Russia-Ukraine war news: 3 nations ban Ukrainian grain imports; Kim views

Agricultural workers harvest barley in the Chernihiv region of Ukraine on Aug. 30. (Pierre Crom/Getty Images)

The European Commission’s block on grain shipments from Ukraine into five bordering European Union nations expired Friday, prompting Poland, Hungary and Slovakia to impose import restrictions of their own. Limited access to Black Sea ports during the war has caused a surge in Ukrainian grain passing through neighboring countries, driving down prices and angering local producers. The European Commission said in a statement that, after the ban, market distortions have “disappeared,” but some leaders were not convinced and said that they were protecting the interests of their farmers.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Vladivostok, a city in Russia’s Far East that is close to the Chinese and North Korean borders. He was met by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and saw aviation equipment and missile systems, state media outlet Tass reported. It is the latest stop on Kim’s trip to the country, which has sparked concern in Washington that Moscow and Pyongyang are seeking an arms deal.

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

The grain import bans do not apply to the transport of Ukrainian goods through the respective countries. Slovakia’s agriculture ministry emphasized this on social media, saying they are “expressing solidarity with Ukraine” and placing its products in “target markets.” Hungary’s agriculture minister also stressed that the ban would not prevent through-traffic. However, Hungary expanded the restrictions to include other products and accused E.U. leaders of supporting international companies over farmers. “We can’t let this go,” he said.

Ukraine will take measures to avoid grain surges and prevent price distortions after the ban’s expiration, the European Commission said. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky mentioned the lift on restrictions in his nightly address, saying “if the neighbors’ decisions are not neighborly, Ukraine will respond civilly.”

Russia had not signed any agreements “with North Korea in the area of military-technical cooperation” yet, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday. Kim on Friday toured a factory that builds fighter jets with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov, who said Moscow sees potential for partnership with North Korea in aircraft manufacturing, according to Russian news reports.

Zelensky is expected to make a trip Washington next week, which would be his second since the war began last year, The Washington Post reported. The visit was coordinated with the Biden administration amid efforts to push Congress to provide $24 billion in additional aid to Ukraine and comes as tensions grow over support for Ukraine within the Republican Party and among a small number of Democrats. Zelensky is “very much abreast” of the debate in Washington, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters.

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Lynne M. Tracy visited detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich at the Lefortovo pretrial detention center in Moscow,

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