Russia declares its military objectives in Ukraine now go beyond the eastern Donbass region as mutual casualties spike on the 148th day of fierce fighting.

UK said it would also provide counter-battery radar systems, artillery guns and more than 50,000 rounds of ammunition to Ukraine.
UK said it would also provide counter-battery radar systems, artillery guns and more than 50,000 rounds of ammunition to Ukraine. (AP)

Thursday, July 21, 2022

UK boosts arms supply to Ukraine with more anti-tank weapons

UK will send scores of artillery guns and more than 1,600 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine in the latest supply of Western arms to help bolster the country's defence against Russia, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said.

"Together with our international partners, we will ensure Ukraine has the tools to defend their country from Putin’s illegal invasion," Wallace said in a statement.

Wallace said Britain would also provide counter-battery radar systems, hundreds of drones and more than 50,000 rounds of ammunition.

Ukraine conflict must end to prevent nuclear 'abyss': Lukashenko

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has said that Russia, Ukraine and the West must all agree to halt the conflict in Ukraine to avoid the "abyss of nuclear war."

"We must stop, reach an agreement, end this mess, operation and war in Ukraine," Lukashenko said in an interview.

"Let's stop and then we will figure out how to go on living... There's no need to go further. Further lies the abyss of nuclear war. There's no need to go there." Lukashenko accused the West of seeking a conflict with Russia and of provoking the Ukraine conflict.

Ukraine says Russia storing weapons at occupied nuclear plant

Kiev has accused Moscow of storing heavy weapons at Europe's largest nuclear power plant in occupied Ukrainian territory, after Russia said Ukraine's troops have fired on the facility.

Ukraine state energy company Energoatom said on social media that Russia had moved over two dozen pieces of military equipment and ammunition into the engine room of the first reactor.

"The occupiers continue to cynically violate all norms and requirements regarding fire, nuclear and radiation safety of the NPP operation, keeping heavy military equipment, ammunition, weapons and explosives just in the engine room of the power unit of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe," it said.

Hungary FM in Russia to discuss buying more gas

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has travelled to Moscow to discuss purchasing more Russian gas on behalf of his country, the ruling Fidesz party has said.

"In order to ensure the security of Hungary's energy supply, the government has decided to purchase an additional 700 million cubic metres of natural gas in addition to the quantities stipulated in the long-term contracts," Fidesz said in a statement on Facebook.

Kremlin points finger at EU for gas delivery problems

The Kremlin had said that Europe's gas delivery problems are due to "technical difficulties" caused by economic sanctions, as the Nord Stream pipeline has reopened after maintenance but with a reduced flow.

"Any technical difficulties linked to this are caused by those restrictions that European countries introduced themselves," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

He said accusations that Moscow was using gas deliveries as political blackmail were "completely" unfounded.

EU imposes more sanctions on Moscow over Ukraine conflict

The European Union has imposed more sanctions on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine after the bloc’s 27 members have backed measures that include a ban on gold imports and tighter export controls on some high-technology goods.

European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said the “reinforced, prolonged EU sanctions against the Kremlin” send “a strong signal to Moscow: we will keep the pressure high for as long as it takes.”

The EU has described the new round of sanctions as minor adjustments and intended to align its actions with commitments from global partners.

Kremlin says even harshest sanctions have never made countries change their position

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has said that Western sanctions imposed on Russia over its actions in Ukraine will not cause it to change course.

In a call with reporters, Peskov said: "Even the harshest sanctions have never made countries change their position."

Two killed, 19 wounded in Russian shelling of Kharkiv

Two people have been killed and 19 wounded in Russian shelling of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, the regional governor has said.

"Nineteen people have been injured, including one child. Unfortunately, four people are in a serious condition. Two people died," Oleg Synegubov said after the bombardment.

Russia, which attacked Ukraine on February 24 in what it calls a special military operation, denies deliberately targeting civilians.

Russia shot down Ukrainian SU-25 military plane near Kramatorsk, Russia claims

Russia's defence ministry says its forces have shot down a Ukrainian SU-25 military plane near Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine.

The claim could not be immediately verified and there was no immediate reaction from Kiev.

UK's Truss: I do not support direct involvement of our troops in Ukraine

British foreign secretary and leadership candidate Liz Truss has said she does not support the direct involvement of British troops in Ukraine.

Asked during an interview on BBC Radio whether she would support the use of British forces in Ukraine if she becomes prime minister, Truss said: "We are doing all we can to support Ukraine." 

"We've led the international coalition on sending weapons, we're putting the sanctions in place, but I do not support the direct involvement of UK troops."

No contact with US on Ukraine peace talks:Russia 

There has been no contact with the United States over peace talks with Ukraine, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said in a briefing.

Ukraine devalues hryvnia over Russian attack: central bank

Ukraine's central bank has devalued the official hryvnia exchange rate to protect its foreign reserves as Russia's attack ravages the economy.

The National Bank said in a statement that it was devaluing the official exchange rate from 29.25 hyrvnia to the dollar to 36.57 hyrvnia to the dollar in order to boost the competitiveness of Ukrainian products and shore up economic stability while the military attack continued.

The bank said it had acted "in view of the change in the fundamental characteristics of Ukraine's economy during the war and the strengthening of the US dollar against other currencies."

This step will improve competitiveness of Ukrainian producers, converge exchange rate conditions for different groups of businesses and households, and support the resilience of the economy during the war

The National Bank of Ukraine

Key gas pipeline from Russia to Europe restarts after break

Russia has restored critical gas supplies to Europe through Germany via the Nord Stream pipeline after 10 days, but uncertainty lingers whether the Kremlin would still trigger an energy crisis on the continent this winter. "It's working," a Nord Stream spokesperson said, without specifying the amount of gas being delivered.

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline under the Baltic Sea to Germany had been closed since July 11 for annual maintenance work. Amid tensions over Russia’s offensive in Ukraine, German officials had feared that the pipeline — the country’s main source of Russian gas — might not reopen at all.

Operator Nord Stream AG said that gas started flowing again on Thursday morning, and its network data showed gas beginning to arrive after the scheduled end of maintenance at 6am.

Britain: Russia closing in on Ukraine’s second biggest power plant

Russian forces are likely closing in on Ukraine's second biggest power plant at Vuhlehirska, 50 kilometres north-east of Donetsk, British military intelligence has said.

"Russia is prioritising the capture of critical national infrastructure, such as power plants," Britain's defence ministry said.

The ministry also added that Russia is probably attempting to break through at Vuhlehirska, as part of its efforts to regain momentum on the southern pincer of its advance towards the key cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.

US expects global Russian oil price cap

The United States hopes to see a global price cap on Russian oil introduced by December, US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo has said.

"We are following on what the Europeans have done," he told the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. "They introduced the idea of looking to do a price cap but they also said by December, they plan to put in place their insurance ban.

Russia has said it will not export oil to the world market if the price is capped below the cost of production. 

Brazil, China, India and some African and Middle Eastern countries have increased energy imports from Russia, which sells at deep discounts to global benchmarks because many European refiners have stopped buying Russian oil.

Our goal is to make sure that as that insurance ban is going into place, we're in a position where there's a price cap that can be joined onto that that is a global one that helps to drive down global energy prices and also allows Russian energy to flow into the market place.

US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo

For live updates from Wednesday (July 20), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies