Türkiye, UN, Russia and Ukraine sign a deal in Istanbul to resume exports of grain through the Black Sea and relieve a global food crisis as fighting continues on the 149th day.

Ukranian family grows vegetables in their garden where the wreckage of the tank belonging to the Russian forces is located, in Velyka Dymerka settlement, Kiev, Ukraine.
Ukranian family grows vegetables in their garden where the wreckage of the tank belonging to the Russian forces is located, in Velyka Dymerka settlement, Kiev, Ukraine. (AA)

Friday, July 22, 2022

No ceasefire without recovering land lost to Russia - Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said a ceasefire with Russia without reclaiming lost territories would only prolong the war, according to an interview with the Wall Street Journal. 

He warned that a ceasefire that allows Russia to keep Ukrainian territories seized since the offensive in February would only encourage an even wider conflict, giving Moscow an opportunity to replenish and rearm for the next round.

Zelenskyy also spoke about US-supplied high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS), saying, "the Western supplies of HIMARS, while making a material difference, are much lower than what Ukraine needs to turn the tide."

Russia taking hundreds of casualties daily in Ukraine conflict  – US official

The United States believes Russia's military is suffering hundreds of casualties a day in its offensive in Ukraine, and with the loss so far of thousands of lieutenants and captains, its chain of command is struggling, a senior US defence official said.

The United States estimates that Russian casualties in Ukraine have reached around 15,000 killed and perhaps 45,000 wounded, CIA Director William Burns said on Wednesday, adding that Ukraine has also endured significant casualties.

US to give Ukraine $270M in more military aid – White House

The United States will provide Ukraine with an additional roughly $270 million to aid in its defence against Russian offensive, including $100 million for drones, the White House said as fighting raged on in eastern Ukraine. 

The package, authorised by US President Joe Biden, will allow Kiev to acquire 580 of privately-held AEVEX Aerospace LLC's Phoenix Ghost unmanned aerial vehicles, White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters in a briefing.

The package includes another tranche of up to around $175 million for other defense aid, a separate White House memo said. 

READ MORE: ‘Beacon of hope’: Landmark Ukraine grain export deal signed in Türkiye

Russia claims it has destroyed 4 HIMARS launchers

Russia's forces destroyed four US-supplied HIMARS rocket systems between July 5 and July 20, Russia's defence ministry has said.

"Four launchers and one transport-loading vehicle for the US-made multiple launch rocket systems (HIMARS) were destroyed," it said in a daily briefing. The claims could not be independently verified.

Kremlin: Russia's Shoigu to sign grain deal in Türkiye

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu will be in Türkiye to sign a deal with Ukraine over grain exports, the Kremlin has said.

In a call with reporters on Friday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said: "Yes, we can confirm that Defence Minister Shoigu has gone to Türkiye. We can confirm that an agreement is being prepared today."

More than 20 million tonnes of grain has been trapped in southern Ukraine since Russia deployed tens of thousands of troops to the country on February 24.

Russia has increased its use of air defence missiles: Britain 

Russia has increased its use of air defence missiles in a secondary ground attack mode because of critical shortages of dedicated ground-attack missiles, the British military intelligence has said. 

Russia has almost certainly deployed S-300 and S-400 strategic air defence systems, designed to shoot down aircraft and missiles at long ranges, near Ukraine from the start of the attack, the Ministry of Defence said in an intelligence update.

There is a high chance of these weapons missing their intended targets and causing civilian casualties because the missiles are not optimised for this role and their crews will have little training for such missions, the Defence ministry said.

READ MORE: Türkiye's role hailed in striking deal on Ukrainian grain exports

Russia has increased its use of air defence missiles in a secondary ground attack mode because of critical shortages of dedicated ground-attack missiles, the British military intelligence says.
Russia has increased its use of air defence missiles in a secondary ground attack mode because of critical shortages of dedicated ground-attack missiles, the British military intelligence says. ()

School in east Ukraine hit by Russian strike, bodies found

Ukrainian emergency workers have recovered three bodies from a school hit by a Russian strike in the east of the country, officials have said, as attacks continue in several parts of the nation.

The Ukrainian president's office said that in Kramatorsk, in Donetsk province, Russian shelling destroyed the school and damaged 85 residential buildings. Authorities called on residents to evacuate.

Russian defence ministry spokesperson Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, however, said the Russian strike killed over 300 Ukrainian troops who used the building of School No. 23 in Kramatorsk as their base.

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Ukraine grain exports deal set to be signed in Türkiye

An agreement to restart grain shipments from Ukraine is set to be signed in Istanbul on Friday, Türkiye’s Communications Directorate has said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and UN chief Antonio Guterres will attend the ceremony at the Dolmabahce Presidential Office, where Russian and Ukrainian teams will be present. 

Ankara and the UN have been working on a plan that would enable Ukraine to export grain stuck in Ukraine’s Black Sea ports due to the conflict. The move could ease a global food crisis that has sent wheat and other grain prices soaring.

Eastern Ukraine separatist regions block Google

Pro-Russian authorities of eastern Ukraine's separatist republics say they have blocked Google, accusing the US giant of promoting "violence against Russians".

"We took the decision to block Google on the territory of the Donetsk People's Republic," rebel leader Denis Pushilin said, accusing the US of promoting "violence against Russians, in particular the people of the Donbass." 

The neighbouring Luhansk People's Republic blocked Google on Thursday.

Belarus appoints new envoy to Moscow

Belarus has appointed a new ambassador to Russia, as Moscow and Minsk continue to forge closer ties amid their mounting isolation from the West.

Moscow is Belarus' key backer and the two sides - officially part of a borderless "Union State" - have accelerated integration talks in recent years after both were hit with Western sanctions.

Zelenskyy: Ukraine can make gains on the battlefield

Ukraine's military has the potential to make gains on the battlefield and inflict major losses on Russia, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said after meeting senior commanders.

Zelenskyy, speaking in an address, said the meeting had discussed the supply of modern weapons, adding the intensity of attacks on the Russians had to be stepped up. "(We) agreed that our forces have the strong potential to advance on the battlefield and inflict significant new losses on the occupiers," he said.

Kiev hopes that Western weapons, especially longer-range missiles such as US HIMARS which Ukraine has deployed in recent weeks, will allow it to launch a counterattack and recapture territory.

"Every one of these Russian attacks is an argument for Ukraine to receive more HIMARS and other modern and effective weapons. Every one of these attacks only strengthens our desire to defeat the invaders and that will certainly happen."

For live updates from Thursday (July 21), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies