UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is urging Russia and Ukraine to renew the deal that has seen more than 9 million tons of grain exported from Ukraine and brought down global food prices.
He is also calling for other countries, mainly in the West, to expedite the removal of obstacles blocking Russian grain and fertilizer exports.
The U.N. chief’s spokesman said Friday that Guterres underlines the urgency of renewing the deal so as “to contribute to food security across the world.”
The Ukraine and Russia are major suppliers of grain around the globe. The agreement brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in July is due to expire Nov. 19.
Russia’s U.N. ambassador said Wednesday that before Moscow discusses a renewal “Russia needs to see the export of its grain and fertilizers in the world market, which has never happened since the beginning of the deal.”
He said the hurdles facing Russia’s exports include getting insurance for vessels, conducting financial transactions, finding ports of call for Russian ships, and freeing up fertilizer on ships detained at European ports.
Guterres says the resumption of Ukrainian grain exports from three Black Sea ports “has significantly contributed to lower prices of wheat and other commodities.”
— Russia’s hope for Ukraine win revealed in battle for Bakhmut
— Blackouts back in Kyiv as war takes multiple fronts
— West says no biological weapons in Ukraine, Russia disagrees
— UN nuclear agency to probe Russia claim of `dirty bombs’
— Ukraine attacks Russia’s hold on southern city of Kherson
— Amid Ukraine war, Europe’s energy crisis raises firewood prices
– Follow all AP stories on the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
KYIV, Ukraine — Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko has announced that new air defense equipment had arrived in the capital, and expressed hope that it would help protect its energy infrastructure after weeks of targeted Russian airstrikes.
“The military have assured me (during a recent meeting) that new air defense equipment has arrived in the capital and our sky will be safer,” Klitschko said Friday on Ukrainian TV.
“We hope that there will be no more attacks and provocations with kamikaze drones and missiles,” Klitschko added, in a reference to Iranian-made Shahed exploding drones spotted repeatedly over Ukrainian cities.
Earlier on Friday, Kyiv’s mayor said Ukrainian capital’s power grid was operating in “emergency mode,” with electricity supplies down by as much as 50% compared to pre-war levels. Authorities said Kyiv and the surrounding region will see rolling blackouts in the coming days.
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s top diplomat has called on Tehran to “immediately” stop arms deliveries to Russia during a phone conversation with his Iranian counterpart, according to a post on Dmytro Kuleba’s official Twitter profile.
“I received a call today from Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian , during which I demanded that Iran immediately stop supplying Russia with weapons that are used to kill civilians and destroy critical infrastructure in Ukraine,” Kuleba wrote on Friday.
Iran has denied supplying Russia with explosive drones and other weapons used in the invasion of Ukraine.
MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the military to improve training for the newly mobilized reservists and provide them with necessary equipment and supplies.
Putin told Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Friday that the military needs to make sure that all 300,000 reservists who have been called up are trained and provided with what they need for combat “to make people feel confident when they need to go to combat.”
Activists, Russian media and The Associated Press have reported that many of those called up have been told to procure basic items such as medical kits and flak jackets themselves and failed to receive training before being sent to combat.
Shoigu acknowledged that “problems with supplies existed in the initial stages” but told Putin they have now been solved and the reservists have received all the necessary items.
Putin ordered Shoigu to submit his proposals for reforming the ground troops and other parts of the military on the basis of their performance in Ukraine.
MOSCOW — Russia’s defense minister reported that the military has called up 300,000 reservists in line with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s mobilization order.
Sergei Shoigu reported to Putin Friday that his order has been fulfilled, noting that there is no immediate plan to round up more. He said that 82,000 reservists have already been deployed to Ukraine, while 218,000 others are still being trained.
Putin issued the mobilization order in September in a bid to beef up Russian troops along a 1,000-kilometer frontline in Ukraine. The move has fueled protests and prompted tens of thousands to flee the country.
Activists and Russian media reports have said that many of those called up have been told to procure basic items such as medical kits and flak jackets themselves and some have been given rusty weapons. Many were killed days after being called up without receiving even basic refresher training.
KYIV, Ukraine — The mayor of Kyiv says the Ukrainian capital’s power grid is operating in “emergency mode,” with electricity supplies down by as much as a half compared to pre-war levels.
“Due to a significant shortage of electricity, from 20% to 50%, – the city’s energy supply system is operating in emergency mode,” Mayor Vitali Klitschko said Friday on Telegram.
In the same post, Klitschko confirmed reports from the regional governor and Ukrenergo, the state energy company, that Kyiv and the surrounding region will see rolling blackouts in the coming days.
Klitschko expressed hope that Ukrenergo employees would restore the flow of electricity to its usual level “in two to three weeks, barring circumstances beyond their control.”
KYIV, Ukraine — Kremlin-appointed officials in an occupied region of southern Ukraine have urged residents not to switch to daylight saving time along with Kyiv and the rest of the country.
“In the Zaporizhzhia region, the old time remains. The clocks will not go back in 2022,” the administration on Friday said in a post on its official Telegram channel.
The Russian-installed mayor of Enerhodar, where the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power plant is located, called on residents to ignore the time switch in a separate video message posted on Telegram.
“We live in the Russian Federation, and our city lives by Moscow time,” Alexander Volga said in the video.
The Zaporizhzhia region is one of four Ukrainian provinces that Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed last month and subsequently put under Russian martial law. Kremlin-backed officials in occupied areas have sought to replace the Ukrainian currency with Russia’s ruble, and to align local laws with Russian legislation.
Russia switched to permanent winter time in 2014. The move came after nationwide surveys found that Russians largely disapproved of an earlier government decision to put clocks on year-round summer time, and struggled to adjust to long hours of darkness in the mornings.
PRAGUE, Czech Republic — Tens of thousands Czechs have used a national holiday to rally again in the capital against the pro-western government and its support for Ukraine’s fight against the Russian aggression.
The rally on Friday follows another two at Prague’s central Wenceslas Square in September.
With soaring energy and other prices among the issues, the key demand by the protesters was the resignation of the coalition government led by conservative Prime Minister Petr Fiala and opposed the country’s European Union and NATO membership.
The government has dismissed those demands and several ministers are planning to visit Ukraine’s capital Kyiv on Monday.
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s presidential office says at least four civilians were killed and 10 others wounded in the last day by the latest Russian attacks.
A statement Friday says Russian troops again fired on several towns facing the Russia-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant across the Dnieper River. In Nikopol, the shelling damaged dozens of residential buildings and power lines, and in the neighboring towns of Marhanets and Chervonohryhorivka, the Russian attacks cut power supplies to thousands of people.
In the eastern region of Donetsk, Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said Russian troops pressed their attacks on Avdiivka and Bakhmut, and the entire region “was turned by the Russians into a zone of active hostilities.”
“Civilians who remain in the region live in constant fear, without heating and electricity,” Kyrylenko said in televised remarks. “Their enemy is not only Russian cannons but also the cold.”
In the neighboring Luhansk region, the Ukrainian army is pressing its counteroffensive, fighting for control of Bilohorivka and Svatove, Gov. Serhiy Haidai said.
“The Russians practically destroyed some villages after they started to retreat,” Haidai said. “There are a lot of freshly mobilized Russians in the Luhansk region, but they are dying in droves – they only last for two weeks on average.”
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s authorities and the state electricity company on Friday announced further rolling blackouts in and around the country’s largest cities amid ongoing Russian strikes targeting energy infrastructure.
The press service of Ukrenergo, the sole operator of Ukraine’s high-voltage transmission lines, said in a statement that “emergency outages” of four hours a day or more had resumed in the Kyiv region.
“Due to significant damage and imbalance in the power system, longer power outages are possible,” Ukrenergo said.
The local governor, Oleksiy Kuleba, said Friday on Telegram that the Kyiv region is set to see “tougher and longer” power outages than earlier in the war.
Oleg Syniehubov, the governor of the Kharkiv region, announced on Telegram that daily one-hour power outages will begin Monday across the province, including Ukraine’s second-largest city of Kharkiv.
He said the measures “are necessary to stabilize the power grid, because the enemy continues shelling (Ukraine’s) energy infrastructure.”
BAKHMUT, Ukraine — Russian soldiers pummeling a city in eastern Ukraine with artillery are slowly edging closer in their attempt to seize Bakhmut, which has remained in Ukrainian hands during the eight-month war despite Moscow’s goal of capturing the entire Donbas region bordering Russia.
While much of the fighting in the last month has unfolded in southern Ukraine’s Kherson region, the battle heating up around Bakhmut demonstrates Russian President Vladimir Putin’s desire for visible gains following weeks of clear setbacks in Ukraine.
Taking Bakhmut would rupture Ukraine’s supply lines and open a route for Russian forces to press on toward Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, key Ukrainian strongholds in the eastern region of Donetsk. Pro-Moscow separatists have controlled part of Donetsk and neighboring Luhansk province since 2014.
Before invading Ukraine, Putin recognized the independence of the Russian-backed separatists’ self-proclaimed republics. Last month, he illegally annexed the Donetsk, Luhansk and two other provinces that Russian forces occupied or mostly occupied.
Russia has battered Bakhmut with rockets for more than five months.
KYIV, Ukraine — McDonalds’ Ukrainian subsidiary on Friday said it had reopened four restaurants in the Kyiv region and a fifth one in the northwestern city of Zhytomyr.
The company began a phased reopening of its Ukrainian restaurants late last month, a symbol of the war-torn country’s return to a degree of normalcy and a show of support after the American fast-food chain pulled out of Russia in May.
The burger giant closed its Ukrainian restaurants after the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion in February but has continued to pay more than 10,000 McDonald’s employees in the country.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A Swedish prosecutor wants “a supplementary crime scene investigation” at the site of explosions that damaged two natural gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea and said Friday that a preliminary probe concluded the cause was “suspected gross sabotage.”
Prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist said he understood the intense interest in determining what happened to the Nord Stream I and 2 pipelines, which were built to carry Russian gas to Germany.
“But it is important both for the preliminary investigation and for the various collaborations we have that we now get to work in peace and quiet,” Ljungqvist said.
Sweden’s domestic security agency and armed forces are assisting in the investigation, which is being done in cooperation with authorities in other countries,” he said.
The Swedish Security Service previously said that undersea “detonations” on Sept. 26 caused extensive damage to the pipelines in international waters off Sweden and Denmark. The pipelines ruptured, sending large amounts of methane gas into the air.
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian forces attacked Russia’s hold on the southern city of Kherson on Thursday while fighting intensified in the country’s east. The battles came amid reports that Moscow-appointed authorities have abandoned the city, joining tens of thousands of residents who fled to other Russia-held areas.
Ukrainian forces were surrounding Kherson from the west and attacking Russia’s foothold on the west bank of the Dnieper River, which divides the region and the country.
As the battles unfolded, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow has no intention to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, despite issuing repeated warnings in the past that he was prepared to use all available means to defend Russia, including its nuclear arsenal.
“We see no need for that,” Putin said at a conference of international foreign policy experts outside Moscow. “There is no point in that, neither political nor military.”
Meanwhile, Russia warned that Moscow could target Western commercial satellites used for military purposes in support of Ukraine, and a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman accused the United States of pursuing “thoughtless and mad” escalation.
Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova argued that Washington should take an approach more like it did during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, when the Cold War superpowers stepped back from the brink of nuclear confrontation.