KYIV, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Explosions rang out in Kyiv on Monday after Moscow blamed Kiev for an attack on the Black Sea fleet and pulled out of a deal to allow Ukrainian grain exports.
Both Russia and Ukraine are among the world’s largest food exporters, and a global food crisis erupted earlier this year after Russia blocked Ukrainian grain exports. Chicago wheat futures rose more than 5 percent on Monday following Russia’s announcement that it would end cooperation on grain exports.
“Another batch of Russian missiles hit Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. Instead of fighting on the battlefield, Russia is fighting civilians,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.
“Don’t justify these attacks as ‘retaliation’. Russia is doing it because it still has missiles and the option to kill Ukrainians.”
Missiles hit energy infrastructure in Kiev and other cities, cutting off electricity and water supply, Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said.
“Russia is not interested in peace talks, not in global food security. Putin’s only goal is death and destruction.”
There was no immediate response from Moscow, which it accused of attacking its Black Sea fleet with 16 drones in a Crimean port on Saturday. Earlier this month, Russia launched the largest airstrikes since the start of the war on Kiev and other Ukrainian cities.
Ukraine has neither confirmed nor denied that it was behind the attack on the Russian navy, its usual policy for incidents in Crimea.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of “starving the world” by pulling out of a food export deal negotiated by the United Nations and Turkey.
One of the detained ships was carrying tens of thousands of tons of wheat, which the UN Chartered by the World Food Program for emergency response in the Horn of Africa, Zelensky spoke overnight.
Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry said a total of 218 vessels were “effectively intercepted”.
The grain deal calls for the United Nations and Turkey to act as mediators to coordinate inspections and transit of ships between Russia and Ukraine through the Black Sea.
No ships sail on Sunday. The United Nations said Monday it had agreed with Turkey and Ukraine on a transit plan to move Black Sea grain by 16 ships — 12 outward and four inward. There was no immediate response from Russia.
The United Nations said Russian authorities had been informed of the plan, which aims to inspect 40 outbound ships on Monday, and noted that “all participants are coordinating with their respective militaries and other relevant authorities to ensure the safe passage of merchant ships.” Agreement.
US President Joe Biden said on Saturday that Russia’s move was “absolutely outrageous” and would increase starvation. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken accused Moscow of weaponizing food.
On Sunday, Russia’s ambassador to Washington backtracked, calling the U.S. response “poor” and making false claims about Moscow’s move.
Report by Reuters Bureau; Writing by Michael Perry, Editing by Peter Graf
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