War front changes as ships are allowed to leave Ukraine

Kyiv, Ukraine (AP) — four more ships carrying agricultural products Cargo stalled by war in Ukraine It received permission to leave the country’s Black Sea coast on Sunday after analysts warned that Russia was moving troops and equipment in the direction of the port to stem a Ukrainian counterattack.

An agency that oversees international agreements aimed at sourcing about 20 million grains from Ukraine to feed millions of impoverished people. starving in africaMiddle East and parts of Asia said loaded ships were allowed to depart from Chornomorsk and Odesa.

Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations signed an agreement last month to create a seaway that would allow cargo ships to move safely from ports blocked by Russian forces through waters mined by Ukrainian forces. Implementation of the four-month contract has been progressing slowly since the first ship boarded last Monday.

During the last four months of the war Russia has focused on capture Donbass region in eastern UkraineFor eight years, pro-Moscow separatists have ruled some territory as a self-proclaimed republic. Russian forces have been making gradual advances in areas bordering Russia, launching missile and rocket attacks to curb the movement of Ukrainian fighters elsewhere.

A day earlier, five civilians were killed in Russian and separatist firing on cities in the Donetsk region, which is still part of Donbass, still under Ukrainian control, regional governor Serhiy Haidai reported.He and Ukrainian government officials have repeatedly urged civilians to evacuate prefecture.

In an analysis over the weekend, the UK Ministry of Defense said the Russian invasion, which began on 24 February, is “entering a new phase”, stretching from near the city of Zaporizhia to Russian-occupied Kherson.

Located on the Dnieper River near its mouth with the Black Sea, Kherson fell under Russian control early in the war and Ukrainian authorities vowed to recapture it. Kherson is 141 miles (227 km) from Odessa, home to Ukraine’s largest port, so any escalating conflict there could affect international grain agreements.

The city of Mykolaiv, an important shipbuilding center, is under daily attacks from the Russian army and is even closer to Odessa. Mikolaiv provincial governor Vitaly Kim said an industrial facility on the outskirts of the provincial capital opened fire early Sunday morning.

On Saturday, the Russian military launched airstrikes, fired artillery and redistributed other weapons as part of an attempt to defend its positions in the occupied territory, according to the War Research Institute, a Washington think tank.

Citing a local Ukrainian official, the institute said the Russians “continue to accumulate large amounts of military equipment” in a town across the Dnieper from Kherson. The preparations appeared designed to guard the logistics route to the city and establish a defensive position on the left bank of the river, the think tank said.

Ukrainian officials were initially skeptical of the grain export deal. He cited suspicions that Moscow would try to use its transport operations for a large offshore force, as it had done many times during the war, and to send long-range missiles from the Black Sea. A deal approved last month calls for ships to leave Ukraine under military escort and undergo inspections.

Under the agreement, ships leaving Ukraine will be inspected by a team of officials from the three countries and the United Nations to ensure that they carry only grain, fertilizer or food and no other goods. increase. Incoming vessels are checked to ensure they are not carrying weapons.

The Joint Coordination Center, which is in charge of managing the transaction, said the three cargo ships that departed on Friday are scheduled to transit Turkey’s Bosphorus on Sunday. inspection clearThe Panamanian-flagged Navi Star carrying 33,000 tons of grain to Ireland had completed inspections and was preparing to sail.

Polanet, a Turkish-flagged vessel bound for Turkey, and Rojen, a Maltese-flagged vessel bound for England, were waiting for checks. The vessel carried over 25,000 tons of corn and was awaiting inspection. T.

The Joint Coordination Center said of the carriers authorized to leave Ukraine on Sunday, Glory, Star Helena and Riva Wind all flew in the Marshall Islands, with a combined total of more than 171,000 tons. He said he was transporting corn. Glory will head to Istanbul, Star Helena to Nantong, China, and Riva Wind to the Mediterranean port of Iskenderun, Turkey.

The Liberian-flagged tanker Mustafa Necati is the fourth vessel to be cleared to depart, carrying more than 6,600 tons of sunflower oil to Monopoli, Italy.

The center also said the Liberian-flagged Osprey S will head to the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk on Monday, confirming the first inbound vessel under the agreement. A maritime traffic tracking site showed the ship north of the Black Sea entrance to the Bosporus, where it was waiting to be boarded by an inspection team.


Andrew Wilks contributed a report from Istanbul.


This version has been modified to show that the four new ships to be approved were allowed to depart on Sunday instead of Monday.


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