Ukraine update: “Russia wants to create refugee crisis for the West”

After the end of the agreement on the export of Ukrainian grain, Russia wants to treat certain ships in parts of the Black Sea as possible adversaries. From midnight on Thursday, ships heading for Ukrainian ports would be classified as “potential carriers of military cargo,” the Defense Ministry said in Moscow on Wednesday.

Russia threatens ships in the Black sea

A warning to shipping had been issued in connection with the end of the Black Sea Initiative. Accordingly, areas of the north-west and south-east of the international waters of the Black Sea have been classified as dangerous for shipping.

Under great international criticism, the Kremlin did not extend the grain agreement on Monday after about a year. As a result, security guarantees for the safe transport of agricultural goods from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports were terminated. As a reason, the Kremlin cited demands that had allegedly not been met. According to the Interfax agency, President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with government officials on Wednesday: “As soon as all these conditions that we agreed on earlier are met (…), we will immediately return to this agreement.” Moscow claims that Western states have allegedly not sufficiently implemented the promised relief for Russian fertilizer and food exports.

Regarding the termination of the agreement and the recent attacks on Odessa, Andriy Yermak, head of the Presidential Office in Kiev, said: “The Russian terror in Odessa proves once again: They need hunger and problems in the countries of the Global South. They want to create a refugee crisis for the West.”

Russian troops attack Odessa

With dozens of missiles and drones, Russian troops attacked the southern Ukrainian metropolis of Odessa for the second night in a row. It was the worst attack since the war began 17 months ago, Mayor Hennady Trukhanov wrote on Facebook. Many Ukrainian agricultural exports went through the Black Sea port as part of the canceled grain agreement. President Volodymyr Zelenskyj complained that Russia was “absolutely deliberate” in targeting port facilities and grain stores.

According to the authorities, several buildings were damaged by explosions during the Russian attacks and at least six people were injured. According to the southern command of the Ukrainian armed forces, among other things, port facilities with a grain and an edible oil terminal were hit.

The Ukrainian Air Force announced that the Russian army used more than 31 missiles of different types as of Wednesday morning. A little more than half could not be intercepted. Of the 32 Russian combat drones deployed, 23 were shot down. There were also reports of intercepted flying objects from the areas of Kiev, Mykolaiv and Sumy.

In Moscow, the Ministry of Defense confirmed the new attacks on Odessa – from planes and warships. Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, however, claimed that in the city area objects of military industry, fuel plants and ammunition depots were under fire.

Odessa was already the main target of the Russian attacks on Tuesday night. This was specifically described by the Ministry of Defense in Moscow as a reaction to the damage to the 19-kilometer Crimean Bridge the day before.

Large quantities of ammunition were blown up for many hours at a Russian military base on the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea annexed by Moscow. According to the authorities, around 2,200 people were brought to safety from four villages. Ukraine has repeatedly attacked Russian military targets in Crimea, but without a clear commitment. Kiev wants to take back the peninsula that Russia annexed in 2014 and is now using as a staging area for the war of aggression.

Putin is not coming to the Brics summit in South Africa

Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin will not appear on the big stage at the end of August: he will not travel to the summit of the Brics countries in South Africa, as the government there announced.

The background is that South Africa should have arrested Putin because of an international arrest warrant from The Hague. The International Criminal Court there accuses the 70-year-old of war crimes.

The summit of emerging Brics countries Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will take place in Johannesburg on August 22-24. But Putin will be there via video. “It will be a full participation,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the Russian news agency Interfax. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will take the place of Putin.

FDP defense expert: “Open the door to peace a crack”

The FDP defense expert Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann sees the Russian President Putin “permanently weakened” by the uprising of the Wagner group of mercenaries. From the point of view of the chairmen of the Bundestag Defense Committee, this increases the chance of an end to the war of aggression. “My personal assessment is: For the first time, the door to peace opens a crack,” she told the “Stern”.

Jean Harris

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