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Ukraine live briefing: Hours remain before grain deal expires; ‘emergency’ on key Crimean bridge

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A critical deal that allows millions of tons of essential foods from Ukraine to safely traverse the Black Sea is set to expire Monday, fueling concerns that some lower-income countries could suffer acute food shortages. The Black Sea Grain Initiative, which was launched in July last year, will expire at midnight in Istanbul (5 p.m. Eastern time) unless it is extended. Last week, the U.N. secretary general sent Russia a letter advocating for the deal’s renewal, with no response as of Sunday.

Russian-installed officials reported an “emergency” at a key bridge connecting the Crimean peninsula to the Russian region of Krasnodar, amid reports of explosions early Monday. Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of the Belgorod region, said two people were killed and a child was injured, but he did not attribute a cause. Sergei Aksyonov, the Moscow-appointed governor of Crimea, said traffic was stopped, and he urged motorists to find other routes.

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

Analysis from our correspondents

Global hunger enters a grim ‘new normal’: A new U.N. report released last week has underscored several negative trends that could undercut the organization’s broader goal of ending hunger by 2030. Millions more people are going hungry than in 2019, the year before the coronavirus pandemic took hold, and the war in Ukraine has affected people’s access to healthy and nutritious diets. The consequences of this mounting hunger are stark, Ishaan Tharoor writes.

“This is the ‘new normal’ where climate change, conflict, and economic instability are pushing those on the margins even further from safety,” Qu Dongyu, director general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, said in a recent statement.

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