- 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.
- 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.
- 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: Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees Friday to annex four occupied regions of Ukraine, following staged referendums that were widely denounced as illegal. Follow our live updates here.
The response: The Biden administration on Friday announced a new round of sanctions on Russia, in response to the annexations, targeting government officials and family members, Russian and Belarusian military officials and defense procurement networks. President Volodymyr Zelensky also said Friday that Ukraine is applying for “accelerated ascension” into NATO, in an apparent answer to the annexations.
In Russia: Putin declared a military mobilization on Sept. 21 to call up as many as 300,000 reservists in a dramatic bid to reverse setbacks in his war on Ukraine. The announcement led to an exodus of more than 180,000 people, mostly men who were subject to service, and renewed protests and other acts of defiance against the war.
The fight: Ukraine mounted a successful counteroffensive that forced a major Russian retreat in the northeastern Kharkiv region in early September, as troops fled cities and villages they had occupied since the early days of the war and abandoned large amounts of military equipment.
Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground from the beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.