These are the main developments as the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its 520th day.
Here is the situation on Friday, July 28, 2023.
- The Ukrainian army recaptured the village of Staromaiorske in the southwest from Russian forces, Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said. “Staromaiorske in the Donetsk region has been liberated,” she said on Telegram.
Glory to Ukraine!
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) July 27, 2023
- Russia hit port infrastructure in Ukraine’s Odesa region in an overnight missile attack, killing a security guard and damaging a cargo terminal, the region’s governor said. Odesa’s ports have been regular targets for Russian attacks since Moscow’s withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative last week.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin announced significant losses of Ukrainian forces during an attack in the Zaporizhia region, the Tass news agency reported. Putin told reporters that Russian forces had killed more than 200 people. “Unfortunately, we did not do without losses either, but the difference is colossal – at times, more than 10 times, our [losses] are less than those of the enemy.”
- Putin said Ukraine had intensified its front-line attacks over the last few days after multiple news outlets cited unnamed United States officials as saying Kyiv had launched a new phase of its counteroffensive. According to Western and Ukrainian officials and analysts, Ukraine has been making a push to remove Russian forces from the southeast of the country.
- Russia refused to speak at a UN Security Council meeting called to discuss Moscow’s recent attacks on the key port of Odesa. In a show of Moscow’s anger at Ukraine and its Western backers, a junior Russian diplomat sat silently throughout the meeting.
- Putin embarked on a charm offensive by rolling out the red carpet for African leaders at the Africa-Russia summit, which will address issues including Ukraine and food security following the collapse of the Black Sea grain deal.
- Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group, was pictured at the Russia-Africa Summit a month after the group’s failed mutiny. The unconfirmed picture was first posted by Dimitri Sytyi, head of the Russian House cultural centre in the Central African Republic (CAR).
Russian media publish this screenshot of Prigozhin reportedly meeting with representatives of the Central African Republic at the Russia-Africa summit in St Petersburg. (This means that Prigozhin is in Russia and freely visits an official event where Putin also spoke). pic.twitter.com/SKyaN5RTjr
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) July 27, 2023
- African Union chair Azali Assoumani called for “peaceful coexistence” between Russia and Ukraine in a speech at the Russia-Africa summit, saying it would save the lives of those who depend on food supplies from the warring countries. The president of Comoros was speaking at a summit plenary session where he shared the stage with Putin.
- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that a “handful of donations” will not correct the dramatic impact of Russia quitting the grain deal.
- Switzerland, Finland and Sweden are considering joining the United States National Guard’s security partnership programme, the chief of the national guard, General Daniel Hokanson, said in a speech.
- Russia said it would organise a competition next year for members of the BRICS alliance – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Speaking at the Russia-Africa summit in St Petersburg, Russian Sport Minister Oleg Matytsin said athletes would be invited to participate in the event in Russia’s Kazan in June.
- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu to discuss military issues and the regional security environment, according to state media.
- Ukraine’s Olha Kharlan was disqualified for not shaking the hand of her beaten Russian opponent Anna Smirnova at the Fencing World Championships. “My message today is that we Ukrainian athletes are ready to face Russians on the sports field, but we will never shake hands with them,” the four-time world champion said. Ukraine presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak blasted Kharlan’s disqualification as “absolutely shameful”.
- Ukraine’s parliament voted to accept the resignation of Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko a week after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked for his dismissal. Tkachenko quit last week after Zelenskyy called for spending cuts and asked his prime minister to consider replacing the culture minister. Tkachenko had been a proponent of several high-profile and costly projects.
- Russia placed a third official from the International Criminal Court (ICC) on its wanted list after the body accused Putin of war crimes in Ukraine, the state news agency TASS reported. Judge Tomoko Akane was listed as “wanted under an article of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation” in the online database of Russia’s interior ministry.
- A Russian court sentenced two Ukrainian intelligence agents to 15 years in prison for espionage, the state news agency TASS reported.
- Russian news agency TASS reported that the country’s Federal Security Service (FSB) found traces of explosives on board a foreign vessel en route from Turkey to Russia for grain that had previously entered a Ukrainian port.
- Two senior US senators confirmed that Washington will support the ICC’s investigation into alleged abuses by Russian forces in Ukraine.
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