EU’s Borrell sees deal on Ukraine grain exports

‘I have a hope that this week it will be possible to reach an agreement to deblock Odesa and other Ukrainian ports,’ Josep Borrell told reporters.
Image: Anatolii Stepanov/AFP/Getty Images

The EU’s foreign policy chief said he was hopeful Russia and Ukraine could clinch a deal this week to help export grain from the war-torn country and alleviate a growing global food crisis.

“I have a hope that this week it will be possible to reach an agreement to deblock Odesa and other Ukrainian ports,” Josep Borrell told reporters ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels. “The lives of tens of thousands of people depend on this agreement. It’s not a diplomatic game.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sought to broker a deal that would facilitate shipments of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea and meets Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. The efforts come as the war enters an intense new phase with Russian troops ordered to step up combat in all areas and target Ukraine’s long-range weapons.

Key developments

  • G-20 Finance Chiefs Blame Russia as Path to Soft Landing Narrows
  • Russia’s Guessing Game on Gas May Be World’s Energy Reckoning
  • Russian Assets Barely Touched Across EU With $14 Billion Seized
  • Naftogaz CEO Says Ukraine Pushed It to Delay Bond Payments
  • Russia Visited Iran to View Drone Capabilities, US Official Says

On the ground

Russia pounded areas around Bakhmut overnight, Ukraine’s General Staff said in a statement, stepping up attacks on a city which, together with Siversk, has emerged as the next major target of Moscow’s effort to capture the eastern region of Donetsk. Russian forces also shelled Nikopol on the Dnipro river, destroying about 10 residential buildings and damaging a hospital and other civilian infrastructure, Dnipro Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said. Further south on the Black Sea, the port of Mykolaiv faced a renewed round of heavy shelling, with about 10 explosions heard overnight, mayor Oleksandr Sienkevych said on Telegram. The attacks come after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered troops on Saturday to step up combat.

(All times CET)

Russia Orders Forces to Strike Long-Range Arms (8:43 a.m.)

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered part of his forces to focus on destroying Ukraine’s long-range missile and artillery systems during a visit to troops in occupied territory.

Shoigu “instructed the commander to prioritize the defeat of long-range rocket and artillery weapons of the enemy with high-precision weapons” during a meeting with the military’s Vostok group, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement Monday.

It wasn’t clear how much of a change this would represent since Russian troops have tried for months to destroy Ukrainian weapons in a “demilitarization” campaign that’s had mixed success as the US and its European allies step up supplies of equipment to help the government in Kyiv.

H&M to Exit Russia at $190 Million Cost (7:57 a.m.)

H&M will begin winding down its operations in Russia, having halted all sales in the country in March.

The Swedish fashion retailer expects to book costs of $190 million from the process, it said in a statement Monday. It plans to reopen physical stores in Russia for a limited period of time to sell remaining inventory.

“After careful consideration, we see it as impossible given the current situation to continue our business in Russia,” Chief Executive Officer Helena Helmersson, said.

Russia Ban Seen Tightening Coal Market (5:15 a.m.)

A looming ban on Russian coal imports by the European Union will add to supply pressure that’s sent prices of the fossil fuel hurtling to a record, according to a key Australian producer.

The European ban that takes effect next month “is expected to tighten further the supply of high quality thermal coal,” Sydney-based Whitehaven said in its statement. “We continue to view thermal coal prices as well supported for 2022 and into 2023.”

Russian Gas Flows to Europe Still Limited (6:42 a.m.)

Russian natural gas supplies to Europe remain curbed, with flows sent via Ukraine below capacity and the Nord Stream pipeline shut for annual maintenance until July 21.

Russian Gas Flows to Europe Remain Curbed Amid Nord Stream Works

G-20 Finance Chiefs Blame Russia on Food (10:00 p.m.)

Finance chiefs from the world’s biggest economies lined up to blame Russia for the global inflation wave and sharply deteriorating growth outlook.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen set the tone early at the gathering in Bali, Indonesia, saying the Putin regime had used food “as a weapon of war.”

She said that its actions have prompted “a global crisis of food insecurity as prices spiked for food, fertilizer, and fuel.” Half of the run-up in US inflation was due to energy costs, for which Russia bore the blame, she said.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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