Here are the latest developments from the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict on July 9
Here are the latest developments from the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict on July 9
Ukraine urged its allies to send more weapons as its forces dig in, hoping to stall Russia’s military advance through the eastern Donbas region, while Ukraine’s chief negotiator said a turning part was approaching in the conflict. Signalling that the Kremlin was in no mood for compromise, President Vladimir Putin said sanctions against Russia for the invasion it launched in February risked causing “catastrophic” energy price rises.
Meanwhile, G20 foreign ministers called for an end to the war and grain blockade in Ukraine on July 8, as Russia’s top diplomat walked out of a meeting and denounced the West for “frenzied criticism” and squandering a chance to tackle global economic problems. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its impact on food security and energy dominated the closed-door gathering on the Indonesian island of Bali, which ended with no joint statement, and no announcements of any agreements being reached.
The Western supply of high-precision weapons is helping Ukraine slow down Russia’s invasion, but the volumes of weapons are not enough and soldiers need time to adapt to using them, a top Ukrainian security official said. Kyiv said late last month it had received U.S.-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and has since praised them for battlefield successes such as destroying Russian warehouses and command posts as well forcing Russian troops from the strategic Snake Island in the Black Sea.
Here are the latest updates
UN says Ukraine bears share of blame for nursing home attack
Two weeks after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February, Kremlin-backed rebels assaulted a nursing home in the eastern region of Luhansk. Dozens of elderly and disabled patients, many of them bedridden, were trapped inside without water or electricity.
The March 11 assault set off a fire that spread throughout the facility, suffocating people who couldn’t move. A small number of patients and staff escaped and fled into a nearby forest, finally getting assistance after walking for 5 kilometers (3 miles).
In a war awash in atrocities, the attack on the nursing home near the village of Stara Krasnyanka stood out for its cruelty. Ukrainian authorities placed the fault squarely on Russian forces, accusing them of killing more than 50 vulnerable civilians in a brutal and unprovoked attack.
But a new U.N. report has found that Ukraine’s armed forces bear a large, and perhaps equal, share of the blame for what happened in Stara Krasnyanka, which is about 580 kilometers (360 miles) southeast of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. A few days before the attack, Ukrainian soldiers took up positions inside the nursing home, effectively making the building a target.- AP
Blinken says ‘no signs’ at G20 of Russia engaging on Ukraine
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Saturday that Washington saw “no signs” of Russia engaging with G20 diplomats over its invasion of Ukraine after Moscow faced a barrage of criticism at talks in Indonesia.
Russia’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov stormed out of a meeting with G20 foreign ministers on the resort island of Bali on Friday after Washington and its allies condemned Moscow’s assault on its neighbour during the closed-door talks.
“We saw no signs whatsoever that Russia is prepared to engage in meaningful diplomacy,” Blinken said after meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Saturday.- AFP
Russia continues to ‘raise true hell,’ Ukraine governor says
Russian forces are managing to “raise true hell” in Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland despite reports of them taking an operational pause, a regional governor said Saturday as the government in Kyiv urged people in Russian-occupied areas in the south to evacuate “by all possible means” ahead of a Ukrainian offensive.
Deadly Russian shelling was reported in Ukraine’s east and south.
The governor of Luhansk, Serhyi Haidai, said Russia launched over 20 artillery, mortar and rocket strikes in the province overnight and its forces were pressing toward the border with neighboring Donetsk.- AP
Ukrainian army recruits begin U.K. military training
The first batch of up to 10,000 inexperienced Ukrainian military recruits set to train in Britain over the coming months have started drills, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Saturday.
The new British-led programme involves 1,050 UK service personnel training the Ukrainian volunteers, who have little to no military experience, at MoD sites across England for several weeks.
The crash course is based on Britain’s basic soldier training, covering weapons handling, battlefield first aid, fieldcraft, patrol tactics and the laws around armed conflict.- AFP
Blinken says talks with Chinese FM ‘useful, candid and constructive’
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Saturday that rare talks with his Chinese counterpart in Indonesia were “constructive” but he voiced alarm over issues including Taiwan.
“Despite the complexities of our relationship, I can say with some confidence that our delegations found today’s discussions useful, candid and constructive,” Mr. Blinken said after an unusually long five hours of talks with Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
But Mr. Blinken said he also voiced concerns over issues including Taiwan, Hong Kong, human rights and Ukraine.
“I conveyed deep concerns of the United States regarding Beijing’s increasingly provocate rhetoric and activity towards Taiwan and the vital importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” Mr. Blinken said. – AFP
‘Relentless’ Russian shelling in east Ukraine
Russian troops pursued their “relentless” shelling of Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region on July 9, as the United States promised new military aid to Kyiv including powerful rocket launchers.
Having endured long battles to capture cities in the neighbouring Lugansk region, Russia is now seeking to push deeper into Donetsk to consolidate its hold over the entire Donbas region.
Air raid sirens sounded overnight throughout the country’s east and south.
Residents in the small town of Druzhkivka, south of the eastern Ukrainian industrial city of Kramatorsk, woke up to a suspected missile attack on Saturday which ripped apart a supermarket’s shop front and left a massive crater in front of the store. – AFP
Russia assembling reserve forces near Ukraine for future offensive, says British intelligence
Russia is moving reserve forces from across the country and assembling them near Ukraine for future offensive operations, British military intelligence said on Saturday.
A large proportion of the new Russian infantry units are probably deploying with MT-LB armoured vehicles taken from long-term storage as their primary transport, Britain’s Ministry of Defence tweeted in a regular bulletin. – Reuters
Ukraine pleads for weapons, war in spotlight at G20 meeting
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia on July 8, 2022.
| Photo Credit: Reuters
Ukraine urged its allies to send more weapons as its forces dig in, hoping to stall Russia’s military advance through the eastern Donbas region, while Ukraine’s chief negotiator said a turning part was approaching in the conflict.
At CIA headquarters, Biden lauds U.S. intelligence for Putin warnings
U.S. President Joe Biden on July 8 thanked staff at the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency for warning the world about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans to invade Ukraine, and hailed what he called the “quiet bravery” of America’s spies.
Marking the CIA’s 75th anniversary, Mr. Biden said he had been involved with the agency for 52 of those years, first as a junior senator on a 1975 committee set up to investigate mind control experiments and other abuses by the agency.
Intelligence gathered by the CIA had exposed Mr. Putin’s plans and allowed Washington to warn other countries about the war, he said. – Reuters
Berlin, Kyiv at odds over Russian gas pipeline
Germany said on July 8 it hopes to convince Canada to deliver a turbine needed to maintain the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, with Russia waiting on the machine’s arrival before increasing supplies.
Germany is seeking to bolster waning energy supplies, but Ukraine has accused Berlin of giving in to Russian “blackmail” after Moscow blamed reduced supplies on the need for repairs, not market conditions amid the Ukraine war.
The turbine is currently undergoing maintenance at a Canadian site owned by German industrial giant Siemens.
Russian energy behemoth Gazprom last month blamed the issue for a reduction in supplies to Germany via the controversial pipeline, with Berlin facing a serious energy crisis. – AFP
Ukraine hasn’t used HIMARS to strike in Russian territory
Ukraine has not used advanced U.S.-made high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) to strike Russian targets outside of Ukraine territory, a senior U.S. defense official said on July 8, disputing Russian accusations.
“The Russian claims about using HIMARS to strike outside of Ukrainian territory — those claims are false,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Ukraine is using those capabilities to fight the battle that its forces are facing, and they are using them effectively in that battle.” – Reuters
Blinken meets China’s Wang after leading pressure efforts on Russia
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during a meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia on July 9, 2022.
| Photo Credit: Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Bali on July 9 after a G20 ministerial meeting on the Indonesian island where the top U.S. diplomat led efforts to pressure Russia over its war in Ukraine.
U.S. officials say Mr. Blinken’s first face-to-face meeting with Mr. Wang since October, which includes a morning session of talks and a working lunch, is aimed at keeping the difficult U.S. relationship with Beijing stable and preventing it from veering inadvertently into conflict.
Mr. Blinken is expected to repeat warnings to China not to support Moscow’s war effort in Ukraine and the two sides will address contentious issues that include Taiwan, China’s extensive South China Sea claims, Beijing’s moves to expand its influence throughout the Pacific, human rights, and trade tariffs. – Reuters
Ukraine seizes $71 million of assets owned by Russian state companies
Ukraine has seized assets worth over 2.1 billion hryvnias ($71 million) owned by Russian state oil company Rosneft, gas firm Gazprom and nuclear energy corporation Rosatom, Ukraine’s state security service said on July 9.
The SBU said in a statement that Russia had used some of the profits from those assets to prepare its invasion of Ukraine and fund sabotage and intelligence activities. – Reuters
Jaishankar meets Blinken and Lavrov as divisions emerge within G20 on Ukraine crisis
External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar on Friday met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Bali on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting. The meetings indicated the emerging differences within the G20 grouping as Russia accused the United States of forcing Europe and the rest of the world to abandon cheap energy sources while the U.S. blamed Moscow for “global food insecurity”
U.S. sending $400 million in military aid to Ukraine
The U.S. will send another $400 million in military equipment to Ukraine, including four more advanced rocket systems, a senior defence official said on July 9, in an effort to bolster Ukrainian efforts to strike deeper behind Russian frontlines in the eastern Donbas region.
The aid comes as Moscow this week claimed full control of Ukraine’s Luhansk province in the Donbas, but Ukrainian officials say their troops still control a small part of the province and fierce fighting continues in several villages.
The defence official said that the eight High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, that were previously sent are still being used by Ukraine forces in the fight. This will give them four more to help hit Russian command and control nodes, logistics capabilities and other systems that are further back behind the battlefront. A senior military official said at least 100 Ukrainian troops have been trained on the HIMARs. Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss details not yet made public. – AP