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Ukraine Opens Temporary Black Sea Grain Corridor After Russia Exits Deal
Two cargo vessels docked this weekend at Ukraine's Chornomorsk port on the Black Sea, utilizing a temporary maritime grain export corridor set up by Kyiv following Russia's departure from a UN-brokered deal. The Palau-flagged bulk carriers Aroyat and Resilient Africa arrived on Saturday, becoming the first civilian ships to reach Odesa region ports since Moscow abandoned the grain initiative in late July.
Ukraine's economy relies heavily on agricultural exports, which were enabled for months under the agreement negotiated by the UN and Turkey. But Russia argued its demands were unmet for facilitated food and fertilizer shipments, withdrawing participation and threatening to target vessels bound for Ukrainian ports.
The new interim corridor was established on August 10 by Ukraine, which asked the International Maritime Organization to endorse it. The US and Ukraine had warned of potential Russian attacks on civilian ships after its exit from the grain deal. Sea mines and high insurance costs also endanger Black Sea transits.
According to Ukraine's deputy prime minister, the two ships will deliver around 20,000 tons of wheat to African and Asian nations facing global food shortages. The corridor is presently prioritized for ships stuck at Ukrainian ports since the war erupted. Five vessels have departed using the route since its opening.
After shredding the grain deal, Russia intensified strikes on Odesa's port infrastructure and grain storage sites. More missile and drone attacks were reported overnight, with Odesa again the main target. Kyiv says its forces intercepted and destroyed all incoming drones and six cruise missiles, with the remainder hitting an agricultural facility.
Ukraine Retakes Strategic Village in Eastern Donetsk Region
In eastern Donetsk, Ukraine's military announced the capture of Klishchiivka village from Russian control following months of fierce combat. The village lies south of the Russian-occupied city of Bakhmut. Ukrainian forces also recently retook the neighboring village of Andriivka.
Klishchiivka's elevated terrain offers strategic observation into Bakhmut. Its recapture opens possibilities for Ukrainian troops to encircle the town and improves visibility into Russian supply lines. The successful offensive exemplifies Ukraine's tactical adaptability.
Russia Reports Intercepting Ukrainian Drones Across Annexed Crimea and Russian Territories
Russian authorities on Sunday stated Ukrainian drones were shot down overnight across annexed Crimea and multiple Russian regions. Two drones were downed around Moscow, while another was intercepted over Voronezh near Ukraine. Drones also impacted fuel storage in Oryol and a logistics site in Tula. Six Ukrainian drones were reported destroyed over Crimea. Kyiv is yet to comment on the reported strikes penetrating deep into Russian-held areas.
The Long Road to Reopening Ukraine's Vital Sea Exports
Since Russia's Black Sea blockade, Kyiv has worked to reroute grain transports westward by road, rail and the Danube River. But overland options are far slower and more expensive. European resistance against pricier imports and insufficient Danube port capacity also constrain Ukraine's agricultural exports.
The UN is attempting to revive the original deal, which enabled over 9 million tons of grain exports since August 2022. But Kyiv cannot match pre-war maritime export volumes of 5-6 million tons per month without safe Black Sea passage.
Sustaining vital food exports amid the ongoing blockade requires creative solutions:
- Expand overland transport infrastructure and efficiency
- Streamline Danube River barge operations
- Secure ships and crews for the dangerous Black Sea corridor
- Gain maritime insurance support through government guarantees
- Seek more European aid and flexibility on grain imports
- Press Russia diplomatically to rejoin the grain deal
- Leverage Turkish mediation to negotiate local ceasefires
Russia's calculus also bears watching, as Ukraine's expanding counteroffensive may compel limited ceasefires. But Moscow seems unlikely to fully reopen Black Sea access.
Guaranteeing global food security requires restoring Ukraine's tremendous grain export capacity sustainably. With creative diplomacy and logistics, Kyiv can mitigate the blockade's impact. But resilience against Russia's weaponization of hunger remains critical in navigating uncertainties ahead.
Summarised from the original article by - apnews.com
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