to control the largely Russian-speaking Donbass region consisting of Luhansk and Donetsk provinces, where pro-Moscow separatists seized territory after the Kremlin annexed Crimea to the south in 2014.
Zelensky spoke of fierce fighting around the town of Avdiivka and the fortified village of Peske, as Ukraine acknowledged the “partial success” of its Russian opponent in recent days.
Russia’s TASS news agency quoted the separatist forces as saying that Russian and pro-Russian forces had fully taken control of Pesci. They also said that the fighting was taking place in the city of Bakhmut, north of Donetsk. Read more
Ukraine has spent the past eight years fortifying defensive positions at Pesci, seeing it as a buffer against Russian-backed forces controlling the city of Donetsk about 10 kilometers to the southeast.
Ukrainian General Oleksiy Hromov said his forces had recaptured two villages around the eastern city of Sloviansk but had been pushed into the town of Avdiivka after being forced to abandon a coal mine considered an important defensive position.
Reuters was not immediately able to verify assertions by either side about developments on the battlefield.
Putin said he launched what he called a “special military operation” in Ukraine to ensure Russian security and protect Russian speakers in Ukraine. Kyiv accuses Moscow of waging an imperial-style war to restore its pro-Western neighbor that removed Russian hegemony when the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991.
In its latest standoff with the West over sanctions, Russia has banned investors from so-called hostile countries from selling shares in major energy projects and banks until the end of the year.
Western countries and allies, including Japan, have imposed financial restrictions on Russia since February 24. Moscow responded with obstacles to Western companies and their allies leaving Russia, and in some cases confiscated their assets. Read more
The war has displaced millions, killed thousands of civilians and left cities, towns and villages in ruins. Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Russian forces of targeting civilians and committing war crimes, charges that Russia rejects.
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Reporting by Reuters offices. Writing by Michael Perry and Nick McPhee; Editing by Stephen Coates, Robert Persell and Mark Heinrich
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