Russia replaces commander of Crimea-based Black Sea fleet; at least seven dead and 16 wounded in strike on Kharkiv, Ukrainian officials say
A Russian strike on Kharkiv killed at least seven people and wounded 16 others, Ukraine’s state emergencies services said. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said a block of flats was “totally destroyed … We will not forgive, we will take revenge.”
Russia has replaced the commander of its Crimea-based Black Sea fleet after explosions rocked the peninsula this week. Russia’s RIA news agency cited sources as saying Igor Osipov had been replaced with Viktor Sokolov. If confirmed, it would mark one of the most prominent sackings of a military official in the war so far.
Chinese troops will travel to Russia to take part in joint military exercises “unrelated to the current international and regional situation”, China’s defence ministry has said. Other countries will include India, Belarus, Mongolia and Tajikistan. In July, Moscow announced plans to hold “Vostok” exercises from 30 August to 5 September.
Ukrainian authorities performed disaster response drills near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on Wednesday. This followed repeated shelling at the Russian-occupied plant, the largest of its kind in Europe.
The main bridge connecting Crimea to the Russian mainland must be “dismantled”, the Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak said. The 19-km (12-mile) Kerch Bridge is Moscow’s key military and civilian land corridor to the peninsula. “The bridge is an illegal object,” Podolyak said. It “must therefore be dismantled. Not important how – voluntary or not”, implying the bridge could become a military target for Ukrainian forces.
The top official in Russian-annexed Crimea has claimed the FSB security service has broken up a six-person terrorist cell of a banned Islamist group. It followed a series of strikes on Russian bases and other infrastructure across the region that Russia has sought to blame on sabotage.
At least 12 Russians were reportedly killed in a strike on a base in the occupied city of Nova Kakhovka, according to the Ukrainian military. Footage posted to Telegram by the state border guard service showed numerous burnt-out trucks, collapsed buildings, and debris.
Ukraine has not lost any US-supplied Himars rocket launchers, the Ukrainian defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov, said in contradiction to Russian claims. Ukraine has received at least 20 of the US-made launchers, and has used them to attack Russian ammunition depots, command posts, and air defences.
The mayor of the village of Verkhnyo Rogachytsk in the Kherson region has been kidnapped, according to the deputy chair of the regional council. Yuri Sobolevsky said Svitlana Ivanivna was taken from her home at about 11am on Tuesday.
The first wartime shipment of UN food aid for Africa reached the Bosphorus Strait on Wednesday under a UN-backed deal to restore Ukrainian grain deliveries across the Black Sea. Marine traffic sites showed the MV Brave Commander taking its cargo of 23,000 tonnes of wheat across the heart of Istanbul bound for its final destination in Djibouti, Ethiopia, next week.
The leaders of Ukraine, Turkey and the UN are set to meet to review the grain export deal in Lviv on Thursday. The UN secretary general, António Guterres, Zelenskiy, and the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will also discuss “the need for a political solution to this conflict” and the situation at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said.
Canada has disbursed C$450m ($348m) in loans for the purchase of heating fuel before winter for Ukraine, the finance minister in Ottawa, Chrystia Freeland, has announced.
Russia foresees a 38% rise in energy export earnings this year due to higher oil export volumes, coupled with rising gas prices, according to an economy ministry document seen by Reuters. Russia’s earnings from energy exports are forecast to reach $337.5bn this year, a 38% rise on 2021.