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Russia’s war on Ukraine latest: Black Sea grains export deal renewed

March 18 (Reuters) – A deal allowing Ukrainian grain exports from Black Sea ports, due to expire on Saturday, has been extended after days of talks brokered by Turkey to extend the deal.

PUTIN AND ARREST WARRANT

* Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Crimea on Saturday for an unannounced visit to mark the ninth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine.

* Putin may not see the inside of a cell in The Hague any time soon, but his war crimes warrant could affect his ability to travel freely and meet other world leaders who may be less inclined to deal with a wanted man speak.

* The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday issued the arrest warrant for Putin, charging him with the war crime of illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine.

* It sparked an angry reaction in Moscow, ranging from depriving the court of its jurisdiction to vows to protect Putin from arrest. The Kremlin said the warrant was outrageous but meaningless in relation to Russia.

* US President Joe Biden said Putin clearly committed war crimes and the ICC’s decision to issue an arrest warrant against him was justified.

* Moscow has repeatedly denied allegations that its forces committed atrocities during the invasion, which it describes as a special military operation.

DIPLOMACY, NATO

* Three senior US security officials held a video call with a group of their Ukrainian counterparts to discuss military aid to Kiev, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s chief of staff said. * President Erdogan on Friday said Turkey’s parliament will begin ratifying Finland’s entry into NATO, removing the biggest remaining hurdle to expanding the Western defense alliance while the war in Ukraine rages on, although he withheld approval of Sweden’s offer .

Read  Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

BATTLE

* Russia’s Wagner mercenary group plans to recruit about 30,000 new fighters by mid-May, its founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Saturday.

* In eastern Ukraine, Kiev’s forces continued to withstand Russian attacks on the devastated city of Bakhmut to the east.

* A commander of Ukraine’s ground forces said Friday Russian forces were trying to break through Ukraine’s defenses in several directions to completely encircle Bakhmut.

BUSINESS

* Britain will help Kazakhstan develop export routes that bypass Russia, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said on Saturday during a visit to the Central Asian nation, where he also signed a memorandum on the supply of critical minerals.

* The International Monetary Fund said on Friday its board had approved rule changes that would allow the IMF to authorize lending programs for countries facing “exceptionally high levels of uncertainty” – a move expected to pave the way for new lending in Ukraine will pave.

A SELECTION OF CURRENT DEPTH STORIES

* EXCLUSIVE – Russians flood Kazakhstan with requests for sanctions scrapping

* INSIGHT – North of Bakhmut, another key battle will test Ukraine’s defenses

* SPECIAL REPORT-Wagner’s convicts tell of horrors of Ukraine war and loyalty to their leader

* ANALYSIS patchwork fixes to Ukraine’s grain deficit leave world vulnerable a year after war began

Compiled by Reuters editors

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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