For the first time since the start of the war in Ukraine, a ship carrying grain left the port of Odessa on Monday thanks to an agreement brokered by the United Nations and Turkey. 16 more are waiting to follow, with more to come.
After docking in Istanbul on Tuesday for inspections, the freighter Razoni will transport more than 26,000 tonnes of maize to Lebanon – a first step towards alleviating a growing food crisis. Ukraine is one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat, corn and sunflower oil.
The deal allows the country to export 22 million tonnes of grain and other agricultural products that have been stuck in Black Sea ports for months due to a Russian blockade. Ukrainian authorities said another 16 cargo ships were awaiting their turn in Odessa. Under the agreement, Russia will be able to export grain and fertilizers.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukrainian Foreign Minister hailed Monday as a “day of relief for the world, especially for our friends in the Middle East, Asia and Africa,” in a statement on Twitter. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also called the ship’s departure “very positive.”
Turkey’s Defense Ministry said more ships would leave Ukrainian ports, but did not provide further details. Russia and Ukraine signed separate agreements in Istanbul on July 22.
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►WNBA star Brittney Griner returns to a Russian court on Tuesday, a month after the start of a trial in which she faces 10 years in prison if convicted of drug trafficking. The Biden administration offered a prisoner swap to free Griner and fellow American Paul Whelan, but Russia did not accept it.
►The European Commission announced that one billion euros would be delivered to Ukraine by Tuesday “to meet its immediate financial needs following Russia’s unprovoked and unwarranted aggression”. The money is the first part of a €9 billion aid package.
►Anatoly Chubais, who resigned as a senior adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin and left Russia shortly after the invasion of Ukraine, is said to be in intensive care in a European hospital on Sunday for a neurological disorder.
►Wealthy Ukrainian businessman Oleksiy Vadatursky, who ran a grain production and export business, and his wife, Raisa, were killed in their Mykolaiv home on Sunday by a Russian missile strike, officials said Ukrainians.
US-supplied HIMARS ‘one of summer’s best hits’, says grateful Ukrainian minister
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov cannot be accused of relying on stilted military language as he accepted the latest set of advanced rocket launchers from the United States
Announcing via Twitter on Monday that four more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) had arrived, Reznikov made the sound of truck-mounted weapons positively musical.
“The sound of the #HIMARS volley has become one of the hits of this summer on the front line! » his tweet said.
Reznikov, who used emojis and Twitterspeak to thank US officials and the American people for their support, said Ukrainian forces “have proven themselves to be clever operators of this weapon” and concluded his post with a photo of a rocket leaving a smoke trail to the right after being launched via a HIMARS.
Humanity is just one mistake away from ‘nuclear annihilation’, says UN chief
Russia’s war in Ukraine is one of the key developments raising the threat of a nuclear confrontation to its highest level since the height of the Cold War, the UN chief said on Monday at the start of a conference aimed at reducing the risk of such a disaster.
Citing the Russian invasion as well as nuclear threats in the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said “humanity is just a misunderstanding, a miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation”.
Speaking at a meeting to review the historic nuclear non-proliferation treaty – a gathering originally scheduled for 2020 but delayed due to the pandemic – António Guterres also warned that nuclear proliferation risks are growing as mechanisms to avoid climbing weaken.
Even though Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a letter to the conference saying, “There can be no winners in a nuclear war, and it must never be fought,” the conflict he sparked in Ukraine was a concern. major among Monday’s speakers.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken pointed out that Russian forces have taken control of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in the city of Zaporizhzhia in southeastern Ukraine, from where they are launching attacks on Ukrainians, “knowing that they cannot and will not retaliate because they might accidentally hit a nuclear reactor or high-level radioactive waste in storage.
Russian bombardment leaves three dead and more than a dozen wounded
Three Ukrainian civilians have been killed and 16 injured by Russian shelling in the Donetsk region in the past 24 hours, according to the presidential office.
Governor of Donetsk Pavlo Kyrylenko repeated a call from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for all residents to evacuate, highlighting the need to get 52,000 children in the area to safety.
Russian rockets injured two people in Kharkiv, Governor Oleh Synyehubov said on Telegram. One person was waiting for a bus and the other was near an apartment building, according to the Associated Press.
Three civilians were injured by shelling in Mykolaiv, where repeated strikes also wiped out a hospital unit and damaged ambulances, according to regional governor Vitaliy Kim.
Ukrainian push to retake southern lands forces Russia to turn away from Donbass
Russia may have to choose between its goal of fully controlling the industrial Donbass region in eastern Ukraine and retaining its gains in the south.
With the help of US-supplied rocket launchers that hit bridges and military infrastructure in the south, Ukrainian forces are trying to retake territory that the Russians seized during the invasion, including the region south of Kherson and part of the Zaporizhzhia region.
That prompted Moscow to reallocate troops from Donbass to the south, where weekend bombardments on the port city of Mykolaiv injured several civilians and killed a grain tycoon and his wife.
“The Russian military command was faced with a dilemma: try to speed up the offensive in the Donetsk region or strengthen the defenses in the south,” said Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov. “It’s going to be difficult for them to perform both tasks simultaneously for a long time.”
Russia fully controls Luhansk, one of the two provinces that make up Donbass, but only controls about half of the other, Donetsk. The British Ministry of Defense said in his Monday update that the invading forces have made little progress in their attacks on the area northeast of Donetsk in recent times.
“Russia is likely adjusting the operational design of its Donbass offensive after failing to make a decisive operational breakthrough under the plan it had been following since April,” the ministry said. “He probably identified his Zaporizhzhia front as a vulnerable area in need of reinforcements.”
Contribute: The Associated Press