Day 575: Poland and Ukraine seek a solution to the grain dispute. A Russian airfield in Crimea was the target of an attack. All information in the news blog.
The most important things at a glance
First grain ship from Ukraine reaches Istanbul
4:20 p.m.: For the first time since Russia withdrew from the grain agreement, a ship loaded with wheat from Ukraine reached Turkey on Thursday. The freighter “Resilient Africa” docked in the port of Istanbul in the afternoon, according to data from the Marine Traffic website. The ship, flying the Palau flag, was carrying 3,000 tons of wheat destined for Israel, according to Ukrainian sources.
The “Resilient Africa” and the freighter “Aroyat” had previously headed to the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk to take a total of around 20,000 tons of wheat on board. They were the first grain freighters to reach a Ukrainian port since the end of the Black Sea agreement with Moscow.
The “Resilient Africa” then set off again on Tuesday, while the “Aroyat” was loaded with wheat in Chornomorsk on Thursday, according to the Ukrainian government, which is destined for the Egyptian market.
Five Bulgarians charged with spying for Russia in London
3:20 p.m.: Five people from Bulgaria are charged in Great Britain with spying for Russia. The three men and two women are accused of collecting information “that could be useful to an enemy” between August 2020 and February 2023, the British Crown Prosecution Service said on Thursday.
“The charges follow an investigation by the Metropolitan Police Counter-Terrorism Command,” it said. The defendants, aged between 29 and 45 and living in Great Britain, are due to appear in court for a hearing next Tuesday.
Russia temporarily restricts fuel exports
2:45 p.m.: Russia is temporarily restricting exports of gasoline and diesel to stabilize the domestic market. “Temporary restrictions will help saturate the fuel market, which in turn will reduce prices for consumers,” the government in Moscow said. She does not provide any details about the measures. The Energy Ministry also announced that unauthorized so-called gray exports of fuels would be prevented.
In recent months there have been shortages of gasoline and diesel in Russia. Wholesale prices shot up, even though retail prices are capped in line with inflation. According to traders, the Russian fuel market has been hit by maintenance work at oil refineries, railway shortages and the weakness of the ruble, among other factors.
Agriculture ministers of Poland and Ukraine want to resolve the grain dispute
2:24 p.m.: In the dispute over the Polish import ban on Ukrainian grain, the agriculture ministers of both countries are trying to find a way out. Ukrainian Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskyj spoke on the phone with his Polish colleague Robert Telus on Thursday, the government in Kiev announced. They agreed to find a solution “that takes into account the interests of both countries.” The basis is a proposal from Ukraine, which was not elaborated on. Poland will examine this plan and make its own proposals, Solskyj’s ministry said.
According to the PAP agency, Telus said it was pleased that Ukraine was now talking directly to Poland. He demanded that Kiev should withdraw a complaint before the World Trade Organization (WTO).
To the annoyance of Ukraine, Poland only allows grain to pass through in transit, but not to the domestic market. Especially during election campaigns, the leadership in Warsaw defends the interests of Polish farmers. The tone between the close allies has therefore become rougher in recent days. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki even seemed to question arms deliveries to Ukraine in an interview. Read more here.
Army confirms Ukrainian attack on Russian Crimean airfield
1:21 p.m.: The Ukrainian army said it attacked a Russian military air base on the Crimean peninsula on Thursday. The airfield is near the town of Saky, the army said on the Telegram online service. The “combined attack” was carried out on Thursday night.
Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. Since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the Ukrainian army has repeatedly targeted the peninsula. The Ukrainian leadership has repeatedly stated that it wants to retake Crimea.