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Ukraine resumes foodstuff shipments via seaports

An aerial photograph taken on Oct 31, 2022 shows a cargo ship loaded with grain being inspected in the anchorage area of the southern entrance to the Bosphorus in Istanbul. Cargo ships loaded with grain and other agricultural products left Ukrainian ports on Oct 31, 2022 despite Russia's decision to pull out from a landmark deal designed to ease a global food crisis. As one of the brokers of the grain deal, Türkiye has stepped up diplomacy with the two countries in a bid to save the deal. (OZAN KOSE / AFP)

KYIV/MOSCOW/ANKARA/UNITED NATIONS – Ukraine's Infrastructure Ministry said on Facebook on Monday that Ukraine resumed the shipment of foodstuffs via its seaports under the Black Sea Grain Initiative as the United Nations and Türkiye agreed on the traffic of ships through the humanitarian corridor.

Twelve ships carrying 354,500 tons of agricultural products left the ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi for countries in Africa, Asia and Europe, the ministry said.

The ministry said the UN and Türkiye proposed that 10 inspection groups check 40 ships, adding that Ukraine accepted the offer.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu that it was of great importance to continue the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which "makes a great contribution to the solution of the global food crisis and shows that all problems can be solved with cooperation and dialogue," according to a statement by the Turkish Defense Ministry

Meanwhile, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar had a phone call with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu on Monday after Moscow suspended its participation in the grain Initiative, which provides access for Ukrainian wheat to international markets.

During the conversation, Akar told Shoigu that it was of great importance to continue the initiative, which "makes a great contribution to the solution of the global food crisis and shows that all problems can be solved with cooperation and dialogue," said a statement by the Turkish Defense Ministry.

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Türkiye expects Russia to reconsider its decision of suspending the grain shipment initiative, which is a "purely humanitarian activity and which should be separated from the conflict conditions," Akar also told Shoigu.

In the statement, the Turkish minister added Ankara will continue to do its part in ensuring peace in the region and humanitarian aid at all levels.

On Saturday, Russia said it was suspending its participation in the grain deal after accusing Ukraine of using the humanitarian grain corridor to launch strikes against its Black Sea fleet and the naval base Sevastopol,

On July 22, Russia and Ukraine separately signed a document in Istanbul with Türkiye and the UN on grain and fertilizer exports from Ukraine and Russia to ensure supplies to global markets amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Türkiye has been acting as a mediator between the two countries since their conflict broke out in late February.

ALSO READ: Russia halts participation in grain deal

This photograph taken on July 31, 2022 shows a grain combine harvester collecting wheat near Novoazovsk, Ukraine. (PHOTO/AFP)

On the alleged misuse of cargo vessels in the Black Sea Grain Initiative for military purposes, Martin Griffiths, UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said that none were in the humanitarian grain corridor on the night of Oct 29 when the reported attacks on the Russian fleet took place

UN: Look forward to welcoming Russia back

The United Nations also looks forward to welcoming Russia back in the fulfilment of the initiative, UN relief chief said.

"We are encouraged by Russia's assurance that it is not pulling out of the initiative and it is only temporarily suspending activities in the implementation," Martin Griffiths, UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, told a Security Council briefing.

Thirty-eight countries have purchased some nine million tons of grain from Ukraine under the deal, which has a humanitarian impact on the reduction of prices and the calming of market volatility, Griffiths said.

It would be a grave abuse of the initiative if it were used in any way for military operational advantage, he noted.

On the alleged misuse of cargo vessels in the initiative for military purposes, Griffiths said that none were in the corridor on the night of Oct 29 when the reported attacks on the Russian fleet took place.

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As part of the deal, a Joint Coordination Center (JCC) was established in Istanbul with representatives from the UN, Russia, Ukraine and Türkiye to carry out safety inspections for cargo ships from and to the Ukrainian ports.

Russia has deployed a highly professional team at the JCC for the implementation of the deal, Griffiths said, adding that "we look forward to welcoming them back as a full and active participant in the fulfilment of the initiative."

The initial duration of the agreement is 120 days. The parties had agreed that the deal could be extended automatically on the condition that no party objects.

The United Nations is ready to address concerns and listen to suggestions from all sides, as the 120-day extension point on Nov 19 is approaching, said Griffiths.

"The Black Sea Grain Initiative is too important to fail, stormy though the waters are," he said.

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In this file photo taken on Oct 27, 2022, workers examine damage as they repair power line equipment after a missile strike on a power plant, in an undisclosed location of Ukraine. (SERGEI SUPINSKY / AFP)

In a daily report on Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that the Russian armed forces continued strikes with high-precision long-range air- and sea-based weapons at Ukraine's military control and energy systems

Strikes on Ukraine continue

In another development, Russian forces carried out a massive missile attack on critical infrastructure facilities across Ukraine on Monday, causing power outages and water disruptions, Ukrainian authorities said.

The Air Force of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said on Telegram that Ukraine was attacked by 50 cruise missiles, with 44 intercepted by air defense.

A power facility that feeds 350,000 apartments in Kyiv was damaged, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram, adding that part of the Ukrainian capital has been cut off from electricity and water supplies.

In a daily report on Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that the Russian armed forces continued strikes with high-precision long-range air- and sea-based weapons at Ukraine's military control and energy systems.

READ MORE: Russia accuses Ukraine of organizing Crimea bridge blast

"The goals of the strikes have been fulfilled. All the assigned targets have been neutralized," it said, adding that Russian troops foiled Ukrainian attempts to launch an offensive in the Kupyansk and Krasny Liman directions, killing hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers.