- Three grain ships leave Ukrainian ports
- First ship to arrive in Ukraine since the start of the war
- Fighting in the East is ‘hell’, says Zelenskiy
- NATO chief warns Putin must not be allowed to win
ISTANBUL/Kyiv, Aug 5 (Reuters) – Three grain ships left Ukrainian ports on Friday under a safe passage agreement as the first incoming cargo since Russia’s invasion was due to be loaded in Ukraine later in the day, and Kyiv called for the pact to be extended to other goods such as metals.
The July 22 deal was a rare diplomatic breakthrough as war rages in eastern Ukraine, with Kyiv attempting to rebuild its shattered economy after more than five months of conflict.
“We hope that the security guarantees of our UN partners and Turkey will continue to work and that food exports from our ports will become stable and predictable for all market players,” said Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov on Facebook after the ships left. .
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The first grain ship left Odessa on Monday.
“This agreement is about logistics, the movement of ships across the Black Sea,” Ukrainian Deputy Economy Minister Taras Kachka told the Financial Times. “What is the difference between grain and iron ore? »
The United Nations and Turkey brokered the safe passage agreement between Moscow and Kyiv after the United Nations warned of outbreaks of famine due to a halt in grain shipments from Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine on February 24, sparking the biggest conflict in Europe since World War II and fueling a global energy and food crisis. Ukraine and Russia traditionally produce about a third of the world’s wheat, and Russia is Europe’s main energy supplier.
On Friday, two grain ships left from Chornomorsk and one from Odessa, with a total of about 58,000 tons of corn.
The Turkish Ministry of Defense said on Twitter that the Navistar, flying the Panamanian flag, carrying 33,000 tonnes of maize bound for Ireland, departed from Odessa. The Rojen, flying the Maltese flag, carrying 13,000 tons of maize, left Chornomorsk bound for Great Britain.
In addition, the Turkish-flagged Polarnet vessel, carrying 12,000 tons of corn, left Chornomorsk for the Turkish Black Sea port of Karasu.
The Turkish bulk carrier Osprey S, flying the flag of Liberia, was due to arrive in Chornomorsk on Friday to refuel with grain, the Odessa regional administration said.
Some Western leaders have accused Russia of using a stalemate over gas supplies to heavily dependent Europe as a pretext to cut supplies as winter approaches in revenge for Western sanctions.
A dispute over the return of a turbine that Russia says is curtailing gas supplies has shown no signs of being resolved. Read more
After five months of fighting, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy this week described the pressure on his armed forces in the eastern Donbass region as “hell”.
Moscow is seeking control of the largely Russian-speaking Donbass, made up of the provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk, where pro-Moscow separatists seized territory after the Kremlin annexed Crimea from the south in 2014.
Zelenskiy spoke of fierce fighting around the town of Avdiivka and the fortified village of Pisky, where Ukraine has acknowledged the “partial success” of its enemy Russia in recent days.
Ukraine’s military said Thursday that Russian forces mounted at least two assaults on Pisky but were repelled.
Ukraine has spent the past eight years fortifying defensive positions in Pisky, viewing it as a buffer zone against Russian-backed forces holding the city of Donetsk some 10 km to the southeast.
Ukrainian General Oleksiy Hromov said his forces recaptured two villages around the eastern city of Sloviansk but were pushed back towards the town of Avdiivka after being forced to abandon a coal mine seen as an important defensive position.
The Russian Ministry of Defense has confirmed its offensive.
Reuters could not immediately verify the claims of either party.
The war has displaced millions of people, killed thousands of civilians and left cities, towns and villages in ruins. Ukraine and its Western allies have accused Russian forces of targeting civilians and war crimes, charges Russia denies.
Putin said he launched what he calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine to provide Russian security and protect Russian speakers in Ukraine. Kyiv blames Moscow for an imperial-style war of aggression to retake a neighbor that threw off Russian rule when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday that the war was the most dangerous time for Europe since World War II and that Russia must not be allowed to win. Read more
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Reports from Reuters offices; Written by Michael Perry and Nick Macfie; Editing by Stephen Coates, Robert Birsel and Mark Heinrich
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