According to its President Zelenskyy, Ukraine is ready for the first grain transports across the Black Sea since the beginning of the war. Turkey and the United Nations are waiting for starting signals. Deliveries from Ukraine could start shortly. Zelenskyj spoke after a visit to the Black Sea port of Chornomorsk south of Odessa. Mediated by Turkey, Ukraine and Russia reached an agreement last week on safe grain exports. Rockets fell in Odessa just hours after the agreement. Up to 25 million tons of grain are blocked in Ukrainian ports, exacerbating famine in numerous countries. Welthungerhilfe is hoping for a speedy resumption of exports. If “millions of tons of wheat from Odessa” were shipped, grain could become cheaper on the world market, from which poor countries in particular would benefit, said the general secretary of the aid organization, Mathias Mogge, the SWR. At the same time, the new Ukrainian harvest could only be stored after export.
Lavrov and Blinken on the phone: “Open exchange”
For the first time since Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine began, US Secretary of State Blinken spoke to his Russian colleague Lavrov on the phone. An open and direct conversation was held, Blinken explained afterwards. He told Lavrov that the US will never accept an annexation of Ukrainian territories. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Lavrov pointed out that the Kremlin attributes the global food crisis primarily to the sanctions against Russia.
Information on the course of the war, shelling and casualties provided by official bodies of the Russian and Ukrainian conflict parties cannot be directly checked by an independent body in the current situation.