Food crisis concerns and Moscow tests hypersonic missile

Here is a review of the main events that occurred yesterday, on the 94th day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine:

-The president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, expressed that his country is “willing” to help an “unhindered” export of cereals from Ukraine and warned of the risk of future “destabilization” in the conflict over the shipment of weapons from the West , speaking by phone with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who in turn called for “serious negotiations” for peace. Ukraine, a major grain exporter, has its production blocked due to the fighting, while Russia, another agricultural power, is unable to sell its fertilizers and grain due to Western sanctions. Both countries produce a third of the world’s wheat.

-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated that the G7 is working “to resume grain exports from Ukraine”, for which it is “imperative that Russia relax its blockade and allow safe shipping lanes”, amid fears of that the world food crisis worsens as an effect of the war. The conservative prime minister and the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, discussed the latest developments in Donbass, the region in eastern Ukraine where the fighting is currently concentrated.

– A cargo ship entered the Ukrainian port of Mariupol for the first time since Russia completed its occupation with the aim of moving metal, in a maneuver that Ukraine described as “looting”. The ship will load 2,700 tons of metal bound for the Russian town of Rostov-on-Don, where it is expected to arrive tomorrow.

-The Russian Army confirmed that it controls Liman, a key town to advance towards large cities in eastern Ukraine, an area where much of the fighting is currently concentrated. Liman is a major railway junction northeast of Slaviansk, briefly seized by pro-Russian separatists in 2014, and Kramatorsk, the capital of the Donetsk region, which is under Ukrainian control. The conquest of the town would allow the Russian troops to clear the last obstacle to advance towards the cities of Slaviansk and Kramatorsk, in a maneuver to surround Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, further to the east.

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-The head of Ukraine’s negotiating team, Mijail Podoliak, ruled out the possibility of achieving peace through dialogue, stating that an agreement with Russia “would not be worth a penny” and assuring that his country “has no other option but to fight to a victorious end.” Podoliak claimed that Russia proved to be a “barbarian country” that embarked on a “medieval-style war of aggression” that threatens not only Ukraine’s borders, but global security as a whole. “A barbarian can only be stopped by force,” he said, vowing that Ukraine will fight Russia “until the end” as it has “no other options.”

-The Russian Army announced that it had successfully fired a new Zircon hypersonic cruise missile upon reaching a target located some 1,000 kilometers away, in a test that coincides with a resurgence of the offensive in eastern Ukraine. The Zircon missile was launched from the Amiral Gorshkov frigate in the Barents Sea to a target in the waters of the White Sea in the Arctic, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.