- Russian involvement has been halted, but grain tankers have been loaded
- Russia’s attack on Ukrainian infrastructure caused power outages.
- Kyiv arranges 1,000 heaters for winter – Mayor
- Civilians have been evacuated from further areas of Kherson.
Ankara/Mikolat; Ukraine Nov 2 (Reuters) – Moscow on Wednesday laid out Russia’s terms for restarting a deal freeing rice exports from war-torn Ukraine, which is crucial to global supplies. Grain and Fertilizers.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, whose country helped broker a July 22 accord with the United Nations aimed at easing the global food crisis, said Ankara was confident a deal would be reached to extend it.
Russia suspended its participation in the deal over the weekend, saying the attack on the ship would not guarantee the safety of civilian ships crossing the Black Sea. Ukraine also said it was a false excuse.
Vessels are continuing to carry Ukrainian grain on the route despite the suspension, but industry sources told Reuters that it is unlikely to last because insurance companies have not issued new contracts due to Russia’s move.
“There are security demands after the recent attacks on Russian ships,” Cavusoglu said of the weekend attack on Russia’s Black Sea fleet, which Moscow said it defended.
Cavusoglu said Moscow was also concerned about its fertilizer and grain exports.
He echoed comments by Russian officials that the ships, despite not being on the sanctions list, have yet to dock.
“They still can’t get insurance and they can’t make payments,” he said. “Therefore, the ships of many countries shy away from carrying this burden.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the world should respond decisively to any Russian attempt to disrupt Ukraine’s export corridor, which Moscow invaded and blocked on February 24.
Russia has exacerbated food shortages and food crises in many countries, as Ukraine is the world’s largest importer of rice and oilseeds.
Long term protection
In a video speech on Tuesday night, Zelenskiy said ships were still leaving Ukrainian ports with cargo thanks to the work of Turkey and the United Nations.
“But we need reliable and long-term protection for the grain corridor,” Zelenskiy said.
“It must be clear that Russia will receive a strong response from the world for any steps that would interfere with our food exports,” Zelenskiy said. “The issue here is clearly the lives of millions of people.
The agreement is for poor countries to produce wheat, The grain deal was aimed at averting famine in poorer countries by injecting sunflower oil and fertilizers into the world market. In the pre-war phase, the target was to export 5 million metric tons per month from Ukraine.
The U.N. coordinator for grain and fertilizer exports under the deal expects to load ships leaving Ukrainian ports on Thursday, and Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said eight ships were expected to pass through the corridor during the day.
After speaking with the Russian president twice in as many days, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Tuesday that he expected a response from Russia “today and tomorrow”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has fired missiles at Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kyiv, in retaliation for the attack on the navy. Ukraine said it had shot down most of the missiles, but some hit power plants, knocking out electricity and water.
Seven regions were experiencing power outages on Wednesday, grid operator Ukrenergo said. It includes Kyiv region around the capital and Kharkiv region around the country’s second largest city.
“We will do everything we can to provide energy and heat for the coming winter,” Zelenskiy said. “But you have to understand that Russia will do everything it can to destroy normal life.”
Mayor Vitali Klitschko said authorities in Kyiv are preparing more than 1,000 heaters across the city in case its district heating system is shut down.
On Monday and Tuesday, the US fired about 100 missiles targeting water and energy supplies.
“As temperatures drop, these Russian attacks, aimed at exacerbating human suffering, are particularly egregious,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters. Russia has denied targeting civilians.
Another attack took place overnight in Kiev, authorities said.
Andriy Yermak, Zelenskiy’s chief of staff, said Ukrainian soldiers shot down 12 of 13 Iranian drones.
“We are actively engaged in discussions on the supply of modern air defense systems and we are doing this every day,” he said on the Telegram messaging app.
Attacks on infrastructure are among the ways Russia has escalated the conflict after a Ukrainian counteroffensive put pressure on its forces. The Russians are now digging in along the front line in the south and east of Ukraine after failing to capture the capital shortly after the invasion.
Russia told civilians on Tuesday to leave the occupied area on the east bank of the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine’s Kherson, ahead of a counter-offensive in the Ukrainian-controlled Crimea region.
Moscow has described its actions in neighboring Ukraine as a demilitarized operation and a special military operation. Moscow has dismissed Ukraine and the West as groundless pretexts for a war of conquest.
Pavel Polityuk in Kyiv; Additional reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun and other Reuters bureau in Ankara. Grant McCool Written by Lincoln Feast and Philippa Fletcher. Edited by Simon Cameron-Moore.
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