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Ukraine’s September grain exports down 51%, ministry says

Ukrainian grain exports over Sept. 1-24 totalled 1.57 million metric tons, down sharply from the 3.21 million tons in the corresponding period last year, agriculture ministry data showed on Monday.

The ministry gave no explanation for the decline.

Traders and agricultural unions have said that Ukrainian the blocking of Black Sea ports and recent Russian attacks on Ukrainian ports on the Danube River are the main reasons for the reduced exports.

The ministry data showed that Ukraine has exported a total of 6.2 million tons of grain so far in the 2023/24 July-June season, versus 7.5 million tons in the same period of the previous season.

The volume included almost 3 million tons of wheat, 2.5 million tons of corn and 599,000 tons of barley.

Ukraine has traditionally shipped most of its exports through its deep-water Black Sea ports.

A combine harvests wheat near Kramatorsk, in Donetsk region on August 4, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Anatolii Stepanov | AFP | Getty Images

An agreement brokered by the United Nations and Turkey to allow such exports collapsed in July when Russia walked away from the deal, saying its demands for an easing of sanctions on its own grain and fertiliser exports had not been met.

Ukraine is able to export limited volumes through small river ports on the Danube and via its western land border with the European Union.

Ukraine is expected to harvest at least 80 million tons of grain and oilseed in 2023 and the 2023/24 exportable surplus totals about 50 million tons.

— Reuters

U.S. and Ukraine to produce weapons and defense systems together

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and U.S. President Joe Biden in the Oval Office on Sept. 21, 2023.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address on Sunday that the U.S. had agreed to jointly produce weapons with Kyiv.

“There is a historic decision by the United States to jointly produce weapons and defense systems. In particular, air defense. This is something that was an absolute fantasy until recently. But it will become a reality. We will make it a reality,” Zelenskyy said.

Zelenskyy has spent the last week in the U.S. and Canada, having attended the latest U.N. General Assembly in New York before separate talks with President Joe Biden and then Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“It was a productive week. Very productive. We have many good defense and other decisions,” Zelenskyy said, listing defense packages from the U.S. including artillery, shells, HIMARS munitions, air defense missiles, additional air defense systems and tactical vehicles, and some other types of weapons that will prove themselves on the battlefield.

“From Canada, we have a decision on long-term defense support worth half a billion U.S. dollars. In particular, these are medevac vehicles, which are very much needed at the front … We have agreed on their production and supply,” he added.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia says it destroyed Ukrainian drones over Black Sea, Crimea, Russian regions

Russia said its air defense systems destroyed Ukrainian drones over Russian territory as well as Crimea overnight.

Posting on Telegram, the Russian Defense Ministry said two Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles had been intercepted over the territory of Kursk in southwestern Russia, and two other drones destroyed over the neighboring Bryansk region. Both regions have been targeted a number of times in alleged Ukrainian drone attacks against Russian territory. Kyiv has been tight-lipped about such attacks.

Plumes of smoke rise after a fire erupts at an oil depot in Bryansk, Russia, on April 25, 2022.

Natalya Krutova | Reuters

The defense ministry also said four Ukrainian drones had been destroyed over the northwestern part of the Black Sea and over Russian-occupied Crimea.

It was not immediately known whether there was any damage or injuries as a result of the reported attacks.

CNBC was not able to independently verify the information and there was no comment from Ukraine.

—Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine’s port city of Odesa suffers ‘significant damage’ in attack

Ukraine’s important port city of Odesa suffered what officials called “significant damage” in a large-scale Russian attack overnight.

Ukraine’s southern defense forces said 19 Shahed-136/131 type attacking drones, 12 Kalibr missiles and 2 Onyx supersonic missiles were used in the attack on Odesa. It said its air defense forces had shot down 19 drones and 11 Kalibr missiles.

“Unfortunately, the enemy hit the port infrastructure,” officials said on Telegram.

“The sea port in Odesa suffered significant damage, a fire broke out in the building of the station hotel, which has not been functioning for several years. Firefighters promptly eliminated it,” the post translated by NBC said. Onyx missiles destroyed granaries but no one was hurt.

A vessel arrives under the Black Sea grain initiative, in Odesa, southern Ukraine.

Yulii Zozulia | Future Publishing | Getty Images

“As a result of falling debris during combat operations, the warehouse buildings of one of the enterprises and a private house in the suburbs of Odesa were damaged and ignited,” the post added. Fires have since been extinguished.

— Holly Ellyatt

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