This week, Ukraine’s air defenses shot down 23 drones during overnight attacks on the Kyiv and Odesa regions from Russia, the country’s military authorities said, while Russia struck ports and grain stocks in the country’s south, creating raging fires.
Russian strikes on ports damaged nearly 40,000 tons of Ukrainian grain, official says
Russian drone strikes on ports in southern Ukraine early Wednesday morning destroyed or damaged nearly 40,000 tons of grain that was set for export to several African countries as well as China and Israel, Ukraine’s minister of infrastructure said.
“The Russians attacked warehouses and grain elevators – almost 40,000 tons of grain were damaged, which the countries of Africa, China, and Israel were waiting for,” Ukrainian infrastructure minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said, warning that such attacks were a threat to the world.
“The world must resist. Attacks on Ukrainian ports are a threat to the world,” he added, calling on the international community for more support as well as more provisions of air defense technology.
Putin to visit Turkey
Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed to visit Turkey, Turkish state media agency Anadolu said Wednesday on the X social media platform, previously known as Twitter.
This followed a conversation with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been striving to persuade Putin to return Russia to the Ukraine grain deal that Moscow abandoned in July. The agreement, previously brokered by the UN and facilitated by Turkey, instated a humanitarian corridor that allowed the export of Ukrainian agricultural goods to the global markets to abate a food crisis.
Erdogan described the initiative as a “bridge of peace” and emphasized it would not benefit any party to discontinue it. Russia has previously said that it would not rejoin the deal until its demands, dealing with restrictions on its own exports, are met.
US to address global food insecurity triggered by Russia’s war during UN Security Council presidency
The United States will take the helm of the United Nations Security Council for the month of August, a scheduled presidency that is expected to grapple with the fallout of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
The landmark UN-brokered agricultural initiative between Ukraine and Russia collapsed last month triggering global food insecurity concerns.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield slammed Moscow’s exit from the deal calling it “another blow to the world’s most vulnerable.”
The diplomatic choreography of assuming the role, largely seen as procedural, gives the US the opportunity to set the agenda for debates over the next month.
Thomas-Greenfield is expected to focus on the defense of human rights and ways to mitigate food insecurity.
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny faces 20 years in prison
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny gave a closing statement to a Russian court after facing trial, during which he said that Russia was “floundering in a pool of either mud or blood,” and that the invasion of Ukraine was “the most stupid and senseless war of the 21st century.”
Navalny is currently serving a nine-year sentence and could face up to 20 more years in prison on charges that his supporters say are purely political. The Russian court will deliver its verdict on Friday.
In his closing statement to the court, the 47-year-old criticized Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, which was followed by an unprecedented crackdown on critics of President Vladimir Putin’s government.
“Around Russia lie tens of thousands of people killed in the most stupid and senseless war of the 21st century,” Navalny told the court.
Prosecutors have requested a jail term of 20 years on charges that include the financing of extremist activity, publicly inciting extremist activities and “rehabilitating Nazi ideology”.