Kremlin Slams EU’s Stance on Ukraine Grain Deal, Pulls Out of U.N.-Brokered Agreement

Title: Russia Withdraws from Ukraine Grain Deal as EU Criticism Grows

Intro: Russia has chosen to withdraw from a United Nations (UN)-brokered grain deal with Ukraine due to ongoing restrictions on its own deliveries. The move has drawn criticism from the European Union (EU) and Turkish officials, further escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine. In another development, Russia has partially reopened the Kerch Bridge road in Crimea after a terrorist attack on the structure. Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials report that Russian airstrikes have targeted southern regions of Ukraine. Additionally, China has emerged as the top recipient of Ukrainian agricultural products under the Black Sea grain deal. Finally, President Joe Biden of the United States plans to meet with Cardinal Matteo Zuppi to discuss support for Ukraine in its ongoing conflict with Russia.

Russian withdrawal from Ukraine grain deal draws EU criticism

The Kremlin has come under fire from the European Commission as Russia pulls out of the UN-brokered grain deal with Ukraine. Concerns regarding ongoing restrictions on Russian grain deliveries have prompted this move. While European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called Russia’s decision “cynical,” Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had initially been involved in brokering the agreement and expressed his intention to discuss the possibility of resuming the deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, according to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, there are currently no plans for talks between the two leaders. Meanwhile, Peskov praised the UN’s efforts to ensure Europe meets its commitments under the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Discussions on grain deliveries from Russia to African destinations will take place at the upcoming Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg.

Reopening of Kerch Bridge road following terrorist attack

The Kerch Bridge road connecting Crimea to Russia has partially reopened after an act of terrorism on the bridge. Two individuals lost their lives, and one person was injured during the explosion, resulting in significant damage and the halting of traffic. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin announced the partial restoration of motor transport on the Crimean Bridge, but ferry operations remain suspended due to adverse weather conditions. Moscow has accused Ukraine of orchestrating the terrorist attack, although Ukraine has denied any involvement. The 12-mile road and rail bridge, symbolizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, has served as a crucial supply route for Russian troops involved in the conflict with Ukraine.

Russian airstrikes hit southern Ukraine as tensions mount

Ukrainian officials report that Russia conducted airstrikes in parts of southern Ukraine during the night. The port of Mykolaiv was struck, causing a fire that spread over 500 square meters but was eventually extinguished. The Ukrainian Air Force indicated on Telegram that Russia employed a combination of Kalibr cruise missiles and Shahed drones in the attacks. While the majority of the strikes targeted Odesa and Mykolaiv regions, other areas like Donetsk and Kharkiv were also affected. It’s important to note that these reports have not been independently verified by CNBC.

China emerges as top recipient of Ukrainian agricultural products

The Black Sea Grain Initiative responsible for overseeing agricultural exports has revealed that China ranks as the largest recipient of Ukrainian foodstuffs. Since July 2022, over 32 million metric tons of agricultural goods have been exported to more than 40 destinations worldwide. China alone has received nearly 8 million metric tons of agricultural products from Ukraine.

Biden to discuss Ukraine support with Pope Francis’ envoy

President Joe Biden plans to meet with Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, Pope Francis’ envoy, who is currently in Washington, D.C. at the Pope’s request. The meeting will focus on the widespread suffering caused by Russia’s ongoing conflict with Ukraine. Biden and Zuppi will explore efforts to provide humanitarian aid to those affected by the conflict, as well as the repatriation of Ukrainian children who were forcibly deported by Russian officials. Prior to this meeting, Cardinal Zuppi had previously met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.

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