Latest from Russia’s war on Ukraine: Moscow pulls out of grain deal

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The European Union has called on Russia to reverse its decision to withdraw from a UN-brokered grain deal, a move that undermined efforts to ease a global food crisis and which Ukraine said that Moscow had planned well in advance.

CEREAL OFFER

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* Russia said on Saturday it had suspended its participation in the July Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allowed Ukraine’s main exporter to ship agricultural products, after Ukrainian attacks on ships in Crimea.

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says Russia is trying to create an artificial famine in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, calling for a strong response from the United Nations and the Group of 20 major economies.

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* Ukraine’s foreign minister accused Moscow of using a ‘false pretext’ to suspend its participation, urging ‘all states to demand that Russia stop its hunger games and renew its commitments’ .

* The European Union has called on Russia to reverse its decision to withdraw from the agreement.

* US President Joe Biden called the move “purely outrageous”, saying it would increase starvation.

* US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Russia is weaponizing food. “Any act by Russia to disrupt these critical grain exports is essentially a statement that individuals and families around the world should pay more for food or go hungry,” Blinken said in a statement on Saturday.

NORD Stream, Crimea

* The Russian Ministry of Defense said on Saturday that British navy personnel blew up the Nord Stream gas pipelines last month, a claim that London and Paris have dismissed as false and designed to distract from Russian military failures in Ukraine.

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* Moscow did not provide any proof of its claim. The ministry said “British specialists” from the same unit carried out Ukrainian drone attacks on Saturday against Russian Black Sea Fleet ships in Crimea which it said had been largely repelled by Russian forces, with minor damage to a Russian minesweeper.

DIPLOMACY

* Alleged agents working for Russian President Vladimir Putin hacked former British Prime Minister Liz Truss’ personal phone, accessing “top secret details” of negotiations with international allies, the Daily Mail reported on Saturday.

* Russia said on Saturday that the accelerated deployment of upgraded US B61 tactical nuclear weapons to NATO bases in Europe would lower the “nuclear threshold” and that Russia would take the decision into account in its military planning.

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POWER SUPPLIES

* Ukraine’s electricity supply is recovering after concerted Russian attacks on power plants, but emergency power cuts may still be needed, Zelenskiy said on Saturday.

STRUGGLE

* The Russian army has repelled attacks by Ukrainian forces in the Kharkiv, Kherson and Lugansk regions, Russian news agencies reported on Sunday, citing the Defense Ministry. He also accused Ukraine of firing near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, but said the radiation situation remained normal, TASS reported.

* Serhyi Cherevaty, spokesman for Ukraine’s Eastern Military Command, said on television that there were heavy battles near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region with Russian corpses left on the field of battle and Russian assaults on two other areas in the region, around Avdiivka in the direction of Uhledar, assault actions are underway from the enemy, our forces are holding back the attacks. (Compiled by William Mallard, Frances Kerry and Philippa Fletcher)

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