No deal yet with Russia or Turkey to unblock Black Sea, Ukraine says – POLITICO


Kyiv says it has not yet reached any agreement with Russia or Turkey to allow the safe passage of its grain ships in the Black Sea, injecting skepticism into a push by the U.N. to create a vital food corridor.

The warning comes on the eve of a round of talks brokered by Turkey to demine Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and assuage a mounting global food crisis that has been severely worsened by Russia’s naval blockade.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will hold talks with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara on Wednesday, with Russian media already talking up the prospect of a deal that would allow Moscow to claim it is helping hungry nations in Africa and the Middle East.

In a statement, Ukraine’s ministry of foreign affairs said Kyiv will reject any agreements “that do not take into account the interest of Ukraine.”

“We appreciate Türkiye’s efforts aimed at unblocking Ukrainian ports. At the same time, it should be noted that there are no agreements on this issue between Ukraine, Turkey and Russia at this time,” the statement said.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said neither he nor Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba was invited to the talks in Ankara, Interfax reported.

A deal which allows Russian ships greater access to Ukraine’s port of Odesa is a non-starter for Kyiv, as it believes the Russian navy would take advantage of a demined port to attack it. Russia has previously signaled it would want relief from sanctions in return for food export guarantees.

“Given the recent Russian missile strike on a grain terminal in Mykolaiv, we cannot rule out Russia’s plans to use such a corridor to attack Odesa and southern Ukraine,” the statement continued.


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Defeated GOP lawmaker sees ‘dark and cynical’ streak prevailing in politics

Gibbs benefited both from Trump’s support and from ads funded by House Democrats, presumably because Democrats thought him to be a more beatable candidate than Meijer, who was one of only 10 House Republicans to vote in favor of Trump’s impeachment. The district in Western Michigan is a priority for Democrats because, as it is now drawn, it is one of the few House districts in the country represented by a Republican that President Joe Biden won in 2020.

“The fact that we have the establishment left and the extreme right locking arms in common cause paints a very telling picture of where our politics are in 2022,” Meijer told host Margaret Brennan.

The spending on ads focused on Gibbs by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee drew complaints from some House Democrats. “No race is worth compromising your values in that way,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.).

For his part, Meijer suggested Sunday that as long as Biden is not particularly popular, the Democrats’ strategy could backfire and lead to Gibbs and others like him being elected.

“While I think there was certainly a cynical calculus at play with the Democrats meddling, this is a risky strategy,” he said, adding: “It is easy to see that strategy backfiring in a spectacular way, which is all the more reason why we should not be embracing the zero-sum idea of politics.”

Meijer lost by 3 percentage points. He said he was encouraged that despite the efforts of Trump and House Democrats, he still managed to draw almost half of the primary vote.

“We should not be embracing this notion that if we can keep a problem alive, keep it festering, but be able to gain a marginal advantage in the process, that that somehow equates to a victory,” he said. “I think it’s a dark and cynical way of viewing our politics that, frankly, 48 percent of the electorate in the primary here rejected. They stood against that cynicism.”

Learn more about the Karen Bass corruption case and how it could impact her future as L.A.’s mayor. Get the latest news on the USC corruption case and its ties to Rep. Karen Bass.

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