Latest news about Russia and the war in Ukraine

Defense official says fighting for Donetsk ‘will likely continue through the summer’

Ukrainian emergency service workers and military personnel try to get the bodies out of a bombed-out house in Sloviansk, Ukraine, on July 19, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A senior defense official said the Pentagon estimated that the battle for Donetsk “will likely continue into the summer.”

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Russian forces are significantly behind their schedules and are still facing stiff Ukrainian resistance.

Earlier in the week, General Mark Milley, the chairman of the US Army’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at the Pentagon that the fighting in the broader Donbass region was “extremely intense.”

Milley also said that Russia has only advanced about 10 miles in the past three months.

“The Ukrainians are making the Russians pay for every inch of the land they gain,” he added.

– Amanda Macias

Russia distributes passports in Kherson and Melitopol in Ukraine

People arrive to collect Russian passports at a center in Kherson after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to make it easier for residents of the Kherson and Melitopol regions to obtain passports.

People arrive to receive Russian passports at a center in Kherson after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to make it easier for residents of Kherson and Melitopol regions to obtain passports, in Kherson, Kherson Territory, Ukraine on July 21, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

People arrive to receive Russian passports at a center in Kherson after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to make it easier for residents of Kherson and Melitopol regions to obtain passports, in Kherson, Kherson Territory, Ukraine on July 21, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Residents receive Russian passports in Kherson on July 21, 2022, amid continuing Russian military action in Ukraine.

Stringer | AFP | Getty Images

Residents receive Russian passports in Kherson on July 21, 2022, amid continuing Russian military action in Ukraine.

Stringer | AFP | Getty Images

Russia surprises markets with a larger-than-expected rate cut

The Russian Central Bank surprised markets with a larger-than-expected rate cut, as it responds to a strong currency, slowing inflation and a possible recession.

The Russian Central Bank Key interest rate cut 150 basis points larger than expected – Analysts expected a 50 basis point rate cut, according to a Reuters poll.

it comes Central banks are scrambling elsewhere to raise interest rates while trying to rein in sky-high inflation.

What is the significance of Ukrainian grain?

Officials from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations met in Istanbul on Wednesday to try to reach an agreement that would allow the resumption of exports of vital products such as grain and sunflower oil from Ukraine.

Miguel Medina | AFP | Getty Images

You may be wondering why Ukraine’s Black Sea agricultural export deal is so important to the world. The USDA has the following facts Before the start of the conflict:

Ukraine is one of the world’s largest agricultural producers and exporters.

More than 55% of Ukraine’s land area is arable.

Ukraine is usually the world’s largest producer of sunflower powder, oil and seeds and the world’s largest exporter of sunflower powder and oil.

Ukraine is the sixth largest producer of corn in the world.

Ukraine is the seventh largest wheat producer in the world.

Ukrainian wheat exports were valued at $5.1 billion, and the main destinations were Egypt, Indonesia, Turkey, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

– Matt Clinch

Germany to acquire 30% of Uniper shares under bailout deal

The German government has agreed to bail out gas company Uniper with a 15 billion euro ($15.24 billion) bailout deal.

Uniper, the first company in Germany to sound the alarm about high energy bills, filed for a bailout for government support earlier this month.

Read more over here.

Katrina Bishop

Zelensky hints at Turkey’s grain deal

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hinted in his usual evening address on Thursday that a deal could be struck in Istanbul later on Friday.

“Tomorrow we also expect news of our country from Turkey regarding the opening of our ports,” he added. He said.

Millions of tons of wheat are stuck in the country. Ukraine is one of the world’s largest wheat exporters, and Russian forces are blocking the Black Sea, where granaries are located in major Ukrainian ports.

– Matt Clinch

Turkey says Russia and Ukraine are close to signing a grain export deal

A farm harvests grain in the field, as the Russo-Ukrainian war continues in Odessa, Ukraine on July 4, 2022.

Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A UN-backed agreement to resume Ukraine’s grain exports is likely to be signed on Friday, easing the global food crisis caused by the conflict in Eastern Europe.

The signing is reportedly set to take place at the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, where Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman told reporters on Thursday that Russia and Ukraine had reached an agreement.

International observers are cautious about the deal and Russia will be closely watched to make sure it sticks to its side of the agreement. Grain exporters in the Ukrainian city of Odessa were unable to export their goods due to the war, which led to a global shortage of basic commodities and raised food prices.

The deal will reportedly allow Ukrainian ships to steer the ships through the mined waters, with a local truce so they don’t attack Russia. Turkish officials are also expected to check the shipments to rule out any arms smuggling.

Moscow, which holds Ukraine responsible for laying mines, is also expected to resume its Black Sea grain exports under the agreement.

– Matt Clinch

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Russia intentionally weaponized food in Ukraine

The Foreign Ministry condemned the Russian attacks on Ukrainian agricultural facilities and banned food exports for months.

For several months, Russian warships closed the Ukrainian ports on the Azov and Black Seas.

“So far, Russia has weaponized food during this conflict. They have destroyed agricultural facilities and prevented millions of tons of Ukrainian grain from reaching those who need it,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said during a daily briefing.

“It is a reflection of Russia’s disregard for lives and livelihoods not only in the region but far beyond,” he added.

Price’s comments follow an announcement that the United Nations, Turkey, Russia and Ukraine will soon sign an agreement that will open a sea lane for Ukrainian grain exports.

“We shouldn’t have been in this situation in the first place,” Price said. “This was a deliberate decision by the Russian Federation to weaponize food.”

– Amanda Macias

The first lady of Ukraine meets HP representatives and accepts computers for students

Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska arrives to address members of the US Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on July 20, 2022.

Michael Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska met with representatives from HP The Global Business Alliance for Education this week accepted a donation of computers to children, students and health care providers in Ukraine.

“We are very grateful for the support of HP and the Global Business Coalition for Education,” Zelenska wrote in a statement about HP’s $30 million initiative. “Their efforts and contribution will help students in Ukraine and abroad to continue learning and prepare for the future, like every other young person in the world,” she added.

HP CEO Enrique Loris said the Palo Alto-based company will continue to mobilize technical resources for Ukraine.

“Through our partnership with the Global Business Alliance for Education, we will put personal computers in the hands of students and families who have been displaced from their homes and classrooms,” Loris wrote in a statement.

– Amanda Macias

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