The U.N. secretary-general said Thursday that he has reached out to Russia with “concrete proposals” to renew the collapsed grain deal Moscow pulled out of in July and then followed with a series of attacks on Ukraine’s ports and grain infrastructure.
“The proposal is relating to the need to reestablish the Black Sea initiative,” Antonio Guterres told reporters at the United Nations during a brief news conference. “At the same time, we have some concrete solutions for the concerns allowing for more effective access of Russian food and fertilizer to global markets at adequate prices.”
He did not go into detail on the proposal, only saying it addresses some of Moscow’s concerns. But he cautioned that any revival of the initiative must be stable.
“We cannot have a Black Sea initiative that moves from crisis to crisis, from suspension to suspension,” Guterres said. “We need to have something that works, and that works to the benefit of everybody.”
The U.N. chief said he does not see the possibility for peace in Ukraine anytime soon, making a resumption of initiatives like the grain deal even more urgent.
“I think we are not yet there,” Guterres said of ending the war. “That is why it is so important to take measures to reduce the dramatically negative impacts of this war in relation to the world.”
Meanwhile, Turkey, which played a key role in the negotiations and implementation of the grain deal, dispatched its foreign minister to Moscow Thursday to discuss reviving it.
For nearly a year, the initiative helped facilitate the export of nearly 33 million tons of grain and other foodstuffs from Ukraine via the Black Sea, helping to bring down global food prices, which spiked after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia was also receiving help in facilitating its own grain and fertilizer exports.
Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan expressed support for the U.N. proposals during a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, according to Turkish media reports.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also is reportedly planning to meet soon with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the grain deal, among other issues.
Fresh drone, missile attacks
Russian officials said Thursday the country’s air defenses shot down a Ukrainian drone flying toward Moscow.
The Russian defense ministry said the drone was destroyed over the Voskresensky district.
Sergei Sobyanin, Moscow’s mayor, said on Telegram there were no reports of casualties or damage.
On Wednesday, Ukraine launched a wave of drone attacks aimed at six Russian regions, including hitting an airport near Russia’s border with Estonia and Latvia. That drone ignited a huge blaze and damaged four Il-76 military transport planes, which can carry heavy machinery and troops, the Russian news agency Tass reported, quoting emergency officials.
Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Ukraine was relying on foreign help because the drones "simply would not be able to fly such a distance without carefully researched information from Western satellites."
Meanwhile, Moscow’s forces hit Kyiv with drones and missiles that Ukrainian officials described as a “massive, combined attack.” Two people were killed by falling debris.
Sergei Popko, the head of Kyiv’s military administration, described Russia’s attack on the Ukrainian capital as the biggest since the spring, even as Ukraine’s air defenses shot down more than 20 drones and missiles.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.