The strategic Antonivskiy Bridge in the Russian-occupied region of Kherson has reportedly been struck by Ukrainian forces hoping to disrupt Russia’s main supply route into the southern Ukrainian city. Multiple unconfirmed reports suggest Ukrainian forces conducted new strikes late Tuesday. “Explosions in the Antonivskiy Bridge area,” Ukraine’s armed forces said in a Telegram update just before midnight alongside a video purportedly showing the strikes.
Russian forces continued to strike civilian infrastructure in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, and the surrounding region in the country’s northeast. Regional governor, Oleh Syniehubov, said the strikes on the city resumed around dawn Tuesday. “The Russians deliberately target civilian infrastructure objects hospitals, schools, movie theatres. Everything is being fired at, even queues for humanitarian aid,” Syniehubov told Ukrainian television.
Russia’s defence ministry plans to hold strategic military exercises in the east of the country from 30 August to 5 September. Interfax reported that the militaries of unspecified other countries will be taking part in the regular ‘Vostok’ exercises, citing the defence ministry.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will hold a one-day visit to the Russian resort of Sochi on 5 August, his office announced. It is anticipated that he will meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
The EU has been forced to water down its plan to ration gas this winter in an attempt to avoid an energy crisis generated by further Russian cuts to supply. Energy ministers from the 27 member states, except Hungary, backed a voluntary 15% reduction in gas usage over the winter. Ministers agreed opt-outs for island nations and possible exclusions for countries little connected to the European gas network.
Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has accused Russia of deliberately cutting supplies of natural gas to impose a “price terror” against Europe. “Using Gazprom, Moscow is doing all it can to make this coming winter as harsh as possible for the European countries. Terror must be answered – impose sanctions,” he said in a late-night video address.
A joint coordination centre (JCC) for Ukrainian grain exports under a UN-brokered deal will be opened in a ceremony in Istanbul on Wednesday, Turkey’s defence ministry said. Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations signed the accord last week to resume Ukraine’s grain exports.
Insurance uncertainty poses the biggest obstacle to grain ships leaving Ukraine’s Black Sea ports this week, exporters say. Questions remain over whether insurance companies will be willing to insure the vessels as they navigate the mined waters, while buyers are hesitant to make new orders given the risk of Russian attacks.
The first train with sanctioned goods has arrived from Russia to Kaliningrad via Lithuania in the first such trip since the EU said Lithuania must allow Russian goods across its territory. Russian news agency Tass cited regional governor Anton Alikhanov as saying: “It is indeed the first train to have arrived after the EU decision … [it is] quite an important achievement.” The train reportedly consisted of 60 freight cars with cement.
Ukraine aims to strike a deal for a $15-$20bn programme with the International Monetary Fund before year-end to help shore up its war-torn economy, the country’s central bank governor, Kyrylo Shevchenko, told Reuters.
The Russian economy appears to be doing better than expected despite western sanctions. On Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund upgraded Russia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimate for this year by 2.5%, although its economy is still expected to contract by 6%. “That’s still a fairly sizeable recession in Russia in 2022,” IMF chief economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas told AFP, adding that rising energy prices are “providing an enormous amount of revenues to the Russian economy”.
Boris Johnson compared Zelenskiy’s leadership of Ukraine to the wartime exploits of Sir Winston Churchill. The British prime minister said he believed “Churchill would have cheered and probably have wept too” when the Ukrainian president insisted he needed “ammunition, not a ride” out of Kyiv when Russia invaded in February.
A British citizen who video blogs pro-Kremlin material from Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine has been added to a UK government sanctions list. Graham Phillips – the first UK citizen to be added to the growing sanctions list – has been accused of being a conduit for pro-Russian propaganda, receiving medals from the Russian state for his reporting.
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