Ukraine wants maritime safe passage deal to extend beyond grain

  • Three grain ships leave the ports of Ukraine
  • First ship to arrive in Ukraine since the beginning 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 bulk carriers left Ukrainian ports on Friday under a safe passage agreement, while the first incoming cargo ship since Russia’s invasion was due to arrive in Ukraine later that day. to charge, and Kyiv called for the pact to be closed. extended to other goods such as metals.

The July 22 deal was a rare diplomatic breakthrough amid the war in eastern Ukraine, with Kyiv trying 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 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 sailed. .

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The first grain ship left Odessa on Monday.

“This agreement is about logistics, about the movement of ships through the Black Sea,” Ukraine’s Deputy Economy Minister Taras Kachka told the Financial Times. “What is the difference between grain and iron ore?”

The United Nations and Turkey negotiated the safe passage agreement between Moscow and Kyiv after the United Nations warned of famine outbreaks due to halted grain shipments from Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, sparking Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II and fueling a global food and energy 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 bulk carriers left Chornomorsk and one from Odessa, carrying a total of some 58,000 tons of corn.

Turkey’s Defense Ministry said on Twitter that the Panamanian-flagged Navistar, carrying 33,000 tons of corn bound for Ireland, departed from Odessa. The Maltese-flagged Rojen, carrying 13,000 tons of corn, left Chornomorsk for Britain.

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

The Turkish bulk carrier Osprey S, flying the Liberian flag, was expected to arrive in Chornomorsk on Friday to load grain, the Odessa regional administration said.

Some Western leaders have accused Russia of using a standoff over gas supplies to heavily dependent Europe as a pretext to cut supplies as winter approaches in retaliation for Western sanctions.

A dispute over the return of a turbine that Russia says is holding up gas supplies showed no signs of being resolved. read more

BUFFER ZONE

After five months of fighting, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy this week described the pressure on his armed forces in the eastern Donbas region as “hell”.

Moscow is trying to control the largely Russian-speaking Donbas, made up of Luhansk and Donetsk provinces, 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 Russian enemy in recent days.

The Ukrainian military said on Thursday that Russian forces had carried out at least two attacks on Pisky, but they had been repelled.

Ukraine has spent the last eight years fortifying defensive positions in Pisky, seeing it as a buffer zone against Russian-backed forces that control the city of Donetsk some 10 km to the southeast.

Ukrainian General Oleksiy Hromov said his forces had retaken two villages around the eastern city of Sloviansk but had been pushed back into the town of Avdiivka after being forced to abandon a coal mine seen as an important defensive position.

The Russian defense ministry confirmed their offensive.

Reuters could not immediately verify either party’s claims.

The war has displaced millions, killed thousands of civilians and left cities, towns and villages in rubble. 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 ensure Russian security and protect Russian-speakers in Ukraine. Kyiv accuses Moscow of an aggressive imperial-style war to win back a neighbor that shook off Russian domination when the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991.

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

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Reuters bureau reports; Written by Michael Perry and Nick Macfie; Edited by Stephen Coates, Robert Birsel and Mark Heinrich

Our standards: the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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