Russia-Ukraine live: Putin talks could ‘help restore’ grain deal

  • Russia’s navy has carried out a live fire “exercise” in the Black Sea, days after the Kremlin said it would consider ships travelling to Ukraine through the waterway potential military targets.
  • Controversial cluster munitions supplied by the US are being used “effectively” by Ukrainian forces in their counteroffensive against Russia’s invasion.
  • The EU is drawing up plans for a 20-billion-euro ($22bn) fund to provide Ukraine with weapons, ammunition and military aid as it fights Russia’s invasion.

    Russia detains prominent Russian nationalist

    Russian investigators have detained prominent Russian nationalist Igor Girkin, suggesting that authorities may have tired of his criticism of the “special military operation” in Ukraine.

    The former Federal Security Service (FSB) officer, who is also known as Igor Strelkov, helped Russia annex Crimea in 2014 and organise pro-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine.

    Earlier this year, he said he was entering politics and has been increasingly critical of Putin and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu over incompetence in the war.

    In a message posted on Girkin’s official Telegram account, his wife, Miroslava Reginskaya, said:

    “Today, at about 11.30, representatives of the Investigative Committee came to our house. I was not at home. Soon, according to the concierge, they took my husband out by his arms and in an unknown direction.”

    She added that friends had told her that Girkin had been charged with extremism.

    Putin accuses Poland of having territorial ambitions

    President Vladimir Putin has accused Poland of having territorial ambitions in the former Soviet Union and said any aggression against close ally Belarus would be considered a threat against Russia.

    In a televised meeting of his Security Council, Putin said Moscow would react to any aggression against Belarus “with all means at our disposal”.

    Poland, a member of the Western NATO military alliance, began moving more than 1,000 troops, along with military hardware, to the east of the country as Russian Wagner fighters arrived in Belarus.

    On Thursday, the Polish defence ministry said, “Poland’s borders are secure, we are monitoring the situation on our eastern border on an ongoing basis and we are prepared for various scenarios as the situation develops.”

    Ukraine to take over Sense Bank from Russian owners

    Ukraine’s government approved a decision to take over Sense Bank, the country’s top commercial lender, from Russian owners.

    The government said in a statement that the finance ministry would take over the bank.

    “As of now, the fund [for depositor guarantees] ensures stable operations of the bank. Services for individuals work as usual,” it said in a statement. “Also, payments of legal entities are accepted without restrictions.”

    On Thursday, the central bank launched the nationalisation process of the bank previously known as Alfa-Bank Ukraine and owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman.

    Fridman, the majority owner of Sense Bank, is currently being sanctioned by the West over his alleged ties to the Kremlin following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    Turkey says meeting with Putin could restore grain deal

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his planned talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin could lead to restoring the Black Sea grain deal, as he called on Western countries to consider Russia’s demands, Turkish broadcaster Haberturk reported.

    “The termination of the Black Sea grain deal will have a series of consequences, ranging from the increase in global food prices to scarcity in certain regions and, potentially, leading to new waves of migration,” Erdogan told reporters on a flight returning from a trip to Gulf countries and Northern Cyprus.

    “I believe that by thoroughly discussing the matter with President Putin, we can ensure the continuation of this humanitarian effort,” Erdogan added.

    Ukraine’s ‘unpredictable’ actions pose danger: Kremlin

    The Kremlin says Ukraine’s “unpredictable” actions posed a danger to civilian shipping in the Black Sea and accused Kyiv of carrying out “terrorist attacks” in the area.

    Earlier this week, Russia warned that ships heading to Ukraine’s Black Sea ports could be considered military targets after revoking their security guarantees by quitting the Black Sea grain deal.

    China’s position on Ukraine is ‘unchanging’ and ‘clear’

    China says its position on the war in Ukraine remains “unchanging” and “clear”, the Russian news agency TASS reported.

    “We will make efforts and continue to play a constructive role in order to advance the political process to resolve the crisis,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at a press briefing.

    Ning added that China will closely monitor the situation in Ukraine.

    On Thursday, explosions hit near the building of the Chinese Consulate General in Odesa.

    None of the employees of the diplomatic mission were injured but minor damage to the building was reported.

    British ambassador to Ukraine comments on air raid alerts

    The British ambassador to Ukraine commented on the psychological effects of air raid alerts several times a day as a result of the war.

    On Twitter, Dame Melinda Simmons, wrote, “Air raid alerts several times a day that last for only around 15 minutes a time are as unnerving as those further apart but lasting longer, it turns out. They keep your stress levels at a permanent high #russianinvasion.”

    Two people injured in latest Russian attack on Odesa: Governor

    The Ukrainian governor of the Odesa region said Russia used Kalibr cruise missiles in its latest attack on Friday morning that injured two people.

    On Telegram, Oleh Kiper wrote: “After three consecutive nights of powerful missile and drone terror of the port infrastructure, [Russia] switched to agricultural enterprises in the region. Two rockets hit the granaries of one of the agricultural enterprises.”

    “The enemy destroyed 100 tons of peas and 20 tons of barley. Two employees of the enterprise were injured.”

    Zelenskyy dismisses Ukraine’s ambassador to Britain

    President Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed Vadym Prystaiko as Ukraine’s ambassador to Britain.

    The presidential order gave no reason for the dismissal but said the ambassador had also been removed as Ukraine’s representative to the International Maritime Organisation.

    Why has Russia exited the grain deal brokered by Turkey?

    Russia hits grain terminals in southern Ukraine: Governor

    Russian missiles hit grain terminals at an agricultural enterprise in the Odesa region in a fourth successive night of air strikes on southern Ukraine, the regional governor has said.

    “Unfortunately, the grain terminals of an agricultural enterprise in Odesa region were hit. The enemy destroyed 100 tons of peas and 20 tons of barley,” Odesa’s regional governor Oleh Kiper said, adding that two people had been hurt in the attack.

    Kiper said Russia had attacked with Kalibr cruise missiles that were fired from the Black Sea at low altitudes to bypass air defence systems.

    Photographs from the scene showed a fire burning among crumpled metal buildings that appeared to be storehouses and a badly damaged fire-fighting vehicle.

    Moscow says it has been carrying out “retaliatory strikes” this week after quitting the Black Sea grain export deal and accusing Ukraine of being behind blasts on Monday on a bridge that is used to transport Russian military supplies.

    Russia’s exit from grain deal puts focus on Asia’s food prices

    Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea grain deal is expected to drive food prices higher in Asia but the impact will be muted for now, analysts say, due to reduced imports from Ukraine and increased supply from other countries.

    Under the Black Sea deal, Asia received 46 percent of shipments of grains and other foodstuffs, while Western Europe and Africa took 40 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

    China has been the largest single recipient of exports, according to UN figures, taking 7.7 million tonnes or nearly one-quarter of the total. China’s imports included 5.6 million tonnes of corn, 1.8 million tonnes of sunflower seed meal, 370,000 tonnes of sunflower oil and 340,000 tonnes of barley.

    Read the full story here.

    Russian navy carries out live-fire exercise in Black Sea

    Russia’s navy has carried out a live-fire “exercise” in the Black Sea, days after the Kremlin declared it would consider ships travelling to Ukraine through the waterway potential military targets.

    A missile boat from Moscow’s Black Sea Fleet “carried out live firing of anti-ship cruise missiles at the target ship” in the northwestern part of the Black Sea, Russia’s defence ministry said.

    Ships and fleet aviation had also “worked out actions to isolate the area temporarily closed to navigation, and also carried out a set of measures to detain the offending ship”, it added.

    Russia, Ukraine warn each other that travelling ships part of war

    Ukraine’s defence ministry said it will consider all ships travelling to Russian and Russian-occupied Ukrainian Black Sea ports as potential carriers of military cargo, a day after Russia issued the same warning to ships travelling to Ukraine’s ports.

    In response to threats from Moscow, Kyiv has warned that all ships calling at Russian-controlled ports in the Black Sea “may be considered by Ukraine as carrying military cargo with all the relevant risks”.

    EU draws up plans for $22bn Ukraine weapons fund

    The European Union is drawing up plans for a 20 billion euro ($22bn) fund to provide Ukraine with weapons, ammunition and military aid as it fights Russia’s invasion, officials have said.

    Josep Borrell, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, outlined the four-year proposal to EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels.

    The proposal came amid an international drive to give Ukraine long-term security assurances, as announced by members of the G7 group on the sidelines of last week’s NATO summit in Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius.

    Ukraine’s use of cluster bombs ‘effective’

    Controversial cluster munitions supplied by the US are being used “effectively” by Ukrainian forces in their counteroffensive against Russia’s invasion, a senior US defence official said.

    “We have gotten some initial feedback from the Ukrainians, and they’re using them quite effectively,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

    Kirby also said the US-provided cluster bombs – which are banned by more than 120 countries – were having an impact on Russian defensive formations and the manoeuvring of Russia’s forces.