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Russia pulled out of a key United Nations-brokered Black Sea grain deal, provoking international outrage and dealing a blow to attempts to ease a global food crisis.

Russia and Ukraine swap around 50 prisoners of war

Grain deal

  • Russia said it suspended participation in July’s Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allowed major exporter Ukraine to ship agricultural produce, after Ukrainian attacks on ships in Crimea.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia was trying to create an artificial famine in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, calling for a strong response from the United Nations and the Group of 20 major economies.

  • Ukraine’s foreign minister accused Moscow of using a “false pretext” to suspend its participation, urging “all states to demand Russia to stop its hunger games and recommit to its obligations”.

  • US President Joe Biden called the move “purely outrageous”, saying it would increase starvation.

  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russia was weaponizing food by exacerbating humanitarian crises. “Any act by Russia to disrupt these critical grain exports is essentially a statement that people and families around the world should pay more for food or go hungry,” Blinken said in a statement.

Nord stream, crimea

  • Russia’s defence ministry said British navy personnel blew up the Nord Stream gas pipelines last month, a claim that London said was false and designed to distract from Russian military failures in Ukraine.

  • Moscow offered no evidence for its claim. The ministry said “British specialists” from the same unit directed Ukrainian drone attacks on ships of Russian Black Sea fleet in Crimea earlier on Saturday that it said were largely repelled by Russian forces, with minor damage to a Russian minesweeper.

Diplomacy

  • Suspected agents working for Russian President Vladimir Putin hacked British former Prime Minister Liz Truss’s personal phone, gaining access to “top-secret details” of negotiations with international allies, the Daily Mail reported on Saturday.

  • Russia said the accelerated deployment of modernised US B61 tactical nuclear weapons at NATO bases in Europe would lower the “nuclear threshold” and that Russia would take the move into account in its military planning.

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