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Possible end to Black Sea grain deal threatens to accelerate world hunger. Here’s what else to know today

Cnn staff

If the Group of Seven nations decide to ban exports to Russia, Moscow officials have threatened to terminate the Black Sea grain deal, viewed as critical to addressing the world hunger crisis.

Such a ban could be part of the ever-evolving set of sanctions the allies have leveled against Moscow for its war in Ukraine.

Normally, Ukraine supplies about 45 million metric tons of grain to the global market every year and is the world’s top exporter of sunflower oil. Together with Russia, it accounted for about one-quarter of global wheat exports in 2019.

Here are the top headlines to know:

UN ambassadors condemn Russia’s actions in Ukraine: All 27 ambassadors of the European Union made a joint statement condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine just ahead of Russia chairing Monday’s United Nations Security Council meeting. Russia holds the rotating presidency of that body this month. Also at the meeting, Elizabeth Whelan, the sister of detained American Paul Whelan, demanded Russia free her brother. “Paul has not committed a crime, but a crime has been committed against him,” Whelan said at a UN stakeout, accompanied by the US, Irish and Canadian ambassadors to the UN.

Ukrainian officials detect shift in Russian focus: Ukrainian officials say the Russian focus in the eastern Donetsk region has shifted slightly, but the city of Bakhmut and the ruined towns of Mariinka and Avdiivka remain the focus of Russian assaults. Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said that in the Bakhmut sector, the Russians were using what she called the “Syrian tactics” of total destruction of buildings and facilities.

China and former Soviet countries: China respects the sovereign state status of ex-Soviet Union countries, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said Monday. Mao’s remarks come after the Chinese ambassador to France Lu Shaye sparked

controversy for saying during a TV interview that former Soviet countries, including the Baltic states, don’t have “effective status in international law.” China has so far refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or call for a withdrawal of its troops, instead urging restraint by “all parties” and accusing NATO of fueling the conflict. It has also continued to deepen diplomatic and economic ties with Moscow.

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