Russia-Ukraine war news: Russia attacks Ukraine after Crimean Bridge explosion; grain deal expires

A cargo ship transports grain in the Black Sea, near the entrance to the Boshorus Strait in Istanbul. Russia on Monday pulled out of an initiative that had allowed Ukraine to export its grain by sea. (Sercan Ozkurnazli/DIA Images/AP)

Russia carried out a wave of attacks across southern and eastern Ukraine overnight, in what it said was retaliation for Monday’s deadly explosion on the Crimean Bridge, which connects Russia to the illegally annexed peninsula. According to a Ukrainian official in the city of Odessa, which is home to a major grain port, part of the port’s infrastructure was damaged as Ukrainian air defenses downed missiles fired by Russia.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it would be dangerous for Ukraine to continue exporting grain without Russian security guarantees, a day after Moscow withdrew from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, an international accord that allowed the export of grain from southern Ukrainian ports that Russia had blockaded. The deal has helped sustain critical food supplies and temper rising food prices around the world.

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

Bridge attack and aftermath

Russian President Vladimir Putin promised a response to the Crimean Bridge attack, which Russian officials said killed a Russian couple and injured a girl. Part of the bridge has reopened, a Russian official wrote on Telegram early Tuesday. A Ukrainian official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive military operations, said Kyiv’s navy and special forces carried out Monday’s nighttime drone boat attack. It was the second time the bridge has been attacked during the conflict.

Why is Russia’s bridge to Crimea so important?

The restoration of the Crimean bridge could cost around $11 million to $14 million, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin said in a statement.

The Ukrainian Air Force said Russia launched six Kalibr cruise missiles and 36 Shahed drones overnight. Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesman for the Odessa military administration, said on Telegram that an elderly man was injured. Officials in Mykolaiv extinguished a fire that broke out after an industrial facility in the southern city was hit, its mayor, Alexander Senkevich, wrote on Telegram.

Russia withdraws from Black Sea grain deal

The impact of Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea grain deal was immediately visible, U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said. “Corn, soybean and wheat all shot up today as a result of this decision,” he said Monday. The initiative had helped reduce food prices by more than 23 percent since March 2022 and ensured the safe passage of 32 million metric tons of foodstuffs from Ukrainian ports, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said Monday.

What to know about the grain deal that Russia just pulled out of

Other officials reacted to the deal, including Kenyan foreign affairs minister Korir Sing’Oei, who called Russia’s decision to leave the deal “a stab on the back,” that “disproportionately impacts countries in the Horn of Africa already impacted by drought.” French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters in Brussels Tuesday said Putin effectively decided to “weaponize food,” and made a “huge mistake.”

Ukraine is “not afraid” to continue shipping grain from its ports, despite Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea initiative, President Volodymyr Zelensky said while speaking to African media. “No one has the right to destroy the food security of any nation,” Zelensky added Monday in his nightly address.

South Africa’s president asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to exempt his country from arresting Putin if the Russian president attends the BRICS summit in South Africa next month, arguing that attempting to arrest Putin would amount to a declaration of war against Russia. The ICC in March issued an arrest warrant for Putin for war crimes. President Cyril Ramaphosa in court documents published Tuesday said that “to declare war with Russia by arresting President Putin” during the summit of the BRICS nations — also including Brazil, Russia, India and China — would be “a reckless, unconstitutional and unlawful exercise” of government power, local news outlet News 24 reported.

President Biden will discuss the repatriation of Ukrainian children “forcibly deported by Russian officials” with a papal envoy this week in Washington, the White House said. Kyiv estimates that thousands of children have been taken to Russia or Russian-occupied territory. In March, the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Putin and another top Russian official for their roles in the “unlawful deportation” of Ukrainian children.

Russian warships will participate in a joint naval exercise with China in the Sea of Japan, Russia’s Defense Ministry said Tuesday. A group of vessels left Vladivostok, in the far east of Russia, for the exercises, which are set to begin later this month, according to the ministry’s Telegram account. The two countries regularly conduct joint military drills.

The Ukrainian Defense Contact Group meets again Tuesday and will focus on Ukraine’s near-term air defense and ammunition needs, as well as “sustainment for Ukraine over the long term,” the U.S. Defense Department said in a statement. The coalition, made up of about 50 countries, coordinates military support for Ukraine at monthly meetings.

Russia and Ukraine have each achieved marginal advances in different areas over the past week, the British Defense Ministry said. According to its daily assessment Tuesday, Ukraine has continued to “resource significant effort” around Bakhmut, while Russian forces are attempting to push west near the eastern city of Kreminna. In the south, Ukraine has carried out its attack on at least two axes “but is unlikely to have yet broken into Russia’s primary defensive lines,” British officials said.

Ukraine’s deputy minister of defense Hanna Maliar reported successes on the eastern and southern battlefield on Tuesday, but said Ukrainian troops “move in extremely difficult conditions.” On Telegram, she said Russia’s offensive toward Kupyansk in the eastern Kharkiv region has been unsuccessful.

Russia has positioned more than 100,000 troops and more than 900 tanks near Kupyansk in Ukraine’s northeast, Ukrainian media reported. The Washington Post could not independently verify this claim. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar wrote Monday on Telegram that Moscow’s forces have been “actively advancing” since the end of last week in the Kupyansk area. Ukraine is putting up “a strong resistance,” she said, but fighting remains intense. A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said Tuesday that its forces were pursuing offensive operations in the area.

Ukraine aims to sap Russia’s defenses, as U.S. urges a decisive breakthrough: Ukraine is making limited advances in its counteroffensive against Russian forces but has yet to employ the kind of larger-scale operations that American officials believe could enable a breakthrough, officials and analysts say. Now, questions are deepening among some of Ukraine’s chief backers about whether Kyiv can move fast enough to match a finite supply of munitions and arms, Missy Ryan, Isabelle Khurshudyan and Michael Birnbaum report.

Five weeks into the highly anticipated operation, Ukrainian forces are attempting to weaken Russian defenses by firing fusillades of artillery and missiles and sending small teams of sappers into the sprawling minefields that constitute their adversary’s outermost ring of defense. But the pace of progress, in three main areas along a 600-mile front line, has generated concerns in the West that President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government may not deliver as powerful a blow as it could.

#RussiaUkraine #war #news #Russia #attacks #Ukraine #Crimean #Bridge #explosion #grain #deal #expires