Grain ships leave Ukraine again after Russia U-turn

ANKARA, 3 Nov 2022: 

Six vessels loaded with grain have left Ukraine’s Black Sea ports after Russia reversed its suspension of a deal allowing the safe passage of the food exports, Turkish defence minister Hulusi Akar confirmed today.

“Six ships have left Ukrainian ports after the grain initiative was resumed,” he said while visiting Turkish troops on the southeastern border.

This brings the total number of ships that have sailed from Ukraine since the start of the agreement in July to 426, carrying some 9.7 million tonnes of grain.

Russia had suspended the agreement over the weekend, citing Kyiv’s attack on its fleet in the Crimean peninsula, but agreed to rejoin the pact yesterday.

Russia and Ukraine signed the Black Sea Grain Initiative with the UN and Turkey on July 22 after complex negotiations. The deal expires on Nov 19.

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell thanked Turkey and the UN for their role in resuming the deal.

“EU is grateful for role of UN and Türkiye in Russia’s decision to return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative,” the bloc’s top diplomat wrote on Twitter.

“Food should never be used as a weapon of war. Grain export is crucial to address global food crisis exacerbated by Russia.”

Over on the frontlines, Russian forces pushed on with their strikes targeting key infrastructure facilities in various regions of Ukraine.

Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, said in a Telegram post that Russian missiles have struck power and water infrastructure last night and this morning in the central city of Kryvyi Rih, a gas station in Nikopol (south) and an industrial plant in Pavlohrad (central-eastern Ukraine).

The Dnipropetrovsk regional council chief, Mykola Lukashuk, said the power plant in Kryvyi Rih was hit by a kamikaze drone, while the water-supply facility was destroyed by a missile.

Russians have also damaged an apartment building, two private houses, a university, a car repair shop, a furniture factory and several power lines in Nikopol.

As a result of the attacks, more than 1,000 homes in the area have lost power, military officials added.

No casualties have been reported so far.