Ukraine war: What you need to know about the conflict this Monday
1. Kyiv hopes to see grain exports deal implemented this week
Ukraine said on Monday it hoped a UN-brokered deal aimed at easing global food shortages by resuming grain exports from the Black Sea region would start to be implemented this week.
Moscow brushed aside concerns that the deal could be derailed by a Russian missile strike on Ukraine’s port of Odesa on Saturday, saying it had targeted only military infrastructure.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denounced Saturday’s attack as “barbarism” that showed Moscow could not be trusted to implement a deal struck just one day earlier with Turkish and United Nations mediation.
The Ukrainian military, quoted by public broadcaster Suspilne, said the Russian missiles did not hit the port’s grain storage area or cause significant damage. Kyiv said preparations to resume grain shipments were ongoing.
“We continue technical preparations for the launch of exports of agricultural products from our ports,” Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said in a Facebook post.
According to the Ukrainian military, two Kalibr missiles fired from Russian warships hit the area of a pumping station at the port, while two others were shot down by air defence forces.
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2. Slovakia might donate its MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, defence minister says
Slovakia may consider donating its fleet of Soviet-era MiG warplanes to Ukraine, Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad said on Monday.
Nad said, “we can discuss the future” of his country’s 11 MiG-29 fighter jets after they are grounded “most probably” by the end of August.
Since the start of the invasion on 24 February, Ukraine has urged Western allies to provide it with warplanes to challenge Moscow’s air superiority.
However, Ukraine’s allies have been reluctant to give Kyiv the fighter jets it asks for, fearing it would provoke an escalatory response from Moscow, which has warned NATO that providing combat aircraft could be tantamount to joining the conflict.
Nad said providing warplanes to Ukraine would require a broader discussion with allies about the consequences of such delivery.
“But politically, yes, I can tell you there’s a positive attitude of helping Ukrainians with Mi-29s.”
Slovakia has signed a deal to buy 14 US F-16 Block 70/72 fighter jets to replace its MiG-29s but the start of their delivery was postponed by two years to 2024.
Slovakia has supplied Ukraine with heavy weapons since the war started. Its donations include a Soviet-era S-300 air defence system, military helicopters and thousands of Grad multiple-rocket launcher rockets. Slovakia also sold Ukraine self-propelled howitzers.
3.Putin would be ‘humiliated’ if he had to meet Zelenskyy, Moscow’s former senior diplomat tells Euronews
A former Russian diplomat who became the most high-profile defector when he quit his job in Geneva after the invasion of Ukraine says Vladimir Putin would be “humiliated” if he had to meet with Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Boris Bondarev was a senior diplomat at the Russian mission in Geneva, Switzerland, but sent an email to his fellow diplomats in May saying that he was resigning because he had never been “so ashamed” of his country after the start of the war.
Now he tells Euronews that it was “crystal clear” to him that Russia “had stepped beyond the boundaries of reason and plunged into an abyss,” and that prompted his decision to quit.
More than 150 days after the start of the war, Bondarev now says that Vladimir Putin made a “strategic blunder” with the invasion and will need to send “more and more cannon fodder” to Ukraine.
“It is true that every war ends with negotiations. But today I don’t see that negotiations are what both sides want.”
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3. Russian opposition figure arrested after returning to Moscow
The Russian authorities on Monday detained a liberal politician who has recently returned to Moscow from abroad, the latest move in a relentless crackdown on dissent amid Moscow’s military action in Ukraine.
Leonid Gozman was detained after the Interior Ministry issued a warrant for his arrest while investigating a criminal case against him.
Gozman has been accused of breaching the law that requires Russian citizens to notify authorities about foreign citizenship or a residency permit. If found guilty, Gozman could be sentenced to a fine or community work.
Gozman notified the authorities about his Israeli citizenship, but the authorities claimed that he failed to do so within the required time.
Gozman, a vocal critic of the Kremlin’s campaign in Ukraine, left Russia when it started but returned in June in what he described as a “moral” choice.
The Russian Justice Ministry has listed him as a “foreign agent” — a description that carries a strong pejorative meaning and implies additional government scrutiny.
Gozman’s lawyer, Mikhail Biryukov, said the politician was detained on the Moscow subway and taken to a police station.
4. Lavrov continues Africa tour in Congo in attempt to gain non-Western allies
Russian Foreign Minister is in Congo on Monday as part of Russia’s Africa charm offensive that also takes Sergei Lavrov to Egypt, Uganda and Ethiopia.
Lavrov arrived Sunday evening in Oyo in northern Congo, some 400km north of the capital Brazzaville and a stronghold of Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso.
Sassou Nguesszo and Lavrov will hold face-to-face talks on Monday, and later travel on to Uganda and Ethiopia on his Africa tour, designed to shore up support for Russia on the international stage.
Earlier in Egypt, Russia’s top diplomat used his speech at the Arab League to press the Kremlin’s narrative that the West pushed his country to invade Ukraine and accused the West of ignoring Russia’s security concerns stemming from NATO’s expansion eastward.
5. UK to host 2023 Eurovision as winner Ukraine decides organising the contest was ‘not feasible’
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has confirmed that the UK will host the 67th Eurovision Song Contest in 2023.
The announcement comes after earlier statements which said that this year’s winner, Ukraine, wouldn’t be able to host the event.
Despite the Ukrainian entry Kalush Orchestra coming first in Turin, Italy, extensive security assessments by the EBU and Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC found that hosting the event in Ukraine wasn’t feasible.
As a result, British state broadcaster BBC has been invited to host the music contest, which sees countries from Europe (and further afield) go head to head to be crowned Eurovision winner.
Ukraine will automatically qualify for the contest alongside ‘the big five’ countries who contribute the most financially to the contest; Germany, Spain, Italy, France, and the UK.
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