Russia resumes its participation in a deal freeing up grain exports from Ukraine, after Türkiye's successful efforts — hailed by several countries — to resolve a crisis between Moscow and Kiev, even as fighting continues on its 253rd day.

The Russian defence ministry says
The Russian defence ministry says "the released will be sent to Moscow for treatment and rehabilitation." (Reuters)

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Russia and Ukraine release over 200 prisoners

Russia and Ukraine have exchanged 214 captured service personnel in the latest of a series of prisoner swaps, many of the Ukrainians wounded survivors of a failed attempt to defend the city of Mariupol in April and May.

Russia's Defence Ministry said in a statement that Ukraine had released 107 Russian personnel, and that they would be transferred to Moscow for "the necessary medical and psychological assistance".

Andriy Yermak, the Ukrainian president's chief of staff, said Russia had released 107 Ukrainian fighters, including 74 who had defended the Azovstal steel works, scene of Ukraine's last stand in Mariupol.

Ukraine has capability to retake Kherson from Russia: Pentagon

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that he believes Ukrainian forces can retake Kherson from Russian forces, in perhaps his most optimistic comments on the pivotal campaign to date.

"On the issue of whether the Ukrainians can take the remaining territory on the west side of the Dnipro river and (in) Kherson, I certainly believe that they have the capability to do that," Austin said during a press conference with his South Korean counterpart.

Russia summons UK envoy over attacks on Black Sea Fleet

Russia summoned the UK ambassador to Moscow over last week's attacks on its Black Sea Fleet.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, British Ambassador Deborah Bronnert was lodged a strong protest over "active participation of British military specialists in the training and supply of units of the special operations forces of Ukraine."

The ministry stressed that it presented "definite facts" of London's involvement in the attacks.

Zelenskyy says he won't take part in G20 summit if Putin does

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he would not take part in a summit in Indonesia of the Group of 20 major economies if Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin attends.

Zelenskyy told reporters after talks in Kiev with Greece's president that he had been invited to participate in the Nov. 15-16 summit by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

"My personal position and the position of Ukraine was that if the leader of the Russian Federation takes part, then Ukraine will not take part. We'll see what it will be like in the future," he said. 

Russian-installed official: Russian units likely to quit west bank of Dnipro river

A Russian-installed official in Ukraine's southern Kherson region said that Russia's armed forces were likely to quit the western bank of the Dnipro river, where Moscow has been evacuating citizens in recent weeks.

"Most likely our units, our soldiers, will leave for the left (eastern) bank," Kirill Stremousov, the Russian-installed deputy civilian administrator of the Kherson region, said in an interview with Solovyov Live, a pro-Kremlin online media outlet.

The city of Kherson, the only major Ukrainian city that Russian forces have captured intact, is located on the western bank of the Dnipro. 

UN sees 'progress' on Russia fertiliser exports

Negotiations underway to unblock exports of fertiliser from Russia have made "important steps forward", one of the main United Nations negotiators said, acknowledging though there was still a way to go.

Moscow has complained its grain and fertiliser exports continue to face issues over sanctions imposed after its offensive on Ukraine, despite two agreements signed on July 22 that called for sanctions to spare agriculture-related products and granted safe passage for Ukrainian grain exports.

The second of those agreements, brokered by Türkiye and the UN, has been working quite well, allowing millions of tonnes of grain to leave Ukrainian ports, and relieving some fears over a deepening global food security crisis.

Russia 'prevents' Ukrainian attack on Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

A senior Russian official has said that Russia prevented a Ukrainian attack on the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine.

Ukrainian forces "continue to shell the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant with Western weapons which could lead to a global catastrophe", Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, said on Thursday.

Patrushev said that Russian special services had prevented what he said was a "terrorist attack" on the plant. Meanwhile, Ukraine's state nuclear company said on Thursday that Russian shelling had damaged high-voltage lines at the plant.

Kiev made no new commitments to Russia in grain deal

Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko has made clear Kiev offered nothing new to Russia to ensure it returned to the Istanbul grain deal, intended to free up Ukrainian exports.

"Our state has not undertaken any new commitments that go beyond those already existing in the grain agreement," he said. "Recall that within this agreement (in July) the parties committed to guarantee a safe and reliable functioning environment for the grain corridor."

"Moscow has returned to the grain deal thanks to the active diplomacy of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan."

Russia summons UK ambassador over attacks on Black Sea Fleet 

Russia has summoned the UK ambassador in Moscow, Deborah Bronnert, over last week's attacks on its Black Sea Fleet. 

On Wednesday, ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the Ukrainian military carried out attacks at the Black Sea port of Sevastopol on the Russian military under the guidance of British military specialists.

She said the ambassador would be summoned and presented the evidence that Russia has about the UK’s alleged involvement in the attacks. 

Lavrov urges United Nations to help ease Russian food exports

Moscow has urged the United Nations, which sponsored a deal to free Ukraine's grain shipments from a Russian blockade of its Black Sea ports, to help fulfil the parts of the deal intended to ease Russia's food and fertiliser exports.

"We still do not see any results regarding... the removal of obstacles to the export of Russian fertilisers and grain," Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference in Amman, Jordan.

"We have once again called on the United Nations Secretary General to ensure that he fulfils the obligations he agreed to through his own initiative," Lavrov added. He said the situation needed to be resolved "in the very near future".

Moscow wants to connect Ukrainian plant to Russian grid - Energoatom

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station was operating on back-up diesel generators after being disconnected from the Ukrainian power grid by Russian shelling, the Ukrainian nuclear energy company said.

Energoatom said on Thursday the last remaining high-voltage lines connecting the plant to the Ukrainian grid had been damaged in Wednesday's shelling, and that Moscow wanted to connect the plant to the Russian grid.

The facility in southern Ukraine, Europe's largest, has 15 days' worth of fuel to run the generators, Energoatom said.

Russia's Gazprom to ship 42.4 mcm more gas to Europe via Ukraine

Russia's Gazprom has said it would ship 42.4 million cubic metres (mcm) of gas to Europe via Ukraine on Thursday, levels similar to those reported in recent days.

G7 to discuss Ukraine support after attacks on energy infrastructure

Foreign ministers from the G7 group will discuss how best to coordinate further support for Ukraine when they meet on Thursday following recent Russian attacks on energy infrastructure that have caused widespread power cuts.

The conflict is expected to dominate the two-day meeting of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken with his G7 counterparts in Muenster, although China's increasingly assertive role in the world and protests in Iran will also be high on the agenda.

"This G7 ministerial is, for us, coming at an important time," a senior State Department official said, noting that the group "has been a vital coordinating mechanism" for policy approaches on the most pressing issues.

Ukraine's Zaporizhzia nuclear plant disconnected from grid

Ukraine's Zaporizhzia nuclear power plant has been disconnected from the power grid after Russian shelling damaged the remaining high voltage lines, leaving it with just diesel generators, Ukraine nuclear firm Energoatom said on Thursday.

The power plant has 15 days' worth of fuel to run the generators, Energoatom said. The plant's blocks 5 and 6 are being switched into cold state, it said. 

Zelenskyy says Russia aggression is failing

Moscow's call for security guarantees before rejoining the Ukrainian grain export deal shows "the failure of the Russian aggression", President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said.

After eight months of conflict, "the Kremlin is demanding security guarantees from Ukraine", Zelenskyy said in his daily evening address following the revival of the agreement.

"This shows both the failure of the Russian aggression and how strong we are when we remain united".

Ukraine hails resumption of grain deal

Ukraine's President Zelenskyy has hailed "a significant diplomatic result for our country and the whole world" after Russia rejoined a deal to allow Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea.

"Implementation of the grain export initiative continues," he said after successful Turkish efforts to revive the agreement struck between Kiev and Moscow in July.

Ukraine: Russian missiles fly over Black Sea

A Russian jet fired two cruise missiles that flew over the Black Sea corridor being used to export Ukrainian grain, President Zelenskyy said in a video address.

"Every one of these Russian launches — and they occur almost daily — directly threatens food exports," he said.

For live updates from Wednesday (November 2), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies