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Ukraine Latest: First Grain Ship From Odesa Arrives in Turkey

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·8 min read
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(Bloomberg) -- The first ship carrying grain from Ukraine under an agreement with Russia arrived in Turkey. The Kremlin said that Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan for talks in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Friday, including on the deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations to unblock Ukraine’s grain exports.

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Ukraine began mandatory evacuation of its citizens from Donetsk following President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s call on civilians to leave the eastern region for their own safety.

The US sanctioned a number of Russian tycoons as well as a former gymnast the Treasury Department said has a “close relationship” with Putin.

(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)

Key Developments

  • Ukraine Plots Cautious Return of Grain Exports as World Watches

  • Russia’s Nuclear Power Swagger Unruffled by War as Summit Nears

  • Russia Balks at US Prisoner Swap Offer, Viewing It as Unequal

  • ‘Putin Chef’ Case Shows London Courts Welcome Russians No More

  • European Gas Extends Gains With Russia Risk and Demand in Focus

On the Ground

Russia continued its shelling of the southern port of Mykolaiv, according to local authorities. Explosions were also heard in Kharkiv region in the northeast. Around Donetsk, Russian forces are conducting an offensive in the Bakhmut and Avdiyivka sectors, Ukraine’s general staff reported, adding that its forces repelled a number of attacks. Russia is continuing to transfer troops to support defensive positions in southern Ukraine and may be halting its campaign around Slovyansk in the east for the time being, the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest assessment. The withdrawal will likely create an opportunity for Ukrainian forces to launch a counteroffensive, it said.

(All times CET)

First Grain Ship From Ukraine Arrives in Turkey (9:23 p.m.)

The cargo ship Razoni reached Turkey from Odesa, making it the first trade vessel using a safe corridor in the Black Sea to ship grain from the war-torn country in a move intended to lessen global hunger and help Ukraine’s farmers.

“Our current goal is to ensure regularity, so that when one ship is sailing from the port, there should be other vessels including those that are being loaded and those that are approaching the seaport,” Ukraine’s President Zelenskiy said in his evening video-address to his nation. “We need exports this year for our farmers and agriculture firms to have sufficient resources for the next year’s sowing.”

US Sanctions Tycoons, Ex-Gymnast Tied to Putin (7:12 p.m.)

The US sanctioned a number of Russian billionaire tycoons as well as a former Olympic gymnast said to be close to President Putin.

Among those targeted were Andrey Guryev, founder of chemical producer PhosAgro, and Andrey Melnichenko, co-founder of fertilizer producer EuroChem. Neither of the companies was sanctioned.

Alina Kabaeva, head of a pro-Kremlin media group and a former lawmaker, was also blacklisted. Kabaeva, the former gymnast who has a “close relationship” with Putin according to the US Treasury, was previously sanctioned by the EU and UK.

Le Pen Calls for an End to Sanctions (6 p.m.)

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen called for Europe to end sanctions against Russia to avoid a “blackout, notably when it comes to gas imports.” Speaking during a news conference, she said that sanctions were “useless” as “the Russian economy isn’t on its knees” and “we are suffering much more from these sanctions than Russia is.”

Le Pen’s party, which made inroads in parliamentary elections earlier this year, has financial ties to Russia. It took out a loan from a Czech bank that was taken over by a Russian company in 2016. While she’s joined widespread condemnation of Russia’s war in Ukraine and tempered her enthusiasm for Vladimir Putin, she’s continued to advance views seen as pro-Russian.

Russian Court Declares Azov Regiment Terrorists (5 p.m.)

Russia’s Supreme Court declared the Ukrainian Azov Regiment a terrorist organization, state news services reported. The designation means fighters from the regiment who surrendered to Russia in May after a weeks-long siege at a giant steel plant in Mariupol could face terrorism charges.

Hundreds of Ukrainian defenders who held out in the strategic southeastern port city are being held by separatists in eastern Ukraine who have threatened to sentence them to death.

In a statement on its Telegram channel, the Azov unit called on the US State Department to designate Russia a terrorist state.

G-7 Recommits to Russian Oil Price Cap (4:20 p.m.)

Group of Seven foreign ministers issued a joint statement saying they continue to explore further measures to prevent Russia from profiting from the war, including by seeking solutions to reduce Russian revenues from hydrocarbons.

“We remain committed to considering a range of approaches, including options for a comprehensive prohibition of all services that enable transportation of Russian seaborne crude oil and petroleum products globally, unless the oil is purchased at or below a price to be agreed in consultation with international partners,” the ministers said.

G-7 nations and the EU agreed at a summit in June to explore the introduction of a price cap on Russian oil.

Grain Ship Due in Istanbul Tonight (4:10 p.m.)

The first grain ship to leave Ukraine since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion is expected to arrive in Istanbul at 9 p.m., the Turkish Defense Ministry said. The Razoni, a cargo vessel carrying corn, will be inspected by a committee of Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and UN officials. It will continue on its route after the inspection.

The Razoni left the port of Odesa on Monday morning bound for Lebanon. Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said there were 16 other ships in the greater Odesa region waiting to sail.

UK Adds to Russia Sanctions (4 p.m.)

The UK has added former Rosneft management board members Didier Casimiro and Zeljko Runje to its sanctions list, according to a statement.

Donetsk Evacuations Begin (1:40 p.m.)

The first train from the area arrived Tuesday in the city of Kropyvnytskyi in central Ukraine, mainly carrying women, children and the elderly, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on her Telegram channel.

Zelenskiy called for enforced evacuations from Donetsk at the weekend amid intensified Russian shelling and fears that it’ll be hard to survive the winter.

Ukraine: Stolen Grain Shipped via Crimea (1:30 p.m.)

A Ukrainian court ordered the seizure of four bulk carriers accused of illegally entering Russia-occupied Crimea to ship stolen grain.

Three ships sailing under the Russian flag and a Syrian vessel have regularly been making illegal entries into Sevastopol sea trading port, the Prosecutor General’s office of Ukraine said on its website. In this way, the Crimean peninsula “is being used by the Russian Federation as a ‘gray zone’ to transport grain which they have illegally appropriated,” the office said.

Ukraine officially closed Crimean ports to ships after Russia occupied the strategic Black Sea peninsula in 2014.

NATO Chief Holds Call With Zelenskiy (1:15 p.m.)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he held a call Tuesday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and the pair discussed priorities for military support for the government in Kyiv.

Additional Vessels Ready for Grain Exports (1 p.m.)

Ukraine’s deputy agriculture minister said 15 more ships are preparing to depart the Black Sea ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdennyi carrying exports of grain.

The vessels, which will be accompanied through the safe corridor by a mine-sweeper, have a capacity of between 10,000 tons and 60,000 tons, Taras Vysotskyi said in an interview with Ukraine’s 5th TV channel.

Regional Governor Floats Opening Mykolaiv Port (11 a.m.)

The governor of the region that includes Mykolaiv said local authorities are working toward possibly having the southern port added to the list of three shipping hubs which have been opened for grain exports.

While Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi are coastal ports, Mykolaiv sits on the Pivdennyi Buh delta some 30 kilometers (19 miles) north of where the river flows into the sea. Russian forces have been regularly targeting Mykolaiv as it’s strategically important in the northern Black Sea area and stands in the way of a potential push into central Ukraine.

Baerbock Echoes Blinken on ‘Reckless Rhetoric’ (9:30 a.m.)

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Russia is placing the international Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in jeopardy and echoed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s comments by accusing Moscow of spreading “reckless rhetoric.”

“It is good that a large majority of states have condemned Russia’s aggression and its signals regarding nuclear weapons,” Baerbock said in a speech Monday at the UN. “Reaffirming this condemnation remains a matter of credibility for all those who support serious efforts toward nuclear disarmament.”

Scholz Lauds Trudeau Over Turbines Decision (9 a.m.)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz praised his Canadian counterpart for his “strong decision” to allow the shipment of turbines back to Europe that are crucial to the operation of a key Russian gas pipeline.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail newspaper, Scholz pushed back against criticism that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had undermined Russian sanctions, and said releasing the turbines -- which were undergoing repairs in Canada -- eliminated a potential Russian excuse for cutting gas supplies.

Crop Prices Extend Declines (7 a.m.)

Global corn, soybean and wheat prices extended their declines as US crop conditions came in better than expected and Ukraine prepares to gradually ramp up exports after the first shipment since Russia’s invasion left for Lebanon.

The first two weeks will be treated as a trial period, with no more than three vessels a day in each direction through new safe-passage corridors, Ukraine Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov told Bloomberg TV Monday. If successful, exports could increase to as much as three million tons per month in four to six weeks’ time, he said.

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