Latest news from Russia and the war in Ukraine


Zelenskyy says grain corridor has to be defended

Farmers are seen harvesting wheat in Druzhkivka, Ukraine on 7 August, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the “grain corridor” — a humanitarian maritime route set up to allow vital agricultural exports to leave Ukraine — needs to be defended.

“The grain corridor needs reliable and long-term protection,” the president said in his nightly address Tuesday.

“Russia should clearly know that it will receive a tough response from the world to any steps that disrupt our food exports. This is literally a matter of life for tens of millions of people,” he noted.

The grain corridor was established after the U.N. and Turkey brokered a deal between Russia and Ukraine in July to allow exports such as corn, wheat and rapeseed (of which Ukraine is a major producer) to leave the country via the Black Sea.

Russia withdrew from the deal last weekend, however, accusing Ukraine of using the maritime corridor to carry out an attack against infrastructure and its Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol in Crimea, which it annexed in 2014.

Ukraine denies using the corridor for such activities and has not said whether it was responsible for the attack. In turn, it has accused Russia of undermining the deal since September. Meanwhile, the U.N. has called on Russia to return to the deal, warning it could drive global food prices even higher and exacerbate food shortages faced by vulnerable countries in Africa and Asia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Turkish counterpart Tuesday that Moscow could consider returning to the deal, which was due to be renegotiated in a couple of weeks’ time, if an investigation is carried out into the drone attack.

Ukraine, Turkey and the U.N. have agreed not to plan for any movements of ships under the grain initiative from Wednesday.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine first lady makes plea to tech community

Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska smiles during a standing ovation following Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenski’s address via a video during the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York City, September 21, 2022.

Mike Segar | Reuters

Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska made an impassioned speech on Tuesday calling on the global technology community to aid her country and combat Russia’s invasion.

Speaking at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon, Zelenska told attendees that technology has become “battlefield” in the Russian war against Ukraine. Russia “puts technology at the service of terror,” she said.

“Technology has in many ways brought us closer together through social media and messenger apps,” Zelenska said Tuesday evening.

“But imagine, all of a sudden a social media account stops getting updated, the person running it no longer responds to messages. And then you see their black and white photos and you know the unthinkable has happened. During this month, thousands of Ukrainian social media accounts will never be updated again. Those people are gone.”

She called on tech entrepreneurs and investors to invest in Ukraine’s tech and science sectors and make donations to her Olena Zelenska Foundation. Launched in September, the foundation aims to restore Ukrainian hospitals and schools that have been destroyed in the war. Children “should be flying to Mars, not running to their basements” to flee Russian shelling in war shelters, Zelenska said.

“You are the force that moves the world,” she said. “You have the potential and technologies that can help, not destroy; by helping Ukraine, you can move the world in the right direction.”

Before Zelenska was due to speak, Paddy Cosgrave, Web Summit’s founder, launched an attack on Ireland’s government over Russia. He said it has allowed certain Russian actors to avoid facing sanctions.

“The Irish government has for years lobbied both Brussels and the White House so that certain Russian oligarchs might be exempted from both U.S. and EU sanctions,” Cosgrave, who has long been critical of the Irish government, said onstage at Web Summit.

“My message is simple, how can Ireland help Ukraine stop bankrolling Russian oligarchs?” he added.

For its part, Ireland says it is opposed to Russia’s war against Ukraine and has joined its European Union alies in imposing strict sanctions on Moscow.

— Ryan Browne

Macron slams Russia’s suspension of Black Sea Grain Initiative and vows to send Ukraine more air defense systems

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and “denounced a unilateral decision by Russia” to suspend its participation in the  Black Sea Grain Initiative.

Macron accused Russia of weaponizing global food supplies by ending its cooperation with the U.N.-backed deal that led to the reopening of three key Ukrainian ports.

Macron also said he confirmed to Zelenskyy that France is fully mobilized “to increase our military support for Ukraine as soon as possible, in particular anti-aircraft defense.”

Macron also said that France was prepared to help Ukraine with its electric infrastructure, which has been significantly damaged in Russian attacks.

“Action is needed before winter. We shall swiftly mobilize both the international community and the private sector,” Macron added on Twitter.

— Amanda Macias

Russia has ‘seriously damaged 40%’ of energy infrastructure, Ukraine says

Power substation destroyed by a Russian missile attack, Kharkiv, north-eastern Ukraine.

Future Publishing | Future Publishing | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that about 40% of his country’s entire energy infrastructure has been seriously damaged by Russian missile and drone strikes.

Moscow has carried out several devastating missile and drone strikes against what Ukraine said were civilian targets and critical infrastructure such as energy facilities.

Iran and Russia have sharply denied reports that Tehran supplied Moscow with a fleet of drones for the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine. The Kremlin has also repeatedly denied that it uses Iranian-made drones to target residential and other high civilian areas.

— Amanda Macias

White House concerned Iran will send more drones and surface-to-surface missiles to Russia for its war in Ukraine

White House National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby addresses the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, July 27, 2022.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

The White House is concerned that Iran is preparing to send Russia more drones as well as surface-to-surface missiles for its war in Ukraine.

“We are looking at a range of options here, as we have said clearly we said it last week, this is obviously a violation of U.N. resolution 2231,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on a conference call. The U.N. resolution endorsed the Iran nuclear deal.

“Let’s not forget at its core, this is a regime in Tehran that is openly and willingly making themselves an accomplice to the murder of Ukrainians,” Kirby added.

The resolution prohibits the transfer “of all items, materials, equipments and goods and technology” from Iran to another nation unless it is approved in advance by the U.N. Security Council on a case-by-case basis.

Kirby declined to detail potential diplomatic or economic actions Washington would take.

Moscow has carried out several devastating missile and drone strikes against what Ukraine said were civilian targets and critical infrastructure such as energy facilities.

Iran and Russia’s representatives at the United Nations have sharply denied reports that Tehran supplied Moscow with a fleet of drones for use in Ukraine. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied that it uses Iranian-made drones to target residential and other high civilian areas.

— Amanda Macias

No ships will sail Wednesday under the Black Sea Grain Initiative

A port in the city of Odesa, Ukraine, on July 29 2022. The first shipment of grain exports from Ukraine in months comes after Turkey and the United Nations brokered an agreement between Ukraine and Russia to allow for the resumption of key exports from Ukraine, such as grain and fertilizer.

The Washington Post | The Washington Post | Getty Images

The organization overseeing the export of Ukrainian agriculture said that no vessels will sail by way of the Black Sea Grain Initiative on Wednesday.

The Ukrainian, Turkish and United Nations delegations “agreed not to plan any movement of vessels” due to Russia’s decision to suspend its participation in the program.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal brokered in July among Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, eased Russia’s naval blockade and saw the reopening of three key Ukrainian ports.

Amir Abdulla, the U.N. Coordinator for the Black Sea Grain Initiative, said he is in close cooperation and consultation with all signatories of the deal to resume full participation.

— Amanda Macias

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