US pledges more military aid to Ukraine, peace seems far away According to Reuters
© Reuters. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar attend the signing ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey July 22 2022. REUTERS / Umit Bektas
By Max Hunder
KYIV (Reuters) – The United States has promised more military assistance to Ukraine, including drones, and is conducting preliminary work on whether to send fighter jets, as fighting rages on. out in the east, with the war approaching its sixth month.
Moscow and Kyiv signed a landmark agreement on Friday to lift the ban on grain exports from Black Sea ports. However, the representatives refused to sit at the same table and avoided shaking hands at the deal ceremony in Istanbul, reflecting growing hostility.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy hailed Friday’s deal as unlocking about $10 billion worth of grain exports, needed to defuse the food crisis.
But regarding the war, Zelenskiy said that there could be no ceasefire unless the lost territory was recaptured.
“Freezing conflict with the Russian Federation means pausing for the Russian Federation to rest,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
“Society believes that all territory must be liberated first, and then we can negotiate on what to do and how we can live in the centuries to come.”
There have been no breakthroughs on the front lines since Russian forces captured the last two cities held by Ukraine in the eastern province of Luhansk in late June and early July.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that Russian forces were unable to control Ukraine’s second-largest power plant at Vuhlehirska, northeast of Donetsk, and that the army was trying to advance west from the city. Lysychansk but was repulsed.
A Ukrainian official said on a Telegram channel in the town of Nikopol south of the Dnipro river that Russian shelling continued, leaving at least one person dead.
“A 60-year-old woman has died,” said Oleksandr Vilkul, head of the military junta of Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine.
He added that Russia’s attack on Nikopol in the south with more than 250 rockets in the past week, damaged 11 houses and farm structures, cut off gas and water pipelines and destroyed cancel a railroad.
The governor of the region, Valentyn Reznychenko, said that on the river in the Dnipropetrovsk region, the missiles targeted a town and nearby villages.
In the northeast, “several strong attacks” hit central Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, on Saturday morning, Mayor Ihor Terekhov wrote in a Telegram post.
The Russian Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment outside regular hours.
Kyiv hopes that the West’s growing supply of weapons, such as the US High Mobility Artillery Missile System (HIMARS), will allow them to recapture the territory.
Russia’s Defense Ministry on Friday said its forces destroyed four HIMARS systems between 5 and Wednesday, denied by the United States and Ukraine.
The Ukrainian mayor of the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, reported that two explosions were heard in the early hours of Saturday at the Kyrylivka resort on the Sea of Azov, where he said Russia had transferred materials to avoid becoming a target of HIMARS.
“They hoped that neither our HIMARS nor the Armed Forces and the resistance movement would get them there. But someone definitely got them,” Fedorov said from territory still in Ukrainian hands.
Reuters could not verify the battlefield reports.
The White House on Friday announced new $270 million in support for Kyiv, saying it was conducting preliminary work on whether to send fighter jets, although such a move would not happen in the near future.
The February 24 invasion of Ukraine sparked Europe’s biggest conflict since 1945, forcing millions to flee and turning entire cities into ruins. The Kremlin said it was participating in a “special military operation” aimed at the demilitarization and “denuclearization” of Ukraine. Kyiv and his allies say the war is an act of gratuitous aggression.
Friday’s deal to allow certain exports to be shipped from Black Sea ports aims to avert the hunger of tens of millions of people in poorer nations by providing more wheat, sunflower oil, manure and fertilizers. fertilizers and other products to world markets, including for humanitarian needs.
The blockade of Ukraine’s ports by the Russian Black Sea fleet, trapping tens of millions of tons of grain and many ships aground, has exacerbated the bottlenecks of the global supply chain and coupled with the sanctions of the Russian Federation. the West, increasing food and energy price inflation.
Moscow has denied responsibility for the crisis, blaming sanctions for slowing its own food and fertilizer exports and Ukraine for exploiting its approaches to Black Sea ports.
A United Nations official said a separate treaty signed Friday would make Russian exports go more smoothly, and the United Nations welcomed clear explanations from the United States and the European Union. Europe that their sanctions will not apply to their shipments.
“Today, there is a lighthouse on the Black Sea. A beacon of hope … possibility … and relief in a world that needs it more than ever,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. .
Russia’s RIA news agency reported that Lithuania has lifted a ban on the movement of sanctioned goods by rail into and out of the Russian territory of Kaliningrad, a border region between Poland and the Baltic state, which is severed with the rest of Russia.
Lithuania imposed the ban in June, prompting an outcry from Moscow and the promise of swift retaliation.