According to the British Ministry of Defense, Russia has shown that it is ready to use global food security for its own political purpose.
In its daily intelligence update, the Department of Defense said on Sunday that: Russia would then blame the West for “every failure”.
The ministry added that Russia’s attempt to reduce the severity of international sanctions also “emphasizes the stress sanctions place on the regime”.
Kiev has accused Russia of blocking agricultural exports from Ukraine, known as the “breadbasket of Europe”.
Earlier this week, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said the country is ready to provide a humanitarian corridor for ships carrying food through the Black Sea in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
He also requested Ukraine to clear the area around the port of Odessa to allow the passage of ships.
It comes after French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz urged Vladimir Putin to lift a Russian blockade of the port of Odessa to allow Ukrainian grain exports as the conflict has implications beyond its borders. from Ukraine.
The Kremlin said Mr Putin had told them he was willing to discuss ways to allow Ukraine to resume grain shipments from the Black Sea.
Ukraine is a major grain exporter – so the lockdown on its exports risks resulting in global food shortages.
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Scholz and Macron call Putin
Elsewhere in the phone call, Macron and Scholz urged the Russian leader to release the 2,500 Ukrainian defenders of the Azovstal steel plant currently being held by Kremlin troops, the Elysee Palace said.
Last week, the Russian army declared Azovstal and all of Mariupol “completely liberated” and reported that more than 2,400 fighters from the last pocket of the Ukrainian resistance had entered the besieged city.
The fighters in need of medical treatment were taken to a hospital in the Russian-controlled town of Novoazovsk, about 48 kilometers east of Mariupol, while others were taken to Olenivka.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a televised interview that he believed Russia would agree to talks if Ukraine could recapture all the territory it has lost since the February 24 invasion.
Though he rejected the idea of using force to reclaim all the land his country has lost to Russia since 2014, including the southern Crimean peninsula.
“I don’t believe we can restore all our areas by military means. If we decide to go that way, we will lose hundreds of thousands of people,” he said.
Russia intensifies attack in the east
Russian forces on Sunday intensified their attack on the largest city occupied by Ukrainian troops in the east Donbas region.
It comes as Kiev said it remains hopeful that the longer-range weapons it so desperately needs will arrive soon from Western allies.
Putin’s forces have made slow, solid gains in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas in recent days — marking a subtle shift in the war, now in its fourth month.
They are now close to conquering the entire Luhansk region after it became one of the Kremlin’s more modest war targets and ceased the attack on the capital Kiev despite Ukrainian resistance.
The Russian Defense Ministry said its forces and allied separatist forces were in complete control of Lyman, the site of a railway junction west of the Siverskyi Donets River in the Donetsk.
However, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said the battle for Lyman continues, according to ZN.ua’s website.
Sievierodonetsk, about 60 km northeast of Lyman on the eastern side of the river and the largest Donbas city still held by Ukraine, was heavily attacked.
“The situation has escalated to the extreme,” Luhansk governor Serhiy Gaidai said.
He added that the shelling was so intense it was not possible to determine casualties and damage, although two people were killed on Saturday and another 13 buildings in the city were destroyed.
Mr Gaidai said Ukrainian troops may have to withdraw from the city to avoid capture, but it was not clear whether they had begun to withdraw.
Ukraine needs weapons from the West
In an overnight video address, Mr Zelenskyy expressed hope that Ukraine’s allies would provide more weapons, adding that he expects “good news” in the coming days.
His adviser, Oleksiy Arestovych, said: “The weapons we so desperately need will most likely be delivered soon.”
Meanwhile, Ukrainian MP Kira Rudik will meet with British ministers next week, including a meeting with the defense committee on Monday.
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She told Sophy Ridge on Sky News this morning that she will be asking for a wide range of missiles, which is “something we need essential to ensure we fight the Russians back”.
“The second point is the visa waiver for Ukrainians”, since “not so many people come in”.
Ms Rudik said she will also talk about efforts to unblock Ukraine’s ports as many countries face high food prices.