Russian forces keep up their bombardment of cities across Ukraine on day 146 of fighting, with intense shelling of Sumy in the north, cluster bombs targeting Mykolaiv, and a missile strike in Odessa in the south, authorities say.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the West must remove restrictions on exports of Russian grain.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says the West must remove restrictions on exports of Russian grain. (Reuters)

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Putin: We see no desire by Ukrainians to stick to peace deal

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Moscow did see not see any desire from Ukraine to stick to the terms of what he said had been a preliminary peace deal agreed to in March.

Putin, asked about a possible meeting with Ukrainian President  Zelenskyy, said Kiev had not stuck to the terms of a preliminary peace deal he said had been "practically achieved" in March.

Putin, speaking to reporters in televised comments after a summit in Tehran, also said that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were offering to mediate.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said that the West must remove restrictions on exports of Russian grain.

Ukraine official: We must win before winter

Ukraine must win its fight with Russia before winter to prevent its neighbour from bedding in long term, presidential chief of staff Andriy Yermak said.

"It is very important for us not to enter into the winter. After winter, when the Russians will have more time to get a footing, it will certainly be more difficult.

It is very important for us not to give them this possibility," Yermak told Ukrainian weekly Novoye Vremya.

He repeated Kiev's view that Ukraine's Western allies should supply it with more arms, and said he was counting on multibillion-dollar pledges of US aid in the form of weaponry and economic support.

Putin: Progress in Ukraine grain talks thanks to Erdogan

Russian President Vladimir Putin has thanked Türkiye's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for mediating talks on the export of grain from Ukraine, saying there is some progress.

"I want to thank you for your mediation efforts," Putin told Erdogan during a meeting in Tehran in comments released by the Kremlin. 

"With your mediation, we have moved forward," Putin said.

Ukraine calls for ramp-up of US precision rocket systems

Ukraine's Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov has asked for the West to scale up drastically its supply of precision rocket systems, calling them a "game-changer" that could allow a counteroffensive against Russia.

These systems "significantly slowed down the Russian advance and dramatically decreased the intensity of their artillery shelling. So it's working. We are grateful to our partners," Reznikov told the Atlantic Council.

Since mid-June, the United States has delivered eight units of the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or Himars, which can precisely strike targets within 80 kilometres (50 miles) using the ammunition that has been provided, with plans for four more.

Ukraine governor vows $100 for tips on Russian collaborators

The governor of a southern Ukrainian region under constant Russian rocket fire has promised a $100 reward for anyone who could help to identify people who have been collaborating with Russia.

Vitaliy Kim, the governor of the Mykolaiv region, offered the compensation in exchange for information about "those who reveal to the occupiers the places of deployment of Ukrainian troops" or help them establish the coordinates of potential targets.

"After careful verification and confirmation of the information provided, you will receive a bonus of $100," he said in a statement on his Telegram account. 

Russia seen restarting gas exports from Nord Stream 1 on schedule

Russian gas flows via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline are seen restarting on time after the completion of scheduled maintenance, two sources familiar with the export plans told Reuters news agency.

The pipeline, which accounts for more than a third of Russian natural gas exports to the European Union, was halted for ten days of annual maintenance on July 11. "They (Gazprom) will return to the levels seen before July 11 ," said one of the sources.

The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, added the pipeline would operate at less than its capacity of some 160 million cubic metres (mcm) per day. Gazprom cut gas exports through the route to 40 percent capacity last month, citing delays in the return of a turbine Siemens Energy was servicing in Canada.

EU to soften sanctions on Russian banks to allow food trade

The European Union will amend its sanctions on Moscow by allowing the unfreezing of some funds of top Russian banks that may be required to ease bottlenecks in the global trade of food and fertilisers, a draft document has showed.

The move comes amid criticism from African leaders about the negative impact of the sanctions on trade, which may have exacerbated shortages chiefly caused by Russia's attacks on Ukraine and its blockading of ports in the Black Sea.

Under the changed regulation, which is expected to be adopted by EU envoys on Wednesday, EU nations will be able to unfreeze previously blocked economic resources owned by top Russian lenders, the document said.

Russia says it destroyed Ukrainian arms depots near Odesa

Russia's defence ministry has said its forces had destroyed ammunition depots in Ukraine's southern Odesa region that were storing weapons supplied to Kiev by the United States and European countries.

It did not say how many depots it had destroyed or what weapons were being stored there.

The reports have not been verified.

EU to add Russia's biggest bank Sberbank and metals baron to black list

The European Union is set to add Russia's biggest bank Sberbank and the head of giant zinc and copper firm UMMC to its black list of individuals and companies accused of supporting Moscow's attacks on Ukraine, according to a draft document.

The new list of 48 officials and nine entities to be blacklisted was prepared by the EU foreign affairs service.

It includes leaders of the Night Wolves motorcycle club, actors, politicians, the deputy head of a Russian security service, family members of sanctioned oligarchs and military people.

Ukraine picks new anti-corruption prosecutor

Ukraine has chosen an experienced investigator to head the anti-corruption prosecutor's office, pending approval by the country's prosecutor general, parliament has said.

It said in a statement that Oleksandr Klymenko had been selected by a special competition commission in a process that lasted several months.

Klymenko previously worked for the national anti-corruption bureau, another state body fighting corruption.

Norway launches fundraising to buy Turkish armed drones for Ukraine

Norway has launched a fundraising campaign to purchase Turkish Bayraktar TB2 armed drones for Ukrainian forces fighting Russia.

The campaign's website said Lithuania bought a TB2 in three days and both Poland and Ukraine purchased three TB2 drones in a few days, so "Norway must do the same."

Under the headline "Give a Bayraktar from the Norwegians to the Ukrainian people – show solidarity with Ukraine's fight against (Russian President Vladimir) Putin," so far approximately $27,470 has been collected from 647 donors through the campaign.

Canadian Crowdfund aims to buy Turkish combat drone for Ukraine

A Canadian fundraising campaign aims to purchase a Turkish Bayraktar TB2 combat drone for Ukraine amid Moscow's ongoing attacks.

The campaign, named Canadian Bayraktar Crowdfund and organised by a non-profit organisation UHelpUkraine, plans to reach the goal as of Ukrainian Independence Day on August 24.

The Canadian campaign said the goal is $5.4 million (7 million Canadian dollars).

Putin visits Iran for talks with Iranian Supreme Leader

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Tehran for talks with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Kremlin leader's first trip outside the former Soviet Union countries since the start of Ukraine's conflict.

In Tehran, Putin will also hold his first face-to-face meeting since the start of the conflict with a NATO leader, Türkiye's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to discuss a deal aimed at allowing the resumption of Ukraine's Black Sea grain exports as well as peace in Syria.

Putin's trip, which comes just days after US President Joe Biden visited Israel and Saudi Arabia, sends a strong message to the West about Moscow's plans to forge closer strategic ties with Iran, China and India in the face of Western sanctions.

Iran and Russia's Gazprom sign primary deal for energy co-operation

The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and Russian gas producer Gazprom have signed a memorandum of understanding worth around $40 billion, Iran's oil ministry's news agency SHANA reported.

The deal was signed during an online ceremony by the CEOs of both companies on the day Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Tehran for a summit with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts.

Russia's Medvedev: We will set terms for peace in Ukraine

Russia's former President Dmitry Medvedev has said that Russia will prevail in Ukraine and will set the terms for a future peace deal with Kiev.

"Russia will achieve all its goals. There will be peace - on our terms," Medvedev, now deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, said in a post on Telegram.

The former leader, once held up in the West as a possible partner, has become outspoken in his criticism of the West since Russia sent troops into Ukraine.

UK: Russia struggles to sustain effective offensive combat

British military intelligence has said Russia has struggled to sustain effective offensive combat power since the start of its attacks on Ukraine and the problem is likely becoming increasingly acute.

"As well as dealing with severe under-manning, Russian planners face a dilemma between deploying reserves to the Donbass or defending against Ukrainian counterattacks in the southwestern Kherson sector," the Ministry of Defence said in an intelligence update.

The ministry also added that while Russia may still make further territorial gains, their operational tempo and rate of advance is likely to be very slow.

EU proposes joint arms purchases to replenish stocks

The European Commission has proposed spending over 500 million dollars to finance joint defence purchases among member states to replenish weapons stocks.

EU countries "have drawn on their stocks of ammunition, light and heavy artillery, anti-aircraft and anti-tank defence systems, and even armoured vehicles and tanks," European Commissioner Thierry Breton warned.

"This has created a de facto vulnerability that now needs to be addressed urgently," he added.

Zelenskyy: Personnel audit of security service under way

As Russia kept up its relentless shelling across the country, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has expanded the shakeup of his security services by suspending 28 more officials, a day after he dismissed two senior officials over allegations that their agencies harboured "collaborators and traitors."

In his new video address, Zelenskyy said a "personnel audit" of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) was under way. The issue of the dismissal of 28 officials is being considered. From different levels, in different directions. But the grounds are similar –– unsatisfactory job performance."

Zelenskyy said his troops have managed to inflict significant logistical losses on Russians, saying."It is getting increasingly harder for the Russian army to hold its positions in the occupied territory. Step by step, we advance, breaking the occupiers' supply, detecting and neutralising collaborators."

For live updates from Monday (July 18), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies