Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

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Ukrainian strike on key bridge in occupied Kherson leaves Russian forces vulnerable, UK says

A Ukrainian strike on a key bridge in Russian-occupied Kherson in southern Ukraine is a “key vulnerability for Russian forces”, according to the latest intelligence update from the UK Ministry of Defense.

Authorities in Russian-occupied Kherson reported that the Antonovskiy Bridge over the Dnieper was struck by Ukrainian forces on Tuesday, with social media posts showing apparent damage to the bridge’s causeway.

While the bridge is highly likely to remain usable, it leaves Russian forces in the region vulnerable to supply obstacles, the ministry noted.

“It is one of only two road crossings on the Dnieper through which Russia can supply or withdraw its forces in the territory it occupies west of the river,” the UK said.

“This area includes the city of Kherson, which is politically and symbolically important for Russia. The lower course of the Dnieper presents a natural barrier, with the waterway usually around 1000m wide.”

Control of Dnieper crossings is likely to become a key factor in the outcome of fighting in the region, the UK said, noting that “Russia continues to make minimal gains in its Donbass offensive, Ukrainian forces holding the line”.

Citing Russian-installed regional authorities in Kherson, the Tass news agency said on Wednesday that the Antonovskiy Bridge in Kherson had been badly damaged by Ukrainian shelling and would likely be closed to traffic.

—Holly Ellyatt

Trade official says 140 Finnish companies have scaled back operations in Russia

The logo of Finnish dairy exporter Valio seen at the company’s offices in St. Petersburg August 12, 2014. Over the past few months, 140 Finnish companies have reduced their activities in Russia to one degree or another , according to the Russian state news agency Ria Novosti reported on the basis of an interview with Anton Loginov, trade representative of the Russian Federation in Helsinki.

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A Russian trade official said 140 Finnish companies had reduced their activities in Russia over the past few months.

In an interview with Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news agency, Moscow’s trade representative in Helsinki Anton Loginov said some companies have sold assets, handed over to local management or closed offices. This is according to a rough Google translation.

Many Western multinationals have suspended operations in Russia or exited the market altogether since Moscow launched its unprovoked war in Ukraine.

Nathalie Tam

The Russians seek to advance on the town of Bakhmut in Donetsk

Russian forces are carrying out military operations in the area surrounding the city of Bakhmut in Donetsk in order to advance on the city and seize the Vuhlehirska thermal power plant, according to the latest report of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine posted on Facebook on Wednesday.

The update comes after the cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, as well as surrounding towns near Bakhmut, were bombed on Tuesday.

Firefighters try to put out a garage fire caused by shelling in Bakhmut, Ukraine on July 19, 2022.

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The three cities have strategic and symbolic importance for Ukraine and Russia, being on or near highways and supply routes to Donetsk and Luhansk in the Donbass, as well as routes to Kharkiv in the north and the capital Kyiv . The towns have also been contested since 2014 by pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces.

The cities are now at the epicenter of fierce battles between Russia and Ukraine as the former seeks to advance towards Donetsk.

Ukrainian rescuers and servicemen try to pull bodies out of a house that was bombed in Sloviansk, Ukraine, on July 19, 2022.

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Tank and artillery shelling was recorded around Sloviansk near Dolyna, Krasnopillia, Kostiantynivka, Chepil, Husarivka and Adamivka on Tuesday, the Ukrainian General Staff spokesman said, while Russian forces ” fired tubes and rockets at areas of Kramatorsk, Siversk, Serebrianka, Hryhorivka’ and other towns as fighting continued.

Holly Ellyatt

Putin says Ukraine has no desire to pursue peace deal, imposes conditions on resuming grain exports

President Vladimir Putin has said Ukraine does not want to pursue the peace deal with Russia and does not want to fulfill the terms of a deal in March.

Speaking to reporters during his visit to Tehran, Iran, on Tuesday, Putin said talks to reach a peace deal in March at talks in Istanbul had made progress, but Kyiv had ‘no desire’ to pursue an agreement.

“There were well-known negotiations in Istanbul, when we reached an agreement, it only remained to start it,” he said, claiming that Russian forces had withdrawn from the area around Kyiv in order to “create those conditions” which would be ripe for an agreement but which the government of Kyiv “refused to comply” with the terms of the agreement.

“The final result of course does not depend on the mediators, but on the will of the contracting parties to respect the agreements reached. And today we see that the Kyiv authorities have no such will,” Putin added.

Ukraine has yet to comment on Putin’s remarks. Preliminary peace talks in March made no breakthrough and Ukraine has said it will not cede any territory to Russia under a future deal.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures as Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji (second from left) looks on during the welcome ceremony at the airport July 19, 2022 in Tehran, Iran. Putin and his Turkish counterpart Erdogan have arrived in Iran for the summit.

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Putin met his Iranian and Turkish counterparts in Iran on Tuesday. Syria was on the agenda of the ‘Astana troika’, Russia and Iran sought to deepen their relations, while Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the resumption of grain exports since the ‘Ukraine.

Commenting on the grain negotiations, Putin said Russia was ready to help Ukrainian grain exports resume, but only if restrictions on Russian grain exports were lifted.

“We will facilitate the export of grain from Ukraine, but we assume that all restrictions on possible supplies of grain from Russia for export will be lifted. We agreed on this initially with organizations international… No one has opposed it so far, including our American partners. Let’s see what happens in the near future,” he said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Tehran, Iran on July 19, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Zelenskyy thanks the United States and “all American families” for their warmth towards Ukraine

U.S First Lady Jill Biden, First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska and U.S. President Joe Biden pose for photos as Zelenska arrives on the South Lawn of the White House July 19, 2022 in Washington, DC. Zelenska is in the United States for a series of high-level meetings and a speech in Congress.

Drew Anger | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the United States for its support for Ukraine as his wife Olena Zelenska continues her visit to Washington this week.

“Increasing US support for Ukraine, additional help to protect people from Russian terrorism, solving humanitarian needs – these are all tasks of the ongoing visit of the first lady of Ukraine to the United States,” he said. he said in his nightly speech Tuesday night. .

“Today, the second day of the visit, a meeting at the White House with First Lady Jill Biden – President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband came to greet the first lady of Ukraine. I am grateful to the presidential couple of the United States, all representatives of the American administration and every American family for their warmth towards our country and our people,” said Zelenskyy.

Zelenska also met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday and visited the memorial to the victims of the Holodomor (also known as the Great Famine) of 1932-1933 Ukraine in central Washington, as well as met with representatives of the Ukrainian Community in the United States.

Holly Ellyatt

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