Here is the situation as it stands on Monday, October 31.
- The United Nations, Turkey and Ukraine are pressing ahead to implement a Black Sea grain deal with a transit plan in place for 16 ships on Monday, despite Russia suspending participation in the pact that has allowed the export of Ukrainian agricultural products to world markets.
- Russia said on Saturday it suspended participation in July’s Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allowed major exporter Ukraine to ship agricultural produce, after Ukrainian attacks on ships in Crimea.
- A total of 218 vessels are “effectively blocked” as a result of Moscow’s move, Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry said on Sunday; analysts predicted global wheat prices would leap.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia was trying to create an artificial famine in developing countries, calling for a strong UN and G20 response.
- US President Joe Biden called the move “purely outrageous”, saying it would increase starvation, while Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russia was weaponising food.
- More than 9.5 million tonnes of corn, wheat, sunflower products, barley, rapeseed and soy have been exported since July when the grain initiative started.
- Russia said Ukraine attacked its Black Sea Fleet near Sevastopol with 16 drones on Saturday. It said wreckage showed the drones were equipped with Canadian-made navigation. It has asked the UN Security Council to meet on Monday to discuss the attack. Reuters news agency could not immediately verify the report.
- Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Moscow used the explosions 220km (137 miles) away from the grain corridor as a “false pretext” to pull out of the grain export deal.
- Russian news agencies cited the defence ministry as saying that its army repelled attacks by Ukrainian forces in the Kharkiv, Kherson and Luhansk regions. It also accused Ukraine of firing near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, but said the radiation situation remained normal, TASS news agency reported.
- Ukraine’s east military command said there were fierce battles near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, and Ukrainian forces had held back Russian assaults on two other areas in the region, around Avdiivka and Uhledar.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies