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Ukraine Crisis

Hunger fears mount over Ukraine grain blockade

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Ukraine’s grain mills are struggling to get back into full swing after suffering war damage, and that spells trouble for domestic consumers, and the global market.

Russian forces may have pulled back from Chernihiv in northern Ukraine, but the damage left behind is still there to see.

The local Mlibor granary reopened in April after Moscow withdrew from the area.

While it meets the country’s demand for corn, production is limited after Russian forces damaged the site through shelling.

Granary CEO Serhii Yarosh says the flour mill is completely out of order.

“The buildings are damaged, the workshops are damaged and the mill. Now we should be milling the flour which our country needs very much.”

Russia’s invasion – which it calls a ‘special military operation’ – has also led to a blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports.

That’s bad news for global food supplies as Ukraine is one of the world’s top producers of grain.

Pierre Vauthier is from the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation.

“Odesa has to be reopened and we need to have an agreement to have it reopened. This diplomatic solution has to be discussed. There are people who can solve the situation and we need to have an agreement. As our secretary general has reminded us.”

Vauthier warned even if a diplomatic solution is reached on reopening the ports, it would still take several months to establish safe export routes.

The Kremlin has rejected claims that Russia has blocked grain exports from Ukraine, saying western sanctions are to blame.

On Thursday (May 26), a senior Turkish official said Ankara was in negotiations with Moscow and Kyiv to open a corridor via Turkey for grain exports from Ukraine.

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine and Moldova on the edge of EU membership

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Ukraine and Moldova have officially been granted EU candidate status, moving the nations one step closer to joining the union

The decision comes nearly four months after Ukraine’s Zelensky launched his country’s bid to join the bloc, and deals a major blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But Russia’s President Putin claims he has “nothing against” the possible membership, saying it’s Ukraine’s “sovereign decision” to join or not.

But some analysts are doubting whether Russia’s comments are genuine.

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Ukraine Crisis

Russia targets Ukrainian capital of Kyiv during G7

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Russia has targeted the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, as leaders of the G7 meet in Germany

A missile strike left one dead, and six wounded after a residential apartment was hit. It’s the first such strikes on the capital in three weeks.

The city’s Deputy Mayor says four people were admitted to local hospitals, as authorities continue their search and rescue efforts.

It’s believed a 7-year-old girl is among those who are injured in the complex. Meanwhile, a missile funnel has been found in the backyard of a nearby kindergarten.

U-S President Joe Biden says the strikes are barbaric, but declined to comment on whether they were deliberately occurring because of the G7 meeting.

The Group of Seven leaders will ban imports of gold from Russia, the latest in a series of sweeping sanctions against the nation for its war in Ukraine.

Leaders will also discuss rising energy costs and inflation.

President Biden is also pledging 200 billion dollars as part of a global infrastructure package to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Meanwhile, Russia maintains the invasion is a special military operation.

The nation’s Defence Minister has paid a visit to Russian troops and giving medals to soldiers.

President Vladimir Putin says his nation will transfer nuclear-capable missile systems to Belarus in the coming months.

Belarus has been a close ally to Russia. The nation’s President travelled to St Petersburg for a series of meetings at the weekend.

Meanwhile, the G7 says there is one world leader who is missing from their high-stakes talks.

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Body behind Eurovision “understands the disappointment” over next host city

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Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra won the Eurovision contest in May, capturing the hearts of the world

After taking out the win, that would mean Ukraine would host the competition next year.

But the European Broadcasting Union announced last week it could not be held in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.

The body behind Eurovision now says it “understands the disappointment” over its decision not to hold next year’s song contest in Ukraine.

The EBU said it was in talks with the BBC to host the contest in the UK.

That’s because British entrant Sam Ryder came second in this year’s contest with his single Spaceman.

The announcement was met with disappointment by Ukrainians but the E-B-U doubled down on its position, saying in a statement that it “fully understands the disappointment that greeted the announcement”.

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