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Республіканці хочуть звітності, а не зменшення допомоги Україні – сенатор Портман

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US Senators in Ukraine Promise Continued Aid Ahead of Winter

Two U.S. senators met with families in Ukraine’s capital Thursday and promised continued humanitarian support for the war-torn country as winter nears.

Democrat Chris Coons and Republican Rob Portman emphasized their commitment to the people of Ukraine while visiting a distribution center in Kyiv and speaking to families bracing for a dark, cold season with inadequate heating and electricity.

Ukrainian authorities say Russian strikes on energy infrastructure have knocked out 40% of the country’s energy system, cutting off power for tens of thousands of people. Although crews make repairs as quickly as possible, it’s not certain they will be able to keep up with the damage.

“Russia has responded to Ukraine’s success on the battlefield by once again attacking not on the battlefield but attacking the civilians of Ukraine. Trying to turn off the lights, turn off the heat, turn off the water. It’s cowardly. It’s brutal,” Portman said at a news conference. “We cannot let this stand.”

‘The most important fight for freedom’

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the U.S. government has provided $1.5 billion in humanitarian assistance to millions of people in Ukraine and neighboring countries, according to the United States Agency for International Development.

Last month, the U.S. announced a $55 million, five-year investment in Ukraine’s heating infrastructure to support repairs and the maintenance of pipes and other equipment needed to heat homes, hospitals, schools and businesses.

Watch related video by VOA’s Patsy Widakuswara:

Coons and Portman’s trip came less than a week before the crucial U.S. midterm elections. Coons said the elections would not impact future support for Ukraine, whatever the outcome.

“I am confident that bipartisan robust American support for the fight of the Ukrainian people will continue in Congress,” he said. “The United States has long been a nation that fights for freedom, and this is the most important fight for freedom in the world today.”

Residents of southern Ukraine’s city of Mykolaiv have been without water for a month. People on the front line of the fighting in the eastern city of Bakhmut live in constant fear of not having heating and electricity, said Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the regional administration of the Donetsk region.

Earlier this week, a barrage of Russian cruise missiles and drone strikes hit Kyiv, Kharkiv and other Ukrainian cities, knocking out water and power in several areas in apparent retaliation for what Moscow alleged was a Ukrainian attack on its Black Sea Fleet in Crimea.

In Kyiv, water was cut off to 80% of the capital city’s more than 3 million people. Residents lined up to fill water containers at hand pumps around the city. Workers quickly repaired the damage, and water supplies resumed within about 12 hours.

“Thank god this water problem is in autumn, when it’s not so cold. But we don’t know what the war will bring in winter,” Yulia Shypik, a Kyiv resident, said while waiting in line at a pump. “It’s the first time in our lives we have a situation like this. We don’t know what will be tomorrow.”

‘The toughest winter of their lives’

Russia’s illegal annexation and declaration of martial law in four regions of Ukraine may make it more difficult for civilians to move in and out of those areas and for aid groups to reach vulnerable people, according to the United Nations.

Aid groups warn that while governments have given tens of billions of dollars to support Ukraine, people are displaced from their homes and living without reliable access to electricity, water and food.

“After eight months of a relentless war, they are preparing to face what may be the toughest winter of their lives,” Matthew Hollingworth, the emergency coordinator in Ukraine for the U.N.’s World Food Program, told The Associated Press.

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Зеленський повідомив про отримання від Греції першої партії бронетехніки для ЗСУ

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Міністр оборони США вірить в здатність України звільнити Херсон

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Texas: What International Migration Means for Its Politics

Since 2010, the population of the U.S. state of Texas has grown rapidly, including in the Houston metro area, which has seen an influx of migrants from Latin America and Asia. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee has more on what draws people to the state and how the newcomers are shaping Texas politics.

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Germany’s Scholz Makes Difficult Visit to Assertive China

Chancellor Olaf Scholz is making his first visit to China as German leader this week, a diplomatically delicate trip while Germany and the European Union work on their strategy toward an increasingly assertive and authoritarian Beijing.

Scholz’s messages will face close scrutiny. While his nearly year-old government has signaled a departure from predecessor Angela Merkel’s firmly trade-first approach, he is taking a business delegation and his trip follows domestic discord over a Chinese shipping company’s investment in a German container terminal.

The leader of Europe’s biggest economy will meet President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang during Friday’s one-day visit. With China still imposing tough COVID-19 restrictions, his delegation won’t stay in Beijing overnight.

Scholz’s visit, the first recently by a major EU leader, comes just after Xi was named to a third term as head of the ruling Communist Party and promoted allies who support his vision of tighter control over society and the economy. It is also accompanied by rising tensions over Taiwan and follows a U.N. report that said Chinese human rights violations against Uyghurs and other ethnic groups may amount to “crimes against humanity.”

A senior German official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity in line with department rules, characterized the visit as “an exploratory trip” to find out “where China stands, where China is going and what forms of cooperation are possible with this specific China in the current global situation.”

The official pointed to China’s “particular responsibility” as an ally of Russia to help end the war in Ukraine and press Moscow to tone down its nuclear rhetoric; to concerns over tensions in Taiwan and the broader region; to Germany’s desire for a “level playing field” in economic relations; and to Scholz’s current status as this year’s chair of the Group of Seven industrial powers.

Even as political relations have grown tenser, business ties have flourished. China was Germany’s biggest trading partner in 2021 for the sixth consecutive year, its biggest single source of imports and its No. 2 export destination after the U.S.

Scholz’s government has sought to balance those ties with recognition that China is increasingly a competitor and “systemic rival,” as well as a partner on issues such as climate change. His three-party coalition has pledged to draw up a “comprehensive China strategy.”

That is still pending. But Russia’s war in Ukraine is concentrating minds as Germany grapples with the fallout of having depended on Russia for over half its natural gas supplies. This year, Germany has scrambled to end that dependence, while Russia eventually shut off supplies.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Sunday that she fears “that a mistake Germany made in recent years with Russia could be repeated.” And, she told ARD television, “we must prevent that.”

Baerbock’s comments came after the government argued over whether to allow China’s COSCO to take a 35% stake in a container terminal at the Hamburg port. Baerbock and others in two junior coalition parties opposed the deal while Scholz downplayed its significance. In a compromise, COSCO was cleared to take a stake below 25%, above which an investor can block a company’s decisions.

Scholz has appeared to tread a middle path on China. Unlike his two immediate predecessors, he made Japan rather than China his first Asian destination. He is encouraging companies to diversify, but isn’t discouraging business with China.

After an EU summit last month, he said: “No one is saying that we have to get out of there, we can’t export there any more, we can’t invest there and we can’t import from China any more.”

But, in an increasingly multipolar world, ”we shouldn’t concentrate on just a few countries,” he said, adding that “not putting all your eggs in one basket” is wise.

At the same summit, leaders of the 27-nation EU discussed reducing their dependence on China for technology equipment and raw minerals, and agreed to demand a better balance of economic relations while working with Beijing on global issues.

Scholz said in an article for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper that he’s traveling “as a European,” and Berlin consulted closely with European and trans-Atlantic partners before the visit. He said “Germany’s China policy can only be successful if embedded in a European China policy.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Tuesday that Beijing believes Scholz’s visit “will inject new impetus” into the development of the “comprehensive strategic partnership” between the two countries “and contribute to world peace, stability and growth.”

“Current Sino-German relations can be characterized as ‘cold politically and hot economically,’” said Ding Chun, director of the Center for European Studies of China’s Fudan University, using a formulation often used to describe Beijing’s relations with Japan. But Ding said the visit will help promote bilateral relations by showing support for economic ties and multilateralism in the face of calls for “decoupling.”

In Germany, many are warier.

Scholz should warn China against substantial support for Russia in the Ukraine war, make clear to its leaders that Germany is committed to EU unity toward Beijing, and to German managers the extent of the geopolitical risks they might face, said Guntram Wolff, the director of the German Council on Foreign Relations think tank.

Some recent decisions “looked more as though they want to take up the Merkel tradition, in which people thought they could bring about change through trade and so on,” he said.

The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, Thomas Haldenwang, recently made a comparison with the turmoil over the Ukraine war, saying that “Russia is the storm, China is climate change.”

Some human rights groups have urged Scholz to cancel the trip, but German officials argue that they won’t achieve anything if they don’t attempt dialogue.

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Young Latino Voters in Arizona Could Define Midterm Elections

Latinos are the second-largest voting group in Arizona. And in this year’s midterm elections, Latino youth could be a driving force for change in the state. Jorge Agobian traveled to Tucson and met with some of these voters to see what their expectations are.

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Трагічний символізм зруйнованого російськими обстрілами монастиря УПЦ (МП) – фотосвідчення

Руїни Свято-Георгіївського скиту Свято-Успенської Святогірської лаври у селі Долина, що на Донеччині, який належить Українській православній церкві Московського патріархату, є певною трагічною символікою вторгнення Росії в Україну.

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АРМА виявила майно російських посадовців на Заході на 180 мільйонів гривень

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Москва офіційно звинуватила Лондон у причетності до атаки в Севастополі

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Відкриті обидва проїзди мосту в Стоянці на Житомирській трасі – «Укравтодор»

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Залужний: у війні проти України Росія втратила вже більше літаків, ніж СРСР в Афганістані за 10 років

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Javier, Astros Pitch 2nd No-Hitter in World Series History

Major league baseball pitcher Cristian Javier and the Houston Astros bullpen combined on just the second no-hitter in World Series history, silencing a booming lineup and boisterous ballpark as the Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 5-0 Wednesday night to even the matchup at two games each.

The only previous no-hitter in the World Series was a perfect game by Don Larsen of the New York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956.

Javier and three relief pitchers weren’t perfect, but they were close. Plus, they’d done this before: Javier, the starter in a combined no-hitter against the New York Yankees in June, was pulled with a no-hitter in progress after 97 pitches this time.

Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly each followed with a hitless inning, ensuring this year’s championship will be decided this weekend back at Minute Maid Park.

The quartet of pitchers posed with catcher Christian Vazquez near the visiting dugout moments after the game, each putting a hand on the game ball for a photo.

Game 5 is on Thursday night in Philly. Astros ace Justin Verlander will again chase that elusive first World Series win when he faces Noah Syndergaard.

They can only hope to pitch as well as Javier.

By the time the 25-year-old righty from the Dominican Republic exited, the only hit maker on the Philadelphia side who showed up on the scoreboard was rocker Bruce Springsteen, pictured surrounded by Phillies fans.

And a few innings later, as fans started leaving Citizens Bank Park, there actually were boos for postseason star Bryce Harper and the Phillies. First lady Jill Biden, a noted Phillies fan, was among those in the crowd of 45,693 who had little to shout about.

Alex Bregman delivered the hit Houston desperately needed, a two-run double in a five-run fifth inning, and that was plenty for the Astros.

Completely in charge, Javier struck out nine, walked two and hardly allowed any loud contact. He tamed a club that had been 6-0 at home this postseason while hitting 17 home runs, including a Series record-tying five in a 7-0 romp in Game 3.

Very still on the mound, Javier carved his own quiet spot in the middle of the Phillies’ storm. Backing off onto the grass, straightening his hat, rubbing the ball, taking deep breaths, he proceeded at his own pace.

Next year, Javier won’t be able to work quite this way. Major League Baseball is instituting a pitch clock _ 15 seconds to throw with the bases empty, 20 with someone on base _ and Javier often surpassed those limits on this evening, drawing boos from a crowd eager for action.

Anyhow, it worked at the start.

When Javier held the Phillies scoreless through the first three innings, it was no small feat. No visiting pitcher had done that during the postseason in this bouncing ballpark.

In Javier’s last start, he shut out the Yankees on one hit in 5 1/3 innings in the Bronx during the AL Championship Series.

This performance by Javier came a year after Atlanta’s Ian Anderson was taken out after pitching five hitless innings against Houston.

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Midterm Elections Usually Favor the Opposition, But Will 2022 Buck History?

History suggests the Democratic Party’s narrow control of both houses of Congress — the Senate and House of Representatives — could end after the midterm elections in November.  

But the conservative Supreme Court ‘s unpopular decision to end the constitutional right to an abortion for women could be the catalyst that bucks history. 

“Historically, the president’s political party has almost always lost seats in Congress in the midterm elections,” says Mark Rozell, dean and professor of policy and government at George Mason University in Virginia. “So, if this were just a normal, ordinary midterm election year, we would expect the Republicans to make very significant gains, particularly given that not only the historical pattern favors the Republicans, but there’s a relatively unpopular Democratic president.” 


Midterm elections occur halfway through a president’s four-year term. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives — where members serve two-year terms — and 35 of 100 Senate seats are up for grabs. Across the country, seats in many state legislatures and about half of the nation’s governorships are also on the ballot. 

Buoyed by Democratic control of Congress, President Joe Biden has recorded a string of legislative victories and signed bills into law strengthening gun restrictions, overhauling America’s infrastructure, fighting climate change and limiting drug prices. The results of the midterms will impact his ability to continue implementing his agenda for the country over the second half of his term.  


“The majority [party in Congress] controls who gets appointed to what committees, and … they’re going to determine what things are going to come to the floor,” says Mary Brennan, professor of history and dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Texas State University. “Assuming that the opposite party from the president’s party is in control, they can stall the president’s agenda.” 


Historical perspective 


Over the past century, the president’s party picked up seats in the midterms only three times. First, in 1934 during the Great Depression when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was commander in chief; in 1998 after the impeachment of President Bill Clinton; and in 2002, shortly after the 9/11 terror attacks.  


“In each of those three cases, there was very strong support for the incumbent president: The Great Depression in 1934. The unpopularity of the Clinton impeachment that had been led by the Republicans. And then George W. Bush had stratospheric popularity in 2002 after the attack on 9/11,” Rozell says. “So, those are three really extraordinary circumstances. And in the past 100 years, in every other midterm election, the party in control of the White House lost seats, and usually a significant number.”

Voter turnout for the midterms is usually significantly lower than during presidential elections. Fifty-three percent of eligible voters voted in 2018, but that was the highest midterm turnout in four decades. In 2014, just 41.9% of eligible voters cast a ballot during the midterms, while 66.8% of eligible citizens voted in the 2020 presidential election.   

“The reason the midterms don’t usually go the way of the party that’s in power is because their supporters are satisfied, and so they stay home,” Brennan says. “And the people who are unhappy and riled up are the ones who turn out during the midterms.” 


What voters will weigh 


Republicans hope voters will punish Democrats for decades-high inflation, economic uncertainty, uncontrolled migration across the U.S.-Mexico border, America’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan and other factors. Democrats hope their record of accomplishment in Washington and the continued prominence of former President Donald Trump in national headlines will energize their core supporters and drive them to the polls. 

Democrats also hope that public uproar over recent polarizing decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority will blunt any Republican momentum in the current election cycle. 

In June, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending a woman’s decades-long constitutional right to an abortion and leaving it up to individual states to decide whether to ban or allow the procedure. Polls show the ruling was broadly unpopular with many segments of the electorate, including independent voters who are often pivotal in close contests. 

But was that, along with other high court decisions weakening gun control and environmental regulation, enough to upend the midterms and mobilize complacent voters? 

“We do have some circumstances in this election cycle that are quite unusual that could drive voting decisions in a different-than-usual direction,” Rozell says. “These are the things that history can’t pick up… The Supreme Court’s abortion decision may be just that example this year. That may have changed the dynamics of a number of congressional races this year that are highly competitive in favor of Democrats, because the Supreme Court decision is highly unpopular throughout the nation.” 


Brennan says more mundane, hard-to-gauge factors will also come into play during midterm voting this November. 


“People tend to think it doesn’t make as much difference. It’s not a presidential election.  They haven’t seen all the campaigns. They don’t know,” she says. “It could also be something like the weather. It could be, ‘It’s raining. I can’t go out in this. It’s too hot. I can’t stand in the line.’ It could be, ‘I don’t have a ride to the polls, and are they going to close before I get off work?’”

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Війська РФ намагаються оточити українські сили біля Вугледара, але зазнають «великих втрат» – Череватий

«Кілька днів поспіль вони намагаються атакувати, зокрема, в районі села Павлівка Вугледарського напрямку, там постійно точаться жорстокі бої, йде така позиційна війна»

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«Укренерго» анонсує обмеження подачі електрики у Дніпропетровській, Запорізькій та Кіровоградській областях

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За добу по Сумщині було випущено понад 140 російських снарядів та мін – ОВА

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Харків опинився під черговим обстрілом армії РФ: попередньо – без жертв

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US to Press for Iran’s Removal From UN Women’s Rights Body

The United States called Wednesday for Iran to be removed from the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the main intergovernmental body dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women.

“This work is vital. It makes a real difference,” U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said of the CSW. “And it deserves our full support, especially when the rights of so many women and girls are under attack. But the commission cannot do its work when it is being undermined from within.”

She said Iran’s membership is an “ugly stain” on the body’s credibility.

“In our view, it cannot stand,” she said.

The U.S. announcement was first made in a statement from Vice President Kamala Harris’s office earlier Wednesday.


Thomas-Greenfield spoke at an informal meeting of Security Council members, known as an Arria meeting, focused on the mass protests that started in Iran on September 16, following the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, 22. The Kurdish woman was arrested in Tehran by so-called morality police for wearing her headscarf “improperly.”

Police say she had a heart attack in custody, but her family disputes that. The family’s request for a committee of independent doctors to investigate her death was rejected by the Iranian authorities.

Independent probe urged

“It is clear that the so-called investigations into the death of Mahsa Amini have failed the minimum requirements of impartiality, independence and transparency,” Javaid Rehman, the U.N. special rapporteur for Iran, told the meeting in a video briefing.

He called for an independent, international investigation into her death – a call that was supported by several council members.

Iran’s ambassador sent a letter on Monday to all U.N. members urging them not to participate in Wednesday’s meeting, saying it violated the U.N. Charter by interfering in Tehran’s internal affairs.

Ahead of the meeting he told reporters that Iranian law enforcement could “manage” any unrest, but that it “would not do so at any cost.”

“The importance of human life and dignity is what ultimately guides our decision,” Amir Saeid Iravani said without taking any questions. “Therefore, the restraint displayed by Iranian law enforcement should not be [seen as] a sign of weakness.”

The regime has been widely criticized for its use of disproportionate force against peaceful protesters. The special rapporteur said at least 277 people, including 40 children, have been killed by security forces in the demonstrations. Thousands more have been arrested.

“Make no mistake about it, the Islamic Republic [of Iran] is a totalitarian system that uses forced confessions and torture to stifle all dissent,” actor and activist Nazanin Boniadi told council members.

She said the future of the country can “only be written by its own people on its own streets” and urged international support.

“The international community should want what the courageous demonstrators in Iran want,” Boniadi said. “It’s time for us to stop abetting the Islamic Republic and support the freedom-loving people of Iran.”

Albania co-sponsored the meeting with the United States.

Iran police ‘ignited a fire’

“The Iran morality police wanted to make an example. They ignited a fire,” Albanian Ambassador Ferit Hoxha said of Amini’s arrest. He said now the genie of freedom is out of the bottle.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Iranian human rights lawyer Shireen Ebadi said the people will no longer settle for anything less than a democratic and secular government.

“Many young people in Iran were killed for freedom and democracy,” she said by video. “Don’t let the Islamic Republic impose more grief on people’s lives. We’d be grateful for your standing on the right side of history.”

The U.N. Economic and Social Council is the body that elects members to the Commission on the Status of Women. Thomas-Greenfield told reporters after the meeting that she would work with other countries in the coming days and weeks about how to proceed on seeking Iran’s removal.

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Explainer: Why the Black Sea Grain Deal Is Vital for Global Food Security

A landmark deal to allow grain exports from Ukraine, which was back on track Wednesday after being briefly suspended, has played a crucial role in easing a global food crisis sparked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Brokered by the United Nations and Turkey and signed by Moscow and Kyiv on July 22, the agreement established a protected sea corridor to allow grain shipments to resume for the first time since the fighting began in February

Here is what we know about the deal, known as the Black Sea Grain Initiative:

Why was it needed?

When Russian troops attacked in late February, Moscow imposed a blockade on Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, halting all agricultural exports from one of the world’s breadbaskets.

The move left 20 million metric tons of grain stranded in Ukraine’s ports, causing food prices to surge worldwide.

Before the war, up to 90% of Ukraine’s wheat, corn and sunflower exports were transported by sea, mostly from Odesa, with many developing countries relying heavily on Kyiv for grain.

Agricultural commodity prices were high before the war because of the post-COVID-19 economic recovery, but the conflict pushed the price of grains such as wheat and corn to levels unsustainable for countries dependent on their import, such as Egypt, Lebanon and Tunisia.

What does the deal cover?

The deal ensures the safe export of grain, foodstuffs and fertilizers, including ammonia, from three Black Sea ports in southwestern Ukraine: Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi.

The first grain ship to leave under the U.N.-backed deal set sail on August 1.

According to U.N. figures as of November 1, a total of 9.7 million metric tons of grain and other agricultural products have been transported in the first three months of the initiative, the vast majority involving wheat and corn.

Valid for 120 days, the agreement is up for renewal on November 19 in a process that can be done automatically without further negotiations.

The U.N. says extending the deal is crucial for global food security and is pushing for it to be renewed for one year.

Although the initiative is working well, shipments are about 40-50% lower than what they were before Russia’s invasion, the U.N. says.

How does it work?

According to the U.N.’s website, the agreement establishes a safe corridor between the three Ukrainian ports and an area in Turkish waters where the vessels are inspected before being allowed to continue their journey.

To monitor the agreement, a joint command and control center was set up in Istanbul to oversee smooth operations and resolve disputes.

Known as the Joint Coordination Center (JCC), the JCC has four teams of eight inspectors — two each from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the U.N.

These teams inspect outbound vessels carrying grain at the Turkish inspection area to ensure all merchandise is approved.

The teams also examine empty ships returning to Ukraine to ensure they are not carrying any weapons or other unauthorized goods or people.

Safe passage

The deal establishes a buffer zone of 10 nautical miles around each vessel traveling along the corridor with no military ships, equipment or drones allowed within that radius.

All ship movements logged by the JCC are transmitted to the relevant military authorities to prevent any incidents, with any violations or threats to be handled by the JCC.

At the start of the war, Ukraine mined its main Black Sea ports to head off threats of a Russian attack from the sea, but experts said it would take too long to de-mine all these areas.

The deal allows Ukrainians to guide the ships along safe routes that avoid known mine fields and into and out of its territorial waters.

Deal briefly suspended

On October 29, Russia said it was suspending its participation in the deal, accusing Ukraine of using the shipping corridor to launch a drone attack on its Black Sea fleet in Crimea’s Sevastopol port.

After a call between the Russian and Turkish defense ministers, the deal resumed operation at 0900 GMT on November 2 with Moscow saying it had received written guarantees from Kyiv ensuring the corridor would not be used for attacking Russian forces.