Ukrainian military reports widespread Russian artillery barrages and says Moscow's troops are preparing for a new assault on Bakhmut, a city in the industrial Donbass region, as fighting rolls into its 153rd day.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that the Vostok 2022 (East 2022) exercise scheduled for August 30-September 5 will involve troops on maneuvers at 13 firing ranges of the Eastern Military District.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that the Vostok 2022 (East 2022) exercise scheduled for August 30-September 5 will involve troops on maneuvers at 13 firing ranges of the Eastern Military District. (Reuters)

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Russia plans large-scale military drill in east

Russia will hold wide-ranging military drills in the country’s east as it continues regular troop training despite the action in Ukraine, Russia's military authorities said.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that the Vostok 2022 (East 2022) exercise scheduled for August 30-September 5 will involve troops on maneuvers at 13 firing ranges of the Eastern Military District. 

It added that units of Airborne troops, long-range bombers and military cargo planes will also be involved. 

New Russian airstrikes target Black Sea regions of Ukraine

Russia targeted Ukraine’s southern Black Sea regions of Odessa and Mykolaiv with airstrikes, hitting private buildings and port infrastructure with missiles fired from long-range bomber aircraft, the Ukrainian military said.

In the Odessa region, buildings in coastal villages were hit and caught fire, Ukraine’s Operational Command South said. In the Mykolaiv region, port infrastructure was targeted despite agreements intended to allow grain shipments to resume from Ukraine's Black Sea ports.

A Ukrainian air force spokesman said long-range Russian Tu-22M3 bombers and Su-30 and Su-35 fighter jets launched the strikes from the Black Sea.

Ukraine says it can save nearly $5.5 billion by postponing debt repayments

Ukraine can save $5.45 billion for priority needs by deferring its external debt repayments, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said.

Ukraine has launched a formal consent solicitation to holders of its international bonds, proposing a two-year debt freeze on most of its bonds and giving creditors until August 9 to vote on the proposal.

Shmyhal also said the Ukrainian government had approved a request to the US government for a "gas lend-lease" arrangement to help Ukraine through what he said would be the toughest heating season in its history.

Ukraine: Naftogaz to hold new talks on debt restructuring

Ukraine's government has ordered state-owned energy company Naftogaz to begin a second round of talks with its bondholders on restructuring the company's debt, a government source said.

Naftogaz is close to default because a deadline for payments on its international bonds is due to pass later. 

Bondholders have rejected an offer to defer for two years the redemption of 2022 Eurobond and interest payments due on July 19.

EU to cut Russian gas use as missiles strike Ukraine

The European Union agreed to reduce gas consumption to break its dependence on Russia, as missile strikes on Ukraine's Black Sea coast cast doubt on a grain export deal.

The EU gas use cut, approved by energy ministers in Brussels, was hailed as an effective response to Russia's manipulation of its energy wealth as an economic weapon.

The plan nominally commits EU countries to reduce their gas use by 15 percent during the winter, although exceptions were carved out for some countries and Hungary rejected the deal as "useless". 

We have made a huge step towards securing gas supplies for our citizens and economies for the upcoming winter

Jozef Sikela, Czech Industry Minister

EU extends economic sanctions against Russia

The European Union extended economic sanctions imposed on Russia over its attack against Ukraine for another six months.

The sanctions include a ban on gold, oil, and coal imports, prohibit the export of luxury goods, restrictions on the trade of technology and dual-use goods, and exclude Russian and Belarusian banks from using the SWIFT international payment system.

Istanbul centre to coordinate Ukrainian grain exports to open Wednesday

A new joint coordination centre in Istanbul established as part of the deal to restart Ukrainian grain exports to the world is set to officially open on Wednesday, according to the Turkish Defence Ministry.

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar will attend the centre’s opening ceremony, which will be held at the National Defence University in Istanbul.

Last Friday, Türkiye, the UN, Russia and Ukraine signed a landmark deal to resume grain exports through three Ukrainian ports after months of blockage due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, now in its sixth month. Under the deal, the joint coordination centre was set up in Istanbul to carry out inspections at harbours’ entrances and exits, and to ensure the safety of the routes.

Russian forces strike Mykolaiv port infrastructure – mayor

Russian forces have struck port infrastructure in Ukraine's southern Mykolaiv region, Mayor Oleksandr Senkevich said.

"A massive missile strike was launched on the south of Ukraine from the direction of the Black Sea and with the use of aviation," he told Ukrainian state television, providing no details on the aftermath of the strike.

Major fire erupts at Donetsk oil depot after Ukraine shelling: TASS

A major fire has broken out at an oil depot in the Budyonnovsky district of Russian-backed Donetsk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine after Ukrainian troops shelled the province, Russia's TASS reported, quoting a reporter at the scene.

No casualties or injuries have been reported so far due to the fire, which was tens of meters high, TASS added. The TASS report was not immediately verified. 

Ukraine says Russia increased gas pipeline pressure without notice

Russian gas giant Gazprom has sharply increased pressure in the pipeline that delivers Russian gas to Europe without prior notice, the Ukrainian state pipeline operator company said.

Such pressure spikes could lead to emergencies including pipeline ruptures, and pipeline operators are obliged to inform each other about them in advance, the Ukrainian company said.

Gazprom could not be immediately reached for comment. Russia has continued to pump gas through Ukraine even as the two countries are engaged in conflict.

Britain says 'no indication’ Ukraine target was at location of Russia strike 

Britain has said there is "no indication" that a Ukrainian warship and a stock of anti-ship missiles were at the dock-side in Odesa port on Sunday, after Russia earlier said it had destroyed those targets with high-precision missiles.

"Russia will continue to prioritise efforts to degrade and destroy Ukraine's anti-ship capability. However, Russia's targeting processes are highly likely routinely undermined by dated intelligence, poor planning and a top-down approach to operations," the British Ministry of Defence said in a regular intelligence update.

Ukrainian military has said two Kalibr missiles fired from Russian warships hit the area of a pumping station at the Odesa port and two others were shot down by air defence forces.

Latest Russian gas cuts ‘politically motivated’, EU energy chief says

Russian gas giant Gazprom's announcement that it will further slash deliveries to Europe this week is politically motivated, European Union energy policy chief Kadri Simson has said, disputing the company's claim that it had cut supply because it needed to halt the operation of a turbine.

"We know that there is no technical reason to do so. This is a politically motivated step and we have to be ready for that. And exactly for that reason, the pre-emptive reduction of our gas demand is a wise strategy ," Simson said on her arrival to a meeting of EU countries' energy ministers in Brussels.

Simson said she expected the ministers to reach a deal on emergency EU rules requiring countries to curb their gas demand. 

Zelenskyy: Russia wages 'open gas war' against united Europe

Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, has said it is cutting daily deliveries of gas to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline to 33 million cubic metres a day –– about 20 percent of the pipeline's capacity –– from Wednesday, leading Ukraine to call the West to action over the "gas war".

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the cuts showed that Europe should bolster sanctions against Russia. "This is an open gas war that Russia is waging against a united Europe," Zelensky said.

"They don't care what will happen to the people, how they will suffer –– from hunger due to blocked ports, from winter cold and poverty... or the occupation. These are just different forms of terror," he said in his daily video message.

"That is why you have to hit back. Do not think about how to bring back the turbine, but strengthen the sanctions," he said.

US: Russian strike on Odessa port casts doubt on grain deal

Russia's attack on the Ukrainian port of Odessa "casts doubt" on a grain deal, the White House has said, adding that the United States would continue to explore options with the international community to increase Ukraine exports through overland routes.

The announcement comes after the Kremlin said it did not expect the Saturday missile strike targeting military infrastructure in Ukraine would affect a plan to restart exports from the country.

"We are going to be watching this closely to see if Russia meets their commitments under this arrangement since this attack casts serious doubt on Russia’s credibility," a National Security Council spokesperson said in a statement.

For live updates from Monnday (July 25), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies