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Russia rains missiles on Kyiv and other cities after withdrawing from the grain deal

Russia rains missiles on Kyiv and other cities after withdrawing from the grain deal

Kyiv (Reuters) – Explosions were heard in Kyiv on Monday and Ukrainian authorities reported Russian missile strikes across the country after Moscow blamed Kyiv for an attack on its Black Sea fleet and for withdrawing from a deal to allow Ukrainian grain to be shipped.

Russia and Ukraine are among the world’s largest food exporters, and the Russian blockade of Ukrainian grain shipments caused a global food crisis earlier this year. After Russia announced a halt to cooperation with grain exports, Chicago wheat futures jumped more than 5 percent on Monday.

“Another batch of Russian missiles is hitting Ukraine’s vital infrastructure. Instead of fighting on the battlefield, Russia is fighting civilians,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.

“Do not justify these attacks by calling them a ‘retaliation’. Russia does so because it still has the missiles and the will to kill the Ukrainians.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said the missiles hit energy infrastructure in Kyiv and other cities, causing power and water cuts.

“Russia is not interested in peace talks nor in global food security. Putin’s only goal is death and destruction.”

There was no immediate response from Moscow, which accused Kyiv of attacking its Black Sea fleet in the Crimean port with 16 drones on Saturday. Earlier this month, Russia launched its biggest air strikes since the war began on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, in what it said was a response to an attack on its bridge into Crimea.

Ukraine neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the attack on the Russian fleet, which is its usual policy towards incidents in the Crimea.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of “blackmailing the world with hunger” by withdrawing from a food export agreement negotiated by the United Nations and Turkey.

In a speech during the night, Zelensky said that among the seized ships was a ship carrying tens of thousands of tons of wheat that the United Nations World Food Program had chartered to respond to emergencies in the Horn of Africa.

Ukraine’s Infrastructure Ministry said 218 ships had been “effectively banned”.

The grain deal required Russia and Ukraine to coordinate inspections and ship transit through the Black Sea, with the United Nations and Turkey acting as mediators.

No ships moved on Sunday. The United Nations said it agreed with Turkey and Ukraine on a transit plan on Monday to transport 16 ships of grain in the Black Sea – 12 outgoing and four arriving. There was no immediate response from Russia.

The United Nations said Russian officials had been informed of the plan, along with the intention to inspect 40 offshore ships on Monday, and noted that “all participants are coordinating with the military and other relevant authorities to ensure the safe passage of merchant ships.” Deal.

US President Joe Biden on Saturday called the Russian move “purely outrageous” and said it would increase the famine. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken accused Moscow of weaponizing food.

The Russian ambassador in Washington responded on Sunday, saying the US response was “outrageous” and gave false assurances about Moscow’s move.

Reporting by Reuters offices. Written by Michael Berry Editing by Peter Graf

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