These are the main developments as the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its 514th day.
Here is the situation on Saturday, July 22, 2023.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin said Kyiv’s counteroffensive was failing despite military and financial support from Western countries. “Neither the colossal resources that have been pumped into the Kyiv regime nor the supplies of Western weapons, tanks, artillery, armoured vehicles and missiles are helping,” he said.
- Russia’s defence ministry said it used high-precision weapons on Ukrainian facilities in the fourth successive day of attacks on port cities, Russia’s TASS news agency reported.
- The United Kingdom’s ambassador to Ukraine said air raid alerts several times a day are stressful. “Air raid alerts several times a day that last for only around 15 minutes a time are as unnerving as those further apart but lasting longer, it turns out. They keep your stress levels at a permanent high #russianinvasion.”
- Ukraine’s governor of the Odesa region said Russia used Kalibr cruise missiles in its latest attack that injured two people.
- The Wagner mercenary forces are no longer fighting in Ukraine, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said.
- Ukraine’s governor of the Donetsk region said two siblings were killed in Russian shelling. A 10-year-old boy and his 16-year-old sister were in the yard of their home in the village of Druzhba when a Russian shell struck.
- A senior US defence official said controversial cluster munitions supplied by the US are being used “effectively” by Ukrainian forces against Russia’s invasion.
- A Moscow court remanded nationalist Kremlin critic Igor Girkin in investigative custody until September 18 on charges of incitement to extremism, the RBK news site has reported. Girkin is a former FSB agent who was instrumental in organising a Russian-backed separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine in 2014. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison, the TASS and RIA news agencies said.
- China said its position on the war in Ukraine remains “unchanging” and “clear”, the Russian news agency TASS reported. “We will make efforts and continue to play a constructive role in order to advance the political process to resolve the crisis,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said.
- Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has dismissed Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK. The presidential order gave no reason for the dismissal.
- European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen praised Ukraine’s “amazing” progress in implementing reforms to fight corruption, preserve minority rights and ensure an independent judiciary.
- The Russian defence ministry said its navy conducted drills that simulated action to seal a section of the Black Sea. The manoeuvres come after Moscow declared large areas of the Black Sea dangerous for navigation following its withdrawal from the Black Sea grain deal.
- 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.
- Putin accused Poland of having territorial ambitions in the former Soviet Union and said any aggression against close ally Belarus would be considered a threat against Russia. Putin’s threat comes after reports that Poland had deployed troops to its border with Belarus.
- Germany and NATO members are prepared to support Poland in defending its eastern flank, German defence minister Boris Pistorius said.
- The Russian parliament wants to increase the maximum age for military recruits by three years, to the age of 30, the head of the Russian State Duma Defence Committee has said. The minimum recruitment age is to stay at 18, the Interfax news agency reported, citing senior legislator Andrey Kartapolov.
- The US plans to soon announce a new military aid package for Ukraine worth up to $400m, primarily comprised of artillery, air defence missiles and ground vehicles.
- Bulgaria will send about 100 armoured personnel carriers to Ukraine in the Balkan country’s first shipment of heavy equipment to Kyiv.
Black Sea grain deal
- Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea grain deal is expected to drive food prices higher in Asia but the impact will be muted for now, analysts said. Under the Black Sea deal, Asia received 46 percent of shipments of grains and other foodstuffs, while Western Europe and Africa took 40 percent and 12 percent, respectively.
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his planned talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin could lead to restoring the Black Sea grain deal, and he called on Western countries to consider Russia’s demands, Turkish broadcaster Haberturk reported.
- Moscow said it will do “all it can” to protect Africa from the consequences of withdrawing from the Black Sea grain export deal, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin said.
- Vershinin accused Ukraine of using the grain export corridor to launch “terrorist attacks” against Russian interests, including on the Crimean bridge.
- The spike in grain prices in the days since Russia quit the deal grain “potentially threatens hunger and worse for millions of people,” the United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths said.
- The UN’s political affairs chief Rosemary DiCarlo told the UN Security Council that Russia’s attacks on Black Sea ports risk “having far-reaching impacts on global food security, in particular, in developing countries”. DiCarlo said that threats by Russia and Ukraine to potentially target civilian vessels were unacceptable.
- French President Emmanuel Macron’s top diplomatic advisor said China is delivering items to Russia that could be used as military equipment.
- Iran “reserves the right for reciprocal and proportional action” after the European Union imposed new sanctions over Tehran’s support for Russia’s war on Ukraine, the foreign ministry said. “Linking the Ukraine war with Iran-Russia bilateral cooperation is politically motivated,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said.