Ukraine wants to extend shipping safe passage deal beyond grain

  • Three grain ships leave Ukrainian ports
  • The first ship to arrive in Ukraine after the start of the war
  • Zelensky calls Eastern conflict ‘hell’
  • The NATO chief has warned that 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 ship was due to load in Ukraine after Russia’s invasion. extended to other materials such as metals.

The July 22 deal was 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 the UN and our partners in Turkey will continue to work, and food exports from our ports will become stable and predictable for all market participants,” Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Facebook after the ships departed. .

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The first grain ship left Odessa on Monday.

“The agreement is about logistics, about moving ships through 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 a safe passage agreement between Moscow and Kiev after the United Nations warned that a halt to grain exports from Ukraine could lead to famine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, sparking the biggest conflict in Europe since World War II and triggering a global energy and food crisis. Ukraine and Russia traditionally produce a third of the world’s wheat and Russia is Europe’s main energy supplier.

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On Friday, two grain ships departed from Chornomorsk and one from Odessa with a total of about 58,000 tons of corn.

The Panamanian-flagged Navistar departed Odessa carrying 33,000 tons of corn bound for Ireland, the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Twitter. The Maltese-flagged Rogen, carrying 13,000 tonnes of maize, left Gornomorsk for Britain.

In addition, the Turkish-flagged ship Polarnet, carrying 12,000 tons of corn, left Chornomorsk for the Turkish Black Sea port of Karas.

The Turkish bulk carrier Osprey S, flying the flag of Liberia, will arrive in Chornomorsk on Friday to load grain, Odesa’s regional administration said.

Some Western leaders have accused Russia of using a standoff over gas supplies to Europe, which relies heavily on gas supplies, as winter approaches in retaliation for Western sanctions.

The dispute over the return of the turbine, which Russia says is blocking gas supplies, shows no sign of being resolved. read more

middle part

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 seeks to control the Russian-speaking Donbass, which includes Luhansk and Donetsk provinces, where pro-Moscow separatists seized the territory after the Kremlin annexed southern Crimea in 2014.

Zelenskiy spoke of heavy fighting around the town of Avdiyvka and the fortified village of Pisky, where Ukraine has acknowledged a “partial victory” over its Russian adversary in recent days.

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The Ukrainian military said on Thursday that Russian forces had launched at least two attacks on Pisky but had been repulsed.

Ukraine has spent the past eight years strengthening its defenses in Bisky, seeing the city of Donetsk, about 10 km to the southeast, as a buffer zone against Russian-backed forces.

Ukrainian General Oleksiy Khromov said his forces had retaken two villages around the eastern city of Sloviansk, but were pushed back to the town of Avdiyvka after being forced to abandon a coal mine seen as a key defensive position.

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the attack.

Reuters could not immediately verify either side’s claims.

The war has displaced millions, 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 committing war crimes, charges Russia denies.

Putin said he had launched what he called a “special military operation” in Ukraine to ensure Russian security and protect Russian-speakers in Ukraine. Kiev accused Moscow of waging an imperialist-style war of aggression to reclaim its neighbor, which shook Russian hegemony when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday that war was the most dangerous moment for Europe since World War II and that Russia must not be allowed to win. read more

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Report by Reuters Bureau; Written by Michael Perry and Nick MacPhee; Editing by Stephen Coates, Robert Birzel, and Mark Heinrich

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