Last week (September, 4–10), the negotiations took place between Presidents of Turkiye and Russia, where Vladimir Putin admitted Russia might resume the “grain deal” if his country’s demands are fulfilled. In particular, when sanctions are relaxed for Russia’s agricultural sector.

On September, 9–10, in New Delhi (India), a G20 summit took place. As a result, the participants adopted a compromise statement about Ukraine.

Armenia conducted joint military exercise with the USA, which caused a wrathful reaction from the Kremlin, the same as the fact that the US transferred to Ukraine the depleted uranium munitions.

The Office of the President of Ukraine criticized the UN Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, and qualified their opinions about the lack of sufficient evidence for the Russia-committed genocide in Ukraine a “political toothlessness” and “indirect encouragement of a criminal.”

Russia is ready to resume the “grain deal” in exchange for the lifting of sanctions, and Ukraine is developing alternative routes

On September, 4, in the city of Sochi, the President Vladmir Putin of Russia had a meeting with the President of Turkiye, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. One of the topics in the dialogue was the possibility of resuming the “grain deal” that Russia withdrew from on July, 18. Since then, the RF has been structurally shelling the Ukrainian seaborne infrastructure to undermine the exports of Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea.

Following the meeting, we know that Moscow is not prepared to resume the “grain deal.” Thus, according to the Russian President, to have Russia return, the earlier set demands must be met, such as the lifting of certain sanctions.

The Turkish leader said that the “grain deal” needs to be extended “by overcoming shortcomings” because no alternative could suggest the “stable, secure, and permanent model based on the cooperation between sides like the Black Sea Grain Initiative,”

At the same time, Erdogan said that Ukraine needs to soften its approach. “We have prepared a new package of proposals jointly with the UN, which provides for significant progress. I believe that with the help of this new process it would be possible to achieve results. Ukraine certainly needs to soften its position in order to take steps jointly with Russia,” said he.

On the other hand, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba emphasized that the “grain deal” needs to be resumed but not through satisfying Russia’s whims. “If we make concessions today, they would come back in a month and demand new conditions. It is a classic blackmail,” believes the diplomat.

The outcomes also found their feedback in Germany and the USA. Thus, the head of the German Foreign Ministry, Annalena Baerbock said that “it is only because of Putin that cargo ships are once again denied their passage. Russia is aggravating global hunger.” The U.S. Department of State highlighted that Russia’s decision to withdraw from the initiative “hurts communities vulnerable to food insecurity around the world.”

While the “grain deal” is not in effect, Russia keeps shelling Ukraine’s port infrastructure. The British government estimated that since July, Russia’s strikes on ports and grain elevators have reduced Ukraine’s grain export capacity by one third. Over the past two months, Russians either damaged or completely destroyed at least 26 civilian port infrastructure facilities, warehouses, silos, and grain elevators.

In the current situation, Ukraine is developing alternative solutions to export its grain. The first solution is to resume the operations of the “grain corridor” without Russia because, as Ukraine confirms, the ships passing through the corridor along the Romanian, Bulgarian, and Turkish territorial waters face no restrictions.

According to the Ukrainian Ambassador to Turkiye, Vasyl Bondar, the proposal to work without Russia has been forwarded to the Turkish side, and it could stabilize the situation. At the same time, according to him, the communication is underway between Turkiye and the UN following the negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, to develop the coordinated positions. The negotiators expect to see “the communication between Ukraine and Turkiye on a higher level.” As the Ambassador reports, it might take place in the coming days, or during the UN Assembly General.

The second solution is to find alternative logistical routes through the EU countries with all possible means of transport. Ukraine is searching for compromises to unblock the export of grain and other agricultural products to markets of individual EU member states. It is happening in the context of intentions of Poland and other states to close the border fort the grain from Ukraine after September, 15, when the moratorium expires from the Commission on the imports of Ukrainian grain. Kyiv called such actions unacceptable and such that “play into Putin’s hands.”

In addition to Poland, the initiative was supported by Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania who are receiving Ukrainian grain today only as transit. All of them submitted a joint request to the EU to extend the ban on the import of Ukrainian grain after September, 15. They explain their actions by the fact that Ukrainian grain would affect their internal markets and create huge competition.

That is why during his address at the “Three Seas Initiative” summit in Bucharest Volodymyr Zelensky spoke to the leaders of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria. He said that “any restrictions against Ukrainian exports now are the scaling up of the destruction caused by Russian terrorists.”

Also last week, it was reported that another alternative route was launched — Ukrainian grain went for export through Croatian ports.

Ukraine Is Disappointed by the G20 Declaration, and the Kremlin Is Strengthening the Alliance with the DPRK

A key international event from last week is the G20 summit on September, 9–10, in New Delhi (India). The event was attended by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and his photo next to the smiling India’s Prime Minister was published by Kremlin MFA’s representative Maria Zakharova. The key issues on the meeting’s agenda were the acceptance of the African Union to the G20, food security, debt crisis, and cooperation on climate change.

However, different positions about Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine caused discrepancies right away. In particular, concerns about it were expressed by the President of the European Council, Charles Michele. Although according to Bloomberg, on the eve of the G20 summit, China allegedly changed their neutral position towards a more pro-Ukrainian stance, and the British PM called on India to influence the RF on the issue of war against Ukraine, the summary declaration still came out “rather weak”.

Thus, the spokesman of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, Oleh Nikolenko emphasized that the summary declaration, “in part about Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the G20 has nothing to be proud of.” The diplomat said: in order to have the document closer to reality, it must say that Russia is the state waging the war against Ukraine, in lieu of the words “war in Ukraine”, and also to highlight that Russia is the state, rather than “all states,” who must refrain from use of force to seek territorial acquisition.

The summit participants also called on the fulfilment of the “grain deal.” It is notable that the President of Turkiye, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, encouraged G20 leaders to satisfy Russia’s certain demands. In particular, he implied the facilitation in the insurance of Russian exported food products and fertilizers by a London bank Lloyd’s, and the reconnection of Russian banks to SWIFT.

On the other hand, Sergei Lavrov said that “Western states tried hard to ‘Ukranize’ the summit but the attempts failed.”

At the same time, on September, 6, Kyiv hosted the Third Summit of the First Ladies and Gentlemen focusing on mental health. The event had special guest speakers, such as the Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen, and the U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. Another visitor to Ukraine was a wife of the Prime Minister of Armenia Anna Hakobyan who brought the humanitarian aid from Yerevan — gadgets for schoolchildren. You can read below about the Kremlin’s indignation for the visit.

Also last week, Armenia (by the way, a member of the CSTO, announced the conduct of field exercise “Partner Orel 2023,” with the key NATO “driver,” the United States. The training will take place on September, 11–20, in the training center of the peacemaking brigade of Armenian Ministry of Defense “Zar.” Main objective is to increase the level of interoperability of units engaged in international peacemaking missions, and exchange experience of management and tactical communications.

Shortly after the announcement, Putin’s press secretary Dmitriy Peskov said that the information about the joint military exercise of Armenia and USA “raises red flags.” Kremlin’s Foreign Ministry was much more furious and dedicated a separate release on their website to Armenia’s “unfriendly actions”. Moreover, Ambassador of Armenia to Moscow was filed a note of protest. The Kremlin did not like, among other things, the launched process of ratification of the ICC Rome Statute and a visit to Kyiv of the wife of the Prime Minister of Armenia, Anna Hakobyan, who “was transferring humanitarian assistance to the Kyiv Nazi regime.”

This diplomatic situation catches attention in terms of the threat of escalation in the non-recognized Nagorno-Karabakh, and the recognition by the Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, the fact that Russia is de facto not able to provide military support in his country.

In this regard, it is interesting to pay attention to the not quite friendly statement of the Cuban Foreign Ministry (another Kremlin’s ally). It says that the Foreign Ministry of this country is trying to offset and liquidate the Russian human trafficking network used to engage Cuban citizens to participate in the war in Ukraine.

On the other hand, Russia enhances their cooperation with North Korea. According to media reports, they are ready to conclude an agreement with Kremlin about the supply of weapons. The meeting of Vladimir Putin with the DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, may take place as soon as on September, 12-13, on Russia’s territory. Financial Times writes that official Pyongyang may potentially supply Russia with munitions, multiple launch rocket systems, and ballistic short range missiles.

Another important event of the week was the annual forum of the Yalta European Strategy in Kyiv, on September, 8–9. The event hosted over 500 participants, such as the leadership of the country, ex-Prime Minister of Great Britain Boris Johnson, the US acting deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, ex-President of US George Bush Jr, and a co-chair of the International Expert Group on Russian Sanctions, Michael McFaul. The key topics of the forum were the implementation of the Ukrainian Peace Formula, aversion of wars in the future, military assistance to Ukraine, sanctions against Russia and preventing the circumvention of sanctions, etc.

Weakness of International Institutions, Solid U.S. Support, and Protection of Energy Sector From Russian Attacks

Last week, Ukrainian citizens sharply responded to the conclusions of the UN Commission on the Investigation of Crimes in Ukraine claiming there is no sufficient evidence to the genocide in Ukraine. The President’s Office criticized the Commission and called its opinions the “political toohlessness” and the “indirect encouragement of a criminal.”

Although the international body found multiple evidence of war crimes committed by the RF, the advisor to the President’s Office of Ukraine, Mykhaylo Podoliak, reminded to the Commission’s chair Eric Møse the cases of Russian genocide such as the totally eradicated settlements, huge damage to energy infrastructure, or filtration camps with compulsion to adopt Russian identity.

Those conclusions of the international institution contribute to Russian propaganda which certainly rushed to make use of it. Thus, Dmitriy Medvedev said that if members of the Commission wished to find genocide and war crimes in Ukraine, they should rather look at the “criminal Kyiv regime” that had been “drowning Donbass in blood for eight years until Russia started the special military operation.”

At the same time, the weakness of international institutions sends a signal to Russia empowering it to continue the crimes against humanity and the genocide. In addition to the grain infrastructure in Odesa region, last week alone, Russian terrorists cynically struck at civilians in Kostiantynivka, Kyiv, and Kryvyi Rih.

Regular Russia’s crimes and the conduct of pseudo-elections in the occupied territories led to the calling of the session of the UN Security Council, where international community has heard from the Russian envoy Vasily Nebenzya another portion of manipulative statements. He boasted of the fast pace of integration of the occupied territories into the Russian space. However, he said that for the full-fledged process they allegedly need “functional authorities” that must be “elected” at the so-called “elections”.

Moreover, Nebenzya mentioned the missile strike at Kostiantynivka claiming 17 civilian lives but accused Kyiv of the provocations. He said that Ukraine allegedly killed their own citizens to ensure another dose of weapons and cash injections to the “agonizing regime.”

According to the Ukrainian side, Russia is investing resources into the collapse of the democratic camp to weaken Europe for further disruption of global security; whereas Putin draws his strength exclusively from the West’s weakness.

“Firstly, international law does not work. Absolutely. Secondly, international institutions are an impeccable fiction. Illusion. PR reality without reality. And thirdly, this is precisely why the war continues,” said Mykhaylo Podoliak, and added that this war will finally end only when Ukraine wins.

Therefore, our country is persistent in our aspiration for a just peace. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba believes that Ukraine would become a foothold for new security architecture in Europe and in the world, and the term “just” (peace) shall mean the resumption of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. That is why today, the road to democracy with Russia lies through Ukraine’s victory in the battlefield, before the aggressor starts seriously considering any peace talks.

That is why Ukraine spends so much for defense and the allies are ready to help our state as long as needed. It must be emphasized that according to the ex-Minister of Defense, Oleksiy Reznikov, one day of war costs USD 100 mln to Ukraine.

That is why, as a sign of support to Ukraine, on September, 6, a U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken came to Kyiv. During his two-day visit, he announced the allocation of new assistance for the total amount of over USD 1 bln, of which 665.5 mln would be used for security needs.

At the same time, Pentagon announced the provision of two military aid packages — worth USD 175 mln and USD 600 mln. They would include the transfer of depleted-uranium munitions. The Russian side estimated such actions as the U.S. attempt to wage the war until “the last Ukrainian” and again shared information explaining that such weapons provoke cancer. However, Pentagon refuted Russian claims referring to the conclusions of the WHO, IAEA, and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Also, U.S. Secretary of State announced about the transfer of assets confiscated from Russian oligarchs to support Ukrainian war veterans. He was updated about the progress in winterization to be ready for the heating season and the works to protect infrastructure, since the USA is a leader in coordinating energy support to Ukraine, as part of G7+.

Russia’s genocidal objective to submerge Ukrainians into cold and darkness causes Ukraine’s response. Our military leaders develop a comprehensive plan for the protection of critical infrastructure facilities, with an important element of strengthened air defense at the cost of German Gepard systems and British heavy guns such as the U.S. M2 Browning.

In this regard, Volodymyr Zelensky reported about new arrangements to receive German Gepard systems. It was also announced that German weapon producing company Diehl Defence are going to increase production of the IRIS-T air-defense systems and the missiles for them, to meet the growing demand related to Russia’s war against Ukraine.   

As we can see, on the current stage of the war, Ukraine’s road runs through the reinforcement of defense capabilities, liberation of the occupied territories through military methods, and the advocacy for our peace plan that provides for the territorial integrity of the state.