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In The News

Russia’s Sudden U-Turn On Black Sea Grain Exports Averts Food Crisis

Turkish-Brokered deal Is back on after a call between Putin and Ergogan.

Russia’s Sudden U-Turn On Black Sea Grain Exports Averts Food Crisis

Grain shipment in the port of Odesa, Ukraine

Anna Akage, Sophia Constantino and Emma Albright

It was a turn of events that could avert a deepening global food crisis: Russian said Wednesday that it will resume participation in the Black Sea grain deal, which ensures safe passage for ships carrying food exports from the country.

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After Moscow had pulled out of the deal earlier over the weekend, Russian Ministry of Defense spokesman Igor Konashenkov announced the U-turn Ukraine had submitted “the necessary written guarantees” that it would not use any agricultural export ports to launch military operations.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had originally brokered the deal this summer, said that the terms of the accord will resume at 5 a.m. Turkish time on Wednesday following a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Saying it could not guarantee safety for civilian ships following drone attacks on the Crimean city of Sevastopol, Moscow said Saturday that it would suspend its participation in the Black Sea grain export deal with Ukraine, sparking global concern that halting exports from Ukraine could have potentially deadly consequences at a time when the world is already facing a growing food and hunger crisis.

Late Tuesday night, before the about-face from Moscow, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had said that ships were still moving out of Ukrainian ports with cargoes in collaboration with Turkey and the United Nations. Still, Zelensky noted that “a reliable and long-term defense is needed for the grain corridor.”

Kyiv To Deploy 1,000 “Heating Points” Ahead Of Winter

Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba has said that 16,000 homes in Kyiv are still without power. In a Telegram post, he also warned that the continuous attacks could cut the heating supply, which relies on electricity.

Kuleba’s comments come as Ukraine prepares for a winter of energy uncertainty. Authorities in Kyiv are preparing to deploy around 1,000 emergency heating points across the city, the city’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said. “We are considering various scenarios of how events may develop. The worst scenario is when there will be no electricity, water and heat supply at all.” He added that “heating points” will be located in facilities such as schools and people will be able to warm up and charge their phones.

Meanwhile, Ukrenergo, Ukraine’s national power supply company, says several regions will face extended power cuts as it tries to repair damage caused by recent Russian missile strikes. “Unfortunately, today’s hourly power outages schedules are not enough to maintain the stable operation of the energy system,” Ukrenergo said on Telegram. It also said additional measures would be needed “to reduce the load on the networks, to support sustainable balancing of the energy system and to avoid repeated accidents after the power grids were damaged by missile and drone attacks by the Russians.”

Forced Evacuation Continues In Kherson Along “Surovikin Line”

Russia’s forced evacuation of civilians in the port city of Kherson in southern Ukraine is still underway, according to reports by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Displacement tactics include “the intimidation of civilians, spreading information about a possible explosion of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam,” and depriving the population of means of communication.

Representatives of the Russian authorities in the occupied territory have reportedly left the city and moved to Skadovsk, a port city on the Black Sea.

The moves are said to be part of the so-called “Surovikin line”, named after Moscow's new commander in Ukraine General Sergey Surovikin. They are aimed at strengthening the positions of Russian troops and part of the preparation for repelling the Ukrainian’s mlitary’s offensive on the approach to Kherson.

After Mobilization Of  Reservists Ends, Russia Now Looks For 120,000 New Recruits

Mobilized citizens depart for Ukraine from Moscow

Russian Defence Ministry/TASS

Nov. 1 marked the beginning of Russia’s “routine” fall conscription campaign, which aims to enroll 120,000 new soldiers. Although Putin has said that conscripts will not be sent to other countries for military operations, according to Russian legislation, the regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia are now part of Russia — which means that there are no guarantees that conscripts will not be deployed there.

Russian activists have urged people to avoid military registration and enlistment offices, not to obey summons, and to hide from the draft.

Poland To Build Fence On Border With Russian Exclave Kaliningrad

In a news conference on Wednesday, Poland defense minister Mariusz Błaszczak announced plans to build a new wall on its border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. The barbed-wire fence will be 2.5-meters high and 3-meters wide. Located on the Baltic Sea, Kaliningrad is of strategic importance because of its position between Poland and Lithuania.

Blaszczak says the decision is based on the increasing number of flights from the Middle East and North Africa to Kaliningrad. According to the defense minister, the new temporary measure is meant to “increase security”, as tensions around Kaliningrad have been on the rise for months. He added that the fence should be “built as soon as possible”.

Founder Of Russia’s Wagner Paramilitary Group Praises Zelensky’s Leadership

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner private military group and longtime ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has praised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as a “strong and confident leader.”

In a second statement, also shared on the Vkontatke social media platform, Prigozhin added: “Don’t underestimate him.” The Russian oligarch’s seemingly dissonant, if not defiant opinion on Zelensky, come amid reports that leaders of the Wagner paramilitary now wield “as much influence in the Kremlin as ministers.”

Spain’s Foreign Minister In Kyiv As Country Delivers 30 Ambulances To Ukraine

Spain’s Foreign Minister, Jose Manuel Albares, arrived in Kyiv on Wednesday to deliver 30 ambulances to Ukraine. His visit to Ukraine’s capital had been kept secret while he took an overnight train from Poland.

The ambulances are specifically made to transport pregnant women, according to the Spanish Foreign Ministry’s press office. Albares will visit areas recently impacted by Russian missile strikes and pay tribute to those who died in the war. He will also meet with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, Madrid has been providing military aid to Ukraine, recently sending generators after Russian bombings targeted Ukrainian energy infrastructure. Last April, Spain’s President, Pedro Sanchez, personally visited Kyiv.

UK Sends 195,000 Winter Kits To Ukraine

The UK has sent over 195,000 winter kits to Ukrainian troops, according to the country’s Ministry of Defense. The British army provided over 40 items per unit, as well as first aid and protective kits.

This aid was transferred to Ukraine along with Ukrainian military personnel after they had completed military training in the UK. Lithuania, Germany and Denmark have already announced the shipment of winter uniforms to Ukraine.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Piercing The "Surovikin Line" — Inside The Biggest Win Of Ukraine's Counteroffensive

The area around Robotyne, in southeastern Ukraine, has been the centre of a fierce two-month battle. Ukrainian publication Livy Bereg breaks down how Ukrainian forces were able to exploit gaps in Russian defenses and push the counteroffensive forward.

photo of two soldiers advancing at daybreak

A new dawn across the front line?

Kyrylo Danylchenko

ROBOTYNE — Since the fall of 2022, Russian forces have been building a series of formidable defensive lines in Ukrainian territory, from Vasylivka in the Zaporizhzhia region to the front in Vremivka in the Donetsk region.

These defenses combined high-density minefields, redoubts (fortified structures like wooden bunkers, concrete fortifications and buried granite blocks), as well as anti-tank ditches and pillboxes. Such an extensive and intricate defensive network had not been seen in Europe since World War II.

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