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Latest Developments in Ukraine: July 28

Ukrainian self-propelled artillery shoots towards Russian forces in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, July 27, 2022.
Ukrainian self-propelled artillery shoots towards Russian forces in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, July 27, 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.

10:06 p.m.: Since Russia's February invasion of Ukraine, USAID has provided health care, shelter and cash aid to Ukrainians.

8:25 p.m.: The U.N. Security Council has been unable to agree on a statement welcoming last week’s deal to get grain and fertilizer moving from Ukraine and Russia to millions of hungry people around the world, Norway's U.N. ambassador told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The statement, which Russia is objecting to, also would have commended Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Turkey’s government for their key roles in arranging the agreement.

“Norway and Mexico have been working for days to unify the council in one message welcoming the significant deal to resume exports of grains, foodstuffs and fertilizers through the Black Sea,” Norwegian Ambassador Mona Juul told The Associated Press. “We regret that this was not possible.”

7:55 p.m.: In addition to grain, Ukraine is a major exporter of sunflower oil.

7:03 p.m.: Twenty-three-year-old Ukrainian soldier Ivan Yevtushenko died in March in the Kyiv region, near the village of Moshchun. A direct hit by Russian forces took his life and his body could only be identified recently. His village of Andriyivka said farewell in an emotional funeral on July 26. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this story.

6:05 p.m.: A former Russian state TV journalist who quit after making an on-air protest of Russia’s war in Ukraine was fined 50,000 rubles ($860) Thursday for discrediting the military, The Associated Press reported.

Marina Ovsyannikova was charged under a law, enacted after the February 24 invasion of Ukraine, that penalizes statements against the military. A conviction is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

The fine was imposed for her comments at a court where opposition figure Ilya Yashin was remanded into custody pending trial on spreading false information about the military. The online Latvia-based news outlet Meduza, which covers Russia, said Ovsyannikova called the invasion of Ukraine a “horrible crime.”

She previously was fined 30,000 rubles ($270 at the time) for holding up an antiwar poster during the March 14 evening news broadcast on state Channel One. In Russian, the poster said, “stop the war, don’t believe the propaganda, they are lying to you here.” In English, it said “no war” at the top and “Russians against the war” at the bottom.

4:55 p.m.: French President Emmanuel Macron hosts Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday, Reuters reported, as part of increased Western efforts to court the major oil-producing state amid the war in Ukraine and faltering talks to revive a nuclear deal with Iran.

The visit to Paris by the de facto Saudi ruler, comes two weeks after he held talks in Saudi Arabia with U.S. President Joe Biden. The West is keen to reset relations with the Gulf Arab oil giant as it seeks to counter the rising regional influence of Iran, Russia and China

4:12 p.m.: A private research university, Central European University, has organized courses for Ukrainian students who were forced to interrupt their studies due to the war. The Invisible University started as an online program with summer courses now being held at CEU's Budapest campus. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports.

3:27 p.m.: Russia on Thursday said there was no deal yet with the United States on swapping detained U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner and a former marine for a jailed Russian cast by prosecutors as one of the world's most prolific arms dealers, Reuters reported.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States had made a "substantial offer" to Russia to release U.S. citizens held in Russia, and a source said that Washington was willing to exchange convicted arms trafficker Viktor Bout, known as the "Merchant of Death."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov expressed surprise at the public remarks from Blinken. Russia has repeatedly cautioned Washington that such discussions are best conducted in private. "So far there are no agreements in this area," Peskov told reporters in Moscow. "When discussing such topics, you don't conduct information attacks."

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova indicated that talks on prisoner exchanges had been going on for some time but without a result.

2:30 p.m.: The first rehabilitation center built according to U.S. standards opened in Irpin, Ukraine, three years ago. So far, it has survived the war intact and is once again accepting patients. VOA’s Anna Kosstutschenko has the story.

Rehab Center in Ukraine’s Irpin Helps Military Veterans, Wounded Civilians
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2:10 p.m.: A Syrian ship under U.S. sanctions has docked in the northern Lebanese port of Tripoli carrying barley and wheat that the Ukrainian embassy in Beirut told Reuters on Thursday had been plundered by Russia from Ukrainian stores. The Laodicea docked in Tripoli on Wednesday, according to shipping data website MarineTraffic.

"The ship has traveled from a Crimean port that is closed to international shipping, carrying 5,000 tons of barley and 5,000 tons of flour that we suspect was taken from Ukrainian stores," the embassy told Reuters.

"This is the first time a shipment of stolen grains and flour reaches Lebanon," the statement said.

Ukrainian ambassador Ihor Ostash met with Lebanese president Michel Aoun on Thursday to discuss the shipment, telling him that purchasing stolen Ukrainian goods would "harm bilateral ties" between Kiev and Beirut, the embassy told Reuters.

1:35 p.m.:

1:20 p.m.: The German government's hard line on Russia over the Ukraine war is coming under pressure at home amid growing worries about the resulting soaring energy prices and possible gas shortages in Europe's largest economy when winter comes, Reuters reported.

Until now, all mainstream parties - from Chancellor Olaf Scholz's leftist Social Democrats and its junior coalition partners, the Greens and Free Democrats, to the opposition conservatives, had backed the tough Western sanctions imposed on Russia after it invaded its neighbor.

In recent weeks though, some conservative leaders have voiced skepticism about the West's strategy. And while opinion polls show that more than two thirds of Germans still back sanctions, around half think these are hurting Germany more than Russia.

1:10 p.m.: Despite brutal fighting and a worsening humanitarian situation, many locals refuse to leave their homes in frontline areas of Ukraine's Donbas region. Trusted policeman Rustam Lukomskiy tries to convince those who remain to evacuate. He risks his life to help people in need because, as he says, "it means a lot." Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this story.

12:55 p.m.: In a small studio in Paris, Russian journalist Denis Kataev prepares his evening news show that he hopes will play its part in countering the Kremlin narrative about the invasion of Ukraine, Agence France-Presse reported.

Kataev works for Russian channel Dozhd (Rain), which for over a decade from its Moscow base was the country's most prominent independent broadcast media in a scene dominated by voices loyal to President Vladimir Putin.

But Russia's invasion of Ukraine led to the channel being blocked in Russia and forced to suspend operations for over four months. Defiantly, it has now resumed broadcasting from a headquarters in Latvia but also from Amsterdam, Tbilisi and Paris, where Kataev is based.

"I am optimistic," said Kataev as he prepared to present Dozhd's flagship evening news show "Here and Now" from an impromptu studio set up in a Paris journalism school.

12:40 p.m.:

12:10 p.m.: Five people were killed and 25 wounded in a Russian missile strike on a flight school in the central Ukrainian city of Kropyvnytskyi on Thursday, the regional governor said, according to Reuters.

Andriy Raikovych, governor of the Kirovohrad region, told a news briefing that two missiles had struck hangars at the National Aviation University Flight Academy around 12:20 p.m. (0920 GMT).

"There are victims, dead and wounded. Twenty-five have already been taken to medical institutions - they were wounded. Five were killed, one of them from the military," he said. "There are material losses - two civilian aircraft and one AN-26 aircraft."

Reuters could not immediately verify the report. Russia, which invaded Ukraine on Feb.24, did not immediately comment on the report.

11:45 a.m.:

11:20 a.m.: Polish authorities must stop locking up migrants near the Belarus border and put an end to their "very different" treatment of Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian refugees, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on migrants' rights said on Thursday.

Felipe Gonzalez Morales praised the actions of Polish authorities and citizens who have given protection and assistance to over 2 million Ukrainian refugees and lodged them in their homes since the start of Russia's invasion in February.

But non-Ukrainian nationals fleeing that country have faced difficulties obtaining residence permits and proper shelter and have not enjoyed the same legal protections, he said. Some people fleeing the war have been from third countries, often in the Middle East, Asia or Africa, who had been studying or working in Ukraine at the time of the invasion.

"I note with concern that this double standard approach has led to feelings of being discriminated among third country nationals," Morales said in a statement following a trip to Poland and Belarus on July 12-25.

11:05 a.m.:

10:35 a.m.: Ukraine has named a new specialized anti-corruption prosecutor after an almost two-year hiatus, a move Western countries have been pressuring it to make to stem graft many see as endemic to the country, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

Andriy Yermak, head of the presidential office, said in a post on his Telegram channel on July 28 that 35-year-old Oleksandr Klymenko will assume the post. "The fight against corruption is a priority for our state, as our investment attractiveness and business freedom depend on its success," Yermak said.

Klymenko previously worked as an investigator in the national anti-corruption office and was nominated for the position of anti-corruption prosecutor in December.

The Group of Seven (G7) leading industrialized nations had called for the appointment of another specialized anti-corruption official after Klymenko's predecessor, Nazar Kholodnytskiy, resigned in August 2020. Kholodnytskiy had been embroiled in a scandal over allegations that he helped officials suspected of corruption evade prosecution.

10:20 a.m.:

10:10 a.m.: Russia's media regulator has filed a lawsuit to revoke the registration of the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper, according to documents published on a court website, Reuters reported Thursday.

Novaya Gazeta, a stalwart of Russia's beleaguered independent media since 1993, suspended operations inside the country in March after receiving warnings from the communications regulator and being forced to remove material from its website on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

If stripped of its registration, Novaya Gazeta journalists would lose the right to work should the paper resume operations in Russia.

Part of the paper's staff have set up a European edition from Riga, Latvia. In April, the European edition's site was blocked inside Russia.

9:55 a.m.:

9:40 a.m.: As Ukraine hunts for traitors, the fear of Russian infiltration extends east, far from the capital, Reuters reported.

The sense of paranoia runs deepest here, in eastern Ukraine, where suspicions of treason committed by locals divide formerly occupied villages like Kutuzivka, a once-sleepy hamlet east of Kharkiv, where signs of a recent Russian presence are everywhere.

In a speech earlier this month, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke about the high toll Russian infiltration was taking on the country. Below the highest levels of treason he highlighted, there are many more cases that fall into a grey area. These cases can range from those who post pro-Russian content on social media to those who cooperate in any way with occupying Russian troops.

9:25 a.m.: More than five months after Russia began its attack on Ukraine, there is concern the world’s attention on the war is fading. To help, Ukrainian tennis stars joined their Polish counterparts to raise awareness and funds for Ukraine. VOA’s Myroslava Gongadze reports from Krakow, Poland.

Polish, Ukrainian Tennis Stars Play to Raise Aid for Ukraine
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9:10 a.m.: Russian forces on Thursday launched massive missile strikes on Ukraine’s Kyiv and Chernihiv regions, areas that hadn’t been targeted in weeks, while Ukrainian officials announced an operation to liberate an occupied region in the country’s south, The Associated Press reported.

Kyiv regional governor Oleksiy Kuleba linked the strikes with the Day of Statehood, which Ukraine was marking for the first time on Thursday. “Russia, with the help of missiles, is mounting revenge for the widespread popular resistance, which the Ukrainians were able to organize precisely because of their statehood,” Kuleba told Ukrainian television. “Ukraine has already broken Russia’s plans and will continue to defend itself.”

Russian troops withdrew from the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions months ago after failing to capture either. The renewed strikes come a day after the leader of pro-Kremlin separatists in the east, Denis Pushilin, publicly urged Russian forces to “liberate Russian cities founded by the Russian people — Kyiv, Chernihiv, Poltava, Odesa, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Lutsk.”

8:45 a.m.: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was on a major tour of Africa this week, seeking allies amid global anger and isolation over food shortages following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. VOA’s Senior Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine has this review of his trip.

Russia Seeks Allies in Africa Amid War-Triggered Food Crisis
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8:30 a.m.: Ukraine stepped up its drive to retake the Russian-controlled south of the country by trying to bomb and isolate Russian troops in hard-to-resupply areas, but said it saw evidence that Moscow was redeploying its forces to defend the territory, Reuters reported.

Ukraine, which describes Russia's actions as an imperial-style war of conquest, said on Thursday its planes had struck five Russian strongholds around the city of Kherson and another city in the area.

Russia said it was unfazed by Ukraine's efforts. The Russian defense ministry said its planes had attacked a Ukrainian infantry brigade in the far north of the Kherson region and killed more than 130 soldiers in the last 24 hours.

Kirill Stremousov, the deputy head of the Russian-appointed military-civilian administration running the Kherson region, dismissed Western and Ukrainian assessments of the situation. "(Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelenskyy's statement that Kherson region will be liberated in three to six weeks is...a lie. All these counter-offensives that result in a large number of Ukrainian casualties are coming to nothing," Stremousov told Russia's RIA news agency on Wednesday.

7:50 a.m.:

7:35 a.m.: More than 100,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Britain under two schemes set up to help those fleeing the country following Russia's invasion on February 24, the British government said on Thursday, according to Reuters.

Nearly 6.2 million refugees from Ukraine have been recorded across Europe as of July 26, according to United Nations data, with more than half applying for temporary residence schemes. Poland alone has registered more than 1.2 million Ukrainians.

Britain's schemes, one for those with family already in the UK and another allowing Britons to offer accommodation to those fleeing the war, initially faced criticism for being overly bureaucratic and leaving some refugees in limbo for weeks.

The government said the process was now fully digital and it aimed to process applications within 48 hours. It will also now allow children under the age of 18 to apply to come to Britain without a parent or guardian if they have proof of parental consent.

7:20 a.m.:

7:10 a.m.: Ukrainian forces continue to use U.S.-supplied precision rocket systems to target Russian supply lines in occupied parts of southern Ukraine as Kyiv signals the possible launching of a major counteroffensive in the region, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

But while the introduction of Western weaponry and the uptick of targeted attacks point to growing momentum on the Ukrainian side, how capable are Kyiv's forces of launching an offensive to retake and hold territory from Russia that it has occupied since the early days of its invasion?

To find out more, RFE/RL spoke with Chris Dougherty, a former U.S. defense official and fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington-based think tank.

6:50 a.m.:

6:15 a.m.: State-owned news agency TASS said Thursday that Russia’s media regulator Roskomnadzor has filed a lawsuit to revoke the registration of the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper, Reuters reported.

Novaya Gazeta, a stalwart of Russia’s beleaguered independent media since 1993, suspended operations inside the country in March after receiving warnings from the communications regulator and being forced to remove material from its website on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Part of the paper’s staff have set up a European edition from Riga, Latvia. Novaya Gazeta’s longtime editor in chief, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dmitry Muratov, has remained in Russia despite his vocal opposition to the conflict in Ukraine.

6 a.m.: Negotiations between Moscow and Washington on exchanging prisoners are ongoing, but have not yielded any results yet, Reuters reported Thursday, citing Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday he will speak with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov by phone in the coming days and press him to respond to an offer Washington has made to secure the release of American citizens detained by Moscow.

5:26 a.m.: Al Jazeera, citing the governor of the Kyiv region, reported that Russian missiles hit infrastructure in the area. Information about casualties was not immediately available.

4:57 a.m.: The New York Times reported that U.S. officials now estimate the number of Russian troops injured or killed at more than 75,000.

“Estimates of the number of Russian forces in Ukraine ranged as high as 150,000 in the spring, meaning roughly half could be out of action,” the Times reported.

3:31 a.m.: Al Jazeera reported that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has promised to rebuild the Antonivskyi Bridge in Kherson after Ukrainian forces destroyed it.

The bridge has tactical importance. Al Jazeera reports that Western military experts say destroying the bridge would interfere with Russia’s supply lines and make it harder for Russia to defend territory it’s sezied since the invasion began on Feb. 24.

2:29 a.m.: Reuters, citing an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, reported that Russian forces have taken control of the Vuhlehirsk power plant in eastern Ukraine. It’s Ukraine’s second-largest power plant. VOA’s Nike Ching has more.

2 a.m.: Britain’s defense ministry said Thursday that Ukrainian forces were gathering momentum in a counter-offensive in Kherson, an area Russia has occupied since the early days of the invasion it launched in late February.

“Ukraine has used its new long-range artillery to damage at least three bridges across the Dnipro River which Russia relies upon to supply the areas under its control,” the ministry said.

The daily assessment from the British defense ministry said the city of Kherson “is now virtually cut off from other occupied territories.”

Ukrainian forces struck the Antonivskyi bridge over the Dnipro River late Tuesday.

Russian officials said their forces would use other ways to cross areas with damaged bridges, including the use of pontoon bridges and ferries.

1:20 a.m.: The Institute for the Study of War, a U.S. think tank, said in its latest assessment that ground fighting is ongoing north of Kharkiv City and Ukrainian forces may have launched a localized counterattack southwest of Izyum.

Ukrainian forces also hit the Antonivskyi Bridge for the third time in 10 days on July 27, likely rendering it unusable, the update said.

Meanwhile, in Mariupol, the update said, occupation authorities continue withholding humanitarian aid to force civilians to cooperate with and work for the occupation administration.

12:02 a.m.: Any Asian aggressor who violates the sovereignty of other countries in the region risks punitive counter actions, just like what Russia is confronting now for its invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. secretary of the Navy said in a veiled warning to China’s increasingly assertive behavior.

Carlos Del Toro told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday night in Manila that the U.S. military focus in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly in the disputed South China Sea, would never slacken and in fact has intensified despite the war in Ukraine.

He did not name China but underscored that Beijing has encroached in sovereign waters of its Asian neighbors and violated international law with impunity.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters

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