Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Wednesday thanked the European Union for confirming 5 billion euros ($4.97 billion) in macro-financial aid but said the country needed a “full-fledged” programme of financing from the International Monetary Fund.

Zelenskiy made the comments in a Twitter post following a conversation with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who he said discussed plans to further strengthen Ukraine’s defence capabilities.

Ukraine hopes to export 60 million tonnes of grain in eight to nine months, presidential economic adviser Oleh Ustenko said in July, cautioning that those exports could take up to 24 months if ports do not function properly.

Putin complained that another part of the deal meant to ease restrictions for Russian food exporters and shippers was not being implemented either.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov cast doubt on the deal too a day earlier, accusing Western states at the United Nations of failing to honour reciprocal pledges to help facilitate Moscow’s shipments.

Russia’s grain exports in August are expected to come in 28% lower than the same period last year, according to a forecast from Russia’s Sovecon consultancy.

The other main global repercussion of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a surge in energy prices as the West responded with sanctions and Moscow restricted exports of gas to Europe, blaming Western restrictions and technical problems.

As the European Union prepared to propose a price cap on Russian gas to try to contain an energy crisis that threatens widespread hardship this winter, Putin threatened to halt all supplies if it took such a step.

“Will there be any political decisions that contradict the contracts? Yes, we just won’t fulfil them. We will not supply anything at all if it contradicts our interests,” Putin said.

“We will not supply gas, oil, coal, heating oil – we will not supply anything,” Putin said.

Europe usually imports about 40% of its gas and 30% of its oil from Russia.


Asked about what Russia calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine by a moderator at the economic forum in Vladivostok, Putin said:

“We have not lost anything and will not lose anything … In terms of what we have gained, I can say that the main gain has been the strengthening of our sovereignty.”

The governor of Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region, which Russia has said it has taken over on behalf of separatist proxies, told Ukrainian television on Tuesday that Ukraine was fighting back.

A “counter-attack is underway and … our forces are enjoying some success. Let’s leave it at that,” Serhiy Gaidai said on Tuesday, without giving locations.

An official with the pro-Moscow self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic on Tuesday said there was fighting at Balakliia, an eastern town of 27,000 people between Kharkiv and Russian-held Izyum, site of a major railway hub used by Moscow to supply its forces.

“Today, the Ukrainian armed forces, after prolonged artillery preparation … began an attack on Balakliia … ” Daniil Bezsonov said on Telegram, adding that if the town were lost, Russian forces in Izyum would become vulnerable on their northwest flank.

Russia says it has repelled an assault in the south and has not reported any territorial losses.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said its forces had taken Kodema in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region from Ukrainian forces. The village of some 600 people is claimed by the Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic as part of its territory.


Source: Reuters



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