Putin promises Africa free grain shipments and his forces again strike Ukrainian infrastructure

Putin promises Africa free grain shipments and his forces again strike Ukrainian infrastructure

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Monday that his country would send “in the coming weeks” free shipments of grain to six African countries after it withdrew in July from an agreement allowing Ukraine to export its grain through a safe corridor in the Black Sea, at a time when his forces renewed their targeting of Ukrainian infrastructure.

The Russian army bombed agricultural machinery and production buildings in the Izmail region (southwestern Ukraine), whose port on the Danube River has become essential for Ukrainian exports.

When receiving his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the resort of Sochi in the southwest of the country, Putin said during a press conference, "We are about to conclude agreements with six African countries that we intend to supply grains for free in the coming weeks."

The Russian President did not specify which countries he was talking about, indicating that his country was also prepared to "provide free logistical services to deliver these shipments."

At the end of July, days after the end of the effects of the grain agreement, which Moscow suspended due to its dissatisfaction with the impact of international sanctions on its exports of fertilizers and grains, Putin announced that he would take an initiative to address the growing concern of several African countries.

Erdogan, the godfather of the currently frozen grain agreement, is one of the rare leaders in NATO who continues to engage in dialogue with the master of the Kremlin.

The two presidents did not announce any tangible progress on Ukrainian grain exports, while Putin merely said again that he was ready to "consider the possibility of reviving the agreement" as soon as the West stops obstructing Russia's exports of agricultural products.

For his part, the Turkish President said that he was preparing “new proposals” with the United Nations “to obtain results,” but he did not provide details in this regard.

Russia asserts that Western sanctions are hampering its exports of agricultural products and fertilizers.
Putin renewed his accusation that the West was “deceiving” Russia, stressing that the Westerners “once again did nothing” regarding Moscow’s demands.

The grain agreement, which was negotiated under the auspices of Ankara and the United Nations in the summer of 2022, aims to allow Ukraine to export its grains through its ports overlooking the Black Sea.

On the sidelines of Putin and Erdogan’s meeting, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu discussed with his Turkish counterpart Yasar Guler the “grain agreement and joint work in Syria,” as his office in Moscow announced.

Regarding Ukraine, Putin reiterated the "failure" of the counterattack launched by Kiev since the beginning of June, which allowed it to regain control of some towns.

"It failed. In any case, that is exactly the situation today," Putin said, adding, "We will see what happens later, but I hope it will remain that way."

Since June, the Ukrainian army has launched a large-scale counterattack in the south and east of the country to liberate the territories occupied by Moscow, but Kiev forces are advancing very slowly due to the fortified Russian defenses.
On the ground, Russia carried out a series of bomb-laden drone strikes on Monday targeting southern Ukraine, causing damage to infrastructure.

For its part, Kiev confirmed on Monday that Russian bomb-laden drones had fallen at night in Romania, a neighboring country and a member of both NATO and the European Union, something Bucharest “categorically denied.”

On the other hand, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov announced on Monday that he had submitted his resignation to Parliament, the day after President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the appointment of his successor, after corruption scandals affected the ministry against the backdrop of the Russian invasion.

The Ukrainian army said in a statement that on the night of Sunday and Monday, Russia launched “32 Iranian-made Shahed drones,” targeting southern and southeastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian air defenses destroyed a total of 23 of these drones, according to the same source, which implies that about ten of them hit their target.

In the southern Odessa region, local governor Oleg Kiper indicated on Monday via Telegram that “warehouses, production buildings, agricultural machinery and industrial company equipment were damaged in several towns in the vicinity of the Izmail region” southwest of Odessa, noting that the attack lasted three and a half hours and did not cause casualties.

The port of Izmail, located on the Danube River near Romania, has become an important corridor for Ukrainian exports since Russia's withdrawal from the grain agreement in mid-July.
On Monday morning, Ukrainian border guards confirmed that Russian drones had landed on Romanian territory.

Spokesman Andriy Demchenko told AFP, "We recorded two explosions on Romanian territory in the Port Ismail area."

Romania, for its part, was quick to “categorically deny” this information, through the Ministry of Defense.
He said in a statement that the Russian attacks overnight "at no time posed a direct military threat" to Romania.

Commenting on the Romanian denial, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that “there is no point in denying” the fall of the Russian marches in Romania, “because there are pictures that we are ready to publish that prove what happened there,” considering that there is “a tendency in Romania to downplay the importance of some events so as not to be led astray.” into direct conflict.

The Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office said on Sunday that Russian drones bombed industrial sites on the Danube River on the night of Saturday-Sunday.

For its part, the Russian army announced that it struck the port of Reni in the Odessa region with drones, targeting "fuel storage facilities used to supply military equipment belonging to the Ukrainian armed forces."

On Monday, Ukraine announced limited gains on the southern front and the recovery of three square kilometers near Bakhmut (east).

In Kiev, the authorities reported receiving a false bomb threat from all schools in the capital, three days after the first similar report they received at the beginning of the school year on September 1.

The Russian army also announced on Monday that it had destroyed four speedboats with Ukrainian soldiers on board in the Black Sea.

The Russian Ministry of Defense stated on Telegram that “planes belonging to the Black Sea Fleet destroyed” on Sunday night “in the northwestern part of the Black Sea four American-made Willard Sea Force fast military boats (carrying) armed Ukrainian landing groups.”

The ministry indicated that the boats were heading towards Ras Tarkhankut in the western Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014, without further details.