Ukraine’s counteroffensive in Kherson “gains momentum”; UK adviser warns of nuclear risk

Kremlin says ‘no deals’ made on US bid to release Griner, Whelan

U.S. Olympic basketball champion Brittney Griner, accused of drug trafficking, is seen before being questioned at the Khimki city court in Moscow, Russia, on July 26, 2022.

Dmitry Korotaev | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The Kremlin said there are “no deals” on a US request to release WNBA star Brittney Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan from Russian custody.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Moscow was aware of media reports about a US proposal to release Griner and Whelan.

“Since there are no agreements that have been finalized now, I have nothing more to add,” Peskov said.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he would discuss the US proposal to release Griner and Whelan with his Russian counterpart. The Kremlin said on Wednesday that it has not yet received a request for a phone call between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Blinken.

— Amanda Macias

The Security Council cannot agree on a statement praising the grain agreement

This photo taken on July 27, 2022 shows a computer screen showing the flags of Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Nations at the opening of the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) for grain exports from Ukraine in Istanbul on July 27, 2022.

Ozan Kose | AFP | Getty Images

The UN Security Council has failed to agree on a statement welcoming last week’s deal to get grain and fertilizer from Ukraine and Russia to millions of hungry people around the world, the ambassador said from Norway to the UN.

The statement also reportedly praised Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the government of Turkey for their key role in organizing the deal.

“Norway and Mexico have been working for days to unify the council in a message welcoming the important agreement to resume grain, food and fertilizer exports through the Black Sea,” Norwegian Ambassador Mona Juul told The Associated Press. “We regret that this was not possible.”

Russia and Ukraine signed separate deals with Turkey and the UN on Friday that cleared the way for Ukraine, one of the world’s key breadbaskets, to export 22 million tonnes of grain and other agricultural products that have been stuck in seaports Black due to the invasion of Russia.

– Associated press

Russian TV presenter who protested on air accused of discrediting the armed forces

Marina Ovsyannikova, the journalist who rose to international prominence after protesting Russian military action in Ukraine during a prime-time newscast on state television, is appearing in court accused of “discrediting” the Russian military which fight in Ukraine for his statements before a Moscow court. earlier this month in support of opposition activist Ilya Yashin, in Moscow on July 28, 2022.

Alexander Nemenov | AFP | Getty Images

Marina Ovsyannikova, the Russian news anchor who protested her country’s war on live television in the early days of the invasion, was found guilty of discrediting Russia’s armed forces.

A Moscow judge cited Ovsyannikova’s social media posts criticizing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as evidence.

“The evidence confirms Ovsyannikova’s guilt. There is no reason to doubt its authenticity,” the judge said. Ovsyannikova had called the procedure “absurd”, according to Reuters.

The evening news broadcast on Russia’s main news channel, Channel 1, is seen on a laptop as it is interrupted by a woman protesting the war in Ukraine in this March 15, 2022, file photo in Warsaw, poland Marina Ovsyannikova, an employee of the network, took the stage with a sign that read “No war” and “You’re being lied to here.”

STR | Nurfoto | Getty Images

Within days of the start of the invasion, Russia issued a law banning the spread of “fake news” about its armed forces or what it calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

– Natasha Turak

Turkish FM stresses need for Russia-Ukraine ceasefire after grain deal

A view of damaged buildings caused by a rocket attack in Odesa region, Ukraine, on July 26, 2022. Russia launched a massive missile attack in Odesa and Mykolaiv region, local media reported.

STR | Nurfoto | Getty Images

The focus needs to be on achieving a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine following the grain export deal negotiated between the two last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a press conference .

He added that the deal being successfully carried out could foster confidence between the two sides, increasing the chances of a diplomatic solution to the war that has been raging since Russia invaded its neighbor in late of February

So far, there are no signs that trust has materialized since Turkey brokered the deal, with Russia firing missiles at Ukraine’s port city of Odesa, as well as its second-largest city, shortly after large, Kharkiv, and other areas.

Farmers harvest a wheat field in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region on July 19, 2022, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Sergei Bobok AFP | Getty Images

Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s ports has pushed up global food prices and raised international alarm, as Ukraine is one of the world’s leading grain exporters and its products feed millions of people, especially in the Middle East and Africa.

– Natasha Turak

Nowhere in Kharkiv is safe, says the city’s mayor

No part of Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, is safe, its mayor said.

“The Russian aggressors are trying to turn Kharkiv into a sorry city, like the ones they have in Russia,” Igor Terekhov told AFP. “But they won’t succeed. And, as you see, the people of Kharkiv are defending their city, weapons in hand.”

“We have nine districts in the city and all of them are being bombed with different intensity and at different times. So you can’t say anywhere in Kharkiv is safe,” he said.

Rescue teams dig through the rubble of buildings destroyed in nighttime attacks in search of survivors, in the city of Chuhuiv, Kharkiv region, on July 25, 2022, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Sergei Bobok AFP | Getty Images

“Yes, it’s safe in the shelters and it’s safe on the subway. But there’s no neighborhood, no place in the city, that can be said to be totally safe.”

By the end of March, about half the city’s population had fled, regional officials said at the time. Russian bombing resumed in force in recent weeks and last week killed at least three people, including a 13-year-old boy, the mayor said. The death toll in the city is estimated to be in the hundreds.

– Natasha Turak

Nord Stream 1 flows into Europe constantly

A container is decorated with a map showing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was expected to deliver Russian gas to European households, at the Lubmin industrial park in northeastern Germany on March 1, 2022.

John Macdougall | Afp | Getty Images

Natural gas flows from Russia to Germany were steady on Thursday, a day after cutting about 20% of their total capacity.

Gazprom said its supply was 42.1 million cubic meters, compared with 42.2 million cubic meters on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

Gazprom has attributed the reduction to maintenance of a turbine along the pipeline, which has been met with disbelief and condemnation in Europe, which says Russia is trying to blackmail nations like Germany. Natural gas prices have risen again due to tight supply.

“Higher gas prices raise costs for businesses and squeeze consumer budgets, leaving them with less money to spend on other goods and services. As a result, we expect the eurozone to enter recession this fall with inflation still elevated,” Barenberg analysts said. in a new research note on Thursday.

—Matt Clinch

UK adviser warns of accidental nuclear escalation

Stephen Lovegrove, the UK’s national security adviser, warned against the accidental escalation of a nuclear war with Russia or China, saying that the global channels of Cold War communication are no longer available.

“The two monolithic Cold War blocs of the USSR and NATO, although not without alarming pitfalls, were able to reach a shared understanding of doctrine that is absent today,” he told the Center for Strategic Studies on Wednesday and US Internationals.

“The doctrine is opaque in Moscow and Beijing, let alone Pyongyang or Tehran.”

He added that during the Cold War, the world benefited from a “series of negotiations and dialogues that improved our understanding of Soviet doctrine and capabilities, and vice versa.”

“That gave us both a higher level of confidence that we wouldn’t miscalculate our way to nuclear war.”

Watch the full video here.

– Matt Clinch

Ukraine’s counteroffensive in Kherson “gains momentum”

A UK intelligence update on Thursday spoke of “gaining momentum” in Ukraine’s attempts to retake the southern city of Kherson from Russian troops.

The city, taken early in the Russian invasion and the most politically significant area occupied by Moscow, is now “virtually cut off” from other occupied Russian territories, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said.

“Theirs [Ukraine] It is very likely that the forces have established a bridgehead south of the Ingulets River, which forms the northern boundary of Russian-held Kherson,” he said.

On Wednesday, Ukraine confirmed it had attacked the Antonivsky Bridge, a key supply route for Russian forces in Kherson.

– Matt Clinch

Ukraine says Russian forces seized second-largest power plant

A monument depicted on the Nikopol embankment in front of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant used by Russian invaders as a site for bombing Nikopol, Dnipropetrovsk region, central Ukraine on July 20, 2022. Russian forces have seized the second power plant Ukraine and Moscow’s biggest move will be to redeploy large numbers of troops to three southern regions, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Zelenskyy said, according to NBC News.

Dmitry Smolyenko Ukrinform | Getty Images

A senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian forces have seized Ukraine’s second-largest power plant,…

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