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Latest Developments in Ukraine: July 17


A woman reacts next to a crater caused by Russian bombardments outside her house in the town of Toretske, in Ukraine's Donetsk region, July 17, 2022.
A woman reacts next to a crater caused by Russian bombardments outside her house in the town of Toretske, in Ukraine's Donetsk region, July 17, 2022.

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

The latest developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT.

9:17 p.m.: Russian police detained journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, who in March interrupted a live TV broadcast to denounce the military action in Ukraine, her lawyer said, according to Agence France-Presse.

No official statement has been made, but her detention comes a few days after Ovsyannikova, 44, demonstrated alone near the Kremlin holding a placard criticizing Russia's intervention in Ukraine and President Vladimir Putin.

"Marina has been detained," her entourage said in a message posted on the journalist's Telegram account. "There is no information on where she is."

The message included three photos of her being led by two police officers to a white van, after apparently having been stopped while cycling, AFP reported.

8:07 p.m.: A U.S. Air Force veteran living in Ukraine has been detained by pro-Russian separatists, his brother said — making him at least the third American to be captured in Ukraine since the war began, according to The Washington Post.

Troops supporting Russia took custody of Suedi Murekezi, 35, in the southern city of Kherson in early June and falsely accused him of participating in pro-Ukrainian protests, Sele Murekezi told the Post on Saturday.

Sele Murekezi told the paper his brother called him last week and said he was being held in the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, a separatist region in eastern Ukraine, with two other captured Americans, Alexander Drueke and Andy Tai Huynh.

A spokesman for the State Department said the agency was aware of “unconfirmed reports” that Suedi Murekezi had been captured, but he declined to comment further, citing “privacy considerations,” the Post reported.

6:33 p.m.: In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he had been informed “of another operation against criminals who worked for the enemy.”

He said the actions and inaction of every official in the security sector and in the law enforcement agencies would be evaluated.

“Employees of the State Bureau of Investigation together with the Security Service of Ukraine detained the former head of the Main Directorate of the Security Service of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. This person was dismissed by me at the beginning of the full-scale invasion, and as we can see, that decision was completely justified. Sufficient evidence has been collected to notify this person of suspicion of treason. All his criminal activities are documented. Everything he has done during these months as well as earlier will get a proper legal assessment,” Zelenskyy said.

5:24 p.m.: The Group of 20 major economies' finance chiefs pledged to address global food insecurity and rising debt but made few policy breakthroughs amid divisions over Russia's war in Ukraine at a two-day meeting in Indonesia that ended Saturday, Reuters reported.

With questions growing about the effectiveness of the G-20 in tackling the world's major problems, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the differences had prevented the finance ministers and central bankers from issuing a formal communique but that the group had "strong consensus" on the need to address a worsening food security crisis.

Host Indonesia will issue a chair's statement instead. Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said most topics were agreed by all members except for particular statements about the war in Ukraine. She described it as the "best result" the group could have achieved at this meeting, Reuters reported.

Western countries have enforced strict sanctions against Russia, which says it is conducting a "special military operation" in Ukraine. Other G-20 nations, including China, India and South Africa, have been more muted in their response.

4:42 p.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has fired the head of the country's security service and its prosecutor general, citing hundreds of criminal proceedings into treason and collaboration by people within their departments, according to The Associated Press. He said Sunday that "more than 60 employees of the prosecutor's office and the SBU have remained in the occupied territory and work against our state."

3:37 p.m.:

2:50 p.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a tweet that he spoke with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of the importance of sanctions against Russia. Zelenskyy said that “The international position of sanctions must be principled. After the terrorist attacks in Vinnytsia, Mykolaiv, Chasiv Yar, etc. the pressure must be increased, not decreased.”

According to The Kyiv Independent, the Ukrainian president made the comments in light of Canada waving its sanctions against Russia to return Nord Stream 1 turbines to Germany, after which they would be sent to Russia. The turbines of the gas pipeline were being repaired in Canada.

2:45 p.m.: The Ukrainian military rebuffed Russian advances in Donetsk over the weekend, as the bloody battle for control in the eastern Donbas region grinds on, CNN reports. At least eight settlements in the eastern part of the Donetsk region came under fire Saturday through Sunday. Most of the settlements straddle a pocket of territory along a highway that leads west from the Luhansk region towards the industrial cities of Donetsk, according to the Ukrainian military.

2:15 p.m.: Two Ukrainian children’s choirs joined the Rolling Stones in singing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” during the band’s Friday night concert in Vienna.

The Ukrainian boys’ and girls’ choirs, Dzvinochok and Vognyk, respectively, took to the stage dressed in T-shirts bearing the Rolling Stones’ signature tongue and lips logo in blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag, The Washington Post reports.

2 p.m.: Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, chief of the United Kingdom’s Armed Forces, said 50,000 Russian soldiers have either died or been injured in Ukraine — resulting in a significant loss of land combat effectiveness, The Washington Post reports.

Radakin, who traveled to Ukraine last week to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart, told the BBC on Sunday that Ukrainian military officials “are absolutely clear that they plan to restore the whole of their territory.”

1:40p.m.: Ukraine’s central bank has sold $12.4 billion of gold reserves since the beginning of Russia's invasion on Feb. 24, the bank's deputy head said on Sunday.

"We are selling (this gold) so that our importers are able to buy necessary goods for the country," Deputy Governor Kateryna Rozhkova told national television. She said the gold was not being sold to shore up Ukraine’s hryvnia currency.

1:35 p.m.: Professional basketball player, Brittney Griner is among nearly 50 Americans, who the State Department believes are wrongfully detained by foreign governments looking to use them as pawns, the New York Times reports.

1 p.m.: The European Union can no longer afford to keep national vetoes when deciding on European Union foreign and security policy if it wants to maintain a leading role in global politics, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said.

Moscow's war in Ukraine makes unity in Europe ever more urgent and increases pressure for an end to "selfish blockades" of European decisions by individual member states, Scholz said in an article published by the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper on Sunday, Reuters reports.

12:55p.m.: In the Donbas region, a Ukraine body collector has lost count of the bodies he has recovered, BBC reports.

12:15 p.m.: According to the U.N. refugee agency, more than 5.6 million refugees from Ukraine have been recorded in Europe since February 24, while more than 7.1 million people are believed to have been displaced within Ukraine.

12:10 p.m.: Many countries in the Group of 20 (G20) major economies condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine and called for it to end the war during ministerial talks in Indonesia RFERL reports. "Many members agreed that the recovery of the global economy has slowed and is facing a major setback as a result of Russia's war against Ukraine, which was strongly condemned, and called for an end to the war," Indonesia said in the declaration on July 17.

However, the official G20 finance ministers summit ended on July 16 without a final communique, as differences on how to characterize and respond to Russia's invasion of Ukraine prevented unanimity within the group.

11:30 a.m.: Nearly, 30,000 people, including more than 5,000 children, have been “evacuated” from Ukraine to Russia over the past day without the participation of Ukrainian authorities, says the head of Russia’s national defense control center, Aljazeera reports.

11:15 a.m.: Russia has increased the quota for its exports of sunflower oil and sunflower meal, the government said, citing sufficient domestic supplies, Aljazeera reports. The country banned exports of sunflower seeds from the end of March until the end of August and imposed an export quota on sunflower oil to avoid shortages and ease pressure on domestic prices.

10:20 a.m.: 4-year-old Liza, who was killed Thursday by a Russian missile strike, has been buried in central Ukraine. According to the Associated Press, an Orthodox priest who conducted the funeral, burst into tears and told weeping relatives that “evil cannot win.” Liza, who had Down syndrome, was en route to see a speech therapist with her mother when a Russian missile struck the city of Vinnytsia, far from the front lines. At least 24 people were killed, including Liza and two boys aged 7 and 8. More than 200 others were wounded, including Liza's mother.

10:15 a.m.: The refusal of Ukraine and NATO powers to recognize Moscow's authority over Crimea represents a "systemic threat" for Russia, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday.

"If any other state, be it Ukraine or NATO countries, believes that Crimea is not Russian, then this is a systemic threat for us," Medvedev told World War Two veterans, Reuters reports.

9:50 a.m.: Russian missiles hit industrial areas of Mykolaiv — emerging as a key focus for Russia as it seeks to push towards Odessa from eastern areas under its control — early Sunday in the second rocket attack there in three days. According to The Washington Post, Russia also appears set to resume its ground offensive in southern and eastern Ukraine, following what analysts called a pause for troops to regroup.

9:45 a.m.: The Ukraine war shows that the West's dominance is coming to an end as China rises to superpower status in partnership with Russia at one of the most significant inflection points in centuries, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said at the speech to a forum supporting the alliance between the United States and Europe at Ditchley Park west of London.

The Institute of Global Change reports that Blair said, the world was at a turning point in history comparable with the end of World War II or the collapse of the Soviet Union: but this time the West is clearly not in the ascendant.

"The world is going to be at least bipolar and possibly multipolar," Blair said. "The biggest geopolitical change of this century will come from China not Russia."

9 a.m.: An Antonov cargo plane operated by Ukraine carrier Meridian crashed in northern Greece, close to the city of Kavala, killing all eight people on board, the Associated Press reports. Greek civil aviation authorities said the plane was heading from Serbia to Jordan. It was carrying 11 tons of weapons.

People living within two kilometers of the site where the Antonov-12 came down have been warned to stay indoors. Authorities say they do not know if there were dangerous chemicals on the plane.

A flame is seen amid debris of an Antonov cargo plane in Palaiochori village in northern Greece, July 17, 2022, after it reportedly crashed Saturday near the city of Kavala.
A flame is seen amid debris of an Antonov cargo plane in Palaiochori village in northern Greece, July 17, 2022, after it reportedly crashed Saturday near the city of Kavala.

8:25 a.m.: Russia's defense ministry said on Sunday its aircraft shot down a Ukrainian MI-17 helicopter near the eastern town of Sloviansk and a SU-25 aircraft in Kharkiv region, as Moscow has stepped up its military operation.

The army also said that its long-range air-based missiles have destroyed a depot in an industrial zone in southern Ukrainian city of Odesa that stored Harpoon anti-ship missiles delivered to Ukraine by NATO countries. Reuters reports it could not immediately verify the claims.

8:20 am.: Russia is preparing for the next stage of its offensive in Ukraine, a Ukrainian military official said, after Moscow said its forces would step up military operations in "all operational areas."

Russian rockets and missiles have pounded cities in strikes that Kyiv says have killed dozens in recent days, Reuters reports.

"It is not only missile strikes from the air and sea," Vadym Skibitskyi, a spokesman for Ukrainian military intelligence, said on Saturday. "We can see shelling along the entire line of contact, along the entire front line. There is an active use of tactical aviation and attack helicopters.

The Ukrainian military said Russia appeared to be regrouping units for an offensive toward Sloviansk, a symbolically important city held by Ukraine in the eastern region of Donetsk.

5:27 a.m.: The latest intelligence update from the U.K. defense ministry said Russia is reinforcing its defensive positions in southern Ukraine. The moves are likely spurred by expected Ukrainian offensives, the update said.

4:37 a.m.: Al Jazeera reported that Russian missiles slammed into a residential area in Pokrovsk, Ukraine, damaging at least 27 houses. The press service of the regional police termed it "a Russian war crime."

3:32 a.m.: The Institute for the Study of War, a U.S. think tank, said in its latest assessment of the Ukraine conflict that Russian forces conducted limited ground assaults around Siversk and Bakhmut and otherwise fired on Ukrainian military and civilian infrastructure across Eastern Ukraine. Additionally, the update noted, the Kremlin may have ordered Russian forces to take control of Kharkiv Oblast, despite the low likelihood of Russian success.

2:33 a.m.: Al Jazeera reported that the port city of Mykolaiv has been rocked by what its mayor called 10 "powerful explosions." The mayor urged all residents to heed the air alert and stay in shelters.

1:31 a.m.: Ukraine's Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova appears on Fox News:

12:02 a.m.: A Munich brewpub has found a novel way to beat Europe's cooking oil shortages — letting customers pay for their beer with sunflower oil to ensure plentiful stocks for frying schnitzels.

With Ukraine and Russia accounting for about 80% of global exports of sunflower seed oil, many European countries including Germany have seen supplies dwindle since Russia invaded its neighbor in February, Reuters reported.

Managers at the Giesinger Brewery, a brewhouse and pub in Munich, are offering beer lovers a liter of their favorite brew for the same quantity of sunflower oil.

"The whole thing came up because we simply ran out of oil in the kitchen and that's why we have to be inventive," the pub manager, Erik Hoffmann, told Reuters TV.

Some information in this report came from Agence France-Presse, The Associated Press and Reuters.

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