Five Things to Know, July 17, 2023

1.   Russia halted a breakthrough wartime deal on Monday that allows grain to flow from Ukraine to countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where hunger is a growing threat and high food prices have pushed more people into poverty. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia would suspend the Black Sea Grain Initiative until its demands to get its own food and fertilizer to the world are met. While Russia has complained that restrictions on shipping and insurance have hampered its agricultural exports, it has shipped record amounts of wheat.

2.   Thousands of airmen and dozens of aircraft are deployed throughout the Indo-Pacific this month for the largest readiness exercise in the history of Air Mobility Command, according to the U.S. Air Force. Mobility Guardian, which began July 5 and concludes Friday, involves forces from Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, France and Japan, the service said in a statement at the start of the drill.

3.   Vehicle traffic on the single bridge that links Russia to Moscow-annexed Crimea and serves as a key supply route for the Kremlin’s forces in the war with Ukraine came to a standstill Monday after one of its sections was blown up, killing a married couple and wounding their daughter. Rail traffic across the 19-kilometer (12-mile) Kerch Bridge also stopped but resumed after about six hours.

4.   South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Saturday, offering an apparent show of support for the country in its war with Russia. Yoon’s office said he traveled to Ukraine with his wife, Kim Keon Hee, following trips to Lithuania for a NATO summit and to Poland. It’s his first visit since Russia invaded Ukraine almost 17 months ago.

5.   U.S. climate envoy John Kerry was holding talks Monday with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing, as the U.S. seeks to restore contacts that were disrupted by disputes over trade, Taiwan, human rights and China’s territorial claims. China’s official Xinhua News Agency said Kerry was meeting with Xie Zhenhua for the first extensive face-to-face climate discussions between representatives of the world’s two worst climate polluters after a nearly yearlong hiatus.

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