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The latest developments in Russia’s war on Ukraine. All times EDT.
11:40 p.m.: Estonia summoned the Russian ambassador and formally protested about the violation of its airspace by a Russian helicopter on Tuesday, the foreign ministry said, Reuters reported.
"Estonia considers this an extremely serious and regrettable incident that is completely unacceptable," the ministry said in a release, saying the helicopter had flown over a point in the southeast of the small Baltic nation without permission. Estonia made an identical complaint to Moscow in June.
10:50 p.m.: The United Nations expects to see a "big uptick" in applications for ships to export Ukraine grain after transit procedures were agreed by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations, a senior U.N. official said, according to Reuters.
The number of inbound vessels is expected to "grow in the near future" as grain deals are made, said Frederick Kenney, interim U.N. Coordinator at the Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul, which oversees a deal between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations to resume Ukraine grain exports.
9:55 p.m.: The Russian independent news outlet Novaya Gazeta said it had been fined 350,000 rubles ($5,700) for "abusing media freedom," Reuters reported.
The fine was for an eyewitness report from the Russian-occupied Ukrainian city of Kherson published in March, which Novaya Gazeta deleted from its website at the request of Russia's media watchdog, spokesperson Nadezhda Prusenkova said.
She said the outlet planned to appeal.
Novaya Gazeta has been one of the leading lights of Russia's beleaguered independent media since the 1990s, and its editor-in-chief, Dmitry Muratov, was jointly awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to safeguard freedom of expression.
It suspended operations inside Russia in March after repeated warnings by the media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, about its coverage of Moscow's military campaign in Ukraine.
Russia has made it a crime to publish reports about the conflict that differ from official accounts.
8 p.m.: Annual inflation in Russia slowed further in July, driven by a month-on-month decline in consumer prices amid sluggish demand, data showed, giving the central bank an argument to continue cutting interest rates, Reuters reported.
Inflation has accelerated sharply after Russia began what it calls "a special military operation" in Ukraine on February 24, which triggered sweeping Western sanctions and disrupted logistics chains.
In July, annual inflation slowed to 15.10% from 15.90% a month earlier, sliding below the expectations of analysts polled by Reuters for 15.3%, data from the statistics service Rosstat showed. The central bank targets annual inflation at 4%.
High inflation has been the key concern among households for several years as it dents living standards, something that this year will be aggravated by economic recession.
7:20 p.m.: The Associated Press reports on the resistance in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine.
6:45 p.m.: Russian strikes on the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut killed at least six people and left three others injured, the regional governor said, according to an Agence France-Presse report.
"The Russians bombed the city with a multiple rocket launcher, hitting a residential area. According to initial information, 12 residential buildings have been damaged and four are on fire," Pavlo Kyrylenko wrote on Telegram.
5:55 p.m.: Spain has launched a pilot project to import grain from Ukraine by train to explore the possibility of using rail transport while maritime routes are blocked or restricted by war, Agence France-Presse reported.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine in late February has severely disrupted Ukrainian grain exports, hampering harvests, trapping up to 25 million ton of wheat and other grain in Kyiv's Black Sea ports, sending global food prices soaring and sparking fears of famine.
As part of the Spanish project, a Renfe freight train left Madrid late Tuesday for the Polish town of Chelm near the Ukrainian border, the transport ministry said. It will travel 2,400 kilometers (1,500 miles) to Chelm where it will collect 600 tonnes of grain and return to Barcelona in early September.
Since a U.N.-backed, Turkey-brokered deal on July 22, which lifted Russia’s naval blockade of Ukraine, 12 ships have so far left three different Ukrainian Black Sea ports.
5 p.m.: Ukraine's overseas creditors have backed its request for a two-year freeze on payments on almost $20 billion in international bonds, a regulatory filing showed on Wednesday, a move that will allow the war-ravaged country to avoid a messy debt default.
With no sign of peace or a cease-fire on the horizon nearly six months after Russia's invasion began, holders of around 75% of the outstanding total agreed to Kyiv's proposal, documents showed.
"Ukraine will save almost $6 billion on payments," said Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in a statement. "These funds will help us maintain macrofinancial stability, strengthen the sustainability of the Ukrainian economy and improve the power of our army."
The solicitation needed approval by holders of at least two-thirds of the total and more than 50% of each issue.
4:13 p.m.: The first shipments of wheat should start flowing from Ukrainian ports next week under a landmark deal agreed with Russia and Turkey, a top U.N. official said, according to Agence France-Presse.
The first 12 shipments that have left the three Black Sea ports designated by the deal were carrying corn or other foodstuffs, Frederick Kenney, interim U.N. coordinator at the joint center in Istanbul overseeing the deal, told reporters.
He said Ukraine's silos were full of corn when Russia invaded its neighbor in February.
2:30 p.m.: Ukrainian soldiers who are dug in and holding the line between the towns of Siversk and Soledar in the Donbas region say they face shelling "24/7." They spoke to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Maryan Kushnir about how they endure the constant Russian shelling and air strikes. One man struck a defiant note, saying, "The truth is on our side."
2 p.m.: More than 31,000 people from Ukraine and Russia have emigrated to Israel since Russian forces invaded Ukraine in February, a massive increase from a similar pre-war period, official data showed on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
Between Feb. 24 and July 31, Israel received 12,175 new immigrants from Ukraine and 18,891 from Russia, the Central Bureau of Statistics said, citing data from the Immigration Ministry.
That's 318% higher than a similar period in 2019 when a total of 9,774 new immigrants arrived from the two countries.
1:30 p.m.: Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda has signed a decree stripping well-known figure skaters Margarita Drobiazko and Povilas Vanagas of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas over their participation in an event in Russia that was organized by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov's wife, Tatyana Navka, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Nauseda wrote on Facebook after he signed the decree on August 10 that the figure skaters' achievements on Lithuania's behalf had been annulled by their "cynical" participation in the ice-dancing event in Sochi.
Nauseda also wrote that the Lithuanian government's decision to grant Moscow native Drobiazko Lithuanian citizenship in 1993 "looks like a miserable farce under the current circumstances," as Russia continues its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The day before, Lithuanian lawmakers proposed stripping Drobiazko of her Lithuanian citizenship.
Navka, an Olympic gold medalist and multiple world and European champion in ice dancing, called the Lithuanian parliament's plan to strip Drobiazko of her citizenship and state awards 'disgusting."
1:05 p.m.: The Ukrainian-made Stuhna-P anti-tank missile system is proving to be an effective asset in the fight against Russian armor. In video shot by a Ukrainian soldier, a unit hits a Russian target. Afterward, soldiers scramble for cover in case of return fire. On August 8, a commander spoke to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty about the role of the Stuhna-P in battle, comparing its features to those of U.S.-made Javelin missiles, which reportedly cost three times more to make.
12:50 p.m.: More than 3,800 Army soldiers are returning to Georgia five months after their rapid deployment to Europe after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.
Several hundred troops arrived home to Fort Stewart, where cheering parents, spouses and children welcomed them with waving flags and homemade signs.
Members of the 1st Armored Brigade of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division found themselves scrambling to deploy in early March, barely a week after Russian troops invaded Ukraine. The soldiers from Georgia went to Germany to train alongside NATO allies in a show of force intended to deter further Russian aggression in Europe.
Fort Stewart commanders say the rest of the 1st Brigade should be home by the end of August. The U.S. military is sending another unit to take its place — the 3rd Armored Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division based at Fort Hood, Texas.
12:15 p.m.: The Uzbek Embassy in Moscow has warned the Central Asian nation's citizens residing in Russia of serious repercussions for joining Russia's ongoing unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Embassy of Uzbekistan in the Russian Federation said any form of participation in military activities on the territory of foreign countries is considered to be mercenary activity and will be punished by up to 10 years in prison.
"The embassy calls on all our compatriots to stay away from provocations," the statement says.
The statement comes a day after the BETTA television channel in Russia's Perm region broadcast a report in which the leader of the Uzbek diaspora in the region, Jahongir Jalolov, called on Uzbeks residing in Perm to create an Uzbek battalion named after the 14th century Turkic ruler Amir Timur. Jalolov said the proposed Uzbek battalion must join Russian military forces to fight against Ukrainians.
Russian media reported earlier this week that more than 40 military units of volunteers have been created in Russian regions and ethnic republics.
12:05 p.m.: The U.N. World Health Organization and its partner Unitaid are providing life-saving care for premature infants across Ukraine.
11:45 a.m.: Ukraine on Wednesday called on the European Union and G-7 countries to stop issuing visas to Russian citizens, citing what he said was their support for the invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported.
"Russians overwhelmingly support the war on Ukraine. They must be deprived of the right to cross international borders until they learn to respect them," Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter.
The tweet echoed earlier calls by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for a one-year travel ban and the apparent expulsion of Russians living in the West so they can live "in their own world until they change their philosophy."
11:10 a.m.: China, which Russia has sought as an ally since being cold-shouldered by the West over its invasion of Ukraine, has called the United States the "main instigator" of the crisis, Reuters reported.
In an interview with the Russian state news agency TASS published on Wednesday, China's ambassador to Moscow, Zhang Hanhui, accused Washington of backing Russia into a corner with repeated expansions of the NATO defense alliance and support for forces seeking to align Ukraine with the European Union rather than Moscow.
The ambassador's reasoning closely followed one of Russia's own justifications of its invasion of Ukraine, which has resulted in thousands of deaths and the devastation of entire cities, as well as driving more than a quarter of the population to flee their homes.
10:35 a.m.: Russians are snapping up Western fashion and furniture this week as H&M and IKEA sell off the last of their inventory in Russia, moving forward with their exit from the country after it sent troops into Ukraine, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.
Sweden-based H&M and Netherlands-based IKEA had paused sales in Russia after the military operation began and are now looking to unload their stocks of clothing and furnishings as they wind down operations there, saying the future is unpredictable. IKEA’s sales are online only, while the H&M store at the Moscow shopping mall Aviapark saw a steady stream of young shoppers.
The racks and shelves were well stocked in the clothing retailer. Nearby shops were closed, including Zara, Oysho, Bershka, Pull&Bear and Uniqlo, while New Yorker, Finn Flare, Marks & Spencer and Mango were open.
“I will start looking at Russian brands,” one H&M shopper, who gave only her first name Anya, said after emerging from the store. Another shopper, who only gave his name as Leonid, said he was “very hurt” that H&M is closing down: “A good store is leaving.”
Both companies are laying off staffers as they scale down business in Russia. H&M said Tuesday that 6,000 workers will be affected and that it was working on details of offering continued support in the coming months.
10:20 a.m.: A correspondent with NBC News tweeted Wednesday that U.S. officials claim Iran is training Russian troops on the use of military drones. Drones have been used extensively by both sides in the war that started when Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
10:05 a.m.: Russia's pipeline monopoly Transneft and Hungarian energy group MOL say oil flows are poised to resume through the Druzhba pipeline on Wednesday after nearly a weeklong stoppage due to complications from sanctions, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
The suspension has affected a number of countries, including Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.
Transneft said Ukraine suspended Russian oil flows to three European nations as of August 4 because its transit payment couldn't be processed due to sanctions stemming from Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
On Wednesday, MOL said the transit fee for the use of the Ukrainian section of the pipeline had been paid and the flow could resume within days. Russian media then quoted Transneft as saying that the flow would begin by 4 p.m. Moscow time on Wednesday.
9:50 a.m.: Russian authorities have launched a criminal case against TV journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, who is known for delivering a live on-air anti-war protest in March. Ovsyannikova's lawyer, Dmitry Zakhvatov, said on Wednesday that police broke into his client's apartment in Moscow and searched it while he was not present. He added that the journalist is accused of "publicly distributing false information about the Russian armed forces."
9:35 a.m.: Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki accused the European Union of imperialistic behavior towards smaller member states in an op-ed published on the Welt news website on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
The prime minister, whose nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) government has clashed repeatedly with Brussels overrule of law issues, said the Russian invasion of Ukraine had thrown a spotlight on the EU's shortcomings.
He called for "profound reform that puts the common good and equality back at the forefront of the union's principles."
9:05 a.m.: The foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) nations on Wednesday called on Russia to immediately hand back full control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to Ukraine, Reuters reported.
"The Russian Federation must immediately withdraw its troops from within Ukraine's internationally recognized borders and respect Ukraine's territory and sovereignty," the foreign ministers said in a statement released in Germany.
"In that context, we demand that Russia immediately hand back full control to its rightful sovereign owner, Ukraine, of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as well as of all nuclear facilities within Ukraine's internationally recognized borders to ensure their safe and secure operations."
8:55 a.m.: Russia successfully launched an Iranian satellite into space on August 9, in a move that has raised concerns in the West. U.S. officials fear that the satellite could be used by Moscow to boost its intelligence capabilities in Ukraine, according to The Farda Briefing, a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty newsletter that tracks the key issues in Iran and explains why they matter.
8:40 a.m.: Five Belarusian activists who were arrested for allegedly damaging railways in the country to disrupt the transportation of Russian arms and troops to war-torn Ukraine have been sentenced on terrorism charges, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.
A court in the eastern city of Babruysk sentenced five activists who were charged with carrying out a terrorist act, threatening to conduct a terrorist act, creating a terrorist group, and insulting the country's president. They were among some 60 men and women arrested for their alleged involvement into the damaging of Belarus's railways to impede the progress of Russian troops and arms being sent into Ukraine since the start of the invasion. The other cases are still being investigated.
The campaign called "Railways War" was initiated in Belarus by a group called BYPOL. Those involved in the campaign have been nicknamed "railway guerrillas." Belarus is not a direct participant in the war in Ukraine, but it has provided logistical support to Russia for the invasion by allowing Russian forces to enter Ukraine via Belarusian territory.
8:10 a.m.: The U.S. will conduct more military exercises with Baltic nations such as Latvia, and look to provide increased training, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Wednesday. He also said the U.S. may bring in additional troops from America if needed to bolster the region against any possible threat from Russia, The Associated Press reported.
Speaking at a press conference with Latvia’s Defense Minister Artis Pabriks, Austin said plans to do continuous rotations of forces into the Baltics will likely use troops from U.S. brigades in Romania and other parts of Europe, but “we can also bring in forces from the United States.”
Austin is the first U.S. defense secretary to visit Latvia in nearly three decades, underscoring the increased importance of the Baltic nations, who sit at Russia’s western edge. They have watched Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and fear that they could be the next victims of Moscow’s aggression. The Pentagon said the last defense chief to go to Latvia was William Perry in 1995.
Pabriks told reporters that his top priorities are to get more U.S. military enablers, adding that in order to defend his country, his troops need “nitty gritty training” on a daily basis. He added that Latvia also needs additional financial assistance from the U.S. in order to buy new military equipment, and to beef up its air defense and coastal defense.
7:50 a.m.: U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke at a press conference with Latvia’s Defense Minister Artis Pabriks on Wednesday. Austin is the first U.S. defense secretary to visit Latvia in nearly three decades, underscoring the increased importance of the Baltic nations, who sit at Russia’s western edge.
7:40 a.m.: An EU embargo on the import of Russian coal goes into effect on Thursday after a midnight deadline for the transition period agreed by bloc members four months ago, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported Wednesday.
The ban is part of the fifth package of EU sanctions to punish the Russian economy since President Vladimir Putin ordered tens of thousands of Russian troops into Ukraine in late February.
The coal embargo is the first measure among the seven rounds of EU sanctions so far to hit energy supplies, which have been particularly hard-hit along with grain exports by the Ukraine conflict. The 120-day grace period for compliance since the approval of the coal ban in April expires at midnight on August 10.
The European Commission estimates that the coal cutoff could cost Russia around $8 billion a year. EU countries imported nearly 52 million tons of coal from Russia in 2021, up from 41 million tons the previous year. But overall coal imports to the EU fell by almost half from 2014 to 2020 under pressure from climate-change targets and efforts to find cleaner energy alternatives.
7:15 a.m.: Denmark will send military instructors to Britain to help train Ukrainian soldiers and also offer to train Ukrainian officers on its soil, Reuters quoted the Danish defense ministry as saying on Wednesday.
The announcement preceded a conference in Copenhagen on Thursday when British, Danish and Ukrainian defense ministers are expected to discuss long-term support for Ukraine, including military training, mine clearance and weapons supplies.
"Denmark will support a British-led training project with 130 Danish soldiers and at the same time offer to train Ukrainian soldiers in Denmark," a ministry statement said.
The instructors will provide basic military training, including urban combat and tactical operations, of Ukrainian soldiers with zero to limited military experience, Defense Minister Morten Bodskov told the newspaper Jyllands-Posten.
6:40 a.m.: Speculation continued over the cause of major explosions at a Russian airfield in Crimea, while reports overnight on August 9-10 suggested Russian troops were concentrating on a southern region and Ukrainians reported minor successes around Kharkiv, in the northeast, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.
Meanwhile assessments of the fighting from Ukrainian and Western military sources indicate that battle lines have become increasingly entrenched as the five-month-old conflict grinds on, with advances mostly limited on either side.
Speaking in his nightly video address on August 9, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy avoided any specific reference to the dozen or so blasts that reportedly killed one person at the military airport in Crimea. But he vowed to reverse Moscow's 2014 annexation of the peninsula and to retake it from Russia by the end of the war.
“This Russian war against Ukraine and against all of free Europe began with Crimea and must end with Crimea — its liberation,” Zelenskyy said. “Today it is impossible to say when this will happen. But we are constantly adding the necessary components to the formula for the liberation of Crimea.”
6:10 a.m.: A Russian envoy to the United Nations says Moscow has requested a meeting of the UN Security Council on August 11 to discuss issues concerning the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, which its troops seized early in the five-month-old invasion of Ukraine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported Wednesday.
First Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy also confirmed on Wednesday that Russia wanted the head of the UN's atomic energy agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, to brief attendees at the meeting.
It would follow increasingly urgent international safety concerns and with the Russian occupiers reportedly preparing to redirect its electricity production in a dangerous pivot that relies on diesel generators and other aging technology.
Desperate safety warnings from Ukrainian and UN atomic experts have been compounded in the past week by intensified shelling around Zaporizhzhya and accusations and counteraccusations of risky behavior by the warring sides.
Operator Enerhoatom and exhausted Ukrainian workers still manning the facility five months after its capture by Russian forces have repeatedly warned of the risks of a nuclear catastrophe.
5:40 a.m.: Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda discussed the challenges for his country caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine earlier this year with VOA's Eastern Europe Bureau Chief Myroslava Gongadze in Vilnius.
"Nothing less than democracy and the world order is at stake in that war," Nauseda told VOA. "There is no limit for the appetite of Vladimir Putin. I don't know who will be the next target, the Baltic countries, Poland, maybe Romania."
5:30 a.m.: Reuters reported that Ukraine’s grain, oilseed, vegetable oil exports rose 22.7% in July versus June to 2.66 million tons thanks to higher wheat and barley shipments, the agriculture ministry said on Wednesday.
July's volume included, for example, 412,000 tons of wheat, 183,000 tons of barley, 1.1 million tons of corn, and 362,100 tons of sunseed, according to the ministry.
4:30 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is being made into an action figure by a product design company in Brooklyn, New York.
FCTRY launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund production less than two weeks ago. It hit its $30,000 funding goal in three hours and has since raised more than $120,000. For every figure sold, $1 goes to Ukraine in the campaign, which ends on Friday.
A 15-centimeter (6-inch) tall clay prototype of the Zelenskyy action figure, molded by Seattle artist Mike Leavitt, will be mass produced in plastic in China. It is expected to ship by March.
“He’s the perfect leader for this moment, just this super inspirational character,” said Jason Feinberg, FCTRY’s chief executive and creative director. “He has this real strength that comes across, but it’s humble and he sort of represents the opposite of everything that we’ve come to associate with politics.”
3:50 a.m.: The U.S. has completed its final step in ratifying NATO’s expansion to include Sweden and Finland. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports on the most significant expansion of the military alliance in more than two decades, which needs only seven more countries for completion.
2:55 a.m.: Governor Valentyn Reznychenko said on Wednesday that at least 13 people died after shelling overnight in Ukraine’s central Dnipropetrovsk region, Reuters reported.
More than 20 buildings were damaged in Marganets, he said, a city across the Dnipro River from the Russian-captured Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, where there have been other reports of shelling.
The attack damaged a power line, leaving several thousand people without electricity, Reznychenko said. The attack damaged a hostel, two schools, a concert hall, the main council building and other administrative bases, he added.
Russia denies targeting civilians in what it calls its "special military operation" in Ukraine.
Reznychenko initially put the casualties at 21, with 11 killed in the district of Nikopol and 10 in Marganets, but said in a subsequent message on the Telegram messaging app that 11 was the total number, without clarifying which initial details were incorrect.
He later said another two people had died from their injuries.
2 a.m.: Russia has “almost certainly” established a major new ground forces formation to support its operations in Ukraine, Britain said on Tuesday.
This unit, called the 3rd Army Corps, is based out of the city of Mulino, east of Russia’s capital Moscow, the British Defense Ministry said in its daily intelligence bulletin on Twitter.
The update also added that Russian commanders continued to face “competing operational priorities” of reinforcing its offensive in the eastern Donbas region, as well as strengthening its defense against Ukrainian counterattacks in south.
Moscow refers to the Ukraine invasion as a “special military operation.”
1 a.m.: Russian shelling killed 11 people in Ukraine’s central Dnipropetrovsk region overnight, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing governor Valentyn Reznychenko.
Reznychenko initially put the casualties at 21, with 11 killed in the district of Nikopol and 10 in the town of Marganets, but said in a subsequent message on the Telegram messaging app that 11 was the total number, without clarifying which initial details were incorrect.
12:05 a.m.: More Australian coal has arrived in Ukraine, according to The Kyiv Independent.
The coal was delivered to a Ukrainian thermal power plant run by the country’s state-owned company Centrenergo. Ukraine expects to receive 79,000 tons of coal from Australia.
The fuel will contribute to the “reliable energy supply in Ukraine this heating season,” said Energy Minister German Galushchenko.
So far, Ukraine has accumulated 1.8 million tons of coal out of the planned 2.5 million tons.
Some information in this report came from Reuters and The Associated Press.