Kyiv, UKRAINE (AP) — Russia reopened its blockade of Ukrainian ports on Sunday, prompting urgently needed grain exports to starving parts of the world in what US President Joe Biden called a “really outrageous” act. was blocked.
Biden said in a speech in Wilmington, Delaware, that global hunger could increase as Russia halts a UN-brokered deal that would allow ships carrying grain from one of the world’s breadbaskets, Ukraine, to safely pass through. warned of potential
“It’s really outrageous,” Biden said Saturday. “There is no merit in what they are doing. The UN negotiated that deal and that should be the end of it.”
Mr Biden said hours after Russia announced it would immediately stop participating in the grain trade, claiming Ukraine launched a drone strike against Russia’s Black Sea fleet on Saturday off the coast of occupied Crimea. Ukraine denied the attack and said Russia mishandled its weapons.
Ukraine’s infrastructure minister Oleksandr Kublakov said a ship carrying 40,000 tons of grain bound for Ethiopia under a UN aid program could not leave Ukraine on Sunday because Russia “blocked the grain corridor”. He did not specify from which Ukrainian port the ship Ikraia Angel was scheduled to depart.
Since being signed in July, the Grain Initiative has enabled more than 9 million tons of grain to safely leave Ukrainian ports on 397 ships. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday urged Russia and Ukraine to renew the agreement, which expires on 19 November. Ethiopia is one of the countries most at risk of food shortages.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said 176 ships carrying grain destined for more than 7 million consumers were blocked.
“Why can a handful of people somewhere in the Kremlin decide if there is food on people’s tables in Egypt or Bangladesh?” he said Saturday in a nightly video address.
Turkey’s defense ministry said on Sunday that no more ships would leave Ukraine, but those already waiting near Istanbul would be inspected on Sunday or Monday. The statement said Defense Minister Hulusi Akar was in talks with his counterpart to “resolve the issue and continue the grain initiative.”
Russia on Monday requested a UN Security Council meeting to discuss the alleged attack and the security of the Black Sea grain corridor. Mr. Guterres delayed his visit to Algiers by a day to participate in negotiations aimed at ending Russia’s suspension of grain export deals.
Analysts say Russia’s withdrawal from the deal shows it sees it as a way to put pressure on Ukraine.
“By scrapping the deal and holding Ukraine accountable, we aim to delay a Ukrainian offensive around the Black Sea,” said Mario Bikalski, Europe analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit. Russia may want Ukraine’s western allies to ask Russia to focus its forces elsewhere to keep up the grain trade, he said.
More conflicting details emerged on Sunday about an alleged attack on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
The city council of Mariupol, a Russian-occupied Ukrainian port in the Sea of Azov, said in a Telegram that Ukrainian special services had destroyed at least three Russian warships near the Russian-annexed city of Sevastopol in Crimea. Told.
An adviser to Ukraine’s interior ministry claimed four Russian warships exploded due to Russia’s “careless handling of explosives”. Anton Gerashchenko wrote in his Telegram that the ships include frigates, landers and ships with cruise missiles.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday that one of the drones that attacked Sevastopol may have been launched from a civilian ship carrying agricultural products from Ukraine. The ministry said after examining the wreckage, the drone used Canadian-made navigation technology and the launch point was the Ukrainian coast near the port of Odesa. The ministry claimed that the attacked ship helped secure the Black Sea grain corridor.
Both claims could not be independently verified.
Russia’s actions have faced international condemnation over the suspension of the grain trade.
Russia has wanted to pull out of the deal for some time, according to the Washington-based think tank The War Institute.
Diplomatically, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said peace talks between Russia and Ukraine should be held with Washington, which Russia sees as the “mastermind” of Kyiv.
“Obviously, the deciding vote belongs to Washington … it is impossible to talk about anything with Kyiv, for example,” Peskov told Russian state television.
Ukraine and the United States are unlikely to agree to such demands.
On the frontlines, Russian missile strikes continued to hit key frontline hotspots in Ukraine. According to the Ukrainian president’s office, Russian forces have shelled seven her regions of Ukraine in the past 24 hours, killing at least five civilians and wounding nine more.
Eight cities and villages were shelled in the eastern Donetsk region, where fighting is taking place near the cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka.
Earlier this month, Moscow stepped up missile and drone attacks on Ukraine’s power plants, water supply and other key infrastructure, damaging 40% of Ukraine’s power system and forcing the government to implement rolling blackouts. rice field. The Kyiv mayor said the power system in the Ukrainian capital was operating in “emergency mode”.
Moreover, in areas recaptured by Ukraine, residents are still collecting the bodies of killed civilians, said Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kirilenko.
“In the last 24 hours alone, we have found the derelict bodies of Ukrainian civilians in three unoccupied towns and villages,” Kirilenko said. “Russians are ignoring all the principles of warfare. Every week they discover individual or collective graves of civilians.”
Ukrainian Interior Minister Denis Monastyrsky said on Sunday that Russian forces are mining the territory they leave behind at a density twice as high as in the first months of the war.
Monastyrsky told Ukrainian television that “virtually all of the recently liberated areas have been mined.”
Power outages were reported on Sunday in the occupied Ukrainian city of Enerkhodar, home to Europe’s largest closed Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. Ukrainian and Russian officials have exchanged responsibility for the shelling that caused the blackout.
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