Grain exports to halt as Putin demands real guarantees from Kyiv

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Kyiv, Ukraine, Nov 1 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – Nov 2, 2022): Grain exports will come to a halt on Wednesday after Moscow pulled out of a deal to let ships through the Black Sea, as the Russian president Vladimir Putin demanded “real guarantees” from Kyiv before returning to the agreement.

Russia announced its suspension on Saturday, accusing Ukraine of abusing the safe maritime corridor to attack Russian ships in Crimea. Kyiv called it a “false pretext” to withdraw.

The Turkey-UN brokered deal signed in July by Kyiv and Moscow is crucial to easing a global food crisis caused by war.

In a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday, Putin wanted Kyiv to give “real guarantees” that it “does not use the humanitarian corridor for military purposes”, according to a Kremlin statement.

No movement of grain ships was expected on Wednesday, the body overseeing the export deal said, although three other cargo ships loaded with grain left Ukrainian ports on Tuesday.

Moscow had warned on Monday that it was “more risky, dangerous” to continue exports without the participation of Russia.

Russia is also putting greater pressure on Ukrainians inside the country as recent attacks have damaged the country’s infrastructure, plunging families and businesses into darkness weeks before winter.

On Tuesday, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said water and electricity supplies had been “fully restored” in the capital.

But the attacks “severely damaged around 40% of Ukraine’s entire energy infrastructure”, the presidency said in a statement.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovich said Monday’s shelling was “one of the most massive shellings of our territory by the army of the Russian Federation”.

– Infrastructure strikes – After the strikes, aerial views showed Kyiv plunged into darkness overnight, with the only lights coming from road traffic.

Monday’s bombing left 80% of consumers in the capital without water and 350,000 homes without electricity.

Klitschko warned that there would still be planned power cuts in the city “due to the considerable deficit of the electrical system after the barbaric attacks of the aggressor”.

Ukrainian energy operator Ukrenergo said it would limit supply to all consumers in the central and northern regions of the country to “reduce pressure on the network”.

EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson arrived in Kyiv “to help build support for Ukraine’s energy sector”, she said on Twitter.

Ukraine’s military said Russia launched 55 cruise missiles on Monday, mostly at energy infrastructure.

The Russian Ministry of Defense said on Tuesday that “the massive strikes (…) have considerably disrupted the management and logistics of the Ukrainian armed forces”.

Russia has pivoted to systematically attack Ukraine’s utility grid after setbacks on the battlefield, where its military faces pushbacks on the eastern and southern fronts.

To the south, Kyiv forces are preparing for fierce battles to retake the city of Kherson and its surrounding region.

Kherson is one of four regions – along with Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk – which Moscow claims to have annexed but does not fully control.

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