Zelenskiy demands tougher defense of Ukrainian grain export corridor


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KYIV/MYKOLAIV – Long-term defense is needed for Ukraine’s grain export corridor and the world must react strongly to any Russian attempt to disrupt it, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said, as growing ships were loading despite Moscow’s suspension of its participation in a UN-brokered operation. OK.

Russia, which invaded Ukraine on February 24, withdrew from the deal over the weekend, saying it could not guarantee the safety of civilian ships due to an attack on its Russian fleet. black Sea.

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In a video address on Tuesday evening, Zelenskiy said ships were leaving Ukrainian ports with cargo thanks to the work of Turkey and the United Nations, the two main brokers in the July 22 grain export deal.

« But a reliable, long-term defense is needed for the grain corridor, » Zelenskiy said.

« Russia must be made clear that it will receive a firm response from the world to any measures aimed at disrupting our food exports, » Zelenskiy said. « It is clear here that the lives of tens of millions of people are at stake. »

Eight ships carrying agricultural products were due to pass through the corridor on Thursday, Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Twitter.

One of the global consequences of Russia’s war against its neighbor has been food shortages and the crisis in the cost of living in many countries.

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The grain deal was intended to stave off starvation by pumping more wheat, sunflower oil and fertilizers into world markets and to mitigate a dramatic rise in prices. It was targeting the pre-war level of 5 million metric tons exported from Ukraine every month.

The UN coordinator for grain and fertilizer exports under the deal said on Twitter on Tuesday that he expects the loaded ships to leave Ukrainian ports on Thursday.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar also said there was progress and he hoped the deal would continue.

« We are evaluating the available information that this agreement will continue, » Akar said in a statement after two phone calls in as many days with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu. A response from Russia was expected « today and tomorrow », he said.

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More than 9.5 million tonnes of corn, wheat, sunflower products, barley, rapeseed and soybeans were exported under the agreement. A Joint Coordination Center (JCC) headquartered in Istanbul – made up of UN, Turkish, Russian and Ukrainian officials – agrees on ship movement and inspects vessels.


Russia fired missiles at Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kyiv, in what President Vladimir Putin said was retaliation for an attack on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet over the weekend. Ukraine said it shot down most of those missiles, but some hit power stations, cutting off electricity and water.

Nine regions were experiencing power cuts to stabilize the grid, and « energy specialists and local authorities are doing everything to shorten the power cuts, » Zelenskiy said on Tuesday evening.

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The United States on Tuesday denounced the attacks, saying about 100 missiles were fired on Monday and Tuesday.

“As temperatures drop, these Russian attacks aimed at exacerbating human suffering are especially heinous,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters during a daily press briefing. Russia denies targeting civilians.


Russia on Tuesday told civilians to vacate an area along the eastern bank of the Dnipro River in Ukraine’s Kherson province, a major extension of an evacuation order that Kyiv says amounts to forced depopulation of occupied territory.

Russia had previously ordered civilians out of a pocket it controls on the west bank of the river, where Ukrainian forces have been advancing for weeks to capture the city of Kherson in what would be a strategic prize in the war.

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Russian-installed officials said on Tuesday they were also extending the order to a 15 km (9 mile) buffer zone along the eastern shore. Ukraine says the evacuations include forced deportations from occupied territory, a war crime.

The mouth of the Dnipro became one of the most important front lines of the war.

Seven towns on the eastern bank would be evacuated, including the main populated settlements along this stretch of the river, Vladimir Saldo, Russian-installed leader of the occupied Kherson province, said in a video message.

Russian-installed authorities in the Kherson region also said a mandatory evacuation of the Kakhovka district, near the Nova Kakhovka hydroelectric power station, was to begin on November 6.

Moscow has accused Kyiv of planning to use a so-called « dirty bomb » to spread radiation or blow up a dam to flood towns and villages in Kherson province. Kyiv says accusations that it would use such tactics on its own territory are absurd, but that Russia could be planning such actions itself to blame Ukraine.

(Reporting by Reuters bureaus; Writing by Peter Graff, Gareth Jones and Grant McCool; Editing by Nick Macfie and Mark Heinrich)



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