Russia says it will suspend UN-brokered Ukraine export deal

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A view of a destroyed bridge across the Siverskyi-Donets river in the liberated town of Sviatohirsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022.
A view of a destroyed bridge throughout the Siverskyi-Donets river within the liberated city of Sviatohirsk, Donetsk area, Ukraine, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022.

  • Russia introduced it is suspending its UN-brokered grain deal that allowed for exports from Ukraine through the struggle. 
  • The choice got here after an alleged Ukrainian drone assault towards Russia’s Black Sea Fleet ships on Saturday. 
  • Through the deal, Ukraine has exported greater than 9 million tons of grain to assist decrease international meals costs. 

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia introduced Saturday that it will transfer to suspend its implementation of a U.N.-brokered grain deal that has seen greater than 9 million tons of grain exported from Ukraine through the struggle and has introduced down hovering international meals costs.

The Russian Defense Ministry cited an alleged Ukrainian drone assault towards Russia’s Black Sea Fleet ships moored off the coast of occupied Crimea, which Russia says came about early Saturday, as the rationale for the transfer. Ukraine has denied the assault, saying that the Russians mishandled their very own weapons.

The Russian declaration got here someday after U.N. chief Antonio Guterres urged Russia and Ukraine to resume the grain export deal. Guterres additionally urged different nations, primarily within the West, to expedite the elimination of obstacles blocking Russian grain and fertilizer exports.

The U.N. chief mentioned the grain deal — brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in July and which expires on Nov. 19 — helps “to cushion the suffering that this global cost-of-living crisis is inflicting on billions of people,” his spokesman mentioned.

A Guterres spokesman mentioned U.N. officers had been in contact with Russian authorities over the introduced suspension.

“It is vital that all parties refrain from any action that would imperil the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which is a critical humanitarian effort that is clearly having a positive impact on access to food for millions of people,” mentioned the spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.

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Playing ‘starvation video games’

Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday accused British specialists of being concerned within the alleged assault by drones on Russian ships in Crimea.

“In connection with the actions of Ukrainian armed forces, led by British specialists, directed, among other things, against Russian ships that ensure the functioning of the humanitarian corridor in question (which cannot be qualified otherwise than as a terrorist attack), the Russian side cannot guarantee the safety of civilian dry cargo ships participating in the Black Sea initiative, and suspends its implementation from today for an indefinite period,″ the Russian statement said.

Britain’s Defense Ministry had no immediate comment.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, accused Russia of playing “starvation video games” by imperiling global food shipments.

“We warned about Russia’s plans to destroy the (grain settlement). Now, underneath false pretenses, Moscow is obstructing the grain hall that ensures meals safety for tens of millions of individuals,” he tweeted Saturday.

The head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Andriy Yermak, denounced the suspension as “primitive blackmail.”

Turkish officials said they haven’t received any official notice of the deal’s suspension.

Russia’s agriculture minister said Moscow stands ready to “absolutely change Ukrainian grain and ship provides at reasonably priced costs to all nations.” In remarks carried by the state Rossiya 24 TV channel, Dmitry Patrushev said Moscow was prepared to “provide as much as 500,000 tons of grain to the poorest nations freed from cost within the subsequent 4 months,” with the help of Turkey.

Patrushev also reiterated the Kremlin’s earlier allegations that a disproportionate volume of grain exported from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports was bound for European destinations.

The alleged attack

Earlier Saturday, Ukraine and Russia offered differing versions on the Crimea drone attack in which at least one Russian ship suffered damage in the port on the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014.

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The Russian Defense Ministry said a minesweeper had “minor harm” during an alleged pre-dawn Ukrainian attack on navy and civilian vessels docked in Sevastopol, which hosts the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. The ministry claimed Russian forces had “repelled” 16 attacking drones.

The governor of the Sevastopol region, Mikhail Razvozhaev, said the port saw “in all probability probably the most large assault” by air and sea drones. He provided no evidence, saying all video from the area would be held back for security reasons.

But an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry claimed that “careless dealing with of explosives” had caused blasts on four warships in Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Anton Gerashchenko wrote on Telegram that the vessels included a frigate, a landing ship and a ship that carried cruise missiles used in a deadly July attack on a western Ukrainian city.

Other developments 

In other developments on Saturday, Russian troops moved large numbers of sick and wounded comrades from hospitals in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region and stripped the facilities of medical equipment, Ukrainian officials said as their forces fought to retake the province.

Kremlin-installed authorities in the mostly Russian-occupied region had previously urged civilians to leave the city of Kherson, the region’s capital — and reportedly joined the tens of thousands who fled to other Russia-held areas.

“The so-called evacuation of invaders from the quickly occupied territory of the Kherson area, together with from medical establishments, continues,” the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the Russians were “dismantling the complete well being care system” in Kherson and other occupied areas.

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“The occupiers have determined to shut medical institutions within the cities, take away gear, ambulances. simply all the pieces,” Zelenskyy said.

Kherson is one of four regions in Ukraine that Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed last month and where he subsequently declared martial law. The others are Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia.

As Kyiv’s forces sought gains in the south, Russia kept up its shelling and missile attacks in the country’s east, Ukrainian authorities said Saturday. Three more civilians died and eight more were wounded in the Donetsk region, which has again become a front-line hotspot as Russian soldiers try to capture the city of Bakhmut, an important target in Russia’s stalled eastern offensive.

Russian shelling also an industrial building in Ukraine’s southern Zaporizhzhia region. Around a quarter of the region — including its capital, also called Zaporizhzhia — remains under Ukrainian military control.

In the latest prisoner exchange, 52 Ukrainians, including two former defenders of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, were released Saturday as part of a swap with Russia, according to Yermak. The steelworks in that bombed-out port city now symbolize Ukrainian resistance.

Also released, he said, was a sailor who defended Ukraine’s Snake Island, a strategic Black Sea outpost seized by Russia in the opening hours of the war. Others coming home were Ukrainian soldiers captured by Moscow near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant — the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986 — which Russian forces briefly occupied from February to March.

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This version has been corrected to show the Russian Defense Ministry said one ship, not two, was slightly damaged in Crimea port.

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