Ukraine-Russia War: Breaking News – The New York Times

Recognition…Erdem Sahin/EPA, via Shutterstock

United Nations and Turkey officials on Sunday pushed to bring Russia back into a deal that would allow grain exports from Ukrainian ports, as Western leaders urged Moscow to reconsider a move they warned would have dire consequences would have for a starving planet.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres postponed his trip to an Arab League summit to instead engage in “intensive contacts” over Saturday’s decision by Russia to withdraw from the deal, according to a statement from his office. And Turkey said its defense minister is in talks with his Ukrainian and Russian counterparts to “resume Grain Initiative activities,” which has been a major coup for the Turkish government, a key broker.

The European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell Fontelles, called on Russia to reverse its decision, which came after Moscow accused Ukraine of carrying out attacks on its ships and infrastructure in the Black Sea, by the grain and other agricultural products are transported.

“Russia’s decision to suspend participation in the Black Sea Agreement jeopardizes key export routes for grain and fertilizers much needed to deal with the global food crisis caused by the war in Ukraine,” Borrell said tweeted On Sunday.

Russia’s move threatened to end a rare example of war coordination that has enabled more than 9.5 million tons of grain and other foodstuffs to be exported from Ukraine as of Oct. 24, according to the United Nations office overseeing its implementation .

Unless supplies resume, global food prices could continue to rise, experts have warned, inflicting further economic pain on countries already grappling with rising inflation and energy prices. In a statement, Turkey’s Defense Ministry called on Russia and Ukraine to avoid “any kind of provocation” that could jeopardize the resumption of an agreement that has “a positive impact on humanity”.

Mr Guterres’ office said one of its goals is to “remove remaining barriers to exports of Russian food and fertilizer”. This appeared to be an acknowledgment of Moscow’s complaints that it has struggled to export agricultural products under the deal because Western sanctions have stopped ports, insurers, banks and other companies from doing business with Russia. For weeks, Russian officials have hinted they may not renew the contract, which was due to expire in mid-November.

As President Vladimir V. Putin’s forces fight in eastern and southern Ukraine, analysts say the Russian leader could use the grain deal in part as a warfare tool to overcome his army’s shortcomings and ease the pressure on Ukraine’s western allies to maintain.

Moscow has also argued that much of the grain was shipped to wealthy countries, not those that needed it most. UN officials have said many of the ships were transporting grain bought under trade deals, which plays a role in stabilizing the market, although it doesn’t go directly to countries hit by food shortages.

Ukrainian officials argued that poorer nations would be harmed. Infrastructure Minister of Ukraine Oleksandr Kubrakov said in a post on twitter that a ship carrying 40,000 tons of Ukrainian grain to be shipped to Ethiopia under a UN World Food Program program failed to leave port on Sunday.

“Putin needs leverage when things go wrong for him on the battlefields in Ukraine, so the threat of a global food crisis needs to be put back in the Russian toolbox of coercion and blackmail.” tweeted Alexander Gabuev, Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

But Russia’s decision, he added, threatens to anger two key allies: Saudi Arabia, which fears a worsening global food crisis could stoke instability in the Middle East, and Turkey, which has emerged as an influential mediator in the war .

Turkey, which controls the strategic straits where ships enter and leave the Black Sea, has been the main international player in the grain business and provided the venue for exports from Ukraine from a joint command involving officials Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations were inspected.

Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Ben Hubbard contributed reporting.


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