Trade - Global Security

Poland suspends Ukraine support

Amidst a diplomatic dispute over what it said are market-destabilizing grain exports, Poland is no longer supplying Soviet-era weapons to its neighbour, preferring instead to re-equip its own forces. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was responding September 20 to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s complaint that some his country’s allies were “making a thriller from grain [node:read-more:link]

What to expect at UN

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, along with the challenges of climate change, sustainable development, poverty, the coronavirus pandemic aftermath and even the UN’s fundamental roles are casting a gloomy shadow over New York this week. There is particular focus on a potential September 20 face-off between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. [node:read-more:link]

Turkey-EU relations falter

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said September 16 that he may part ways with the EU after the European Parliament said Turkey’s accession “cannot resume” because of what had been described as “democratic backsliding.” Turkey applied to join in 1999 and talks began in 2005 only to be frozen in 2018. [node:read-more:link]

Ukrainian grain worries Poland

The European Union was called on today by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to extend an embargo on imports of Ukrainian grain. “Poland will not allow Ukraine grain to flood us,” he said while campaigning for election, adding that if the EU balks, “we will do it ourselves because we cannot allow for a deregulation of the market.” [node:read-more:link]

Putin refuses grain cooperation

Despite a personal appeal today by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that Ukraine be permitted to resume grain exports from Black Sea ports, Russian President Vladimir Putin flatly refused, reiterating that shipments would not resume until the West facilitates Russian exports. They met only hours after Russia launched an overnight attack on one of Ukraine’s export terminals. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. diplomatic error

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says that an independent judicial inquiry found no evidence that his country has supplied weapons to Russia, as claimed by U.S. Ambassador Reuben Brigety. Ramaphos said that a Russian ship docked in Capetown last December actually was delivering arms to South Africa and his foreign ministry said Brigety had “apologized unreservedly.” [node:read-more:link]

Trade trifecta for Trudeau?

As part of the government’s plan to make Canada’s Indo-Pacific trade less dependent on China, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has left on a six-day mission which includes visits to Indonesia, Singapore and India. His first stop is Jakarta today for talks with PM Joko Widodo and a meeting of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations. [node:read-more:link]

Japan releases reactor coolant

The scheduled release August 24 of treated radioactive coolant water from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, irreparably damaged by a tsunami in March 2011, prompted China to immediately ban imports of Japanese “aquatic products.” Korea also protested the slow staged release into the Pacific, which the UN nuclear agency said is within safe limits. [node:read-more:link]

New Ukrainian grain option

Romania signed an agreement today with Ukraine which will give Ukraine an alternate grain export route after Russia essentially blocked shipments from Black Sea ports. Romanian PM Marcel Ciolacu said he hoped it would facilitate more than 60% of Ukrainian grain exports. [node:read-more:link]

Russians weaponize food chain

Grain storage facilities and Danube River ports Ukraine relies on to export grain were attacked by Russian drones August 16. Air defences did manage to intercept 13 which targetted the Odesa and Mykolaiv regions. [node:read-more:link]

Russia fires near cargo ship

After Russia withdrew from a Turkish-brokered deal to ensure Ukrainian grain exports could continue, one of its warships intercepted a Palau-flagged cargo ship bound for a river port in Ukraine’s southern Odessa region August 13. According to the defence ministry, warning shots were fired when the vessel did not respond to an order to stop for inspection for “prohibited goods” but it was subsequently released. [node:read-more:link]

Military guards for Hormuz shipping?

The U.S. is considering putting armed military personnel on commercial ships under constant threat by Iran as they transit the Strait of Hormuz. Officials are offering few details but the planning coincides with the impending arrival of thousands of Marines and Navy personnel in the region. [node:read-more:link]

B.C. port woes continue

Federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan has directed the Canada Industrial Labour Relations Board to determine whether striking B.C. port workers’ rejection of a mediated contract offer has “eliminated the possibility of a negotiated resolution.” The on-and-off-again strike by 7,400 workers has stalled cargo movements in 30 ports, including Vancouver, the country’s largest. [node:read-more:link]

Russia abandons grain pact

Russia today walked away from a Turkish-brokered agreement last summer which enabled Ukrainian grain to be exported from Black Sea ports to markets in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. A Kremlin official said the arrangement would not be reinstated until its own agricultural exports are not subject to sanctions even though it has been shipping record amounts of wheat and fertilizers [node:read-more:link]

U.S. think-tank founder charged

An Israeli-American who founded and co-directs the Washington-based Institute for the Analysis of Global Security faces charges of trying to illegally broker sales of weapons and Iranian oil as well as being a Chinese agent. Evidently arrested earlier this year in Cyprus on what he said is “a politically motivated extradition request” by federal prosecutors in New York, Gal Luft fled after being granted bail. [node:read-more:link]


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