Turkey sets out Russian demands for resumption of Ukraine grain deal

  • Although Russia has stopped its participation, ships carrying grain
  • Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure cause power outages.
  • Kyiv plans 1,000 heating points for the winter – Mayor
  • Evacuation of civilians from more areas of Kherson is set.

ANKARA/MYKOLAIVI, Ukraine, Nov 2 (Reuters) – Turkey on Wednesday rejected Russian terms to free grain exports from war-torn Ukraine, saying Moscow wanted to protect its own exports. Cereals and fertilizers.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who brokered the July 22 agreement with the United Nations to ease the global food crisis, said Ankara believes it will reach an agreement to extend the issue.

Russia pulled out of the deal over the weekend, saying it could no longer guarantee the safety of civilian vessels crossing the Black Sea after attacks on ships there. Ukraine said this is a false excuse.

Despite the blockade, Ukrainian grain continues to flow through the route, but that cannot continue for long as insurance companies are not offering new contracts because of Russia’s crackdown, industry sources told Reuters.

“Russia has some security questions after the recent attack on its ships,” Cavusoglu said of the attack on a Russian Black Sea ship over the weekend that Moscow was able to defend.

Cavusoglu said Moscow is also concerned about its exports of fertilizers and grain.

These are not on the list of sanctions, but echoed the comments of the Russian authorities, saying, “But the ships carrying these can’t be stopped.”

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“They still can’t get insurance and they haven’t been paid.” “So the ships of many countries avoid carrying these loads.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the world must respond strongly to any Russian attempt to disrupt Ukraine’s Black Sea export corridor, which has been closed since Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24.

As Ukraine is the world’s largest supplier of grains and oilseeds, Russia’s embargo has exacerbated food shortages and the cost of living.

Long term protection

In a video address Tuesday night, Zelensky said ships are still leaving Ukrainian ports with cargo thanks to Turkey and the United Nations.

“However, a reliable and long-term defense is needed for the grain corridor,” said Zelensky.

“Russia should clearly know that any move to disrupt our food exports will receive a strong response from the world,” Zelensky said. “The issue here is clearly the lives of tens of millions of people.”

The grain agreement aims to prevent hunger in poor countries and ease price increases by bringing more wheat, sunflower oil and fertilizer into the world market. It targeted pre-war levels of 5 million metric tons of Ukrainian exports per month.

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According to the agreement, the United Nations Grains and Fertilizer Export Coordinator expects ships loaded to leave Ukrainian ports on Tuesday, and Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said eight ships are expected to pass through the corridor that day.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in an interview with his Russian counterpart on Tuesday that he expected a response from Russia “today and tomorrow”.

Power cuts

Russia fired missiles at Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kiev, in retaliation for the attack on President Vladimir Putin’s ship. Ukraine said it fired most of the missiles, but some hit power stations, knocking out electricity and water supplies.

Seven regions were experiencing power outages on Wednesday, grid operator Ukrainergo said. Among them are the Kyiv region around the capital and the Kharkiv region around the country’s second largest city.

“We will do everything we can to provide power and heat for the coming winter,” Zelensky said. But we must understand that Russia will do everything in its power to destroy normal life.

Kyiv authorities are preparing more than 1,000 heating points in the city in case the district heating system fails, Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said.

The United States condemned the attack, which said about 100 missiles were fired on Monday and Tuesday targeting water and energy supplies.

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“These Russian attacks, designed to exacerbate human suffering as temperatures drop, are appalling,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters. Russia has denied targeting civilians.

Kyiv came under additional attacks overnight, officials said.

Zelenskyi’s chief of staff, Andriy Yarmak, said Ukrainian troops shot down 12 of 13 Iranian drones.

“We are now actively discussing the provision of modern air defense systems, we are working on it every day,” he said on the Telegram messaging app.

Attacks on infrastructure have been among the ways Russia has escalated the conflict after Ukraine’s counteroffensive began to pressure its forces. The Russians are now dug in on the southern and eastern fronts of Ukraine, failing to capture the capital shortly after the invasion.

On Tuesday, Russia told civilians in southern Ukraine’s Kherson region on the east bank of the Dnipro River to evacuate the area ahead of an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive on the region.

Moscow has described its actions in Ukraine as a special military operation to demilitarize and weaken its neighbor.

Additional reporting by Pavel Polityuk in Kyiv, Izgi Erkoyun in Ankara and other Reuters offices; Writing by Grant McCool, Lincoln Feast and Philippa Fletcher; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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