Zelenskyj made it clear that the implementation of the grain agreement, which provides for an end to the Russian naval blockade, is also of enormous importance for Ukraine. It’s not just about billions in foreign exchange earnings. “About half a million Ukrainians are involved in growing export agricultural products, and if we add related industries, that’s an additional million jobs,” he said.
A spokesman for the Russian military assured on Monday evening that Russia would honor its commitments to implement the agreement. Moscow has taken all measures to guarantee the safety of shipping in the Black Sea. Corresponding corridors have been created for the Ukrainian ports.
In New York, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock welcomed the departure of the first grain freighter as a “small gesture of humanity”.
Criticism of Russia’s nuclear policy
Meanwhile, criticism of Moscow also came from New York: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Russia of using its nuclear weapons for ruthless threats of war. Earlier statements by Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin that military aid could have unprecedented consequences for Ukraine are “dangerous nuclear saber-rattling,” said Blinken on Monday at the start of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference in New York.
The statements are contrary to international agreements. “There is no place in our world for nuclear deterrence based on force and intimidation or blackmail. We must stand together to oppose it.”
Also speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Blinken said the US government was also “deeply concerned” that Russia had seized several nuclear power plants in the war against Ukraine. With regard to the Ukrainian nuclear power plant Zaporizhia, for example, there are credible reports that Russia is using the plant as a kind of protective shield – that is, shooting at Ukrainian forces from close to the plant. The Ukrainians could not fire back because it could lead to a terrible nuclear accident.
The media had previously reported that Russian artillery in particular had entrenched themselves in the area of the nuclear power plant and were shooting at Ukrainian positions from there.
German artillery systems in Ukraine
The Ukrainians, meanwhile, are looking forward to strengthening their own artillery systems. According to information from Kyiv, multiple rocket launchers of the type Mars II arrived from Germany on Monday. Defense Minister Olexej Resnikov thanked his German colleague Christine Lambrecht for the arms assistance.
Lambrecht had already announced the delivery last week. Accordingly, three Mars II systems went to Ukraine. In terms of heavy weapons, Germany has also handed over the Gepard anti-aircraft tanks and Panzerhaubitze 2000 artillery pieces to Kyiv.
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