Sunday’s Coverage: The “Grain From Ukraine” Summit Looks to Protection of Black Sea

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Following up on today’s European Commission visit to Kyiv (see 1911 GMT), Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has pledged that the country will implement all European Union recommendations necessary for accession.

Zelenskiy spoke by phone with European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen.


Germany is providing another €24.5 million to Ukraine State energy provider Ukrenergo to strengthen the country’s system.

Ukrenergo CEO Volodymyr Kudrytskyi posted on Facebook, “These funds will be used to strengthen our technical ties with the energy system of continental Europe, restore high-voltage facilities in the western region and build their protection. The signing of all necessary agreements is expected in the coming weeks.”

Germany had already given more than €220 million to Ukrenergo to restore substations and maintain liquidity. German transmission system operators have delivered more 100 pieces of equipment for the repair power grids and substations.


Addressing the International Maritime Organization, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has spoken of Ukraine’s resilience against Russia’s 21-month invasion, its blockade, and its attacks on Ukrainian ports.

We have restored the operation of some of Ukraine’s seaports, and it is a great joy for every nation to see ports return to normal operation.

I invite representatives of all respectable members of the International Maritime Organization to our city of Odesa and other port cities of the Odesa region. So that you can see with your own eyes what difficulties our people have overcome. How many missile and drone attacks Russia has carried out against our infrastructure.

Zelenskiy referred to Russia’s largest drone attack of the invasion — last Saturday, as Ukraine marked the 90th anniversary of the Soviet-induced famine that killed millions — and its “hundreds of such drones and at least dozens of missiles every month”.

“But despite all odds, we were able to release hundreds of ships with cargo for such countries as Nigeria and Libya, Morocco and Yemen, Bangladesh, and China, and dozens of others,” Zelenskiy said.

The Russian Navy has repeatedly attacked ports and civilian vessels in this area. But now Russia’s capabilities are much more limited – we have driven its navy away from our part of the sea. And this allowed us to launch new alternative routes in the Black Sea – almost six million tons of cargo have been transported in less than three months.


As she participates in a delegation in Kyiv this week, Věra Jourová, the European Commission’s Vice President for Values and Transparency, has outlined the priorities for Ukraine’s path to European Union accession.

On November 8, the Commission cited Ukraine’s progress as it recommended the opening of accession talks next month.

However, the step requires unanimous approval by the 27 EU member-states, and Hungary — led by Vladimir Putin’s long-time ally Viktor Orbán — is threatening to hold up the process.

Ukraine Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal posted after his meeting with Jourová:

Despite the full-scale war, Ukraine continues to implement the reforms necessary for integration into the European Union. In the near future, we are determined to complete the legislative steps outlined in the European Commission’s report as part of the Enlargement Package. The decision to open negotiations with Ukraine on accession to the EU is crucial, in particular in the context of rebuilding our country.


A leading Ukrainian MP has called for the dismissal of the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Gen. Valery Zaluzhnyi.

Mariana Bezuhla, deputy head of Parliament’s National Security Committee, said, “If the military leadership can’t provide any plan for 2024, and if all their proposals for mobilisation boil down to needing more people without any proposal for changes in the military system, then this leadership should step down.”

Some legislators from President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s Servant of the People Party, demanded the expulsion of Bezuhla from the Parliamentary group.

“Most lawmakers are outraged by Bezuhla’s behavior and propose excluding her. However, it is not guaranteed to be put to a vote,” one MP said.


Despite its proclamation of a “no limits strategic partnership” with Russia, China is holding up construction of one of Moscow’s key natural gas projects.

Russia’s discussions with Beijing over the construction of the Power of Siberia 2 pipeline is progressing slowly.

The pipeline is planned to divert 50 billion cubic meters (1.8 trillion cubic feet) of Russia natural gas per year, previously supplied to Europe, to north China.

But “a source with knowledge of the issue in Russia” said:

China understands really well their bargaining power and the country is in a much stronger position.

It’s a specific presidential-level of pressure. It’s about cheaper payment. They can demand deep discounts….

In terms of construction, [China] wants to make sure that they have no risks and no costs. Russia is the side that foots the entire bill.

The source said Vladimir Putin is under “enormous pressure” to ensure the pipeline is constructed. Otherwise, “a huge amount of gas” will be wasted and Russia will lose money.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Under pressure from Ukraine’s attacks far behind frontlines, Russia is moving air defenses from the Kaliningrad region, says UK military intelligence.

Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea between Poland and Lithuania, has strategic importance because of its position in Moscow’s alignment versus NATO.

However, the intensity of Ukrainian’s damaging missile and drone strikes on the Russian military —- air and naval bases, ports, bridges, oil and ammunition depots, and other supply and logistics in Russian and Russian-occupied territory —- is forcing the Kremlin and its commanders to gamble with redeployments.

Russia has already moved most operations of its Black Sea Fleet out of occupied Crimea. Warships are now in Novorossiysk in southwest Russia.

The British analysts say Russia is transferring the systems from Kaliningrad because of the heavy loss of SA-21 air defense batteries.

”The fact that the Russian MoD [Ministry of Defense] appears willing to accept additional risk here highlights the overstretch the war has cause for some of Russia’s key, modern capabilities,” the analysts summarize.