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August 1, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

Multimillionaire's mansion hit in Russian strike
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What we covered here

  • The first grain ship to leave the Ukrainian port of Odesa under a UN-brokered deal to help ease the global hunger crisis departed on Monday morning, according to Ukrainian and Turkish officials.
  • The southern region of Mykolaiv came under more intense shelling overnight, with Russian forces hitting civilian buildings including a hospital trauma center, Ukrainian officials said. It comes after Ukrainian grain mogul Oleksiy Vadaturskyy and his wife, Raisa, were killed in Russian attacks on the city on Sunday.
  • In the east, the Ukrainian military says that every attempt by Russian forces to advance in the Donetsk region in the past 24 hours has been repelled. 
  • In a speech that made no mention of the war in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia’s Navy would “respond with lightning speed” to anyone undermining his country’s “sovereignty and freedom.”
23 Posts

Zelensky welcomes first grain shipment but says Russia cannot be trusted

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has welcomed the first shipment of grain from the port of Odesa since the Russian invasion began in February.

“The port started working, the export traffic started, and this can be called the first positive signal that there is a chance to stop the development of the food crisis in the world,” Zelensky said in his daily video address.

At the same time, he warned, “We cannot be under any illusion that Russia will simply refrain from trying to disrupt Ukrainian exports. Russia consistently provoked famine in the countries of Africa and Asia, which traditionally imported significant amounts of Ukrainian food. And now - in conditions of extreme heat, as this year in Europe, the threat of a price crisis and a certain food shortage is also present for some European countries.”

Zelensky said that 16 ships are waiting their turn for shipment, and “we are ready to make a proper contribution to the stabilization of the world food market.”

He also said that more than a million jobs in Ukraine rely on traffic resuming.

Zelensky said he’d spoken with French President Emmanuel Macron about agricultural exports and defense issues and also about financial support for Ukraine. He said he’d asked Macron “to help us to unblock macro-finance, which has stalled in Europe. I want to remind all the leaders that it is 9 billion euros. These are not trifles for us, but important social things — these are our pensions, these are our salaries, support for immigrants.”

Pentagon announces additional $550 million security assistance package for Ukraine

The Pentagon announced an additional package of security assistance for Ukraine valued at up to $550 million on Monday.

The assistance which is being drawn from US stockpiles includes 75,000 rounds of ammunition and an undisclosed amount of additional ammunition for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems.

Here’s the full statement from the Pentagon on the additional security assistance:

Today, the Department of Defense (DoD) announces the authorization of a Presidential Drawdown of security assistance valued at up to $550 million to meet Ukraine’s critical security and defense needs. This authorization is the Biden Administration’s seventeenth drawdown of equipment from DoD inventories for Ukraine since August 2021.
 Capabilities in this package include equipment the Ukrainians are using effectively to defend their country such as: 
75,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition;
Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).
In total, the United States has committed approximately $8.8 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden Administration. Since 2014, the United States has committed more than $10 billion in security assistance to Ukraine.
To meet its evolving battlefield requirements, the United States will continue to work with its Allies and partners to provide Ukraine with key capabilities.

Ukrainian military claims it has repelled multiple attempts by Russian troops to advance in Donetsk

The Ukrainian military says that every attempt by Russian forces to advance in the eastern Donetsk region in the past 24 hours has been repelled. 

In its latest update on the battlefield situation, the Ukrainian General Staff said that in several areas the Russians had sent forward reconnaissance units, which had suffered losses and retreated.

Once again the focus of Russian efforts was around the town of Bakhmut. The General Staff said, “the enemy tried to improve the tactical position in the areas of Soledar, Vershyna and Bakhmut with assault actions, but was unsuccessful and retreated.”

It said another Russian effort to advance near Avdiivka, north of the city of Donetsk, had also been repelled, and hostilities in the area continued.

North of the city of Sloviansk, the Russians continued to shell several settlements — most of them empty except for military positions. But “the Defense Forces exposed and neutralized an enemy reconnaissance group,” the General Staff said.

Across much of the front line, the Russians resorted to heavy artillery and tank fire but appear to have made little headway. The General Staff claimed that the lack of Russian success on the ground was due to “significant losses of manpower, military equipment and the low level of morale” of enemy troops.

On the southern front, the military said that there was widespread shelling across the River Inhulets, where the Russians are trying to stall Ukrainian advances.

White House commends first grain ship departure from key Ukrainian port since late February

National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby speaks during the daily briefing in the James S Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on August 1.

John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, said the United States welcomes Monday’s departure of the first grain ship to leave from the port of Odesa since late February, calling on Russia to meet its commitments to ease global food insecurity amid their ongoing war with Ukraine. 

The M/V Razoni became the first commercial vessel to leave the crucial Black Sea port since Feb. 26, two days after Russia launched its assault on Ukraine. It is carrying some 26,000 metric tons of corn. Its final destination is Tripoli, Lebanon. 

“We obviously welcome this important step, and we hope to see more ships depart in the coming days to travel onward to world markets with agricultural products such as grain, wheat, sunflower oil and corn. The ship left today, had something like 26,000 tons of corn,” Kirby said Monday at the White House press briefing.                                                                                                                     

He continued: “Russia has, of course weaponized food, and has effectively blockaded Ukraine’s ports since the beginning of this crisis. We urge Russia to meet its commitments under this new arrangement, including by facilitating unimpeded exports of agricultural products from Black Sea ports in order to ease the food insecurity around the world. So, we’re going to be watching that closely.” 

US secretary of state calls on Russia to live up to its arm control commitments

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken addresses the United Nations General Assembly during the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in New York on August 1.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday called on Russia to live up to its nuclear arms control commitments, accusing Moscow of “reckless, dangerous nuclear saber rattling” as part of its war in Ukraine and warning of the negative impact the war will have on this month’s conference to recommit to the importance of nuclear non-proliferation.

In remarks at the start of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference at the United Nations, the top US diplomat noted that Russia had joined with the other NPT nuclear states — the United States, United Kingdom, France, and China — in a joint statement in January emphasizing the importance of avoiding nuclear war and arms races.

“The very next month, Russia launched a full scale invasion of Ukraine, and it’s engaging in reckless, dangerous nuclear saber rattling, with its president warning that those supporting Ukraine self-defense, ‘risk consequences such as you have never seen in your entire history,’” Blinken said.

Blinken said Russia’s war is in violation of the UN Charter, the rules-based international order, and the Budapest Memorandum, the 1994 agreement under which Russia pledged to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and Kyiv agreed to forfeit its nuclear weapon arsenal.

“What message does this send to any country around the world that may think that it needs to have nuclear weapons to protect, to defend, to deter aggression against its sovereignty and independence? The worst possible message. And so it’s directly relevant to what’s going on here this month at the United Nations,” he said.

“Most recently, we saw Russia’s aggression with its seizure of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest such plant in all of Europe,” Blinken continued. “Russia is now using the plant as a military base to fire at Ukrainians, knowing that they can’t and won’t shoot back because they might accidentally strike a reactor or highly radioactive waste in storage.”

“That brings the notion of having a human shield to an entirely different and horrific level,” he said.

Blinken contrasted the actions by Moscow to those of the US, which he said has sought to avoid escalation “by forgoing previously scheduled ICBM tests and not raising the alert status of our nuclear forces in response to Russian saber rattling.”

“There is no place in our world, no place in our world for nuclear deterrence based on coercion, intimidation, or blackmail,” he said.

French president hails departure of first ship carrying grain from Odesa

French President Emmanuel Macron hailed the departure of the first ship carrying Ukrainian grain from Odesa in a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday, according to a statement from the Élysée Palace.

“He also indicated that European efforts to export Ukrainian grain by land and river would continue,” the statement added.

The call between Macron and Zelensky lasted for an hour and a half, according to the Elysée palace.

The statement also said that in regards to Russian forces’ recent attack on the detention facility in Olenivka, “the President of the Republic reaffirmed his support towards the Ukrainian people and their resistance and spoke about his determination to make sure that these crimes are not left unpunished.”

Macron also asked Zelensky about “his military, humanitarian and economic needs,” the statement said, adding that he “confirmed France’s will to continue with its support of the Ukrainian armed forces in order to allow them to resist Russian aggression.”

UN: First grain ship departure from key Ukrainian port "an enormous collective achievement"

Sierra Leone-flagged dry cargo ship Razoni departs from port of Odesa in Odessa, Ukraine, on August 1.

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has commended the parties involved in the negotiations of a UN-brokered export deal that secured the first ship carrying grain from Ukraine, raising hopes that a global food supply crisis caused by Russia’s invasion can be eased.

The M/V Razoni became the first commercial vessel to leave the crucial Black Sea port since Feb. 26, two days after Russia launched its assault on Ukraine.

“This ship – the Merchant Vessel Razoni – is loaded with two commodities in short supply: corn, and hope,” Guterres said to reporters in New York on Monday. “Hope for millions of people around the world who depend on the smooth running of Ukraine’s ports to feed their families.”

The journey comes after a breakthrough agreement, brokered by the UN and Turkey and signed by representatives from Russia and Ukraine in July, which facilitates the resumption of vital grain exports. Some 20 million metric tons of wheat and corn have been trapped at the port of Odesa.

“Today’s departure is an enormous collective achievement by the Joint Coordination Centre, set up last week in Istanbul under United Nations auspices, with representatives from Ukraine, the Russian Federation, and Turkey,” Guterres said. “The parties have worked tirelessly to reach this milestone.”

Guterres called the departure of the first grain ship “an important starting point.” He said, “It must be the first of many commercial ships bringing relief and stability to global food markets.”

Guterres added the UN is “working every day to bring relief to the people of Ukraine, and to those suffering the effects of the conflict around the world.”

“This war must end, and peace must be established, in line with the Charter of the United Nations and international law,” he said.

Ukrainian military says another Russian storage site in Kherson was destroyed

Ukrainian officials say that another long-range attack on a Russian storage site in the Kherson region has caused substantial damage.

Serhii Khlan, adviser to the head of the Kherson civil military administration, said on Ukrainian television that “another depot of ammunition and military equipment, which was brought by the enemy from Crimea, was destroyed yesterday on the outskirts of Skadovsk.”

Skadovsk is on the Black Sea coast, about 80 kilometers from the nearest Ukrainian frontline position. A target there was struck last week.

Khlan said: “The turning point in the military operations in the Kherson direction took place more than two weeks ago - due to HIMARS, thanks to which we began to knock out depots in the rear positions of the enemy.”

He said that in Skadovsk “there was a large amount of fuel and lubricant materials, and engineering equipment, which they are now driving from Crimea to repair the logistics arteries that were damaged by our military forces.”

Social media video Saturday night showed a large and continuing fire in the region, according to community Telegram channels, but could not be exactly geolocated.

“From the evening until the morning there was such a flame, and according to the locals, they had never seen such a flame,” Khlan said.

Fighting continues along Kherson’s northern borders, where Ukrainian forces have made moderate progress against entrenched Russian defenses.

Dmytro Butriy, temporary acting head of Kherson region military administration, said 46 settlements had emptied because of the fighting, which is in an area of small villages and rolling farmland.

Russia is deploying additional forces to bolster its southern flank, Ukrainian military official says

Pro-Russian troops drive tanks in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, on July 29.

The Ukrainian military says that some of the forces Russia is deploying to bolster its southern flank are coming from the Donbas region.

The spokesperson for Ukraine’s Southern Command, Natalia Humeniuk, explained the south remained a priority for Moscow.

“There is information about reinforcement coming from the Crimean peninsula, there is information about the attempts of redeployment from the Eastern direction,” Humeniuk said in a press conference on Monday. “All in all we understand that they are trying to move their troops and define the directions which will become leading for them in future. As we understand, the South remains one of their priorities.”

The country’s intelligence defense unit also said some of the troops were coming from the Donetsk region. 

“Two weeks ago, Russia withdrew tactical groups of airborne troops from Donetsk region and transferred them to occupied Kherson,” it said in a Telegram post on Monday. “Russia is also redeploying troops from its eastern military district that were used in the attack on Sloviansk.”

Additional Ukrainian officials are also talking about signs of a possible redeployment of Russian forces to strengthen their positions in southern Ukraine.

Petro Andriushchenko, an adviser to the mayor of Mariupol (though neither man is in the occupied city) said: “We record massive movement of military engineering equipment and personnel at 02:45 pm …towards Zaporizhzhia exit. Most of the equipment were pontoon crossings. ‘V’ insignia is visible.”

He posted a long clip of a video showing Russian trucks on the move.

Separately, Serhiy Hayday, head of the Luhansk region military administration, told Ukrainian television: “The fact that some units of Russian army are being redeployed already means that the Russian army is facing some problems.”

“We see that our military is successful in its moving forward in the south of Ukraine. The Russian troops are withdrawing little by little. As a result of this some units from East are being redeployed for reinforcement.”

Ukraine has claimed some territorial gains along the borders of Kherson with Zaporizhzhia and Dnipropetrovsk regions.

German-donated MLRS arrive in Ukraine

This file photo shows a MARS II standing in the Alb barracks in Germany on August 20, 2018.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Rezniko says that German-donated Multiple Launch Rocket System MARS II has arrived in the country.

“Third brother in the Long Hand family - MLRS MARS II from Germany - has arrived in Ukraine,” Reznikov wrote on Twitter on Monday. “Thank you to Germany and personally to my colleague #DefenceMinister Christine Lambrecht for these systems. Our artillerymen salute our German partners!”

The MARS II is a German upgrade of the M270 MLRS also used by the US military. It has a range similar to that of the HIMARS system donated by the United States to Ukraine, along with more rocket capacity (12 rockets instead of six), but slightly less maneuverability. 

Germany had said it would donate three of these systems but it’s unclear how many have been handed over to Ukrainian forces. 

Kremlin says it's "very positive" first shipment of grain departed Odesa

Sierra Leone-flagged dry cargo ship Razoni departs from port of Odesa in Odesa, Ukraine, on August 1.

The Kremlin has described the departure of the first shipment of grain from the Ukrainian port of Odesa earlier Monday as “very positive.”

“I won’t talk about the regularity of ships departures and their number, this is a question to the operator. But the fact that the first ship has departed is very positive,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Monday. 

“It’s a good opportunity to test the effectiveness of the mechanisms that were agreed upon during the Istanbul talks.”

“Let’s hope that the agreements will be implemented from all sides and that the mechanism will work effectively,” Peskov added. 

More than 26,000 metric tons of corn was loaded onto the M/V Razoni, which is due to anchor off the coast of Istanbul on Tuesday afternoon for an inspection before traveling onto Lebanon.

Ukraine says it continues to hold off Russian offensive toward Donetsk town of Bakhmut

The Ukrainian military says it is still holding off a Russian advance toward the Donetsk town of Bakhmut, in the Donbas. 

“[Russia] leads an offensive in the direction of Bakhmut, hostilities continue,” the latest update from the military’s General Staff says. 

“The enemy tried to conduct a reconnaissance of the positions of our troops in the direction of Yakovlivka, the enemy’s reconnaissance group was neutralized,” it added. 

To the south, closer to Donetsk city, Russian forces also attempted to penetrate Ukrainian lines near Avdiivka. 

“[Russia] led assaults in the direction of Pisky, was unsuccessful, withdrew,” the Ukrainian military said. 

Heavy shelling was reported from many of the towns and settlements along the eastern frontline, with local authorities saying at least nine private residential buildings, one high-rise, a wheat field and several businesses had been damaged in the Ukrainian-controlled portion of Donetsk. At least three people were killed and 16 were injured.

Donetsk remains without gas and partly without water and electricity.

Former high-level Russian official who left Putin’s government is hospitalized

Anatoly Chubais, chief executive officer of OAO Rusnano, speaks during a session at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on June 18, 2015.

Former high-level Russian official Anatoly Chubais is in a European hospital suffering from symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological condition, according to prominent Russian journalist and TV personality Ksenia Sobchak. 

Sobchak says she spoke to Chubais’ wife, who said her husband’s “state is unstable. He felt bad very suddenly, he began to stop feeling the arms and legs.”

Sobchak is the daughter of the late Anatoly Sobchak, the former mayor of St. Petersburg and political mentor to Russian President Vladimir Putin. She was also a Russian presidential candidate in 2018. In recent years, she’s been critical of Putin, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Sobchak also quoted Chubais directly, saying of his condition: “I was hospitalized in one of the European clinics with a diagnosis of Guillain-Barr syndrome. Condition of moderate severity, stable.”

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Guillain-Barre syndrome is a rare disorder in which the immune system harms the body’s nerves.

Chubais did not reply to a request for comment from CNN and it’s unclear where he currently is in Europe. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday the Kremlin doesn’t have details about what happened to Chubais but called the development “sad news.”

Some background: Chubais quit his post as a Kremlin special envoy on the environment in March. Reuters, citing two sources familiar with the matter, said he left the country due to the war in Ukraine. Chubais did not respond to CNN’s request for comment at the time. In March, the Kremlin confirmed Chubais left his job. Chubais had been in the environment job since December 4, 2020, TASS said.

He rose to prominence as Boris Yeltsin’s finance minister in the 1990s. In the early days of Putin’s rise to power, Chubais was considered an opponent by the now-President. Putin claimed in a series of interviews in 1999 that Chubais canceled the Kremlin job that he was initially offered.

In recent years, Chubais continued to call for economic reform and was one of the few remaining liberals associated with the Russian government.

No further Ukraine grain shipments expected Monday

No additional grain shipments are expected to depart Ukraine’s Black Sea ports on Monday, the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in Istanbul says. 

Dates and timings for further shipments are still being worked out and will likely only be finalized once the first shipment goes through inspection in Istanbul on Tuesday, according to the JCC.

The M/V Razoni, the first ship to leave since Russia began an invasion of the country on February 24, is carrying over 26,000 metric tonnes of corn.

The vessel will anchor off the coast of Istanbul around 3 p.m. Istanbul time (8 a.m. ET) on Tuesday, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said Monday.

Speaking in an interview with Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu news agency, Akar said the JCC will inspect the ship. Following inspection, it will proceed to its final destination in Tripoli, Lebanon. 

This post has been updated with more details.

US embassy in Kyiv welcomes departure of first Ukraine grain shipment

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink, center, speaks during a press conference with G7 ambassadors and UN representatives at the Odesa Sea Port, in Odesa, Ukraine, on July 29.

The United States Embassy in Kyiv praised the departure of the first grain shipment from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports since Russia began its invasion of the country. 

“We welcome the departure of the first vessel from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports since Russia’s full-scale invasion on Feb 24,” the embassy said in a tweet on Monday. “The world will be watching for continued implementation of this agreement to feed people around the world with millions of tons of trapped Ukrainian grain.”

US Ambassador Bridget A. Brink called the development “progress.”

“Progress in getting grain to feed millions around the world – the first vessel departs from one of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, thanks to the tireless efforts by the UN, Turkey, and the negotiating team in Istanbul and the patient work of [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky and [Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr] Kubrakov.”

Meanwhile, the UK’s ambassador, Melinda Simmons, called the first grain shipment to leave Odesa a “first step.”

“This is such an important step but it is a first step,” Simmons tweeted on Monday. “[Russia] now needs to honour their side of this deal and let grain ships pass safely. And they need to stop burning and appropriating [Ukrainian] grain.”

Ukraine and Russia agreed a deal last month that would allow the resumption of vital grain exports from Ukrainian Black Sea ports in a major diplomatic breakthrough aimed at easing a global food crisis sparked by the war.

Ministers from both countries signed an agreement brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in Istanbul. The deal followed months of negotiations, and promises to unblock ports on the Black Sea to allow the safe passage of grain and oilseeds – some of Ukraine’s most important exports.

This post has been updated with more details.

"Day of relief for the world" as first grain shipment leaves Odesa, Ukraine's foreign minister says

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says it is a “day of relief for the world” as the first shipment of grain left the port of Odesa Monday morning.

It is the first shipment out of the country since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. 

“The day of relief for the world, especially for our friends in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, as the first Ukrainian grain leaves Odesa after months of Russian blockade,” Kuleba wrote in a post on Twitter. 

Kuleba added that Ukraine has “always been a reliable partner” and insisted the country would continue to be one provided “Russia respect its part of the deal.”

UN Secretary-General "warmly welcomes" first shipment from Odesa

The Sierra Leone-flagged ship Razoni leaves the sea port in Odesa, Ukraine, after restarting grain exports on August 1.

The UN Secretary-General welcomes the first shipment of grain from the port of Odesa since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement on Monday. 

The Secretary-General “warmly welcomes” the departure of the M/V Razoni, the first commercial ship leaving Ukraine’s port of Odesa since 26 February 2022, according to a statement.

“The ship is bound for the port of Tripoli, Lebanon, carrying a cargo of 26,527 tonnes of corn, and is the first vessel to depart under the Black Sea Grain Initiative signed in Istanbul, on 22 July,” it read.

The Secretary-General hoped that this will “bring much-needed stability and relief to global food security especially in the most fragile humanitarian contexts.”

The statement also said the Secretary-General hopes this will be the “first of many commercial ships” under the UN-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative to transport grain.

Mykolaiv trauma center hit in night of intense shelling, Ukrainian officials say

A firefighter works to douse a fire in a building in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, in this handout picture released on July 31.

The southern region of Mykolaiv came under more intense shelling overnight, with Russian forces hitting several civilian buildings including a hospital trauma center, Ukrainian officials said. 

The head of the Mykolaiv regional military administration, Vitalii Kim, said at least three people were injured but so far no fatalities had been reported. 

“Currently, it is known that private houses and yards were damaged,” Kim said. “The trauma center of one of the hospitals was also destroyed, four buildings, a medical vehicle were damaged, and windows were broken.”

Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych also claimed Russian forces had targeted a medical facility. 

“Tonight, Russian terrorists cynically fired at a number of civilian objects in Mykolaiv. Among them is our modern, brand-new trauma center,” Senkevych said. “The building is partially destroyed. Due to the blast wave, windows in the nearby medical units also blew out.”

No staff or patients were injured, he added.

The trauma center opened in 2019 and was one of the most modern in Ukraine, Senkevych said.  

Some context: Russian shelling of the strategically important port of Mykolaiv has intensified since Friday in what Senkevych has described as the “strongest” attacks since the start of the war. Ukrainian grain tycoon Oleksiy Vadaturskyy and his wife, Raisa, were killed in a direct hit Sunday that reduced parts of their Mykolaiv mansion to debris. It remains unclear whether they were intentionally targeted.

First grain ship departs Odesa under UN safe passage deal

The Razoni, the first grain ship to leave the Ukrainian port of Odesa under the UN-brokered deal, leaves port on August 1.

The first grain ship to leave the Ukrainian port of Odesa under a UN-brokered deal to ensure safe passage through the Black Sea departed on Monday morning, according to Ukrainian and Turkish officials.

“The first [Ukrainian] grain ship since #RussianAggression has left port,” Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov tweeted, thanking Turkey and the UN for helping implement the deal. 

The Sierra Leone-flagged ship Razoni, carrying more than 26,000 metric tons of corn, is also shown to be moving on satellite vessel tracker MarineTraffic. 

The ministry said other ships will also be dispatched in line with the deal signed in Istanbul on July 22, but did not provide further details.

Grain deal: A total of 5 million metric tons of grain is expected to leave Ukraine each month under the agreement, helping to ease the global food crisis sparked by Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports.

The ships will navigate through a safe corridor in the Black Sea and pass through the Bosporus Strait to reach global markets.

Grain tycoon killed in Mykolaiv shelling as Putin threatens "lightning speed" response to interference

Grain tycoon Oleksiy Vadaturskyy was killed in the attack on Mykolaiv, Ukraine, on July 31.

A Ukrainian grain mogul and his wife were killed after the southern city of Mykolaiv came under intense shelling on Sunday, according to Ukrainian officials, as Russian President Vladimir Putin used his nation’s Navy Day to issue more militaristic threats to anyone undermining Russia’s “sovereignty and freedom.”

Grain tycoon Oleksiy Vadaturskyy and his wife, Raisa, died in the attack, according to a statement from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Vadaturskyy was the founder of Mykolaiv-based Nibulon, one of Ukraine’s largest grain producing and export companies.

“This is a great loss for Mykolaiv region and all of Ukraine,” Zelensky said. “For more than 50 years of his career, Oleksiy Vadaturskyy made an invaluable contribution to the development of the region and the development of the agricultural and shipbuilding industries of our country.”

Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych said cluster munitions blew out windows and destroyed balconies. “Mykolaiv was under mass shelling today. Probably the strongest one of all time,” he said in a statement.

A CNN team on the ground heard the explosions caused by the strikes and saw fires that broke out in the shelling. Residents interviewed by CNN also said it was the heaviest shelling in the city since the start of the war.

At least one person was killed and two injured in the attack, according to Vitalii Kim, head of Mykolaiv regional military administration.

A firefighter works to douse a fire in a building in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, in this handout picture released on July 31.

“Lightning speed”: In a speech commemorating Russia’s Navy Day in St. Petersburg, Putin did not make any mention of Russia’s war in Ukraine, but said his country’s “current situation is demanding very decisive actions.”

Putin said delivery of the country’s Zircon hypersonic cruise missile systems would begin in the coming months. Russia said in May that it successfully tested the Zircon missile over a distance of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).

Read more here.

Russian missiles hit Odesa, Ukrainian official says

Russian missile strikes hit a quarry in Odesa on Sunday, according to a Ukrainian official.

In a social media post, Serhii Bratchuk, spokesman for the Odesa regional administration, said the Russians fired two Iskander missiles from occupied Crimea.

Rescue services were working to extinguish fires as a result of the strikes and “information on the victims is being clarified,” Bratchuk said.

Ukrainian intelligence says Russian troops have retreated from parts of Zaporizhzhia 

Russian troops have retreated from parts of the Zaporizhzhia region in southeastern Ukraine, according to a Ukrainian intelligence report on Sunday.

The Russians moved personnel and equipment from near the villages of Verkhnii Tokmak and Chernihivka following Ukrainian strikes on the area on Friday night, the report said.

About 40 wounded were taken to hospital in the city of Polohy, it added.

According to the report, “almost complete units” were withdrawn from Chernihivka and there are “several checkpoints and no more than 100 military personnel” left near that settlement.

Russian forces laid mines on access roads as they retreated, the Ukrainian report added.