Russia Threatens to Abandon Black Sea Grain Initiative | New batch of classified documents leaked, Russia suspected

Russia Threatens to Abandon Black Sea Grain Initiative
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A new batch of classified documents appear on social media sites, Russia or pro-Russian elements likely behind the earlier leak

According to The New York Times, a new batch of classified documents appeared on social media sites on Friday, which appeared to reveal U.S. national security secrets from Ukraine to the Middle East to China. However, the documents did not reveal when or where the offensive would take place.

Reuters reports that Russia or pro-Russian elements are likely to be behind the previous leak of several classified U.S. military documents posted on social media sites, which offered a skewed, month-old snapshot of the war in Ukraine. The documents also appear to have lowered the number of casualties suffered by Russian forces and overstated American estimates of Ukrainian war dead. Three U.S. officials told Reuters that their assessments were informal and separate from an investigation into the leak itself. Ukraine’s leaders held a meeting on Friday to discuss the leaked documents detailing U.S. and NATO plans to help the country’s counteroffensive against Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attended the meeting but made no mention of a leak. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Russia warns it will not renew the Black Sea Grain Initiative unless terms are met

Russia warned that it would not renew the Black Sea Grain Initiative signed by the Kremlin, Ukraine, Turkey, and the United Nations last July unless Moscow’s terms are fulfilled. The deal allows Ukraine to export grain through a safe corridor in the Black Sea. Moscow is complaining that its side of the agreement, promising the right to export fertilizer and other agricultural products, is not being honored. At a news conference in Ankara, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov threatened to abandon the agreement, calling on the West to remove obstacles to Russian agricultural exports and lift restrictions on insurance and reinsurance. Lavrov said that if those terms were not honored, Russia would bypass the U.N.-brokered initiative exporting products, and Ukraine would have to use land and river routes for its exports.

Central and Eastern Europe farmers protest over a high influx of cheap Ukrainian grain imports

Anger is rising among farmers in central and eastern Europe over the high influx of cheap Ukrainian grain imports, exempt from customs fees until June 2024, which have hurt prices and sales of local producers. In Romania, thousands of farmers held protests on Friday, blocking traffic and border checkpoints with tractors and trucks and urging the European Commission to intervene. Polish and Bulgarian farmers have also held protests, and Polish Agriculture Minister Henryk Kowalczyk resigned from his post this week. His replacement, Robert Telus, said Friday that Poland would temporarily halt imports of Ukrainian grain to mitigate the impact on prices, but he added that transit would still be allowed.

British Defense Ministry says Bakhmut is at risk

The British Defense Ministry said on Friday in its daily intelligence update on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that Russia has recently regained some “momentum” in the battle for Bakhmut. The report stated that Russian forces have “highly likely advanced” into the town center of Bakhmut and have seized the west bank of the Bakhmutka River. The update also reported that Wagner forces and Russian Defense Ministry commanders “have paused their ongoing feud and improved cooperation.”

Journalist Gershkovich charged with espionage in Russia

Russian Federal Security Service investigators have formally charged Evan Gershkovich with espionage. “Gershkovich has been charged,” Interfax quoted a source as saying. The Wall Street Journal reporter denied all the charges and said he was working as a journalist, Russian news agencies reported Friday. Russia’s Federal Security Service opened an espionage case against the 31-year-old for collecting what it said were state secrets about the military-industrial complex in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg.

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