Politics Three more ships carrying grain leave Ukraine; Russia...

Three more ships carrying grain leave Ukraine; Russia ‘willing to discuss’ Britney Griner prisoner swap: Live updates

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Three more ships loaded with Ukrainian grain left the country’s Black Sea ports on Friday, the latest shipments in a deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations to ease the growing food crisis.

Ships carrying more than 58,000 tonnes of maize are bound for Ireland, the United Kingdom and Turkey. The United Nations said in a statement. The ships are among more than a dozen that have been stuck in Ukraine since Russia invaded in February and are carrying part of the 20 million tons of grain left in the country.

A fourth vessel was inspected by officials from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations in Istanbul and headed for Ukraine, the officials added.

The export deal got underway this week when the first ship was cleared for Lebanon. Experts say most of Ukraine’s grain exports are for animal feed, not human consumption, and the cargo may not have a significant impact on global prices for corn, wheat and soybeans.

“The movement of three additional vessels overnight is a very positive sign and will continue to build confidence that we are moving in the right direction,” said Jonathan Haines, senior analyst at data and analytics firm Grow Intelligence. “If grain flows from Ukraine continue to expand, it will help overcome global supply constraints.”

On the USA Today Telegram:Join our Russia-Ukraine war channel to get updates

Latest Developments

►Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Russia on Friday and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to focus on the grain deal brokered by Turkey and the UN, prospects for talks on ending hostilities in Ukraine, the situation in Syria and growing economic ties between Moscow and Moscow. Ankara.

►Russian forces opened fire on the Ukrainian city of Nikopol, near Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, on Thursday, reinforcing the UN nuclear chief’s warning that fighting around the site could lead to a catastrophic accident. The plant has been under Russian supervision since it was taken over by Moscow troops at the start of the war.

Kremlin ‘willing to discuss’ Britney Griner prisoner swap with US

Russia is “ready to discuss” a prisoner exchange involving WNBA star Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner in official channels, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.

Griner, 31, was sentenced to nine years in a Russian penal colony on Thursday for drug possession and smuggling in a politically charged case. He has been detained in Russia since February 17 after a vape canister containing cannabis oil was found in his luggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

Lavrov and his American counterpart, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, were both in Cambodia on Friday for a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Lavrov said Blinken did not try to contact him while he was present at the meeting.

“We were separated by only one person at the discussion table, but I didn’t feel his desire to catch me,” he said.

Lavrov said the prisoner swap should be discussed only through the Russia-US channel that President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to establish in June 2021 and warned American officials not to “engage in public diplomacy.”

Visual explanation:Mapping and Tracking Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Amnesty International says Ukraine is putting civilians at risk

Amnesty International said in a report on Thursday that Ukrainian forces have violated international law by setting up bases and operating weapons systems in populated residential areas, turning civilian areas into military targets.

Human rights organization researchers found evidence that Ukrainian forces destroyed buildings such as schools and hospitals in 19 towns and villages, exposing populated areas to Russian strikes that killed civilians and destroyed infrastructure.

However, in cities including Kharkiv, Amnesty International found that Russia illegally targeted civilian areas and committed war crimes. Ukraine’s use of civilian areas as military bases “in no way justifies” Russia’s indiscriminate use of internationally banned weapons such as cluster munitions, the organization said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that the report sought to shift “responsibility” for the deaths of civilians in Ukraine from Russia in his nightly address. CNN reported.

Russian state and pro-Kremlin media have widely cited the report, which to some extent aligns with Moscow’s official narrative.

“We are always talking about it, calling the actions of the armed forces of Ukraine a tactic to use the civilian population as ‘human shields,'” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Telegram.

Contributed by: Associated Press

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