Zelenskyy says Russia has blocked exports of 22 million tons of food
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has warned of a food crisis to follow the energy crisis as its ports, from which vital exports of agricultural produce are exported to the rest of the world, remain blocked by Russian forces and attacks.
“The world community must help Ukraine unblock seaports, otherwise the energy crisis will be followed by a food crisis and many more countries will face it,” Zelenskyy said.
“Russia has blocked almost all ports and all, so to speak, maritime opportunities to export food — our grain, barley, sunflower and more. A lot of things.”
“There will be a crisis in the world,” he warned. “The second crisis after the energy one, which was provoked by Russia. Now it will create a food crisis if we do not unblock the routes for Ukraine, do not help the countries of Africa, Europe, Asia, which need these food products.”
A driver unloads a truck at a grain store during barley harvesting in the village of Zhovtneve, Ukraine, July 14, 2016.
Valentyn Ogirenko | Reuters
Before the war, more than 95% of Ukraine’s total grain, wheat and corn exports was shipped out via the Black Sea, and half of those exports went to countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The region is already facing severe food inflation and shortages.
— Natasha Turak
Russia’s only unit of Terminator tank support vehicles is believed to be in the Donbas: UK MoD
The U.K.’s Ministry of Defence believes that Russia’s only operational company of BMP-T Terminator tank support vehicles has likely been deployed to Severodonetsk in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas, where Russian forces are heavily concentrating strikes to gain territory.
The use of these vehicles suggests that a body called the Central Grouping of Forces (CGF) is part of the attack, the ministry said in a tweet, as it is the only formation that has them. “CGF previously suffered heavy losses while failing to break through to eastern Kyiv in the first phase of the invasion,” the ministry’s latest daily intelligence update read.
“The Severodonetsk area remains one of Russia’s immediate tactical priorities. However, with a maximum of ten Terminators deployed they are unlikely to have a significant impact on the campaign,” it added.
— Natasha Turak
As Russia intensifies push for Donbas, Ukraine rules out ceasefire
Ukraine ruled out a ceasefire or concessions to Moscow as Russia intensified an offensive in the eastern Donbas region and stopped providing gas to Finland.
After ending weeks of resistance by the last Ukrainian fighters in the strategic southeastern city of Mariupol, Russia is waging what appears to be a major offensive in Luhansk, one of two provinces in Donbas.
Russian-backed separatists already controlled swathes of territory in Luhansk and the neighboring Donetsk province before the Feb. 24 invasion, but Moscow wants to seize the last remaining Ukrainian-held territory in Donbas.
“The situation in Donbas is extremely difficult,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address. The Russian army was trying to attack the cities of Sloviansk and Sievierodonetsk, but Ukrainian forces were holding off their advance, he said.
Earlier, Zelenskiy told local television that while the fighting would be bloody, the end would come only through diplomacy and that the Russian occupation of Ukrainian territory would be temporary.
Zelenskyy adviser Mykhailo Podolyak ruled out agreeing to a ceasefire and said Kyiv would not accept any deal with Moscow that involved ceding territory. He said making concessions would backfire on Ukraine because Russia would hit back harder after any break in fighting.
“The war will not stop (after concessions). It will just be put on pause for some time,” Podolyak, Ukraine’s lead negotiator, told Reuters in an interview in the heavily guarded presidential office.
“They’ll start a new offensive, even more bloody and large-scale.”
Biden tweets video of signing $40 billion Ukraine aid package amid South Korea visit
Biden inked the aid boost, which was overwhelmingly approved by Congress this week, during his state visit to Seoul, South Korea.
“This law will allow us to continue sending security, economic, and humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine as they continue to defend their democracy and freedom,” the tweet from Biden’s official White House Twitter account said.
Biden also during his visit signed the Access to Baby Formula Act, which is designed to alleviate a nationwide shortage of formula in the United States.
Both bills were flown to South Korea by a U.S. government official on a commercial jet who was already planning to travel to Asia for work-related duties, a White House official told NBC News.
— Dan Mangan
Trump not on Russia’s list of banned Americans that includes Biden, Harris
Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at the I-80 Speedway on May 01, 2022 in Greenwood, Nebraska. Trump is supporting Charles Herbster in the Nebraska gubernatorial race.
Scott Olson | Getty Images
Russia on Saturday released a list of nearly 1,000 Americans who are now permanently barred from entering the country, an action likely in response to sanctions imposed on the nation following its February invasion of Ukraine.
The list includes President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Hillary Clinton and George Soros. It also names 211 Republicans and 224 Democrats from both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
There are also a few notable omissions. Former President Donald Trump and Mike Pence, who served as his vice president, are not included. Former President Barack Obama is also not on the list.
A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Read more here.
— Carmen Reinicke