Ukraine Live Briefing: Grain deal signed in Turkey; U.S. to send Ukraine more artillery


Workers store grain at a terminal during barley harvesting in Ukraine's Odessa region on June 23. (Reuters)
Workers store grain at a terminal during barley harvesting in Ukraine's Odessa region on June 23. (Reuters)

Russia and Ukraine signed a grain deal brokered by Turkey on Friday to allow exports of grain from blockaded Ukrainian ports. An estimated 22 million tons of grain have been stuck in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in February, causing a serious global food shortage and rising prices.

Here’s the latest on the war and its impact across the globe.

Russia and Ukraine agree to release blockaded grain exports

Grain deal

  • Russian and Ukrainian ministers signed a historic agreement in Turkey on Friday afternoon local time to resume the export of Ukrainian grain. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu represented Russia, while Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov led Ukraine’s delegation. At the signing ceremony in Istanbul, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres hailed the agreement as “unprecedented” between warring parties and a “beacon of hope” on the Black Sea. He and Turkish President Recep Tayipp Erdogan, who hosted the talks, voiced hope that the deal would be a step on the path toward a negotiated peace.
  • Ukraine did not sign an agreement directly with Russia, but only with Turkey and the United Nations, while Russia signed a parallel agreement. Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said there would be no transport escort by Russian ships and pledged “an immediate military response” in case of “provocations.”
  • American officials will focus on ensuring that Russia actually implements the agreement and allows the grain to leave blockaded Black Sea ports, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said. “Russia has weaponized food during this conflict,” Price said at a Thursday news briefing. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a statement that, “The international community must now hold Russia accountable for this deal.”
  • It’s not a panacea. While humanitarian organizations and food security experts cautiously hailed the deal, they emphasized that it doesn’t solve the problem of Russian land attacks on Ukraine’s agricultural and coastal areas. Shipping companies may still fear sending vessels into Ukrainian ports, said David Laborde, a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute. And many of the factors underlying global food insecurity in the Middle East and North Africa, including conflict and climate change, remain.
Russia and Ukraine signed a grain deal brokered by Turkey on July 22 to allow exports of grain from blockaded Ukrainian ports. (Video: Reuters)

5 countries hit hard by the grain crisis in Ukraine

Battlefield updates

  • The latest aid “will bring total U.S. military assistance to Ukraine to approximately $8.2 billion since the beginning of this Administration,” Blinken said in a statement.
  • Russia has a critical shortage of ground-attack missiles and is instead using air defense missiles in secondary ground-attack mode, the British Defense Ministry said in an update Friday. These are unlikely to be effective against hardened structures, as they have small warheads designed to destroy aircraft, but there is a high chance of the missiles missing targets and causing civilian casualties on the ground, the ministry added.
  • One person was killed and nine injured in overnight Russian attacks on the Dnipropetrovsk region, regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko said Friday. Two missile strikes on Nikopol left one person dead and one injured, while eight people were injured in Apostolove, with two other areas also hit.
Ukrainian soldiers fired M-777 howitzers in the Donbas region on July 21, which were produced and supplied by the U.S. during a media trip. (Video: Reuters)

Global impact

  • Germany announced new plans to reduce energy usage, despite the resumption of some Russian natural gas supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline on Thursday. Economy Minister Robert Habeck accused Russia of trying to “blackmail Europe and Germany, proving every day to be an insecure factor in the energy supply.”
  • Japan faces a national security threat because of regional destabilization following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, its annual defense white paper says. Russia has committed a “serious violation of international law,” the review says, raising concerns that ‘the effects of such unilateral changes to the status quo by force may extend to the Indo-Pacific region.”
  • Russia defended its U.N. veto of an aid plan for areas of northern Syria, saying the plan to supply food for a year to over 4 million people in rebel-held areas in the north risked giving aid to “international terrorists” and was a move by Western countries “to govern the world.” Britain called Russia’s veto “egregious” and said its justification for the veto was “pure fiction.”
  • Energy firms are looking to Africa in the hunt for projects to replace Russian oil and gas. Gil Holzman, the CEO of Canada’s Eco Atlantic Oil & Gas, said that “the industry is now focusing on the advantaged barrels Africa has to offer.” A Reuters estimate says projects worth $100 billion are under consideration in countries including Namibia, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania.

From our correspondents

War narrows the many divides between east and west in Ukraine: With Moscow continuing to wage scorched-earth campaigns in the east and south, Ukrainians have abandoned their homes in droves. According to the U.N. International Organization for Migration, more than 6 million people are now displaced within Ukraine, in addition to the nearly 5 million who have fled the country entirely.

Along with them have gone businesses and workplaces. Many have headed to areas in western Ukraine where fighting and missile attacks have been minimal, The Washington Post’s David Stern reports. Their journey represents a massive and very fluid demographic shift taking place within the country — one that is altering it economically and possibly changing Ukrainians’ own perception of one another.

War in Ukraine: What you need to know

The latest: Russia fired at least 85 missiles on at least six major cities in Ukraine on November 15, in one of the most widespread attacks of the war so far. The strikes came just hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking by video link, presented a 10-point peace plan to G-20 leaders at a summit in Indonesia. As in previous Russian missile attacks, critical civilian infrastructure appeared to be primary targets. Parts of several cities that were hit were left without electrical power on Tuesday afternoon.

Russia’s Gamble: The Post examined the road to war in Ukraine, and Western efforts to unite to thwart the Kremlin’s plans, through extensive interviews with more than three dozen senior U.S., Ukrainian, European and NATO officials.

Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground from the beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.

How you can help: Here are ways those in the U.S. can support the Ukrainian people as well as what people around the world have been donating.

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