These are the main developments as the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its 513th day.
Here is the situation on Friday, July 21, 2023.
- United States-supplied cluster munitions are in Ukrainian hands and being deployed in the field against Russian forces, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said. He said the cluster munitions were having an impact on Russian defensive formations and manoeuvring.
- Ukraine’s defence ministry said it will consider all ships travelling to Russian and Russian-occupied Ukrainian Black Sea ports as potential carriers of military cargo, a day after Russia issued the same warning to ships travelling to Ukraine’s ports.
- Russia is not preparing to attack civilian ships in the Black Sea despite assertions by the US that Moscow may do so, Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, has said in comments posted by his embassy.
- Russia’s defence ministry said it had continued with “retaliatory strikes” on Ukraine days after Moscow had promised payback for an attack on the Kerch Bridge in the Russian-annexed Crimea peninsula.
- A building at the Chinese consulate in Ukraine’s Odesa was damaged during Russia’s latest attack on the Ukrainian port city, regional Governor Oleh Kiper said. “Administrative and residential buildings nearby were damaged, also the consulate of the People’s Republic of China. It shows the enemy does not pay attention to anything,” Kiper said on Telegram.
- United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres slammed Russian attacks on southern Ukraine. “These attacks are … having an impact well beyond Ukraine. We are already seeing the negative effect on global wheat and corn prices, which hurts everyone, but especially vulnerable people in the global south,” Guterres said.
- At least one person was killed and 27 injured in Russia’s latest attack on Odesa and Mykolaiv, Ukrainian officials said. One person was also killed in Russian shelling in Kharkiv.
- Five cruise missiles and 13 attack drones launched by Russian forces overnight at the southern Mykolaiv and Odesa regions were destroyed, Ukraine’s air force has said. Russia fired 19 cruise missiles and 19 drones in total.
- Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the overnight attacks on Odesa and Mykolaiv as the work of “Russian terrorists”. “The evil state has no missiles that are more powerful than our will to save lives, support each other and win,” he said.
- Relatives and friends of two Russians killed in an attack on the bridge linking Ukraine’s annexed Crimea to the Russian mainland gathered to pay tribute to the couple. Dozens of people brought wreaths to a church at Novy Oskol in Russia’s Belgorod region bordering Ukraine before attending a funeral service.
- The European Union will provide up to five billion euros ($5.57bn) a year for the next four years for Ukraine’s defence needs via the means of a “dedicated section” under the European Peace Facility, EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.
- The Belarusian defence ministry said the country’s military was continuing exercises with fighters from Russia’s Wagner mercenary force at a military base near the city of Brest, on the border with Poland.
- The Kremlin said Poland’s decision to increase its forces along its border with Belarus – as Russian Wagner mercenary force fighters arrive in that country – was “a cause for concern”. Poland, a member of the Western NATO military alliance, moved more than 1,000 soldiers, along with military hardware, to the east earlier this month.
Black Sea grain deal
- Chicago wheat futures rose 1.6 percent to hit a three-week high, amid Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea export deal earlier this week which analysts say will increase global wheat prices. Corn gained more than 1 percent, while soybeans were little changed on forecasts of hot and dry weather in the US Midwest.
- Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called for the restoration of the Black Sea grain initiative to help global food insecurity.
- Germany is working with allies to ensure that Ukrainian grain is not left to rot in silos after Russia pulled out of the grain deal, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said. “Hundreds of thousands of people, not to say millions, urgently need the grain from Ukraine,” Baerbock said.
- Russia is responsible for a major global food supply crisis, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said. “What we already know is that this is going to create a big and huge food crisis in the world,” Borrell said.
- The US imposed sanctions on Russia’s chief copper producer Ural Mining And Metallurgical Company (UMMC) as a measure to “reduce Russia’s revenue from the metals and mining sector,” the treasury and state departments said.
- The US imposed new Russia sanctions against 18 individuals and dozens of organisations over its war on Ukraine, the US treasury department said. The sanctions are designed to “reduce Russia’s revenue from the metals and mining sector, undermine its future energy capabilities and degrade Russia’s access to the international financial system”.
- The head of the Ukrainian president’s office, Andriy Yermak, called for stronger sanctions to drastically affect Russia’s economy. “Russia’s economy should suffer a devastating sanctions blow, the military-industrial complex should be limited in its ability to produce weapons,” he said on Twitter.
- A European Commission proposal to use Russian public assets frozen through sanctions to help rebuild Ukraine will not be published until September, a spokesman said.
- Russia imposed restrictions on diplomats from the United Kingdom, requiring them to give at least five days’ notice of any plans to travel beyond a 120km (75-mile) radius due to London’s “hostile actions” in Ukraine.
Economy and trade
- China is willing to increase imports from Ukraine, the Chinese commerce ministry says. China is willing to “establish cooperative relations between the investment promotion agencies of the two countries, and continuously expand the space for trade and investment cooperation”, said Ling Ji, vice commerce minister.
- Ukraine’s Kherson region will have little or no harvest due to a water shortage in the North Crimean and Kakhovka canals, Russian-installed governor Vladimir Saldo said. The Kakhovka dam, a dam on the Dnipro river that separates Russian and Ukrainian forces in southern Ukraine, was breached in June and led to widespread flooding and mass displacement.
- Ukraine’s central bank said it will nationalise Russian-owned Sense Bank, one of the country’s top commercial banks, and put it under temporary administration.
- Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal criticised Poland’s move to extend a ban on Ukraine’s grain exports to the EU. He described Poland’s decision as “an unfriendly and populist move”.
- Ukraine will receive a $1.5bn loan from the World Bank guaranteed by the government of Japan, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Shmyhal said. The funds will be used to strengthen social protection, assist people affected by the war and rebuild the economy, he said.
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