Ukraine has begun exporting grain from Croatian ports on the Adriatic….
China ups exports to Russia to fill in for Western sanctions….
The Ukraine troops close in on capturing what’s left of Bakhmut….
Russian and Ukraine troops are also fighting in the North Eastern Ukraine which some feel is a Russian effort to not allow the Ukraine to concentrate more troops in the South Offensive….
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
Blinken visited a border guard facility in the Kyiv region, a field that is being cleared of unexploded Russian ordnance northeast of the capital and a nearby school that is being turned into a museum after Russian forces held hostages there. One of Ukraine’s staunchest supporters within the Biden administration, Blinken said the United States is backing demining efforts, as well as “helping communities recover and rebuild.”
A Russian missile strike on a crowded market in Kostiantynivka in eastern Ukraine killed at least 16 people and left 32 injured, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs. Zelensky described Wednesday’s attack on Kostiantynivka, close to the front lines in the east, as “utter inhumanity.” The European Union said it “follows an escalation over the past months of missile and drone attacks all over Ukraine.”
The governor of Russia’s Rostov region said air defenses shot down two drones over the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, home to Russia’s Southern Military District headquarters, a strategic command center. One person was injured and cars were damaged after one drone fell in the city center and the second fell outside the city, Vasily Golubev added early Thursday. The Washington Post could not independently verify the claims. Social media footage verified by Storyful showed an explosion and emergency crews in the city near the military base. Rostov-on-Don, about 75 miles from the Ukrainian border, has come under attack during the Ukraine war.
Zelensky said the tasks facing Ukraine’s new defense minister include building more confidence in the work of the ministry, which has been embroiled in corruption allegations. Rustem Umerov is the country’s new defense minister succeeding Oleksii Reznikov, who resigned in recent days after Zelensky announced plans to replace him amid an anti-corruption sweep.
Ukraine has begun exporting grain from Croatian ports on the Adriatic, following the collapse of the Black Sea grain deal, according to a news release citing remarks by Yulia Svyrydenko, Ukraine’s minister of economy, at a meeting in Bucharest, Romania, of the Three Seas Imitative — a forum for countries on the Adriatic, Baltic and Black seas.
NATO does not have information “indicating an intentional attack by Russia” in Romania and is awaiting the outcome of an investigation, Stoltenberg said. Romanian officials have said debris from what might be a drone was found on the country’s territory, after dismissing claims earlier that Russian drones entered the country during an attack near the Danube River in neighboring Ukraine.
The Kremlin said it values its relations with North Korea, declining to comment on reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could visit Russia this month to meet with President Vladimir Putin. “We will, of course, continue to develop relations with them without regard to the opinion of other countries,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Chinese imports from Russia surged by the most ever last month, Bloomberg reports. Commerce between the countries has been on the rise in face of massive Western sanctions on Russia.
As many as 90 percent of Ukrainian prisoners of war held by Russia have faced torture of other ill treatment, according to accusation leveled by Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Andriy Kostin, during a meeting with U.N. special rapporteur on torture Alice Jill Edwards.
Britain imposed new sanctions on 11 Russians accused of operating a cybercrime gang that attacks hospitals and critical infrastructure. The group is accused of hitting hospitals with ransomware attacks amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Bulgaria announced Thursday that it would provide increased armaments, including missiles, to coast guard ships in the Black Sea, amid security fears over Russian naval activities.
The new U.S. funding includes air defense components, 155mm artillery ammunition, antitank missiles and air navigation systems, The Post reported. Russia’s deputy foreign minister described the U.S. decision to send depleted uranium ammunition to Ukraine as a “an escalatory step” and a “criminal act.”
Russian drone strikes damaged port infrastructure and buildings in Odessa, the governor of the southern Ukrainian port region, Oleh Kiper, said overnight. He said it was the fourth attack on the Izmail district in recent days.
Ukraine’s military claimed on Thursday to have dislodged several Russian positions south of Bakhmut, according to a statement from the General staff.
In northeastern Ukraine, the Russians are coming — or maybe setting a diversion: Ukrainian troops in the south are pressing a grueling counteroffensive against Russian forces that are dug into defensive positions. But in the northeast, it is unclear if Russia is trying to advance or creating a distraction that aims to divert Ukrainian resources, Alex Horton and Serhii Korolchuk report.
“Ukrainian officials say Moscow is to trying gain ground toward Kupyansk, a small city veined with strategic roads and rail tracks, including a train line that reaches Russia’s border,” they write….