Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Live Update: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 564

Russia, wary of NATO’s eastward expansion, began a military campaign in Ukraine in February 2022 after the Western-leaning Kiev government turned a deaf ear to Moscow’s calls for its neighbor to maintain its neutrality. In the middle of the mayhem, Moscow and Kiev are trying to hammer out a peaceful solution to the conflict. Follow the latest about the Russia-Ukraine conflict here:

Ukraine’s counteroffensive to continue after onset of bad weather: Spy chief

Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russian forces will continue through the onset of cold and wet weather later this year, even though it would become harder to fight, Kyiv’s intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov said on Sunday.

Ukraine launched a much-vaunted counteroffensive this summer that has retaken more than a dozen villages in the south and east over three months, but has been complicated by vast minefields and heavily entrenched Russian forces.

“Combat actions will continue in one way or another. In the cold, wet and mud, it is more difficult to fight. Fighting will continue. The counteroffensive will continue,” Budanov added.

The comments, made at a conference in Kyiv hosted by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, offer the strongest indication to date that Ukraine does not plan to halt its push when the weather turns later this year.

The West supplied billions of dollars of military equipment and trained up thousands of Ukrainian fighters for the counteroffensive to help Kyiv try to regain territory.

But the slow progress of the counteroffensive has sparked concerns among Kyiv’s supporters that the West could struggle to maintain the scale of military aid to keep Ukraine battling on at the same intensity.

Vadym Skibytskyi, an official from Ukraine’s military spy agency, stated on Saturday that Russia currently had 420,000 servicemen inside Ukraine.

“Our counteroffensive is happening in several directions,” Budanov continued, acknowledging that progress had been slower than he had wanted and describing the situation as difficult.

EU takes aim at Russian ‘cynicism’ on Black Sea grain deal at G20

The European Union has criticised Russia for pulling out of the Black Sea grain deal, calling its offer of a million tons of grain to African countries a “parody of generosity”.

Charles Michel, president of the European Council, told the annual G20 summit in New Delhi that the 2022 grain accord had delivered to vulnerable countries more than 30 times the volume offered to Africa by Russia.

“And what cynicism … you did not accept this,” Michel stated in comments directed at the Russian summit representative, Moscow’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Russia quit the deal in July, a year after it was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, complaining that its own food and fertiliser exports faced obstacles and insufficient Ukrainian grain was going to countries in need.

G20 declaration ‘nothing to be proud of’: Ukraine

The Ukrainian foreign ministry said the joint declaration by the G20 group of countries relating to the Russian invasion of Ukraine was “nothing to be proud of”, as it criticised the text for not mentioning Russia.

“It is clear that the participation of the Ukrainian side (in the G20 meeting) would have allowed the participants to better understand the situation,” foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko wrote on Facebook.

G20 summit statement avoids condemning Russia for Ukraine war, calls for peace

The Group of 20 nations adopted a consensus declaration at a summit on Saturday that avoided condemnation of Russia for the war in Ukraine but called on all states to refrain from the use of force to seize territory.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of host India announced that the Leaders’ Declaration had been adopted on the first day of the weekend summit.

The consensus came as a surprise as the group is deeply divided over the war in Ukraine, with Western nations earlier pushing for strong condemnation of Russia in the Leaders’ Declaration, while other countries demanded a focus on broader economic issues.

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