As the conflict enters its 155th day, Russia launches missile strikes on Kiev and Chernihiv regions, areas that haven't been targeted in weeks, while Ukraine focuses on taking back an occupied region in the south.

Russian strikes on military facilities and residential buildings across war-scarred Ukraine left several dead in attacks President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described as
Russian strikes on military facilities and residential buildings across war-scarred Ukraine left several dead in attacks President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described as "missile terrorism". (AP)

Thursday, July 28, 2022

It's time to focus on Ukraine ceasefire - top Turkish diplomat

Following last week’s breakthrough deal on grain exports, Türkiye’s foreign minister said "now it is time to focus on brokering a ceasefire" between Russia and Ukraine. 

Speaking at a joint press conference with visiting Georgian Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili, Mevlut Cavusoglu praised the grain exports deal signed in Istanbul last on Friday with the UN, Russia, and Ukraine, saying the obstacles "to exports of not only Ukrainian grain but also Russian grain and fertiliser" have come down, helping to feed a hungry world. 

As part of the deal, Türkiye on Wednesday inaugurated a coordination centre to carry out joint inspections at the entrances and exits of harbours and to ensure the safety of the routes. 

Deadly Russian strikes target military bases in central Ukraine 

Russian strikes on military facilities and residential buildings across war-scarred Ukraine left several dead in attacks President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described as "missile terrorism".

"Twenty-five people have been transferred to medical facilities and are receiving treatment. Five are dead," the region's governor Andriy Raikovich said in a video on his social media.

The Interfax-Ukraine news agency quoted Raikovich as saying that there were 12 servicemen among the wounded.

Syrian ship carrying 'stolen Ukrainian barley, flour' docks in Tripoli -Ukrainian embassy

A Syrian ship under US sanctions has docked in the northern Lebanese port of Tripoli carrying barley and wheat that the Ukrainian embassy in Beirut told Reuters news agency on Thursday had been plundered by Russia from Ukrainian stores.

The Laodicea docked in Tripoli on Wednesday, according to shipping data website MarineTraffic.

"The ship has travelled from a Crimean port that is closed to international shipping, carrying 5,000 tonnes of barley and 5,000 tonnes of flour that we suspect was taken from Ukrainian stores," the embassy told Reuters.

UN: Details for safe Ukraine grain shipments still being worked out

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said he was hopeful that the first shipment of grain from a Ukrainian Black Sea port could take place as early as Friday, but "crucial" details for the safe passage of vessels were still being worked out.

Griffiths said Turkish, Russian and Ukrainian military officials were working with a UN team at a Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul to hammer out standard operating procedures for the deal agreed by the four parties last Friday.

"That is a detailed negotiation based on the agreement," Griffiths told UN member states in a briefing. "But without those standard operating procedures we cannot manage a safe passage of vessels."

Russian TV protester ordered to pay fine over Ukraine

A Moscow court ordered journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, who denounced Russia's intervention in Ukraine during a live TV broadcast, to pay a fine for discrediting the Russian army.

Moscow's Meshchansky district court said that Ovsyannikova, a former editor at state-controlled Channel One, should pay a fine of 50,000 rubles (around $800), an AFP journalist said from the court.

Ovsyannikova's lawyer Dmitry Zakhvatov said she was fined for speaking out against Moscow's intervention in Ukraine earlier this month when she turned up at Moscow's Basmanny district court to support city councilor Ilya Yashin. 

Moscow-backed officials detain 21 Ukraine army 'accomplices'

Russian-backed officials in southern Ukraine has said that more than 20 "accomplices" of the Ukrainian army and security services had been detained.

Members of the Russian guard detained 21 "accomplices" of the Ukrainian armed forces and the SBU security service in the Moscow-occupied region of Kherson and the partially controlled region of Zaporizhzhia, the pro-Kremlin regional administration in Kherson said.

State news agency RIA Novosti, citing a member of Russian law enforcement, described the detained agents as a group of gun layers — who help adjust the aim of fire against targets — headed by a female coordinator. They helped aim rocket and artillery fire at the Russian army in the region of Kherson, RIA Novosti said.

Russian-backed separatists say four civilians killed in Ukraine shelling

Russian-backed separatists in east Ukraine's Donetsk says four civilians have been killed by Ukrainian shelling over the previous day.

According to a message posted on an official separatist Telegram channel on Thursday, four people were killed and another 11 wounded between 08:00 local time on Wednesday and 08:00 on Thursday. Reuters could not verify battlefield reports.

Donetsk city has been controlled by Russian-backed separatists since 2014. Ukrainian forces continue to hold positions on the city's outskirts.

Russia fines WhatsApp, Snapchat owner over data storage violations

A Russian court has fined Meta Platforms Inc's WhatsApp messenger and Snapchat owner Snap Inc for an alleged refusal to store the data of Russian users domestically, news agencies have reported.

Moscow has clashed with Big Tech over content, censorship, data and local representation in disputes that have escalated since Russia sent forces into Ukraine on February 24.

Moscow's Tagansky District Court fined WhatsApp 18 million roubles ($301,255) and Snap 1 million roubles, news agencies reported. WhatsApp was fined for the same offence last August. Meta and Snap did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

More than 100,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Britain: Government

More than 100,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Britain under two schemes set up to help those fleeing the country following Russia's offensive on February 24, the British government has said.

Nearly 6.2 million refugees from Ukraine have been recorded across Europe as of July 26, according to United Nations data, with more than half applying for temporary residence schemes. Poland alone has registered more than 1.2 million Ukrainians.

Britain's schemes, one for those with family already in the UK and another allowing Britons to offer accommodation to those fleeing the war, initially faced criticism for being overly bureaucratic and leaving some refugees in limbo for weeks. The government said the process was now fully digital and it aimed to process applications within 48 hours.

No deal 'yet' on Russia-US prisoner swap: Russian official

Russia has said that talks are under way about a possible prisoner swap between Moscow and Washington but there was no agreement "yet".

"A concrete result has not yet been achieved," Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a statement.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday he will speak with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov by phone in the coming days and press him to respond to an offer Washington has made to secure the release of American citizens detained by Moscow.

Japan urges Russia not to hold military drills around disputed islands

Japan has urged Russia to exclude areas around disputed northern islands from military drills Moscow is planning to conduct in the country's Far East from late August, a Japanese government spokesperson has said.

Japan lays claim to the Russian-held southern Kuril islands that Tokyo calls the Northern Territories, a territorial row that dates back to the end of World War Two when Soviet troops seized them from Japan.

"We lodged a firm representation that the Northern Territories should be excluded from the areas for the drills," Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki told a regular news conference.

Russia redeploys troops to Ukraine's south — Kiev

Russian forces took over Ukraine's second-biggest power plant and are conducting a "massive redeployment" of troops to southern regions of Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, a Ukrainian presidential adviser said, amid expectations of a Ukrainian counter-offensive.

Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, confirmed the capture of the Soviet-era coal-fired Vuhlehirsk power plant in the eastern Donetsk region, but said it was only a "tiny tactical advantage" for Russia.

The Russian redeployment to the south appeared to be a switch to strategic defence from offence, he added.

For live updates from Wednesday (July 27), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies