Russian officials accused Ukrainian forces of attempting an overnight airstrike against Crimea this week, with Moscow claiming it used anti-drone equipment to foil the attack.
The Russian defense ministry wrote on Telegram that a total of 17 drones were used to target the peninsula, and that there were no casualties.
Russia’s state-owned news agency Tass reported that debris was found close to the Russian ministry of defense building.
Kyiv officials have not publicly acknowledged the attack, which came the day after a Russian strike on the Ukrainian port city of Odesa.
In response to the aggression in Odesa, President Volodymyr Zelensky had tweeted Sunday morning,
“There will definitely be a retaliation on the Russian terrorists for Odesa. They will feel this retaliation.”
That was a reference to days of Russian missile strikes against targets in the port city, which Moscow says are payback for a Ukrainian attack last week on the Crimean Bridge which killed the parents of a 14-year-old girl.
Kyiv faced its sixth air attack this month early Tuesday, the Kyiv City Military Administration wrote on Telegram, but all drones were detected and destroyed “in a timely manner.”
There were no casualties and the city was not damaged, KCMA head Serhiy Popko wrote.
The attack follows a string of airstrikes on Ukraine, including the demolition of a significant cathedral in Odesa on Sunday, which Russia attributed to Ukrainian rockets, and a four-hour Russian drone attack against port infrastructure along the Danube River early on Monday.
Zelensky says Ukraine is focusing on defending against Russian drone strikes in port cities
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that his country’s forces are bracing for Russian drone attacks.
“Our focus is on safeguarding our people, cities, ports, and the Black Sea grain corridor. Robust responses to attacks by Russian terrorists are being prepared to maintain our security and protect our interests,” Zelensky wrote on his official Telegram channel.
“In all directions, our primary task is to inflict maximum damage on the occupiers, targeting their equipment, supplies, warehouses, and headquarters. Ensuring that Russia suffers losses every day is a just goal,” Zelensky added.
In recent days, Russian forces have carried out punishing drone strikes on port cities, like Odesa.
Zelensky: Ukraine grain export ban ‘unacceptable’
External forces have continued to urge Russia to return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which it abandoned on July 17, prompting a surge in wheat prices.
“With the termination of the Black Sea Initiative, the most vulnerable will pay the highest price,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the UN food summit on Tuesday. “As food prices rise, the hopes of developing countries fall.”
The Kremlin, meanwhile, has said a return to the deal is currently impossible, according to Google-translated comments carried by Russian state news agency Tass on Telegram.
President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the European Union on Monday to ensure that an “unacceptable and clearly non-European” ban on Ukrainian grain imports to five countries is lifted by a Sept. 15 deadline.
The five central European countries want the EU ban extended at least until the end of the year. The ban is set to expire on Sept. 15.
In his nightly video address, delivered after a meeting with government officials, Zelensky said there could be no question of extending the restrictions beyond the deadline.
“We believe that the European side will fulfill its obligations regarding this date, when the temporary restrictions will cease to apply,” Zelensky said.
“Any extension of these restrictions is entirely unacceptable and clearly un-European. Europe has the institutional capacity to act more rationally than closing this or that border to this or that type of good.”
Ukraine, he said, was “actively working with everyone to find a solution that is in line with the spirit of our Europe”.
The president had earlier written on Telegram that any extension was “unacceptable in any form”.
The EU in May allowed Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia to ban domestic sales of Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seeds, while permitting transit of such cargoes for export elsewhere.
The countries include some of Kyiv’s staunchest diplomatic supporters in its war against Moscow, but they say inflows of Ukrainian grain have hurt their farming sectors.
Poland will not lift the ban on Sept. 15, even if the EU does not agree on its extension, its prime minister said last week.
Russian return to Ukraine grain deal currently impossible, Kremlin spokesperson says
A Russian return to the Black Sea grain deal is currently impossible, as Moscow’s demands have not been met, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in Google-translated comments carried by Russian state news agency Tass on Telegram.
Russia pulled out of the agreement — which allowed the safe passage of Ukraine grains to global markets during wartime — on July 17, citing ongoing restrictions on its own fertilizer and agricultural goods.
Western nations have widely criticized the decision, with the UN entreating Moscow to reconsider and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying he would seek to bring his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin back to the negotiation table.
Putin expected to visit China in October, Kremlin says
The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin was invited and plans to attend the Belt and Road forum in China in October, Reuters reports.
The Biden administration has reiterated that Beijing should not assist Moscow as Washington and its Western allies coordinate rounds of sanctions for the Kremlin’s ongoing war in Ukraine.
US approves security package worth $400 million for Ukraine
The Biden administration approved a new security assistance package for Ukraine worth $400 million.
“The people of Ukraine continue to bravely defend their country against Russia’s aggression while Russia continues its relentless and vicious attacks that are killing Ukrainian civilians and destroying civil infrastructure,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote in a release announcing the arms package.
The weapons included in the latest package are: Additional munitions for Patriot air defense systems and National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, or NASAMS; Stinger anti-aircraft systems; Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS; 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds; 120mm and 60mm mortar rounds; 32 Stryker armored personnel carriers; Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided or TOW missiles; Javelin and other anti-armor systems and rockets; Hornet unmanned aerial systems; Hydra-70 aircraft rockets; Tactical air navigation systems; Demolitions munitions for obstacle clearing; Over 28 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenades; Night vision devices and thermal imagery systems and Spare parts, training munitions and other field equipment.
Russia says its Black Sea Fleet ships destroyed two Ukrainian naval drones
Ukrainian forces attempted to attack two Russian naval patrol ships in the Black Sea Tuesday night, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry.
“Tonight, the Armed Forces of Ukraine made an unsuccessful attempt to attack the Black Sea Fleet’s Sergei Kotov patrol ship, which is carrying out tasks to control navigation in the southwestern part of the Black Sea (370 km southwest of Sevastopol),” the ministry said, as reported by state-owned news agency Tass.