Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 510

These are the main developments as the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its 510th day.

Here is the situation on Tuesday, July 18, 2023.

Fighting

  • Large contingents of Russian forces are on the offensive in northeastern Ukraine’s Kupiansk sector and engaged in heavy fighting. “We are defending. Heavy fighting is going on and the positions of both sides change dynamically several times a day,” Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar wrote on Telegram.
  • Maliar also said that Ukrainian forces are trying to advance towards the cities of Berdyansk and Melitopol in the country’s south. She said Ukrainian forces had recaptured nearly 11sq km (4.2sq miles) in the past week as they pushed towards the cities, bringing the total territory recaptured there to nearly 180sq km (69.5sq miles).

  • Serhiy Cherevatyi, the spokesperson for Ukraine’s eastern grouping of troops, told Ukrainian national television the Russian military had amassed more than 100,000 troops and more than 900 tanks in the Kupiansk area.
  • Ukrainian officials in Kharkiv and Kherson said at least one civilian was killed and five were injured in Russian missile attacks.
  • Russia’s National Antiterrorism Committee said that Ukraine attacked the Crimean Bridge overnight using unmanned drones on the water’s surface, according to state media.

  • A man and woman were killed in a car, and their daughter seriously injured, during the attack on the Crimean Bridge, said Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of the Belgorod region in southern Russia.
  • Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova accused Ukraine of carrying out the attack on the Crimean Bridge with the involvement of the United Kingdom and the United States. “This regime is terrorist and has all the hallmarks of an international organised crime group,” she said.
  • The Investigative Committee of Russia has opened a criminal case to investigate the Crimean Bridge attack on the grounds of terrorism. According to the Russian foreign ministry, a criminal case under Article 205 of the Russian Criminal Code – the country’s terrorist act – has been initiated.
  • Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia must destroy the top leadership of “terrorist formations” following the attack on the bridge.

  • Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin said the bridge, which links southern Russia to the annexed Crimean Peninsula, would be completely repaired by November 1.
  • Kremlin spokesperson Dimitry Peskov said there were no links between the Crimean Bridge attack and Russia’s decision to suspend its participation in the Black Sea grain deal.
  • A Russian Su-25 fighter-bomber crashed into the Sea of Azov near the Russian town of Yeysk but the pilot ejected, local officials said. Yeysk lies across the Sea of Azov from the Russian-controlled part of Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Black Sea grain deal

  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba accused Russia of “putting the global food security at risk” after Moscow withdrew from the Black Sea grain deal.
  • The US will continue to work with other countries to ensure the movement of grain out of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said. Washington is not considering using US military assets to help protect grain shipments, Kirby said.
  • NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg condemned Russia’s decision to pull out of the Black Sea grain deal. Stoltenberg said Russia’s “illegal war” against Ukraine continues to “harm millions of vulnerable people around the world”.

  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russia’s decision to halt participation in the year-old deal was “unconscionable” and amounted to the “weaponising” of food. Moscow’s move would “make food harder to come by in places that desperately need it”, Blinken said.
  • The head of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said she was “deeply disappointed” by the end of the Black Sea grain deal, which she described as essential to ensuring the stability of global food prices. “Sad to say that poor people and poor countries are hardest hit,” she wrote on Twitter.
  • France called on Russia to stop its “blackmail” over the agreement that had allowed Ukraine to export farm goods from its Black Sea ports.
  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Russia’s refusal to extend the agreement “sends a bad message” to the rest of the world. “Everyone will understand what is behind it, namely an action that has a lot to do with the fact that Russia does not feel responsible for good coexistence in the world,” Scholz said.

  • United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he “deeply regrets” Russia’s decision to end the deal, including the withdrawal of Russian security guarantees of navigation in the northwest part of the Black Sea.
  • Russia’s foreign ministry said that despite UN efforts to prolong the deal, obstacles to Russian food and fertiliser exports remained.
  • European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called Russia’s decision a “cynical move”.
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted the deal to continue and that he would discuss the issue, including the export of Russian fertiliser, with Putin when they meet in person during an expected meeting in August.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said everything must be done so the Black Sea grain export corridor continues to be used, with or without Russian participation.
  • Reporting from Moscow, journalist Yulia Shapovalova said that while the Kremlin said it was open to considering an extension of the grain deal if its demands are met, Ukraine’s attack on the Crimean Bridge had cemented its decision to not negotiate further on the agreement.

 

Sanctions

  • The UK imposed a new round of sanctions against Russia due to its war on Ukraine. Russian Culture Minister Olga Lyubimova and Education Minister Sergey Kravtsova were on the UK’s latest sanctions list.

Humanitarian aid

  • Pope Francis sent a high-level emissary to speak with US President Joe Biden about Moscow’s deportation of Ukrainian children, according to a report by Politico. Cardinal Matteo Zuppi is expected to meet Biden at the White House on Tuesday, Politico said.
  • US aid chief Samantha Power announced more than $500m in humanitarian assistance for Ukraine during a visit to Kyiv.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies