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The latest developments in Russia’s war on Ukraine. All times EDT.
4:45 a.m.: Railcars loaded with grain from Ukraine have arrived in Spain, the government said Saturday, part of a pilot project to explore the viability of using trains while war blocks maritime routes, Agence France Press reported.
As part of a pilot project to explore the viability of importing grain from Ukraine by rail, a freight train of Spanish state-owned operator Renfe left Madrid on Aug. 9 for the Polish town of Chelm near the Ukrainian border.
The train consisting of 25 containers each measuring 12 meters was loaded with 600 metric tons of Ukrainian grain for the 2,400-kilometer return trip to Barcelona.
It arrived in the Catalan capital on Thursday night after stops in Lodz, central Poland and Duisburg, western Germany, Spain’s transport ministry said in a statement.
3:35 a.m.: In its latest Ukraine assessment, the Institute for the Study of War, a U.S. think tank, said Russian forces continued establishing defensive positions in northern Kherson Oblast and continued to attack settlements around Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and west of Donetsk City.
Ukrainian forces reportedly continued to shoot down Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones.
1:08 a.m.: Ukraine’s economy shrank by an estimated 30% in the first three quarters of 2022 compared with the same period in 2021, largely because of Russia’s invasion, the economy ministry said Saturday, according to Reuters.
Bad weather in September that slowed the pace of harvesting also played a role, as did interruptions in the supply of electricity from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the ministry said in a statement. Ukraine and Russia accuse each other of shelling the facility.
Exports in September jumped by 23% from August to their highest level since the war started in February, helped by an internationally brokered deal allowing the shipment of grain from Black Sea ports.
In July, Ukraine’s central bank said the economy could shrink by a third in 2022 and was expected to grow between 5% and 6% in 2023 and 2024.
12:02 a.m.: Hong Kong could damage its reputation as a financial hub if it gives haven to sanctions dodgers, the United States cautioned Saturday, after the city said it would not act against a superyacht reportedly owned by a Kremlin ally, Agence France-Presse reported.
The Nord — a $500 million, 142-meter luxury vessel linked to Russian billionaire Alexei Mordashov — arrived in the Chinese territory’s waters this week.
Mordashov is among the oligarchs who are close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and have been targeted by Western sanctions following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Some of them have seen their luxury yachts seized in places such as Spain and Fiji, but Hong Kong said Friday that while it implements U.N. sanctions, it cannot enforce those imposed “unilaterally” by countries or blocs.
Some information in this report came from Agence France-Presse and Reuters.