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Facts About Ukraine Crisis: UN Weclomes Quadrilateral Meeting on Black Sea Grain Initiative

The following are the latest developments related to the Ukraine crisis:

The quadrilateral meeting in Istanbul to discuss the future of the Black Sea Grain Initiative was meaningful and substantive, said a UN spokesman on Thursday.

The meeting was held in Istanbul on Thursday with the participation of senior-level officials from Russia, Türkiye, Ukraine and the United Nations, said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Participants in the meeting discussed the recent proposals by the United Nations, a longer extension of the deal, improvements at the Joint Coordination Centre for stable operations and exports, and other issues raised by the parties.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allows the export of Ukrainian grain and other agricultural products from Black Sea ports, was signed separately by Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul with Türkiye and the United Nations on July 22, 2022. Initially in effect for 120 days, the deal was extended in mid-November 2022 for another 120 days until March 18, 2023. At that point, Russia only agreed to extend the deal for 60 days until May 18, 2023.

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Angolan President Joao Lourenco emphasized the need for dialogue between Russia and Ukraine to establish a ceasefire and pave the way for a final peace negotiation in a speech on Wednesday.

During a meeting with military leaders in Menongue, the capital of Angola’s southern Cuando Cubango Province, Lourenco said that the conflict in Ukraine increasingly threatens “global peace and security” and that “efforts must be made to prevent the escalation of the conflict.”

He stressed the need for direct negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, Russia and the United States, and Russia and NATO, to prevent “a dangerous nuclear confrontation.”

“The moment is crucial to start taking concrete steps in the search for solutions to achieving peace through negotiation so that we do not regret it later,” he said.

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On Thursday, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov welcomed Britain’s decision to supply the Storm Shadow long-range missiles to Ukraine.

Earlier in the day, British Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace announced that Britain has donated Storm Shadow missiles to Kiev to help it push back Russian forces based within Ukraine.

According to media reports, the Storm Shadow cruise missile has a range of over 250 kilometers.

Other countries have provided Ukraine with High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and Harpoon Anti-ship missiles and launchers. Ukraine also has its own Neptune cruise missiles.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that his country needs more time to launch a counteroffensive against Russia as the military forces are waiting for more aid, the government-run Ukrinform news agency reported Thursday.

“With what we already have, we can go forward and be successful. But we would lose a lot of people. I think this is unacceptable. So we have to wait. We still need a bit more time,” Zelensky said.

In particular, Ukraine needs more military vehicles, which “arrive in batches,” Zelensky said.

Voicing his confidence that the Ukrainian forces could advance in the confrontation, Zelensky warned of the risks of the “frozen conflict.”