Day 572 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Kyiv will Sue the Countries that Banned the Import of Ukrainian Products
Day 572 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:
- Kyiv will sue Poland, Hungary and Slovakia over the ban on the import of Ukrainian agricultural products
- Ukrainian media: Explosions were heard in Sevastopol related to a Kyiv operation
- The Cabinet of Ministers dismissed the deputies of Oleksii Reznikov
- On Russian TV: "In order to negotiate, we will have to leave the Ukrainian territories”
- Two cargo ships arrived in Ukraine along its new grain corridor
- Kyrylo Budanov: The warehouses of the West are not completely empty. No matter what anyone say
Kyiv will sue Poland, Hungary and Slovakia over the ban on the import of Ukrainian agricultural products
Kyiv will sue Poland, Hungary and Slovakia for their refusal to lift the ban on Ukrainian agricultural products, Ukraine's trade representative Taras Kachka said in an exclusive interview with "Policitco".
The bans by the three central European countries are intended to protect their farmers from a sharp increase in exports from Ukraine following Russia's blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports.
"It is important to prove that these actions are legally wrong. And that is why we will start court proceedings on Monday" Kachka said, adding that Kyiv was preparing to retaliate against Polish exports of fruits and vegetables to Ukraine.
"Politico" reminds that the three countries rebelled against the European Commission, which last Friday decided to allow the sale of Ukrainian grain in the EU. Poland, Hungary and Slovakia said they would impose their own bans on Ukrainian grain after the Commission's decision to end the restrictions.
While Slovakia merely extended the EU's previous ban on Ukrainian imports of four types of grain, Poland imposed additional bans on Ukrainian flour and feed over the weekend. Hungary, Kachka pointed out, is going even further and banning an additional 25 products that were not discussed before, including meat.
Hungary's additional bans are mostly symbolic, given that Ukraine does not export much beef or pork to the country, but Poland's measures will affect a significant portion of Ukraine's exports, said Kachka, who is also deputy minister of economic development, trade and agriculture of Ukraine. Unless Warsaw lifts these additional bans, "we will be forced to retaliate against the additional products and ban fruit and vegetable imports from Poland."
The governments in Budapest and Warsaw have said they are acting to protect their farmers from a surge in Ukrainian products that has depressed prices, but Kachka countered that this reasoning is wrong: “Poland's ban will not help farmers, it will not affect prices , because prices are global - what they do is based on public opinion”.
"In our eyes, these measures of Hungary and Poland are a statement of complete mistrust of the European Commission," said the trade representative of Ukraine.
Kachka argued that the open defiance against Brussels by Poland, Hungary and Slovakia was not just an internal matter for the EU, but raised the question of what he described as the "biggest systemic concern" – whether international trading partners can trust that Brussels speaks for the EU.
"For many years, the European Commission has been the trade negotiator and trade policy institution for the entire EU. And we have worked on that basis," Kachka said, adding:
"The systemic approach of Budapest and Warsaw to ignore the position of the EU institutions in trade policy, I think this will be a problem for the EU as a whole, because there is no unity there."
Kyiv plans to sue the countries at the World Trade Organization rather than through its own trade deal with the EU.
"I think the whole world needs to see how EU member states behave towards their trading partners and their own union, because it can affect other countries as well."
An unnamed European official told Politico that Brussels hopes to solve the problem by getting Kyiv to impose its own restrictions on exports in case of sudden spikes.
Asked about such a potential deal, Kachka said Kyiv was ready "to take responsibility for ensuring that exports from Ukraine do not create a tsunami in neighboring countries" and would impose a system of "real-time" export licenses for grains and will slow down exports to neighboring countries, as Ukraine "will react quickly" if a spike in its exports is detected.
Ukrainian media: Explosions were heard in Sevastopol related to a Kyiv operation
Ukrainian media, citing intelligence sources, said explosions linked to a Ukrainian military operation were heard in Sevastopol last night, but Moscow-appointed Russian officials in Crimea said Ukraine was seeking to claim non-existent successes, Reuters reported.
The Russian-appointed governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhaev, wrote on Telegram that the situation in the largest city in Crimea and base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet is calm. The governor also said no damage was caused when three Ukrainian drones were shot down by Russian air defenses in the area yesterday.
"If you have seen smoke in the area of the South Port, do not worry. According to the Black Sea Fleet, aerosol masking agents are used. Yes, the smell is unpleasant, but it is absolutely safe," Razvozhaev noted.
"Our enemies today will try by all means to present this as their 'victory,'" added the governor.
"The planned work of the Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR) and the Ukrainian Navy continues," Ukrainian online publication Ukrainska Pravda wrote, citing an unnamed intelligence source.
Reuters could not independently confirm reports by either side in the conflict.
The Cabinet of Ministers dismissed the deputies of Oleksii Reznikov
The Cabinet of Ministers dismissed all the Deputy Ministers of Defense of Ukraine. The state secretary of the ministry has also been dismissed, announced the representative of the cabinet in the parliament Taras Melnichuk, quoted by UNIAN.
Vladimir Gavrilov, Rostislav Zamlinsky, Hanna Maliar, Denis Sharapov are leaving their posts. Andriy Shevchenko was also dismissed from the post of Deputy Minister of Defense for European Integration, as well as Deputy for Digital Development, Digital Transformation and Digitization Vitaly Deinega.
In addition, the government also dismissed the state secretary of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense Kostantyn Vashchenko.
On September 5, the Verkhovna Rada supported the resignation of former Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov. Reznikov held this post from November 4, 2021.
By law, after the dismissal of the minister, his deputies must also be removed.
On the same day, the deputies dismissed the head of the State Property Fund, Rustem Umierov, and the next day supported his candidacy for minister.
On September 7, President Volodymyr Zelensky introduced Umierov to the Ministry of Defense and then introduced him to the National Security and Defense Council and to the post of Commander-in-Chief.
On Russian TV: "In order to negotiate, we will have to leave the Ukrainian territories”
In order to negotiate, we will have to leave the Ukrainian territories.
This wicked idea was shared by the historian and head of the Russian Center for Political Studies of Northern and Eastern European Countries, Alexander Sitin, on the air of the Russian TV show "Место встречи".
At first, another regular critic of the Russian invasion - the political scientist Viktor Olevich - took the floor.
He pointed out that Russia should make clear whether it seeks complete or partial isolation from the West, or whether it wishes to sign new agreements with it.
The presenter Andrey Norkin scathingly answered him:
"Victor Josefovich, I think it was said literally this morning. ‘Guys (West), if you want to negotiate - fine. But first explain to the fools (Ukraine) that they must cancel the decree prohibiting negotiations. We'll sit down and talk."
Here Sitin intervened and he and Norkin entered into a kind of simulation of a conversation between the West and Russia.
"And you will leave the territory," noted the historian.
"Why should we leave it?" Norkin asks indignantly.
"You have taken over foreign territory," Sitin pointed out.
"We are not. This is the territory of the Russian Federation," the presenter brazenly declared.
"But you declared this territory Russian after conquering it," insisted the guest.
The rest of the interlocutors join in to speak at the same time, but after a brief chaos in the studio, Norkin's voice takes precedence.
"It always happens like this - we have to stop".
The topic was closed by the second host Ivan Trushkin.
"And it just started getting interesting."
????— TheKremlinYap (@TheKremlinYap) September 18, 2023
-To negotiate you have to leave the Ukrainian territories.
-But they are Russian territories.
-No, you have declared them Russians after the seizure.
-It’s always like this - we have to stop…
Interesting conversations on the Russian propagandistic TV show pic.twitter.com/h6QUPi5Dm1
Two cargo ships arrived in Ukraine along its new grain corridor
The first two ships on a new route have successfully arrived in Ukraine, the authorities in Kyiv and "Interfax Ukraine" reported. After being loaded at Chornomorsk port, they will sail to Black Sea ports to load grain for African and Asian markets.
This comes two months after Russia withdrew from the deal, which for nearly a year helped unblock Black Sea ports and export grain to a number of countries, many of them African and Asian. Last month, Ukraine announced a "temporary humanitarian corridor" to release ships stuck in its ports.
The initiative - unlike the one rejected by Russia - does not involve the United Nations and tests Kyiv's ability to reopen sea lanes after a series of Russian attacks on export infrastructure. However, only vessels whose captains or ownership are willing to take the risk of sailing in dangerous conditions, given the threat of Russian military forces and mines, are allowed on the route.
The corridor runs along the western Black Sea coast near Romania and Bulgaria. Ukrainian port authorities confirmed that they were two bulk carriers, both Palau-flagged.
Earlier it was announced that almost 20 thousand tons of wheat for Africa and Asia will be loaded on them. At the same time, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, the destinations are Egypt and Israel. There are comments in Africa that much of the grain on these routes ends up not going to the countries most in need, and that the compensation offered by Russia is not enough.
In mid-August, a container ship, blocked in the port of Odesa since February 2022, left Ukraine on this route, four other vessels later did the same. However, for the first time, ships arrive in Ukraine on the new route.
Ukraine has carried out several attacks in recent days with naval drones and missiles against Russia's Black Sea Fleet in and around the Russian-annexed Crimean peninsula. Russia, for its part, warned after pulling out of the deal that it would consider any civilian vessel sailing toward Ukraine a potential military target. Last week, London accused Moscow of having already carried out a similar attack.
Kyrylo Budanov: The warehouses of the West are not completely empty. No matter what anyone says
The head of Ukraine's General Directorate of Intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, is in no mood to discuss his country's ongoing counteroffensive. "Facts, not arguments" are what motivates the Lt. Gen. A slow advance against an entrenched and well-prepared enemy is simply a reflection of reality. He does not understand those who predict a rapid collapse of the Russian lines. "Is a pencil strong or weak? It depends on how you look at it." The counteroffensive continues. Ukraine still has time. The mud season is more than a month away. "And this is a fact", said Budnov in his interview with the “Economist”.
The 37-year-old spy chief, just promoted by President Volodymyr Zelensky to three-star general, appears calm and rested. He says it is Russia, not Ukraine, that has reason to worry. Its first line of defense along the important southern axis in Zaporizhzhia has already been breached in places, meaning that the operation to sever land links between Russia and Crimea can be carried out before winter sets in.
Ukraine may have already used a limited number of its reserve troops, but it is now known that Russia, in apparent desperation, is committing insufficiently combat-ready reserves that it did not plan to deploy until late October. "Contrary to what the Russian Federation declares, it has absolutely no strategic reserve," says the general. According to him, the Russian 25th Combined Arms Army, now deployed prematurely on the eastern front around Lyman and Kupyinsk, has only 80% of the personnel and 55% of the equipment it was supposed to have.
Amid reports that Russia is poised to step up its ongoing mobilization, Lt. Gen. Budanov says manpower is the only clear advantage Russia still has over Ukraine.
"Human resources in Russia are, relatively speaking, unlimited. The quality is low, but the quantity is sufficient."
As for the other components of the war effort, Russian resources are exhausted and a reckoning is coming. According to him, the Russian economy will last only until 2025. The flow of weapons will dry up in 2026, "and maybe even earlier", Budanov claims - although the evidence to support his claims is fragmentary. Vladimir Putin's negotiations with North Korea are an obvious indicator of his problems.
"If everything is fine and Russia has enough resources, why is it looking for them all over the world? The answer is obvious. There is nothing more to be gained."
The head of espionage admits that Ukraine risks exhausting its own resources as well. "We are dependent on outside players. Russia is mostly dependent on itself." Therefore, a long war is dangerous for Ukraine, because it exhausts not only its internal resources, but also those of its Western backers. Some Ukrainian officials are beginning to notice a change in the willingness of partners to continue their support at the same level. Others say ammunition supplies may soon cease, forcing a halt to offensive operations. But Lieutenant General Budanov rejects both conclusions. He says he has "good intelligence" about political realities in the West. "It is still absolutely undetermined how long the West will be able to maintain sufficient supplies of resources for us," he says. "The warehouses in Western countries are not completely empty. No matter what anyone says. We see that very clearly as an intelligence agency."
After decades of underinvestment, corruption and sabotage, Ukraine is slowly increasing its own weapons production. One of the highlights is drones and long-range missiles, weapons that can strike deep behind the front lines. Last week, the world got a glimpse of Ukraine's new capabilities with a series of missile and drone strikes on ships, a submarine, dry docks and air defenses in Crimea. Lieutenant General Budanov's GUR played a leading role in these attacks.
"Unmanned aerial vehicles will definitely facilitate operations to liberate our territories. Drones are not afraid. You do not feel sorry for them."
Ukraine's new drone campaign against Russia has three main goals: to wear out Russian air defense systems, to disable military transports and bombers, and to damage military production facilities, such as the recent operation that hit a manufacturing plant of rocket fuel in the Tver region, north of Moscow.
"We want to push them out of their comfort zone." The secondary goal is psychological - to sow anxiety among the population and disrupt normal economic processes in Russia. The closure of major airports in St. Petersburg and Moscow, for example, has become an almost daily occurrence.
Lt. Gen. Budanov rejected suggestions that the new strike capability poses a risk of escalation or that Ukraine is the aggressor. He says his powers do not violate the rules of war. And he adds that there are "zero" civilian casualties in Russia. This reflects a special decision by Ukraine, not a matter of capability. "No one thinks that Britain or the US were the aggressors in World War II, even though they also bombed German territory." As for nuclear threats, these are arguments advanced by sympathizers of the Russian lobby. The war was "absolutely conventional... from the use of submarines to strategic aviation".
Kyrylo Budanov says he is working on a limited deterrence and response posture to counter Russia's expected winter campaign of missile and drone strikes on infrastructure.
"Let them begin. They will get an answer."
But he does not expect the enemy to ever give up of their own accord. War has been a constant for Russia throughout its history, he says. There can be no talk of a ceasefire or peace without the Ukrainian military establishing its own facts on the ground. "We understand that we will not end the war with a victory parade in Moscow. But neither should Moscow ever hope to organize one in Kyiv."
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