- Grain export deal signed, broader truce seems distant
- Zelenskiy: No ceasefire without recovering conquered lands
- US announces $270 million in new support
- Lithuania lifts Kaliningrad rail ban – Russian RIA
KYIV, July 23 (Reuters) – The United States has pledged increased military support to Ukraine, including drones, and plans to send fighter jets, as Russian forces relentlessly bombard cities across the country. t is then that the war is about to enter its sixth month. .
Moscow and Kyiv signed a landmark deal on Friday that raised hopes of unlocking vast grain exports from Black Sea ports. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomed the deal, but with heavy fighting continuing on multiple fronts, he said there could be no ceasefire unless lost territory was recaptured.
“The freezing of the conflict with the Russian Federation means a break that gives the Russian Federation a break to rest,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
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“The company believes that all territories must first be liberated, and then we can negotiate what to do and how we might live in the centuries to come.”
There has been no breakthrough on the front lines since Russian forces seized the last two Ukrainian-held towns in the eastern province of Luhansk in late June and early July.
Russian forces failed to establish control of Ukraine’s second largest power plant at Vuhlehirska, northeast of Donetsk, and troops attempted to advance west from the town of Lysychansk but were repelled, the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff said.
A number of people were killed and injured when 13 Russian missiles hit a military airfield and railway infrastructure in the central Kirovohrad region on Saturday, its governor said.
HEAVY FIGHTING IN THE SOUTH
In the southern town of Nikopol on the Dnipro River, continued Russian shelling has killed at least one person, a Ukrainian official said on his Telegram channel.
The attack on Nikopol, the target of more than 250 rockets last week, damaged 11 homes and farm buildings, cut gas and water pipes and destroyed a railway line, said Oleksandr Vilkul, head of the military administration from Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine.
Up the river in the Dnipropetrovsk region, rockets targeted a nearby town and villages, region governor Valentyn Reznychenko said.
Heavy fighting has taken place over the past 48 hours as Ukrainian forces continued their offensive against Russia in Kherson province, west of the Dnipro River, British military intelligence said on Saturday.
“The supply lines of Russian forces west of the river are increasingly at risk,” the Defense Ministry said in an intelligence update.
In the northeast, “several powerful strikes” hit the center of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, on Saturday morning, Mayor Ihor Terekhov wrote in a message on Telegram.
The Russian Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to an after-hours request from Reuters for comment.
Kyiv hopes its gradually growing supply of Western weapons, such as the US High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), will allow it to reclaim territory.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday that its forces had destroyed four HIMARS systems between July 5 and Wednesday, which was denied by the United States and Ukraine. Read more
The Ukrainian mayor of the Russian-occupied city Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, reported that two explosions were heard in the early hours of the Azov resort town of Kyrylivka on Saturday, where he said Russia had moved equipment to avoid become the target of HIMARS.
“They were hoping that neither our HIMARS nor the armed forces and the resistance movement would take them there. But someone definitely got them,” Fedorov said from territory still in Ukrainian hands.
Reuters could not verify reports from the battlefield.
The White House on Friday announced $270 million in new support for Kyiv, saying it was doing preliminary work on whether to send fighter jets, though such a move won’t happen in the short term. term.
The February 24 invasion of Ukraine sparked Europe’s biggest conflict since 1945, forcing millions to flee and turning entire cities to rubble. The Kremlin says it is engaged in a “special military operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” Ukraine. Kyiv and its allies say war is an act of unprovoked aggression.
Friday’s deal to allow some exports from Black Sea ports aims to avert starvation among tens of millions of people in the poorest countries by delivering more wheat, sunflower oil, fertilizer and other products to world markets, including for humanitarian needs. Read more
A blockade of Ukrainian ports by Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, trapping tens of millions of tons of grain and blocking many ships, has worsened global supply chain bottlenecks and, along with Western sanctions, fueled food and energy price inflation.
Moscow has denied responsibility for the crisis, accusing the sanctions of slowing its own food and fertilizer exports and Ukraine of mining the approaches to its Black Sea ports.
“Today there is a beacon on the Black Sea. A beacon of hope…of possibility…and of relief in a world that needs it more than ever,” said the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres.
Russian news agency RIA reported that Lithuania had lifted a ban on the rail transport of sanctioned goods to and from the Russian territory of Kaliningrad, an enclave sandwiched between Poland and the Baltic state, cut off from the rest of Russia.
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Reports from Reuters offices; Written by Costas Pitas and Simon Cameron-Moore; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and William Mallard
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