President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has condemned Russia's decision to pull out of the grain initiative which Moscow and Kyiv agreed upon to separately with Turkey and the UN.
The following is the text of his evening address to Ukrainians published on the presidential website on 29 October:
"Dear Ukrainians, I wish you health!
Today we managed to return another 52 people from Russian captivity: 50 of our defenders and two civilians. Among them are soldiers of the National Guard, the Navy, border guards, security forces...
Andriy Albov is the head of the surgical department of the Mariupol military hospital, he was evacuated from Azovstal. Vasyl Chalenko is a volunteer, security guard, commander of the reconnaissance platoon.
Among these 52 are a sailor from Snake Iceland, as well as a National Guardsman who was taken prisoner while defending the Chornobyl nuclear power plant, and a pensioner who earlier worked in the SBU and who was taken prisoner by the occupiers in Bucha.
We remember all those held captive in Russia and in the occupied territory, and will do everything to return each and every one.
Our exchange team is always working. These are Budanov, Yermak, Usov, Lubinets and others who help. In total, since March, 1,031 people have already been released from Russian captivity. Thanks to the whole team for this result!
I would like to once again commend the work of our energy workers, repairmen, and regional administrations. All those who are working to restore the normal technical possibility of electricity supply after the Russian terrorist attacks.
Today, there are significantly fewer stabilization and emergency blackouts – much less. But there is still such a need, and in some cities and districts restrictions are still possible. In particular, it is Kirovohrad region and some other regions.
We do everything to make power outages as predictable as possible and so that people can plan their day.
Special thanks to those who worked and are working to restore energy supply to the city of Uman and the Uman district of Cherkasy region. There was indeed a difficult situation after one of the Russian strikes. As of now, it is possible to return the technical possibility of power supply.
The same situation is in Kyiv region: it was critical, but we are now changing it for the better.
I want to emphasize: the return of the technical possibility of supply does not mean that the energy shortage in the system has been overcome. Russian terror continues. It is very cynical. Sometimes it repeatedly attacks deliberately when repairs have begun, when recovery work is in progress. Unfortunately, we have casualties in repair crews, in energy companies. My condolences to their families.
Therefore, please – this applies to all Ukrainians – it is very important to be conscious of electricity consumption. This necessity persists. Now we all have to contribute to maintaining the stability of the entire power system.
During the week – from Saturday to Saturday – more than 40 Iranian strike drones, a significant number of Russian missiles, six attack helicopters of the occupiers, several of their planes were shot down...
Such a result means hundreds of Ukrainian lives saved, dozens of critical infrastructure objects saved.
And as proposed by the military command, today I want to especially note the Odesa and Kherson anti-aircraft missile brigades of the Air Force. Well done, guys! I also thank all our defenders of the sky, absolutely everyone – all anti-aircraft fighters, pilots, mobile fire groups, who are currently performing one of the most important strategic tasks – saving the country from airstrikes by terrorists.
Today, a rather predictable statement came from Russia – a statement that they are finally canceling the grain export initiative.
But in fact, this is not their decision today. Russia began deliberately aggravating the food crisis back in September, when it blocked the movement of ships with our food.
From September to today, 176 vessels have already accumulated in the grain corridor, which cannot follow their route. Some grain carriers have been waiting for more than three weeks. This is an absolutely deliberate blockade by Russia. This is an absolutely transparent intention of Russia to return the threat of large-scale famine to Africa and Asia.
Literally today, more than 2 million tonnes of food are in the sea. This means that access to food has actually worsened for more than 7 million consumers.
Algeria, Egypt, Yemen, Bangladesh, Vietnam, others countries – very different countries, from different parts of the world... But they can all be equally destabilized by this Russian decision to block exports.
I emphasize: this decision was made by Russia apparently in September. Only this queue of ships with food at sea can testify to this.
It is also important that Russia attacked our Naval Forces at least twice during the grain initiative. Precisely by those forces that guarantee the safety of the grain corridor.
A strong international response is needed now. Both at the UN level and at other levels. In particular, at the level of the G20.
How can Russia be among the G20 if it is deliberately working for starvation on several continents? This is nonsense. Russia has no place in the G20.
All partners see this artificial queue of vessels. They see what Russia did to disrupt the grain initiative. They see that even ships with grain, which are contracted within the framework of the UN Food Program for the poorest countries, do not get a guaranteed opportunity to pass through the sea route.
Russia is doing everything to ensure that millions of Africans, millions of residents of the Middle East and South Asia find themselves in conditions of artificial famine or at least a severe price crisis.
But why a handful of people somewhere in the Kremlin can decide whether people in Egypt or Bangladesh will have food on their tables? What is it? The world has the power to protect people against this.
Ukraine has been and can continue to be one of the guarantors of global food security.
Russian terror and blackmail must lose. Humanity must win.
I thank everyone who is fighting with us to restore peace and stability to international relations! I thank everyone who fights and works for Ukraine!
Glory to Ukraine!"