Turkey sets out Russian demands for resumption of Ukraine grain deal

  • Ships are loading grain despite Russia’s suspension of participation
  • Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure have caused power outages
  • Kyiv is planning 1,000 heating points for the winter – the mayor
  • Civilians evacuated from more areas of Kherson

ANKARA/MYKOLAIV, Ukraine, November 2. (Reuters) – Turkey on Wednesday set out Russia’s terms for renewing a deal on grain exports from war-torn Ukraine that are vital to global supplies, saying Moscow wants to secure its own exports. grains and fertilizers.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, whose country helped broker the July 22 for a deal with the United Nations to ease the global food crisis, said Ankara was confident a deal would be reached to extend it.

Russia suspended its participation in the deal over the weekend, saying it could not guarantee the safety of civilian ships sailing through the Black Sea because of attacks by its fleet there. Ukraine said it was a false pretext.

Despite the suspension, ships have continued to carry Ukrainian grain, but this is unlikely to continue for long as insurance companies have not signed new contracts in response to Russia’s move, industry sources told Reuters.

“Russia is making some security demands after the recent attack on its ships,” Cavusoglu said of a weekend attack by Russia’s Black Sea fleet, which Moscow said it had repelled.

Moscow is also concerned about its fertilizer and grain exports, Cavusoglu said.

They are not on the sanctions list, “but the ships carrying them still cannot dock,” he said, echoing comments by Russian officials.

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“They still can’t get insurance and the payments aren’t coming through,” he said. “Therefore, many countries’ ships avoid carrying these cargoes.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the world should respond decisively to any Russian attempts to disrupt Ukraine’s Black Sea export corridor, which was blocked after Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Russia’s blockade has exacerbated food shortages and cost-of-living crises in many countries, as Ukraine is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of grains and oilseeds.

LONG-TERM DEFENSE

In a video address on Tuesday evening, Zelensky said that thanks to the work of Turkey and the United Nations, ships were still moving from Ukrainian ports with cargo.

“However, the grain corridor needs reliable and long-term defense,” Zelenskis said.

“Russia must be clearly informed that it will face a strong world response to any steps that hinder our food exports,” Zelensky said. “It is clear that the lives of tens of millions of people are at stake here.

The grain deal was intended to help prevent famine in poorer countries by allowing more wheat, sunflower oil and fertilizer to enter world markets, as well as to reduce price spikes. It reached the pre-war level – 5 million. metric tons exported from Ukraine every month.

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The U.N. grain and fertilizer export coordinator for the deal said Tuesday he expected loaded ships to leave Ukrainian ports on Thursday, while Ukraine’s infrastructure minister, Oleksandr Kubrakov, said eight ships a day were expected to pass through the corridor.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, who has spoken with his Russian counterpart twice in as many days, said on Tuesday that he expected Russia’s response “today and tomorrow”.

POWER OUTAGES

Russia fired missiles at Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kiev, in what President Vladimir Putin called retaliation for the attack on the navy. Ukraine said it shot down most of those missiles, but some hit power plants, cutting off electricity and water supplies.

On Wednesday, power supply was interrupted in seven regions, the network operator Ukrenergo reported. Among them were 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 electricity and heat for the coming winter,” Zelenskiy said. “But we have to understand that Russia will do everything it can to destroy normal life.”

Kyiv authorities were preparing more than 1,000 heat points across the city in case its district heating system was shut down, Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said.

The United States condemned the attacks, saying about 100 rockets were fired on Monday and Tuesday, targeting water and energy supplies.

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“At a time when temperatures are falling, these Russian attacks aimed at increasing human suffering are particularly egregious,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters. Russia denies targeting civilians.

Kyiv was under further attack overnight, officials said.

Zelenskiy’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said Ukrainian troops had shot down 12 of 13 Iranian drones.

“We are now actively engaged in dialogue on the supply of modern air defense systems, we are working every day,” he said on the Telegram messaging app.

Attacks on infrastructure are one way Russia has escalated the conflict after a Ukrainian counteroffensive began putting pressure on its forces. The Russians are now entrenched along the front line along southern and eastern Ukraine, having failed to capture the capital shortly after the invasion.

On Tuesday, Russia ordered civilians to leave the area it occupies on the east bank of the Dnieper River in Ukraine’s southern Kherson province, ahead of an expected Ukrainian retaliatory attack in the region, which is the gateway to Russian-controlled Crimea.

Moscow describes its actions in Ukraine as “special military operations aimed at demilitarizing and “denazifying” its neighbor. Ukraine and Western countries have rejected this as an unjustified pretext for a war of conquest.

Additional reporting by Pavel Polityuk in Kyiv, Ezgi Erkoyun in Ankara and other Reuters bureaus; By Grant McCool, Lincoln Feast and Philippa Fletcher; Edited by Simon Cameron-Moore

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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