Live: UN ship carrying grain for Africa leaves Ukraine

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A UN-chartered vessel laden with grain set off from Ukraine for Africa on Tuesday following a deal to relieve a global food crisis, the ministry in charge of shipments said. Follow FRANCE 24’s live coverage of the Ukraine crisis. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

7:17am: Moscow denounces Crimea arms depot explosions as 'sabotage'

Explosions and fires ripped through an ammunition depot in Russian-occupied Crimea on Tuesday in the second attack on the peninsula in just over a week, forcing the evacuation of more than 3,000 people.

The explosions, which targeted an important supply line for the Russian invasion, prompted Moscow to blame the blasts on an “act of sabotage”.

Ukraine neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the attack.

Russia blamed last week's explosions on an accidental detonation of munitions, but some military analysts said satellite photos and other evidence pointed to a Ukrainian attack, perhaps with anti-ship missiles.

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If Ukrainian forces were behind the explosions, it would represent a significant escalation in the war. Such attacks could also indicate that Ukrainian operatives are able to penetrate deeply into Russian-occupied territory.

According to FRANCE 24’s chief foreign editor Rob Parsons, reporting from Kyiv, “the Ukrainians are remaining tight-lipped about what’s going on".

"They prefer to maintain a policy of strategic ambiguity when it comes to what they are doing and what their intentions are behind Russian lines,” Parsons said. “But it’s pretty clear all the same that the idea is to keep the Russians feeling insecure, to destroy their communication lines, to hit their weapons depots, to make sure that they don’t feel safe anywhere."

6:42am: Ship carrying first Ukraine grain cargo sets sail for Africa

The MV Brave Commander left the Black Sea port of Pivdennyi and will sail to Djibouti "for delivery to Ethiopia", the Ukrainian infrastructure ministry said on Telegram.

The ship is carrying 23,000 tonnes of wheat.

It is the first ship chartered by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to leave Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion in February. The government has said it hopes two or three similar shipments will follow soon.

9:02pm: Macron says he discussed Ukraine crisis with India's Modi

French President Emmanuel Macron discussed via telephone on Tuesday the crisis in Ukraine with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the two agreed to work together to try to end the conflict, said the French presidency.

Macron also held a call earlier on Tuesday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which the French leader underlined his concerns about risks to Ukraine's nuclear facilities as result of the fighting with Russia.

8:42pm: Ukraine nuclear power company says Russian hackers attacked website

Ukraine's state nuclear power company Energoatom said a Russian hacker group launched a major three-hour attack on its website on Tuesday but had not caused significant problems.

"The Russian group 'People's Cyber Army' carried out a cyber attack using 7.25 million bot users, who simulated hundreds of millions of views of the company's main page," Energoatom said in a statement. "(This) did not significantly affect operations of the Energoatom website."

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

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