Four ships carrying Ukrainian foodstuffs sailed from Ukrainian Black Sea ports on Sunday as part of a deal to unblock the country’s sea exports, Ukrainian and Turkish officials said.
The four bulk carriers were loaded with more than 160,000 tonnes of corn and other foodstuffs, Reuters reports.
The resumption of grain exports is being overseen by a Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in Istanbul where Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and U.N. personnel are working.
The United Nations and Turkey brokered the deal last month after U.N. warnings of possible outbreaks of famine in parts of the world due to a halt in grain shipments from Ukraine that had squeezed supplies and sent prices soaring.
Before the invasion, Russia and Ukraine together accounted for nearly a third of global wheat exports.
The JCC has authorised the departure of a total of five new vessels through the Black Sea corridor: four vessels outbound from Chornomorsk and Odesa carrying 161,084 metric tonnes of foodstuffs, and one inbound. The first four ships left Ukraine last week under the agreement
The Ukrainian military said Russian shelling was recorded in dozens of towns along the eastern and southern front lines.
Reuters reports Ukraine’s military said late on Saturday that Russian forces had shelled dozens of front-line towns and were trying to attack in six different areas in the Donetsk region, all of which failed to gain any territory and were held back by Ukrainian forces. Reuters could not verify either side’s assertions about battlefield developments.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday said that over the past week its forces had “achieved powerful results” in destroying Russia’s logistics supplies and rear bases.
He said in a late night address:
“Every strike on the enemy’s ammunition depots, on their command posts, and on accumulations of Russian equipment saves the lives of all of us, the lives of Ukrainian military and civilians.
Reuters also reports:
- Russia’s war in Ukraine is about to enter a new phase, with most fighting shifting to a nearly 350-km (217-mile) front stretching southwest from near Zaporizhzhia to Kherson, British military intelligence said.
- North Macedonia has agreed to supply tanks and planes to Ukraine to help fend off Moscow’s ongoing invasion, senior Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak said.
- The next weapons package to Ukraine from the United States Advertisement
More on the Zaporizhzhia power plant
- Shells hit a high-voltage power line at the plant, prompting operators to disconnect a reactor despite no radioactive leak being detected. The plant was captured by Russian forces in early March, but it is still run by its Ukrainian technicians.
- Ukraine’s state nuclear power company Energoatom blamed Russia for the damage at the power plant.
- Russia’s defence ministry accused Ukrainian forces of shelling the plant, saying a leak of radiation had been avoided only by luck.
- The United States has accused Russia of using it as a “nuclear shield” while Russia’s defence ministry said damage to the plant had only been avoided thanks to the “skilful, competent and effective actions” of its units.
IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said in a statement on Saturday:
I’m extremely concerned by the shelling yesterday at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which underlines the very real risk of a nuclear disaster,”
Both sides have accused each other of engaging in “nuclear terrorism”.
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Good morning and welcome to the blog, where we start with a round-up of the latest developments.
- The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency has raised grave concerns about shelling at a nuclear power plant in Ukraine. Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s office said it had started criminal proceedings against what it said was a rocket and artillery shelling by the Russian military of the Zaporizhzhia power plant on Friday.
- The Ukrainian military said Russian shelling was recorded in dozens of towns along the eastern and southern front lines.
- The head of Amnesty International’s Ukraine office has quit the human rights body in a disagreement with it after the group accused Ukraine’s armed forces of endangering civilians by basing troops in residential areas during the Russian invasion.
- A foreign-flagged ship arrived in Ukraine on Saturday for the first time since the war started and will be loaded with grain, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister said.
I’m Caroline Davies and will be taking you through other developments throughout the day. You can get in touch on [email protected]