HomeNewsRussia-Ukraine war live news: Blinken hails Turkish help as grain export deal resumes | Russia
Russia-Ukraine war live news: Blinken hails Turkish help as grain export deal resumes | Russia
November 3, 2022
An airstrike on Russian positions in Ukraine’s south has destroyed four ammunition depots and tanks, Ukraine’s southern command of the armed forces said in its latest operational report.
Russia’s grain deal U-turn offers a lesson in calling Vladimir Putin’s bluff, the Guardian’s Moscow correspondent Andrew Roth reports.
In the end, Vladimir Putin backed down. Faced with blocking ships carrying grain from Ukraine or tacitly admitting that his threats to do so had been a bluff, the Kremlin leader opted not to rekindle a global food crisis.
Russia’s exit from the deal that allowed exports of grain from Ukraine through the Black Sea was weeks in the making. Russia had threatened to do so after an explosion rocked the Crimea Bridge in October, and again after the drone attack on its Black Sea fleet last week.
But once Russia finally suspended the deal, it quickly became clear that Moscow had no plan.
Read the full story below:
Zelenskiy labels Putin U-turn on Ukraine grain deal a ‘failure of Russian aggression’
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has hailed Russia’s turnaround in rejoining the UN-backed grain export deal, just days after the Kremlin threatened to pull out, as a “significant diplomatic outcome” for Ukraine and the “whole world”.
“Implementation of the grain export initiative will continue,” Zelenskiy said in his Wednesday evening address.
Russia initially said it would abandon the brokered deal that allowed exports of grain from Ukraine through the Black Sea, following a dramatic drone attack on its warships in the port of Sevastopol. Russia’s defence ministry said it was satisfied it had received “sufficient” guarantees from Kyiv that it would not use the maritime corridor to carry out attacks.
“We demanded assurances and guarantees from the Ukrainian side that nothing like this would happen again, that the humanitarian corridors would not be used militarily,” Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, said during a video meeting with his coordination council on Wednesday.
However, Zelenskiy said the Kremlin’s call for guarantees showed “the failure of the Russian aggression”, noting: “Russian blackmail has led nowhere”.
After eight months of war “the Kremlin is saying that they demanded security guarantees from Ukraine”, he said. “Two hundred and fifty two days ago Russia demanded security guarantees from the United States of America.
“These are really striking changes. This shows both the failure of Russian aggression and how strong you and I are when we remain united.”
US secretary of state Antony Blinken has shared his gratitude to Turkey’s leadership for facilitating Russia’s return to the UN-backed Ukraine grain export deal.
We are grateful for the active role of the UN and our Turkish allies in facilitating Russia’s return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative. We urge all parties to renew the Initiative. Failure to do so would hurt the world’s most vulnerable.”
Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant being transferred to Russian jurisdiction, official claims
Russian officials have reportedly announced that Moscow-installed authorities have begun integrating the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant into the jurisdiction of Russian nuclear power plant operator Rosenergoatom.
Renat Karchaa, adviser to the general director of Rosenergoatom, said the transition would occur after the plant uses up all available fuel reserves.
The integration of the plant and its personnel into the jurisdiction of Rosenergoatom has begun, the Russian-installed head of the the adjacent city of Energodar, Alexander Volga, told Ukraina.ru.
After the arrival of the operating organisation from the Russian Federation, work began on integrating the plant and the personnel themselves into the jurisdiction of the Rosenergoatom concern.
The people who remained decided on the choice of the country in which they would live. Residents chose Russia as their place of residence, place of work. ZNPP is already an integral part of Russia.”
Russian deputy foreign minister, Andrey Rudenko, claimed that ZNPP personnel who are “critical for the work of the ZNPP” signed contracts with Rosenergoatom and that Russian authorities are exploring the creation of a security zone around the ZNPP, according to a recent report released by the institute for the study of war.
Ukraine’s Energoatom stated on 28 October that only 100 of the 6,700 Ukrainian personnel remaining at the ZNPP plant have signed new contracts with the Russian energy agency Rosatom (out of 11,000 personnel before 24 February).
The Ukrainian State Inspectorate of Nuclear Regulation stated that Russian forces built an unknown structure at one of seven spent nuclear fuel storage sites at the ZNPP in violation of nuclear safety standards.
Zaporizhzia nuclear plant disconnected from power grid
Ukraine’s Zaporizhzia nuclear power plant has been disconnected from the power grid after Russian shelling damaged the remaining high voltage lines, leaving it with just diesel generators, according to Ukraine nuclear firm Energoatom.
Energodar mayor Dmytro Orlov wrote in a Telegram update early this morning:
Yesterday, November 2, 2022, as a result of racist shelling, the last two high-voltage communication lines of the Zaporizhia NPP with the Ukrainian power system were damaged. At 11:04pm, the station went into full blackout mode. All 20 diesel generators were switched on.
Currently, the power supply scheme for ZNPP’s own needs is optimised, 9 diesel generators are left in operation. Power units 5 and 6 are transferred to a cold state.
Fuel for the operation of diesel generators in the mode of complete blackout of the ZNPP remains for 15 days. The countdown has begun.”
The power plant has 15 days’ worth of fuel to run the generators, Energoatom said. The plant’s blocks 5 and 6 are being switched into cold state, it added.
Orlov added that due to the occupation of the plant, the possibility of maintaining the ZNPP in a safe mode are “significantly limited”.
Russia will rejoin UN grain corridor
The Kremlin has said it will rejoin the UN-administered grain export corridor from Ukraine, after pulling out over the weekend following a drone attack on Russian warships in the port of Sevastopol.
Moscow’s humiliating climbdown came two days after a large convoy of ships moved a record amount of grain in defiance of Russia’s warnings that it would be unsafe without its participation, and after high-level diplomatic contacts between Turkey – one of the guarantors of the scheme with the UN – and Russia.
Russia’s withdrawal had reignited fears over global hunger and high food prices that had been alleviated by the inauguration of the scheme earlier this year, which allowed cargo ships to move Ukrainian gain without fear of being targeted.
The Russian defence ministry said on Wednesday it had received written guarantees from Kyiv not to use the Black Sea grain corridor for military operations against Russia.
“The Russian Federation considers that the guarantees received at the moment appear sufficient, and resumes the implementation of the agreement,” the ministry statement said.
The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, confirmed the Russian defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, had told his Turkish counterpart that the 22 July grain deal brokered by Turkey and the UN would continue to operate as of midday on Wednesday.
Erdoğan will be seen as having successfully called the Russian bluff to blockade Ukrainian ports or even sink civilian cargo ships carrying grain abroad. The Turkish leader had said exports of grain from Ukraine would continue with or without Russian approval and appears to have brokered the Russian climbdown.
“The grain transports will continue as agreed before as of 12pm today,” said Erdoğan, who has emerged as a key intermediary between Kyiv and Moscow.
Summary and welcome
Hello and welcome back to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine. I’m Samantha Lock and I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments as they unfold over the next few hours.
Ukraine’s grain export deal is set to resume just days after Russia suspended its involvement and threatened to withdraw. The UN coordinator for the deal said he expects loaded ships to depart Ukrainian ports on Thursday.
If you have an update or any feedback to share, please feel free to get in touch via email or Twitter.
If you have just joined us, here are all the latest developments:
The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, said Moscow would rejoin the grain export deal brokered by the UN and Turkey with Ukraine, but that it reserved the right to withdraw if necessary. “We demanded assurances and guarantees from the Ukrainian side that nothing like this would happen again, that the humanitarian corridors would not be used militarily,” Putin said during a video meeting with his coordination council on Wednesday.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, welcomedMoscow’s humiliating U-turn andhailed “a significant diplomatic result for our country and the whole world”. “Implementation of the grain export initiative continues,” he said in his Wednesday evening address. “The Kremlin is demanding security guarantees from Ukraine. This shows both the failure of the Russian aggression and how strong we are when we remain united”.
The United States also welcomed the restoration of the deal and urged Russia to renew it later this month. State department spokesperson Ned Price praised UN and Turkish mediators but said it was important that the deal is “not only set back in motion, but it’s renewed later this month.” Secretary of state Antony Blinken thanked Turkey for its efforts and emphasised reminded Moscow of the “importance of continued adherence to UN-brokered agreements and its commitments to support global food security,” a statement said.
A large convoy of ships moved a record amount of grain in defiance of Russia’s warnings that it would be unsafe without its participation. The Russian defence ministry said it had received written guarantees from Kyiv not to use the Black Sea grain corridor for military operations against Russia.
The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said exports of grain from Ukraine would continue with or without Russian approval and appears to have brokered the Russian climbdown. Zelenskiy thanked Erdoğan for his role in restoring the deal.
A Russian jet fired two cruise missiles that flew over the Black Sea corridor being used to export Ukrainian grain on Wednesday, Zelenskiy said in a video address. “Every one of these Russian launches – and they occur almost daily – directly threatens food exports,” he said.
Russia said it was fully committed to preventing nuclear war, and that avoiding a clash among countries that have nuclear weapons was its highest priority. The Russian foreign ministry said it feared the five declared nuclear powers were teetering “on the brink of a direct armed conflict” and that the west must stop “encouraging provocations with weapons of mass destruction, which can lead to catastrophic consequences”.
The White House has accused North Korea of covertly shipping a “significant number” of artillery shells to Russia in support of its invasion of Ukraine amid mounting evidence of shortages for key weapons systems. US National security council spokesperson John Kirby said the US believed North Korea “is covertly supplying” the ammunition to Russia and “trying to make it appear as though they are being sent to countries in the Middle East or north Africa”.
Putin called for weapons used by Russia’s military to be modernised during a meeting of his coordination council on Wednesday. “Weapons must constantly, continuously improve and remain effective. To achieve this, I repeat, it is important to ensure that there is active competition between manufacturers and developers,” he said.
Russian-installed authorities in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region have proceeded with a drive to persuade residents to evacuate. Residents who had collaborated with occupying forces were leaving and some departing medical staff had taken equipment from hospitals, the statement said, a statement released by the Ukrainian military said on Wednesday night. Residents of the town of Nova Zburivka in Kherson region had been given three days to leave and told that evacuation would be obligatory from 5 November.
Moscowsaid it would summon the UK ambassador to Russia, Deborah Bronnert, over its accusation, that is unsubstantiated, that “British specialists” were involved in the Sevastopol attack.
The UN security council has overwhelmingly rejected Russia’s attempt to establish a commission to investigate its unfounded claims that Ukraine and the United States are carrying out “military biological” activities that violate the convention prohibiting the use of biological weapons.
Details have been published of the damage caused to the Nord Stream gas pipeline by explosions at the end of September. Nord Stream AG said that about 250 metres (820ft) of the pipeline in the Baltic Sea was “destroyed”.
Two Russian oligarchs and business partners of Roman Abramovich have been added to the UK government’s sanctions list. Alexander Abramov and Alexander Frolov, whom the UK government said were “known to be business associates” of the former Chelsea FC owner, were on Wednesday among four new Russian steel and petrochemical tycoons added to the sanctions list.