Across Ukraine's battlefields, there has been no let-up in fighting that has entered its 152nd day as the Kremlin says a Russian missile strike against the port of Odessa should not affect grain exports.

The World Food Programme (WFP) said it was optimistic about a UN-brokered deal to reopen Ukrainian ports for grain exports but warned the agreement alone will not solve the global food crisis.
The World Food Programme (WFP) said it was optimistic about a UN-brokered deal to reopen Ukrainian ports for grain exports but warned the agreement alone will not solve the global food crisis. (AA)

Monday, July 25, 2022

First Ukraine grain ships may move in days: UN

The first ships to export Ukraine grain from the country's Black Sea ports may move within a few days under a deal agreed on Friday by Ukraine, Russia, Türkiye and the United Nations, a UN spokesperson said.

A Joint Coordination Center will liaise with the shipping industry and will publish detailed procedures for ships in the near future, said deputy UN spokesperson Farhan Haq.

UN World Food Programme optimistic on Ukraine grain export deal

The World Food Programme (WFP) said it was optimistic about a UN-brokered deal to reopen Ukrainian ports for grain exports but warned the agreement alone will not solve the global food crisis even if it is implemented effectively.

The WFP itself has had to cut aid this year in key hunger hotspots like Yemen and South Sudan due to global inflation and critical funding gaps, both exacerbated by the Ukraine conflict.

The current global food crisis is not a price crisis alone, and that man-made conflict, climate shocks and the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to drive up global food insecurity even if Friday's deal holds, a WFP spokesperson said.

Ukraine claims it has destroyed 50 Russian ammunition depots

Ukraine said its forces had used US-supplied HIMARS rocket systems to destroy 50 Russian ammunition depots since receiving the weapons last month.

Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov underlined the growing impact that the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) are having as Ukraine tries to repel Russia's attack.

Reznikov also said Ukraine had received three Gepard anti-aircraft armoured fighting vehicles, the first of 15 expected, and that Kiev was expecting to take delivery of several dozen Leopard tanks.

This cuts their (Russian) logistical chains and takes away their ability to conduct active fighting and cover our armed forces with heavy shelling

Oleksiy Reznikov, Ukraine's Defence Minister

Russia wants to end Ukraine's “unacceptable regime” - Lavrov

Russia’s top diplomat said Moscow’s overarching goal in Ukraine is to free its people from its “unacceptable regime,” expressing the Kremlin’s military aims in some of the bluntest terms yet as its forces pummel the country with artillery barrages and airstrikes.

Lavrov said Moscow is determined to help Ukrainians “liberate themselves from the burden of this absolutely unacceptable regime.”

Lavrov accused Kiev and its Western allies of spouting propaganda intended to ensure that Ukraine “becomes the eternal enemy of Russia."

Russian and Ukrainian people would continue to live together. We will certainly help Ukrainian people to get rid of the regime, which is absolutely anti-people and anti-historical

Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister

Kremlin says Odessa strike should not hamper grain exports

The Kremlin has said that Russian strikes on Ukraine's Black Sea port of Odessa "should not affect" a Türkiye-brokered and UN-backed deal between Moscow and Kiev to unblock grain exports.

"This cannot and should not affect the start of shipment," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters, two days after Moscow hit the port.

He said Moscow's strikes targeted "exclusively" military infrastructure and were "not connected with the agreement on the export of grain". The weekend strikes on Odessa came less than a day after Moscow and Kiev signed the landmark deal.

Russia says it destroyed HIMARS ammo depot in Ukraine

Russia's Defence Ministry says its forces have destroyed an ammunition depot for US-made HIMARS rocket systems in Bogdanovtsy, in Ukraine's Khmelnytskyi region.

The reports were not independently verified. 

Russia has previously said it destroyed several of the HIMARS systems supplied to Ukraine by the West, in claims denied by Kiev.

Britain says fighting continues in Ukraine’s Donbass and Kherson

Inconclusive fighting has continued in both Donbass and Kherson regions in eastern and southern Ukraine, British military intelligence has said.

Russian commanders continue to face a dilemma - whether to resource Russia's offensive in the east, or to bolster the defence in the west, Britain's defence ministry said on Twitter.

The ministry added in its regular bulletin that on July 18, the British intelligence identified a Russian military vehicle refit and refurbishment facility near Barvinok, in Russia's Belgorod Oblast, which is 10 kilometres from the Ukrainian border.

"At least 300 damaged vehicles were present, including main battle tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and general support trucks," the update added.

Putin will not attend Japanese ex-PM Abe's funeral, Kremlin says

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the state funeral of Japanese former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the Kremlin has said.

"No, Putin has no plans to visit Japan and attend the funeral," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding that Russia was yet to decide the country's presence at the funeral.

The Japanese government has notified all the countries it has diplomatic ties with, including Russia, of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's state funeral, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yos hihiko Isozaki said.

Zelenskyy says Ukrainians won't be 'cowed'

After five months of Russian attacks, Ukraine will continue to do all it can to inflict as much damage on its enemy as possible, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said.

"Even the occupiers admit we will win," he said as he hailed the upcoming day of Ukrainian statehood, July 28, a new annual holiday that Zelenskyy announced in August last year. "We hear it in their conversations all the time. In what they are telling their relatives when they call them."

Like every day in the last months, Zelenskyy said that Ukraine was not letting up. "We do everything to inflict the highest possible damage on the enemy and to gather for Ukraine as much support as possible."

He said Ukraine had an important week ahead, with the holiday approaching in the midst of what he called a "cruel war." "But we will celebrate against all odds. Because Ukrainians won't be cowed."

Russian investigator seeks new tribunal for Ukraine

The head of Russia's investigative committee has said Moscow had charged 92 members of Ukrainian armed forces with "crimes against humanity" and proposed an international tribunal backed by countries including Bolivia, Iran and Syria.

The government's Rossiiskaya Gazeta quoted committee head Alexander Bastrykin as accusing "more than 220 persons, including representatives of the high command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as commanders of military units that shelled the civilian population."

The Ukrainians were involved in "crimes against the peace and security of humanity, which have no statute of limitations," he said.

For live updates from Sunday (July 24), click here

Source: Reuters