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Putin Offers to Share Russia’s Rising Grain Profits


  • Saudi Arabia is to host talks in Jeddah on August 5-6 about Ukraine. The meeting would include Western officials and representatives from up to 30 countries, including India, Brazil, Indonesia, Egypt, Mexico, Chile and Zambia. Ukraine and Western officials hope that the talks, which exclude Russia, can lead to international backing for peace terms favoring Ukraine, The Wall Street Journal reports.
  • About 100 soldiers from the Russian Wagner group have moved closer to the Polish border, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Saturday. Poland, a NATO member, is worried that any skirmishes on its border could lead to a spillover of war on its territory.
  • Ukrainian soldiers have used North Korean rockets they claim were seized by a “friendly” country before being delivered to Ukraine, the Financial Times reported Saturday. Ukraine’s defense ministry suggested the arms were captured from the Russians.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday that higher grain prices, which have risen since Russia’s exit from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, will benefit Russian companies as well as the world’s poorest countries.

In his effort to woo African leaders, Putin said during a news conference Saturday in St. Petersburg that Russia will share its profits from spiking grain prices with Africa and other poor countries. Russia, like Ukraine, is a major grain exporter.

He also said that Russia did not oppose peace talks based on the African or Chinese peace initiatives.

His comments came a day after several African leaders, who came to St. Petersburg for a summit, urged him to end the war on Ukraine and renew the United Nations-brokered grain deal.

“We feel that we have a right to call for peace,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told Putin, because “the ongoing conflict also negatively affects us.”

Ukraine’s grain is vital to Africa despite Putin’s promises Thursday that Moscow can replace Ukrainian grain exports to Africa, and he would give tens of thousands of tons of grain to six countries within months.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Thursday that a “handful of donations” won’t correct the adverse consequences of the canceled Black Sea grain deal.

Under the Black Sea agreement, the World Food Program purchased and shipped 725,000 metric tons of grain to Afghanistan, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen over the past year. The pact has allowed the WFP so far to procure 80% of its wheat purchases this year from Ukraine — up from 50% in 2021 and 2022.

Overall, nearly 33 million metric tons of grain were exported by Ukraine under the deal, which aimed to combat a global hunger exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Global wheat prices have risen about 9% since Russia exited the agreement on July 17 and began pounding Ukrainian ports and grain infrastructure on the Black Sea and Danube River.

Ukrainian counteroffensive

The Ukrainian counteroffensive, which began June 5, appears to be gaining momentum.

On Wednesday, Ukraine started throwing its reserves onto a large-scale attack south of Orikhiv in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, where Russian defensive lines are at their strongest.

On Thursday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted a video in which Ukrainian soldiers said they had taken Staromaiorske in the Donetsk region. That’s the fifth in a string of villages along the Mokri Yaly River in western Donetsk Oblast, about 75 kilometers (47 miles) east of the battles near Orikhiv.

Source : VOA News