Putin’s About-Face Suddenly Puts Grain Deal At Risk
Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that he wanted to reopen terms of the grain deal signed just over a month ago, which has allowed Ukraine to export its grain via the Black Sea. Speaking at an economic forum in the far eastern Russian city of Vladivostok, Putin accused Kyiv and the West of using the terms of the deal to deliver goods to the European Union and Turkey at the expense of developing countries.
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This sudden reversal puts at risk what was the first major breakthrough in negotiations between the warring parties, and seen as key to limiting a potential worldwide food crisis.
Ukraine responded quickly to Putin’s remarks, saying there are no real grounds to re-discuss the deal negotiated by the United Nations and Turkey to create a protected export corridor via the Black Sea for Ukrainian grain after Ukraine’s ports had been blocked following Russia’s invasion in February.
The agreement signed in late July was aimed at easing global food prices and increasing supplies of grain and other goods. This was the first diplomatic breakthrough between Moscow and Kyiv after six months of war, though analysts have noted that Putin could potentially pull out at any time.
Putin said on Wednesday that Ukraine and the West are not sticking to the terms and that the grain is going to the EU instead of the poorer countries. "I met with the leaders of the African Union, with the leaders of African countries, and promised them that we would do everything to ensure their interests and facilitate the export of Ukrainian grain," Putin told an economic forum in Russia's Far East region.
According to the United Nations, 88 ships in total have sailed or are due to sail from Ukraine under the deal so far, and of those two went to Djibouti and the other to Yemen. The Russian President also complained saying that another part of the deal was supposed to ease restrictions for Russian food exporters which was not implemented.
Putin Threatens To Leave Europe "Frozen"
Nord Stream 1
At the Vladivostok summit, Putin threatened to cut off gas supplies to Europe if EU countries approve a price cap on the country’s energy exports. “We will not supply anything,” Putin said. He then paraphrased a Russian fairy tale, adding that the West would be “frozen” like the tail of a wolf.
Putin slammed European calls for a price cap on Russia’s energy exports, describing proposals as “stupid” and counterproductive.
France this week agreed to a proposed price cap on Russian gas for all of the European Union, as it tries to contain the energy crisis and rising costs. Measures to reduce energy prices will be discussed during an emergency meeting of all energy ministers on Friday.
Spanish Minister for Ecological Transition Teresa Ribera said "there will be a broad support" for the proposed measures while Germany is asking for a commission to examine "what's the wisest approach."
Brussels is calling for a price-cap on Russian gas and EU-wide gas price according to need and emergency by country. Those policies had been dismissed earlier in the year as "risky" and "ineffective", but Moscow's latest retaliation has forced a radical response.
On Monday, the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, the biggest between Russia and Europe, was shut down "indefinitely". The Kremlin warned Europe gas supplies will be limited as long as Western sanctions remain.
Oil: “EU or Putin, who has the upper hand?”
Russia Pressuring IAEA, As Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Risks Deepen
IAEA at the nuclear power plant
Over the past 24 hours, there have been multiple attempts by Russia to challenge the ongoing UN monitoring of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
When the UN Security Council met Tuesday — at Russia’s request — to consider the situation at the plant, a permanent Russian representative Vasiliy Nebenzia expressed dissatisfaction with the IAEA report on the plant’s security, as it recorded the presence of Russian troops and military equipment at Zaporizhzhia, writes Ukrainian news site Livy Bereg.
Nebenzia demanded IAEA chief Raphael Grossi specify exactly what kind of military equipment he saw there, and then tried to convince members of the Security Council that they were not at the plant, the biggest nuclear facility in Europe.
The Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN, Serhiy Kyslytsia states that the Russian delegation tried to put pressure on Grossi, and when this plan failed and the document was published before the Security Council meeting, "the Russian envoy desperately tried to manipulate the report."
Ukraine also said Wednesday that it is considering shutting down reactors at the plant for safety reasons.
CNN also reports that IAEA inspectors observed the presence of an expert group from the Russian nuclear agency at Zaporizhzhia, which could also lead to interference with the normal lines of operational command or authority and create potential frictions.
Noting that artillery fire around the plant continues, Grossi expressed grave concern about the risk of a nuclear incident, and appealed to the UN Security Council on Tuesday to create a nuclear safety zone at Zaporizhzhia.
Putin: “We Have Lost Nothing” In Ukraine
Russia's President Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin used his appearance Wednesday at the Eastern Economic Forum to boast about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. "I am sure that we have not lost anything and will not lose anything. The main gain is the strengthening of our sovereignty, and this is the inevitable result of what is happening now," Putin said, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reports.
Putin blamed other countries for forcing the conflict, and said Russia will benefit in the end. "Everything unnecessary, temporary, and what prevented us from going forward will be rejected,” he said. “We will gain momentum, the pace of development. Because modern development can only be based on sovereignty."
Russia Exports Oil Products To Myanmar
Min Aung Hlaing
Myanmar has begun buying petroleum products from Russia and is expected to receive delivery of diesel fuel in the coming days, the Southeast Asian country’s military leader Min Aung Hlaing told Russian media RIA Novosti. He also that Myanmar is ready to pay for the merchandise in Russian rubles.
This comes as Russia is seeking new export destinations for its energy exports amid Western sanctions imposed on Moscow due to the invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, Myanmar has resorted to fuel oil imports after petrol prices soared and the country was hit by shortages.
As the war rages on, Russia and Ukraine are turning to other countries for supplies. On Tuesday, The New York Times revealed that the Russian ministry is buying millions of rockets and artillery munitions from North Korea. Iran is also supplying drones to Russia. On the other hand French daily Le Monde reported that Ukraine has in its possession, Pakistan manufactured arms.
Putin And Xi To Meet For First Time Since Ukraine Invasion
Russian President Vladimir Putin stands with Chinese President Xi Jinping
Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin Pool/Planet Pix/Zuma
A face-to-face between Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping will take place next week, as the two heads of state attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand.
The Sep. 15-16 summit will mark the first time that the two leaders will meet in person since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, as well as Xi’s first overseas trip since the start of the pandemic.
Moscow and Beijing have emerged as closer partners in recent years as both have faced tensions with the West, and the two leaders have since established a close relationship. Beijing has refused to condemn Russia’s war against Ukraine, repeatedly blaming the United States and NATO for the conflict.
Ukraine Aims To Tally Crimes And Damage Of Russian Invasion
Bucha massacre graves
The Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine has counted 47,025 war crimes committed by the Russian army since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24. The majority of these crimes are violations of international laws of war, which relate to the killing, abuse, intimidation, and forced displacement of civilians.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Emergency Services has reported that for six months of the war, almost half of the entire territory of Ukraine — about 200,000 square kilometers — has been targeted with mines and explosive devices.
A significant problem is also the pollution of rivers, lakes and in particular, the coastal water areas of the Azov and Black seas by landmines and explosive devices, about 19,000 sq. km of water areas of Ukraine may be dangerous.
How Ukrainian Hackers Are Luring Russian Soldiers To Reveal Location
Ukrainian hackers have set up fake profiles of women to lure Russian soldiers and get them to share their location, reported theFinancial Times. Nikita Knysh, a 30-year-old IT professional from Kharkiv gathered a team of 30 hackers from across the country. Together they “catfished” Russian soldiers in Melitopol by pretending to be women on several social media platforms including Telegram.
The hackers convinced the Russian soldiers to send photos of them on the front, which revealed their location. They then proceeded to transfer the information over to Ukraine’s military, and several days later, the base was attacked.
Ukrainian media, Ukrainian Pravda reported an explosion at a large Russian military base in Melitopol, citing its mayor, Ivan Fedorov.