Home Business Ukraine Latest: Second Grain Flotilla Sails; Nuclear Worries

Ukraine Latest: Second Grain Flotilla Sails; Nuclear Worries

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A second caravan of vessels sailed early Sunday from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports carrying agricultural products, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister said. Late Saturday, the first incoming cargo ship since the signing of a safe-transit agreement between arrived for loading.

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(Bloomberg) — A second caravan of vessels sailed early Sunday from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports carrying agricultural products, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister said. Late Saturday, the first incoming cargo ship since the signing of a safe-transit agreement between arrived for loading. 

The head of the UN’s atomic agency warned of “potentially catastrophic consequences” in its first response to shelling Friday around Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. Ukraine said Russia targeted the facility, calling it “an act of terror.” Moscow said Kyiv was behind the incident and that it would complain to the UN.  

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Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Friday, as Ankara pushes for a mediating role to try to help end the war in Ukraine following its breakthrough deal on grain exports. Erdogan said five Turkish banks have adopted Russia’s Mir payments system. 

(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)

Key Developments

  • Nuclear-Plant Disaster in Ukraine Is ‘Very Real Risk,’ IAEA Says
  • Ukraine Blasts Watchdog Claim That Its Army Endangers Civilians
  • Grain Corridors Still Need Ships to Ease Food Crisis
  • Turkish Banks Are Adopting Russian Payments System, Erdogan Says
  • Ukraine Shores Up Reserves, Helped by Devaluation and Aid

On the Ground

Ukraine’s general staff on Sunday reported Russian artillery shelling in the direction of Kharkiv “along the entire line of contact.” There was also artillery fire in the Kramatorsk area including near Slovyansk, and Russian craft carried out air strikes near Bakhmut and in places toward Avdiyivka. Kyiv’s forces repelled Russian assaults in several eastern areas and fighting continues in some of them, according to the statement. Russia also fired from tanks and artillery along the contact line in the South Buh direction, and conducted air strikes near Andriyivka, Bilohirka, and Velyke Artakovo. Ukrainian aviation and missile and artillery units continue attacking concentrations of Russian manpower, equipment and ammunitions warehouses, it said. An extended curfew remains in place in Mykolaiv, where three people were killed and 15 injured in shelling on Saturday. 

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(All times CET)

Four More Bulk Carriers Have Sailed From Ukraine, Minister Says (8:02 a.m.)

A flotilla of four grain vessels sailed early Sunday from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Twitter, the second since Ukraine and Russia reached a safe-transit agreement on July 22. 

The Liberia-flagged Mustafa Necati and the Star Helena, Glory and Riva Wind, which all sail under the Marshall Islands flag, have almost 170,000 tons of agricultural products on board, he said. The exact contents of the cargoes and their destinations is unclear. 

Late Saturday, the cargo ship Fulmar S arrived at Chornomorsk, the first incoming vessel since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. “Our next step is to ensure the ability of Ukrainian ports to handle more than 100 vessels per month,” Kubrakov said.   

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Several Russian Commanders Dismissed Since February, UK Says (7:30 a.m.)

At least six Russian commanders have probably been relieved of their posts since the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine due to the “poor performance” of the nation’s armed forced, the UK defense department said. 

The dismissals are compounded by at least 10 Russian generals killed on the battlefield, the UK said in a Twitter thread. 

“The cumulative effect on consistency of command is likely contributing to Russian tactical and operational difficulties,” it added. 

UN Atomic Chief Warns of ‘Real Risk’ of Nuclear Disaster (6 p.m.)

The director general of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency made his first public comments after Friday’s shelling near Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, calling it “the latest in a long line of increasingly alarming reports.” 

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The incident “underlines the very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond,” Rafael Grossi said in a statement. 

Military action around the plant — which Russia occupied in March but is still being operated by Ukrainian personnel — “must be avoided at all costs,” he said. 

Kherson Region to Issue Russian Drivers Licenses: Tass (3 p.m.)

Authorities in the occupied Kherson region of southern Ukraine have started issuing Russian drivers licenses and car license plates, the state-run Tass news service reported, citing a spokesperson for Russia’s traffic authority. 

The move would be the latest in a bid to consolidate administrative control of occupied areas. Ukrainian civilians are being required to acquire Russian passports to participate in many basic life activities, including registering their cars. 

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Ukraine’s military intelligence agency reported that Russian authorities have written to business owners requesting that they register and start paying Russian taxes.

Germany Warns of Energy Crisis as Soon as December (2:20 p.m.) 

Germany needs to lower gas use by at least 20% or face an acute shortage as soon as December, the president of the Federal Network Agency said. 

Klaus Mueller, in an interview published Saturday by Welt am Sonntag, said Germany needs to plan for two winters in which the country still needs Russian gas. His latest warning reflects the pressure caused by Russia cutting gas flows through the key Nord Stream 1 pipeline to 20% of its normal capacity.

Germany is debating whether to postpone its planned exit from nuclear energy to ease the energy crunch. Wolfram Koenig, head of Germany’s Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management, called for new assessments nuclear security in the context of the war in Ukraine, according to an interview published Saturday in Tagesspiegel.

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Ukraine’s Grain Corridors Still Need Ships (11:53 a.m.)

Ukraine’s first grain exports since being invaded by Russia are bringing relief to squeezed global markets, but challenges remain before the millions of tons stuck in the country can move. 

Among them is caution among shipowners about sending their vessels into harm’s way, as the Black Sea waters are littered with mines and Russia didn’t hesitate to strike the port of Odesa a day after the safe-passage agreement was signed. 

Officials with knowledge of the insurance market quoted a wide range of figures for covering the nation’s cargoes, with most of the numbers looking prohibitive for the trade. 

Ukraine’s Grain Corridors Still Need Ships to Ease Food Crisis

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