Russia’s defence ministry has claimed its forces have destroyed four US-supplied Himars rocket systems in July alone.
“Four launchers and one transport-loading vehicle for the US-made multiple launch rocket systems (Himars) were destroyed,” it said in a daily briefing.
The claims could not be independently verified.
Kyiv has hailed the arrival of eight Himars, which cost $5.6 million each, as a possible gamechanger for the course of the war. The advanced weapons are more precise and offer a longer range than other artillery systems, allowing Kyiv to strike Russian targets and weapons depots further behind the front lines.
Follow the latest updates below.
Ukraine and Russia sign grain export deal
Ukraine and Russia have signed a grain export deal to allow millions of tons of grain to be unlocked for the first time in nearly five months.
Ukraine is the world’s fifth largest exporter of wheat with the move set to potentially avert the threat of a catastrophic global food crisis.
It is hoped the agreement will secure the passage of grain and essential goods such as sunflower oil from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, following UN warnings that the Russia-Ukraine war risked mass malnutrition, hunger and famine.
A signing ceremony at Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul was attended by the UN secretary general, António Guterres, and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s president.
Three Ukrainian ports named amid Kyiv and Moscow exports negotiations
Ukrainian grain will initially be exported from the ports of Odesa, Pivdenny and Chornomorsk, Ukrainian parliamentarian Rustem Umerov has said.
Kyiv and Moscow are set to sign a major agreement to end Russia’s Black Sea blockade of grain in Istanbul today.
“The exports will take place through three ports: Odesa, Pivdenny, (Yuzhiy) and Chornomorsk,” Umerov, who is a member of the Ukrainian delegation in the negotiations, told Ukrainian media.
“In the future, we hope, we can also expand the list. All recommendations of the maritime forces, the armed forces must be respected. There are safe corridors, routes that we have developed together with the military, and all civilian ships will go through these routes. We will sell grain to everybody. And all vessels that follow these guidelines can come to us.”
Full details of the ports and safe channels for merchant shipping will be announced later today.
Ukraine threatens military response as it says grain deal is with UN not Russia
Ukrainian delegation is in Istanbul as Kyiv and Moscow near major grains deal
A delegation from Ukraine is in Istanbul today as Kyiv and Moscow were expected to sign a deal that would unblock grain exports disrupted by Russia’s invasion, Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry said.
“The country’s delegation led by Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov arrived in Istanbul for negotiations on the resolution of the grain issue,” the ministry said on Telegram, adding that delegates had held a meeting with UN chief Antonio Guterres.
Russian defence minister seen arriving in Istanbul ahead of grains deal
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has been seen on live TV arriving in Istanbul, where Russia and Ukraine will later sign a deal to facilitate grain exports.
Shoigu will also hold a bilateral meeting with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar, the RIA Novosti news agency reported, citing Russia’s defence ministry.
Lights go out in wealthy German city as energy prices soar
An affluent historic Bavarian city is turning off street lighting as it faces spiraling energy costs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The streets of Augsburg have gone go eerily quiet after it rolled out a raft of energy savings measures which have seen the facades of its medieval buildings not illuminated, street lights dimmed and most of the fountains not operating.
The city has also lowered the temperature in its public pools and is checking which traffic lights it can turn off.
The economy ministry also launched a campaign last month urging citizens to take shorter showers, increase their fridge’s temperature by 1 degree and better insulate their home.
Augsburg mayor Eva Weber told Reuters that the city’s energy bills this year were expected to be almost double from last year’s costs of around 15.9 million euros.
Grains exports deal is ‘very important’, says Kremlin
The Kremlin has said it was “very important” to unblock grain exports as Kyiv and Moscow were set to sign a deal to help relieve a global food crisis today.
“It is very important to unblock supplies of fertilisers, foodstuffs and grain to the world markets,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
“It is a relatively small amount of Ukrainian grain, but still it is very important that this grain gets to world markets.”
Kremlin denies turbine for Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline is stuck in transit
The Kremlin has denied reports that a turbine for the Nord Stream 1 pipeline taking gas from Russia to Germany was stuck in transit.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov branded a Reuters report that cited two sources who said Russia had not yet given the go-ahead to transport the turbine back to Russia as “nonsense”.
“The accusations are groundless. The sources are wrong,” he said.
Russia cut the flow through Nord Stream 1 to 40 percent of its capacity in June, citing the delayed return of the turbine from routine maintenance in Canada.
Transdniestria not put off becoming part of Russia by war, minister says
The foreign minister of Transdniestria said the Moscow-backed breakaway region of Moldova still wants to become part of Russia.
Vitaly Ignatiev told RIA news agency that Moscow’s “special military operation” in Ukraine had not affected his region’s aim.
Transdniestria is internationally recognised as part of Moldova that lies on a thin strip of land along Ukraine’s southwest border and voted to join Russia in a 2006 referendum.
A 1992 ceasefire deal ended the fighting over the future of the region following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Five European countries added to Russia’s list of ‘unfriendly foreign states’
The Kremlin has added Greece, Denmark, Slovenia, Croatia and Slovakia to its list of “unfriendly foreign states”, a decree signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and published on the official website said.
It limits the countries’ abilities to hire workers in Russia for embassies, consulates and representative offices of state bodies.
Greece has a limit of hiring 34 people, Denmark of 20, and Slovakia of 16, the decree added. Slovenia and Croatia will not be able to hire employees for their diplomatic missions and consular offices.
Three bodies recovered from school hit by Russian missiles in east Ukraine
Ukrainian emergency workers recovered three bodies from a school hit by a Russian strike as missile rained on a densely populated area in the eastern part of the country, officials have said.
The Ukrainian president’s office said Russian shelling destroyed a school and damaged 85 residential buildings in Kramatorsk, in Donetsk province.
The reported casualties follow a barrage in Ukraine’s second largest city Kharkiv that killed at least three people and wounded 23 others on Thursday.
Ukraine and Russia to sign grains deal on Friday, Erdogan’s spokesman claims
Kyiv and Moscow will sign a deal to unlock grain exports and relieve a global food crisis on Friday in Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin has claimed.
The announcement came as Russian forces battered Ukraine’s southern coast and left several dead in the industrial Donbas.
The first major accord between the warring sides would be brokered with the UN and Turkey.
Ukraine’s ports to reopen as grain deal ‘agreed’
Moscow and Kyiv will today sign a deal to reopen Ukraine’s Black Sea ports for grain exports, Turkey said, raising hopes that an international food crisis caused by Russia’s invasion could be eased.
Ukraine and Russia, both among the world’s biggest exporters of food, did not immediately confirm Thursday’s announcement by the office of the Turkish presidency. But in a late night video address Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hinted his country’s Black Sea ports could soon be unblocked.
The blockade by Russia’s Black Sea fleet has reduced supplies to markets around the world and sent grain prices soaring since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into neighbouring Ukraine on Feb. 24.
The agreement is due to be signed this lunch time, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s office said.
The United Nations and Turkey have been working for two months to broker what Guterres called a “package” deal – to resume Ukraine’s Black Sea grain exports and facilitate Russian grain and fertiliser shipments.
Russian, Ukrainian ministers to attend grains deal event in Istanbul
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu is en route to Turkey to attend a ceremony to sign deal allowing the resumption of Ukraine’s maritime grain exports
Ukraine’s infrastructure minister will also attend the ceremony that would mark a first step to ease a global food crisis brought on by Moscow’s invasion of its neighbour.
Belarus appoints new envoy to Moscow
Belarus has appointed a new ambassador to Russia, state news agencies report, as Moscow and Minsk continue to forge closer ties amid their mounting isolation from the West.
Moscow is Belarus’ key backer and the two sides – officially part of a borderless “Union State” – have accelerated integration talks in recent years after both were hit with Western sanctions.
In a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Alexander Lukashenko said the two leaders had agreed to appoint Dmitry Krutoi as Minsk’s new envoy to Moscow, the Belta state news agency reported.
Mr Krutoi was deputy head of Belarus’ presidential administration and was previously involved in integration projects with Russia – a broad list of policy areas the two countries have agreed to move closer together on.
Russia ‘destroyed 4 HIMARS’ launchers since July 5
Russia’s defence ministry has claimed its forces had destroyed four US-supplied HIMARS rocket systems between July 5-20.
“Four launchers and one transport-loading vehicle for the US-made multiple launch rocket systems (HIMARS) were destroyed,” it said in a daily briefing.
The claims could not be independently verified.
Kyiv has hailed the arrival of eight HIMARS in Ukraine as a possible gamechanger for the course of the war. The advanced weapons are more precise and offer a longer range than other artillery systems, allowing Kyiv to strike Russian targets and weapons depots further behind the front lines.
Separatist regions block Google
The pro-Russian authorities of eastern Ukraine’s separatist republics say they have blocked Google, accusing the US giant of promoting “violence against Russians.”
“We took the decision to block Google on the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic,” rebel leader Denis Pushilin said on Telegram, accusing it of promoting “violence against Russians, in particular the people of the Donbas.”
The neighbouring Luhansk People’s Republic blocked Google yesterday.
Pushilin accused Google of working “openly on the orders of its curators in the American government”.
He claimed the West and Ukraine were “creating unprecedented pressure on the physical and psychological safety” of the republic, aimed at “breaking” its people.
“We cannot tolerate this anymore,” he said.”This is how you deal with criminals in any society: they are isolated from people.”
Breakaway Transdniestria still wants to join Russia
The goal of Moldova’s breakaway region of Transdniestria to become a part of Russia remains unaffected by the war in neighbouring Ukraine, the region’s foreign minister told RIA Novosti news agency.
Transdniestria, which is internationally recognised as part of Moldova, lies on a thin strip of land along Ukraine’s southwest border. Its status dates to the collapse of the Soviet Union, when a military conflict broke out between pro-Moldovan and pro-Russian factions over the future of the region.
A 1992 ceasefire deal ended the fighting but froze the region’s political status, and it now exists as a breakaway state within Moldova that relies on support from Moscow.
Transdniestria’s Foreign Minister Vitaly Ignatiev told RIA news agency that Moscow’s “special military operation” in Ukraine had not affected his region’s aim to officially join Russia, in line with its 2006 referendum.
“The vector of Transdniestria has remained unchanged throughout the republic’s existence – reflected in the results of the referendum on September 17, 2006, where it is clearly stated: independence with free accession to the Russian Federation,” RIA Novosti quoted Mr Ignatiev as saying.
The war, in pictures
Russia ‘stealing’ UK-bound steel, Ukraine claims
Russia is looting steel bound for the UK and the European Union, the head of Ukraine’s largest steel company has said.
Raw and finished steel worth $600m (£501 million) left behind in the Azovstal mill and nearby port in the brutalised city of Mariupol was bound for UK customers, but is now being transported to Russia and partly sold on to Asia and Africa, according to Metinvest chief executive Yuriy Ryzhenkov.
He told the BBC: “What they’re doing with this steel is basically looting. They’re stealing our products, not only our products, but also some of those products already belong to European customers.”
“So we’re documenting as much as possible. We’re preparing the case and we will be going after them with everything we have.”
Azovstal steelworks, which became the last holdout of Ukrainian fighters and civilians during the battle for Mariupol, and its sister plant accounted for 40 per cent of all Ukraine steel production.
Thousands of tonnes of steel had already been purchased by customers in Europe, including some in Britain.
Russia threatens to widen its war if West continues to supply weapons to Ukraine
Donetsk today, in pictures
Ukraine continues to repel attacks in Donbas – MoD
Moscow in ‘serious violation of international law’
Japan annual defence white paper describes Moscow’s attack on Ukraine as a “serious violation of international law” and raises concerns that Russia’s use of force to resolve a dispute established a precedent that threatens the security of neighbouring Taiwan, which Beijing views as its own territory.
Chinese military planes are increasingly probing Taiwan’s air defences.
The defence white paper approved by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government identifies China, Russia and North Korea as its main security concerns.
Kishida’s defence minister, Nobuo Kishi, has described Japan as being on a front line surrounded by nuclear-armed actors.
Japan warns of security threats
Japan warned on Friday of escalating national security threats, including repercussions from Russia’s war with Ukraine, Chinese intimidation of Taiwan, and vulnerable technology supply chains, in its annual defence white paper.
The report sets out the Government’s security concerns as it prepares the defence ministry budget request due next month, aiming to build public support for an unprecedented hike in military funding that the ruling party aims to double over the next decade.
It also sets the stage for a year-end national security review expected to call for the acquisition of longer-range strike missiles, strengthened space and cyber capabilities, and tighter controls over access to technology.
“The political, economic and military rivalries between nations is clear, and the challenge posed to the international order is a global issue,” the white paper said.
Deadly attacks strengthen Kyiv’s ‘desire to defeat invaders’
Volodymyr Zelensky said three people were killed when Russians shelled the eastern city of Kharkiv on Thursday.
“Every one of these Russian attacks is an argument for Ukraine to receive more Himars and other modern and effective weapons,” the Ukrainian President said.
“Every one of these attacks only strengthens our desire to defeat the invaders and that will certainly happen.”
Ukraine could inflict major damage on Russian forces
Ukraine’s military has the potential to make gains on the battlefield and inflict major losses on Russia, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday after meeting senior commanders.
Mr Zelensky, speaking in a late-night video address, said they discussed the supply of modern weapons, adding the that intensity of attacks on the Russians had to be stepped up.
“(We) agreed that our forces have the strong potential to advance on the battlefield and inflict significant new losses on the occupiers,” he said.
Kyiv hopes that Western weapons, especially longer-range missiles such as American Himars that Ukraine has deployed in recent weeks, will allow it to launch a counterattack and recapture territory.
Zelensky urges speedier arms delivery
Western powers have stepped up arms supplies to Ukraine but President Volodymyr Zelensky has asked for more and speedier deliveries.
Britain became the latest country on Thursday to announce it is re-upping military supplies with artillery, “hundreds of drones and hundreds more anti-tank weapons” for Ukraine in coming weeks.
Russia has warned about arms supplies and said they mean Moscow will no longer be focused only on wresting control of the east Ukraine regions of Lugansk and Donetsk, which have been partially controlled by pro-Moscow rebels for years.
Today’s top stories
- Russia’s army is nearly exhausted and Ukraine will have an opportunity to counter attack in the coming weeks, Britain’s spy chief has said
- The scorched remains of apartment blocks destroyed by Russian shelling cast a shadow over the nearby parks where children play in the Kyiv suburb of Borodyanka. The local council wants to keep it as a memorial to honour those who lost their lives, but residents who survived are now fighting for the right to have their homes rebuilt on the land they once peacefully lived on
- Russia, Ukraine and the West must agree to halt the Ukraine conflict to avoid the “abyss of nuclear war”, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has said
- High-powered Western fighter jets could be sent to Ukraine to bolster its forces in the battle against the Russian invasion, the head of the United States Air Force has said
- Vladimir Putin is “too healthy”, the CIA has said, dismissing media speculation that the Russian president is suffering from ill health
- Russia is closing in on Ukraine’s second biggest power plant, British military intelligence has warned
- The head of Ukraine’s largest foreign volunteer unit has a blunt message for any Britons still wanting to join the fight against Russia
- Russia expects North Korean labourers to be involved in rebuilding two self-proclaimed republics in eastern Ukraine, with Pyongyang likely to be paid in much-needed industrial equipment and wheat from areas of Ukraine that are now under the control of the Russian military