Ukraine establishes temporary shipping route after Russia pulls out of sea corridor agreement for grain shipments

Ukraine is establishing a temporary shipping lane to keep grain supplies alive after Russia canceled a deal allowing Ukrainian exports through a UN-backed safe sea corridor, Kiev said in an official letter on Wednesday.

Russia on Tuesday attacked Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odessa for the second consecutive day after withdrawing from the deal on Monday, which also included withdrawing guarantees of safe shipping through Moscow.

In a letter to the UN’s International Shipping Organization, Ukraine said it had “decided to establish a recommended sea route temporarily.”

“The goal is to facilitate the unblocking of international shipping in the north-western part of the Black Sea,” Vasyl Shkurakov, acting Minister of Municipalities, Territories and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine, said in the letter.

Ukraine added that the additional transport route it established would lead to the territorial waters and exclusive maritime economic zone of Romania, one of the neighboring Black Sea countries.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the Black Sea Grains Agreement could proceed without Russia’s involvement and that Ukraine was working on options to meet its food supply commitments.

The exit leads to insurance problems

Since Russia’s move to pull out of the deal, insurers have been reassessing their interest in insuring ships bound for Ukraine.

A cargo insurance facility that covered shipments via the previous corridor contract has been suspended, the policy’s broker said Tuesday.

Additional war risk insurance premiums levied upon entry into the Black Sea region must be renewed every seven days.

They already cost thousands of dollars and are expected to rise, while shipowners may be reluctant to allow their ships into a war zone without Russia’s approval.

There is also the danger of floating mines.

Kiev says overnight strikes damaged grain infrastructure

Ukraine has accused Russia of damaging grain export infrastructure with “hellish” night strikes centered on two of its Black Sea ports.

“Russian terrorists deliberately targeted the infrastructure of the grain business,” Mr Zelenskyy said on Telegram, promising not to be intimidated.

“Every Russian missile … is a blow not only to Ukraine, but to all people in the world who want a normal and safe life.”

The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine said ten civilians, including a nine-year-old boy, were injured.

Grain terminals, as well as an industrial plant, warehouses, shopping centers, residential and administrative buildings, and cars were damaged.

British MI6 chief invites Russians to spy for Britain

The head of Britain’s foreign intelligence service MI6 said on Wednesday that last month’s mutiny by Russian mercenaries had revealed “deep fissures” around the Kremlin and invited Russians, appalled at the war in Ukraine, to spy for Britain.

In just his second public speech since being appointed head of intelligence in 2020, Richard Moore said there seemed little prospect of Russia regaining momentum in Ukraine.

Speaking at the British Embassy in Prague, Mr Moore compared the situation in Ukraine to the Prague Spring of 1968, when Soviet tanks scuttled liberalizing reforms.

“As they witness the venality, power struggles and callous incompetence of their leaders, many Russians grapple with the same dilemmas as their predecessors did in 1968,” he said.

“I invite you to do what others have been doing for the past 18 months and join us.

“Our door is always open… Your secrets will be safe with us and together we will work to end the bloodshed.”

In his speech and in a subsequent interview, Mr. Moore said the armed mutiny of Wagner mercenary group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin last month exposed the “irresistible decay” of Mr. Putin’s “unstable autocracy.”

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