Live blog | Putin and Erdogan discuss grain ships from Ukraine

Firefighters put out a fire after shelling in Bakhmut.
Firefighters put out a fire after shelling in Bakhmut. (ANP/Anadolu Agency)

Bruls predicts problems in reception if the war Ukraine continues

03:37 | Municipalities cannot remain permanently responsible for the reception of Ukrainian refugees. Nijmegen’s mayor and chairman of the Security Council Hubert Bruls says in Trouw that reception is in principle a government task and that the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) must be strengthened to also take over the reception of Ukrainians in the longer term. term.

‘But I don’t see that happening in the short term,’ Bruls says in the newspaper, because COA is already struggling with major problems in receiving asylum seekers from other countries. And that worries him. Because the reception of Ukrainians puts pressure on the normal activities of the municipalities. If the war continues and more refugees come to the Netherlands, it may become ‘critical’ to guarantee municipal reception, according to Bruls.

The 25 security regions, which are represented in the Security Council, have set themselves the goal of making 75,000 beds available for Ukrainians. Almost 60,000 of these have been realized. Bruls says in Trouw that he does not know if the intended number will ultimately be sufficient. And if there are to be more, he finds it ‘not obvious’ that that task lies with the municipalities.

Bruls has repeatedly stressed that accepting asylum is not a task for the municipalities either. After the many times municipalities have been called in, they no longer have the manpower or money for it. Last month, during the Security Council, he once again announced to State Secretary Eric van der Burg (Asylum) that the security regions’ and municipalities’ extra efforts for asylum reception will end in earnest on 1 October.

Putin and Erdogan discuss grain ships from Ukraine

03:30 | Russian President Vladimir Putin receives his Turkish counterpart Recep Erdogan in the coastal city of Sochi. The two leaders talk about the transport of grain by ship from Ukraine and how the ‘grain agreement’ is going.

On Wednesday, the ship Razoni arrived in Turkey, after which it continued towards Lebanon. It was the first ship to leave Ukraine after the grain agreement. According to Turkey, up to three cargo ships with grain can leave Ukraine.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, grain exports have come to a standstill for a long time. Ukraine and Russia are two of the largest grain exporters in the world. Turkey played an important role in the implementation of the “Grain Agreement”. The country imports 86 percent of its grain needs from Russia and Ukraine.

In addition, Russia says it has problems with food exports because European sanctions hinder trade with customers. The problems are causing price increases for staple foods worldwide and food shortages in poor countries.

The execution of the grain agreement is led by a senior officer of the Turkish Navy, Vice Admiral Ozgür Ozcan Altunbulak, and is directed from a coordination center in Istanbul.

Zelensky condemns Amnesty report for ‘explaining terror’

00:09 | Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky does not have a good word for the report published by Amnesty International on Thursday, in which the human rights organization states that Ukrainian combat tactics put its own civilians at risk. “The responsibility thus shifts from the aggressor to the victim,” Zelenski said in his daily speech.

With the report, the human rights organization tries to justify the Russian terror, says Zelensky. “There is no conceivable state of affairs that would justify the Russian attack on Ukraine,” the Ukrainian president said. Zelensky adds in his speech that the Russian aggression was ‘not provoked’.

Amnesty found in the report that several Ukrainian civilians were killed and injured between April and July as a result of Ukraine’s tactics of targeting military targets, including residential areas, villages, homes, condominiums, hospitals and schools. By doing so, the Ukrainian army is violating international humanitarian law, Amnesty said.

Earlier on Thursday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Koeleba said the report was “unfair”. According to Koeleba, conclusions would be miles away from the truth, and Ukraine is a country that is ‘desperately trying to defend itself’.

Several experts told NOS on Thursday that Amnesty’s report is “full of holes” and it is unclear on what evidence the human rights organization comes to its conclusions.

Defense specialist at Clingendael, Dick Zandee, tells NOS that he would like to see more facts and pictures after reading the Amnesty report. “Based on this limited data, the allegations are difficult to assess. And for Ukraine’s sake, I doubt it. On the contrary, the country would lose popular support if the army actually opened fire on schools or houses where people are present.’

USA: Russia to accept proposal for basketball star Griner

23:17 | The United States is urging Russia to accept a “serious proposal” Washington made weeks ago to return American basketball star Brittney Griner, national security spokesman John Kirby said Thursday.

Griner, who was arrested in Russia in February, was sentenced Thursday to nine years in prison by a Russian court after she was found guilty of intentionally smuggling cannabis oil for e-cigarettes.

“It’s a serious proposition,” Kirby said. “We encourage them to accept it. They should have accepted it weeks ago when we first did it.” Kirby did not provide details of the US proposal, but observers believe it is a swap between US-detained Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout and Russian-captured Griner and Paul Whelan, a US ex-Marine accused of espionage.

Three new grain ships depart from Ukraine

22:49 | Three new ships with grain will depart from Ukraine today, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said. He did not say from which ports the ships will sail.

Last Monday, for the first time since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, a shipment of grain left the port of Odessa. After an inspection by Turkish, Russian and Ukrainian experts near Istanbul, the ship resumed its journey on Thursday.

In July, Ukraine and Russia agreed to resume grain transport across the Black Sea. The purpose of this agreement, which was negotiated by Turkey and the UN, is to prevent a global food crisis

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