Here are the key events so far on Tuesday, August 2.
Diplomacy and energy
- The first ship to depart Odesa under a landmark grain deal is continuing its journey towards Istanbul, where it will be inspected before heading to Lebanon.
- Still, there are many hurdles to overcome before millions of tonnes of Ukrainian grain depart from the country’s Black Sea ports.
- Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of laying mines that now float around the Black Sea, drifting far from Ukraine’s shores, with Romanian, Bulgarian and Turkish military diving teams defusing those that have ended up in their waters.
- Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there was little Russia could do to help with urgent repairs required to malfunctioning Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline equipment, following further falls in Gazprom production and exports.
- Russia also said it was blacklisting 39 British citizens, including the leader of the main opposition Labour Party, Keir Starmer, and former Prime Minister David Cameron.
- United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was being used as a “nuclear shield” by Russian troops who established a base there.
- Ukraine’s deputy foreign affairs minister Mykola Tochytskyi said “robust joint actions are needed to prevent nuclear disaster” and called for the international community to “close the sky” over Ukraine’s nuclear power plants with air defence systems.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin said there could be no winners in a nuclear war, and no such war should ever be started.
- Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said about 22,000 Russian troops were preparing to advance on the cities of Kryvyi Rih and Mykolaiv, where a “sufficiently large” Ukrainian force lay in wait.
- In the southern Kherson region, which is mostly under Russian control, Ukrainian troops had liberated some 50 towns, said Yuri Sobolevsky, deputy head of the former Kherson regional council.
- Serhiy Haidai, governor of Luhansk region, which is nearly all under Russian control, said foreign fighters were arriving and that partisans were destroying key infrastructure, including gas and water networks, in battered Luhansk towns to slow Russian forces.
- The US announced a new tranche of weapons for Ukraine’s forces worth $550m, including ammunition for rocket launchers and artillery guns.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies