Amid a growing global food crisis, Russia and Ukraine on Friday signed separate agreements with Turkey and the United Nations to allow Russia to export grain and fertilizer, officials said.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has been trying to free Ukrainian grain stuck in Black Sea ports for months. The Russian blockage of millions of tons of grain has led to food shortages in Africa and Asia.
“Today there is a lighthouse on the Black Sea,” Guterres said on Friday. “A beacon of hope, a beacon of possibility, a beacon of relief in a world that needs it more than ever.”
Ukraine is one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat, corn and sunflower oil. At least 22 million tons of cereals are blocked there because of the war.
The agreements were signed by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and Guterres.
“You have overcome obstacles and put aside differences to pave the way for an initiative that will serve the common interests of all,” António Guterres told Russian and Ukrainian representatives.
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►Rescuers have recovered three bodies from a school destroyed by a Russian strike in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, officials said on Friday. The shelling also damaged 85 residential buildings, according to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office.
►Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine said on Friday they blocked Google in the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, separatist leader Denis Pushilin told Telegram. Pushilin’s Telegram post claims that Google is full of anti-Russian propaganda.
►A bipartisan group of senators introduced a resolution that recognizes Russia’s actions in Ukraine as genocide. The measure, introduced by Republican Idaho Senator Jim Risch, claims the Kremlin has committed “heinous crimes against humanity.”
►Ukrainian high jumper Yaroslava Mahuchikh, 20, won a silver medal at the world championships after clearing 2.02 meters. The victory comes shortly after Mahuchikh fled his hometown of Dnipro after it was attacked by Russia.
White House announces new $270 million aid package
The United States is sending an additional $270 million in security aid to Ukraine, White House spokesman John Kirby said Friday. The latest package includes Phoenix Ghost drones, medium-range rocket systems as well as ammo and armor-piercing systems.
More help will likely be announced “in the not-too-distant future,” Kirby said.
The latest aid disbursement announced by the White House on Friday adds to about $8 billion in security assistance provided since the war began in late February. It is funded by $40 billion in economic and security aid for Ukraine’s Congress approved in May.
The Ministry of Defense is also considering supplying US fighter jets to Ukraine. But even if that happens, it won’t be anytime soon, Kirby said, due to the complexity of integrating and operating advanced fighter aircraft.
Kirby said the United States hopes the deals Russia and Ukraine reached on Friday with Turkey and the United Nations on grains and fertilizers will ease the global food crisis. But a lot will depend on how the deals are implemented, he added, and “how well the Russians actually fulfill their end of the bargain here.”
– Maureen Groppe
UK intelligence chief calls Russian invasion ‘epic failure’
Britain’s intelligence chief called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an “epic failure”, adding that the country appears “on the verge of running out of steam”.
Russian forces have probably lost around 15,000 troops, Richard Moore, the head of the secret intelligence service, also known as MI6, said at the Aspen Security Forum this week in Colorado. He called the figure a “conservative estimate” and said it was about the same number of troops Russia had lost in 10 years in its war in Afghanistan.
Moore acknowledged Russian forces have made progress in recent weeks, but called it progressive. He said Russia “suffered a strategic failure in Ukraine” and will face manpower and material difficulties in the coming weeks.
“They will have to take a break somehow and that will give the Ukrainians the chance to fight back,” he said, adding that the morale of the Ukrainians was still high and they were receiving powerful weapons. other countries.
Russia also underestimated Ukrainian resistance, Moore said.
“They clearly misunderstood Ukrainian nationalism,” he said. “They completely underestimated the degree of resistance the Russian military would face.”
US may send fighter jets to Ukraine, says senior military official
General Charles Brown, Air Force Chief of Staff, said the United States and its allies were considering supplying Ukraine with fighter jets, a move that would significantly increase the level of weapons sent to Kyiv.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has argued for fighter jets for months, saying Russia’s air supremacy was a major stumbling block in his country’s efforts to repel the invasion. In March, the United States and NATO scuttled Poland’s proposal to send its Russian-made MiGs to Ukraine, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said at the time. that the proposal could be “confused with an escalation”.
Brown said in an interview with the Aspen Security Forum on Wednesday that Russian MiGs would not be sent to Ukraine, laughingly saying it would be “harder to get parts” from the Russians.