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Latest Developments in Ukraine: July 18


Destroyed Russian military vehicles at a compound of an agricultural farm, which was used by Russian troops as a military base during Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kharkiv Region, Ukraine, 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.

10:55 p.m.: Russia has offered to lift its blockade of Ukrainian ports in exchange for the West lifting economic sanctions -- a proposal European leaders say amounts to blackmail, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported. They’re discussing complex solutions to bring Ukrainian grain back to the world's markets – fast. Global wheat prices are skyrocketing, and there are fears that food insecurity could bring further unrest to countries that are already troubled

8:55 p.m.: In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for people to provide information and emotional support to Ukrainians in the occupied areas.

“Russia keeps most of them in an information vacuum. Every day in the occupied territories it spreads new lies about Ukraine and our actions. But despite propaganda and intimidation, people not only remember Ukraine, but also demonstrate what they really think and what they strive for,” Zelenskyy said.

7:35 p.m.: A Moscow court fined Alphabet's Google $373 million for a repeated failure to remove content Russia deems illegal, such as "fake news" about the conflict in Ukraine, Russia's communications regulator said, according to Reuters.

Moscow has long objected to foreign tech platforms' distribution of content that falls foul of its restrictions. But the simmering dispute has erupted into a full-on battle since Moscow assembled its armed forces before sending them into Ukraine in February.

Alphabet's YouTube has been a particular target of the state's ire but, unlike Twitter and Meta platforms Facebook and Instagram, it has not been blocked.

The regulator, Roskomnadzor, said the Tagansky District Court had fined Google for repeatedly failing to restrict access promptly to banned materials and singled out YouTube for particular criticism.

It said YouTube had not deleted "fakes about the course of the special military operation in Ukraine, discrediting the armed forces of the Russian Federation."

Google, which can appeal, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

6:36 p.m.: British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace discussed the arrival of Ukraine soldiers in the U.K. for training.

5:47 p.m.: The United States will continue to proceed with providing intelligence to Ukraine after recent personnel changes in the inner circle of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the U.S. State Department said, according to Reuters.

Zelenskyy sidelined his childhood friend as head of Ukraine's security service, and another close ally as top prosecutor, in Kyiv's biggest internal purge of the war, citing their failure to root out Russian spies.

Zelenskyy acknowledged that his two allies -- SBU security service chief Ivan Bakanov and Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova -- had failed to root out "traitors" in their organizations.

4:09 p.m.: Ukraine first lady Olena Zelenska arrived in Washington for her highest-profile event since Russian troops invaded her country five months ago, The Associated Press reported. Zelenska met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday. She will meet with first lady Jill Biden on Tuesday. And on Wednesday, she will speak to lawmakers in the congressional auditorium.

2:24 p.m.:

1:27 p.m.: European Union foreign ministers promised another $508 million in military aid to Ukraine's war chest to beef up the defense of the nation as the bloc's foreign policy chief exhorted member states not to waver in their commitment to sanctions against Russia, the Associated Press reported.

The aid decision came after a video debriefing on the latest developments by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who said he was "grateful" for the new funds, which brings the EU total to $2.7 billion but still urged the 27 nations to provide more.

12:05 p.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will discuss Ukrainian grain exports at their meeting on Tuesday in Tehran, an adviser to Putin has said, according to RFE/RL.

Putin is scheduled to travel to Tehran to meet Erdogan and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi as part of the so-called Astana format of talks related to Syria, the Kremlin said last week.

Yury Ushakov, Putin's foreign policy adviser, said that Putin's discussions with Erdogan would also include a plan to unblock shipments of Ukrainian grain.

Russia has captured some Black Sea ports and bombarded others, including Odesa, while Ukraine has mined the approaches to some of its ports to protect them from a Russian amphibious assault.

Negotiations between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and the United Nations are reportedly close to a deal to allow shipments of grain to begin moving through the ports.

10:47 a.m.: It may take years to hold perpetrators of war crimes in Ukraine accountable, the European Union's top justice official told Reuters on Monday, but those responsible should know the threat of prosecution will hang over them "forever."

EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders spoke as the United States and more than 40 other countries work to align evidence to help prosecution and trials for atrocities Russian troops committed in Ukraine.

"It will be for the next weeks, next months, next years, maybe for the next decades. For some cases, it will be very fast. It will be longer for others," said Reynders.

"But it is also a clear message to the Russian authorities - the risk of these investigations and prosecutions and trials will hang over them for the rest of their lives. It's forever."

Russia has denied targeting civilians in Ukraine.

9:38 a.m.: Officials from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations will most likely meet this week to discuss resuming Ukraine's Black Sea grain exports, Ankara said on Monday, while a Turkish official said lingering "small problems" should be overcome, Reuters reported.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine - two major global wheat suppliers - has sent prices for grains and other food products soaring. It has stalled Kyiv's exports, leaving dozens of ships stranded and some 20 million tons of grain stuck in silos at Odesa.

Last week Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the U.N. would sign a deal this week on the grain exports corridor after talks in Istanbul. But U.N. chief Antonio Guterres warned there was still "a long way to go" before there would be peace talks to end the war

8 a.m.: Six people have been killed after Russia’s military shelled a building in the eastern Ukrainian town of Toretsk, Ukrainian emergency service officials said on Monday, RFE/RL reported.

"Early in the morning, the town of Toretsk was shelled. A two-story building with people inside was destroyed," the Ukrainian State Service for Emergency Situations said in a statement on social media.

The service posted photographs on social media of rescue workers digging through rubble and what was left of the devastated building, and said the search for survivors had ended.

Toretsk, a town with an estimated population of 30,000 people, is located some 50 kilometers south of Kramatorsk, one of the last Ukrainian-controlled towns in the industrial east.

7:21 a.m.: European Union foreign ministers are zooming in Monday on tightening the extensive package of sanctions on Russia and looking at ways to add a ban on gold exports in hopes that the measures might finally start to have a decisive impact on the war in Ukraine, the Associated Press reports.

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said that at the moment “the most important thing is a ban on Russian gold,” which is Moscow's second largest export industry after energy.

The G-7 group of leading industrial nations last month already committed to a gold ban, arguing the Russia has used its gold to back up its currency to circumvent the impact of several rounds of sanctions that nations around the world had already imposed on Moscow for its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

5:50 a.m.: The Kyiv Independent reports that prosecutors say Russia's war on Ukraine has killed or injured hundreds of children.

4:45 a.m.:

3:45 a.m.: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged European Union foreign ministers to provide more military aid, enact an embargo on Russian energy and put a cap on Russian oil prices. He also encouraged European support for a tribunal to punish crimes of aggression against Ukraine.

2:30 a.m.:

1:30 a.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is hosting Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska for a meeting Monday in Washington.

12:08 a.m.: Amid continued Russian shelling of Ukrainian cities, European Union foreign ministers are set to meet on Monday to discuss tightening sanctions against Moscow, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

Among the measures being considered – and likely to be approved – is a ban on gold purchases from Russia, a move already put in place by international partners.

The EU could also act to impose sanctions on additional Russian individuals.

"Moscow must continue to pay a high price for its aggression," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday in presenting the proposals that foreign ministers will consider Monday.

A senior EU official told AFP the EU was likely to discuss new sanctions at the meeting but would not make an immediate decision.

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