Ukraine war live updates: Russia batters Ukrainian ports amid growing supply fears; 19 wounded at Mykolaiv

Forces of Russian paramilitary group Wagner, which formerly served the Kremlin in its hostilities in Ukraine, will carry out combat exercises alongside Belarus’ army troops, Russian state news agency Tass said in a Google-translated report that cited Belarus’ Defense Ministry.

The drills will take place at one of Minsk’s military bases near Brest on the Belarusian-Polish border.

Part of Wagner’s forces took refuge in Belarus after the failed insurrection of their leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, against Moscow in June. Minsk offered Wagner fighters sanctuary, but has yet to disclose how many such mercenaries it is hosting.

Ruxandra Iordache

“What we already know is that this is going to create a big and huge food crisis in the world,” Borrell said, ahead of an EU foreign ministers’ meeting.

Nicolas Maeterlinck | Afp | Getty Images

Russia’s Monday decision to pull out of a pact on Ukrainian grain exports imperils global food security, EU foreign affairs head Josep Borrell said Thursday, according to Reuters.

“What we already know is that this is going to create a big and huge food crisis in the world,” Borrell said, ahead of an EU foreign ministers’ meeting. He also echoed Ukraine in accusing Russia of deliberately targeting grain storage sites at the major embattled port hub of Odesa, which Moscow has been striking in recent days.

On Monday, Russia pulled out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which had, for nearly a year, allowed a humanitarian corridor for the export of Ukrainian grains into global markets during war time.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Ruxandra Iordache

At least 19 people were injured after Russian aerial attacks against the Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv, regional military administration head Vitaly Kim said on Telegram, according to a Google translation.

As a result of the impact, several floors of a three-story building were destroyed and a fire with an area of ​​450 square meters broke out,” he said. “In total, 19 people were injured as a result of the rocket attack. Eight people sought medical help – two were hospitalized, including a child.”

Ukraine’s air force on Telegram said that Russian troops once more struck the southern regions of Ukraine, hitting Mykolaiv and fellow port Odesa on the night of July 20, according to a Google translation. Russia has targeted both hubs in its offensives in recent days, following what Moscow calls a “terrorist attack” against the Crimean bridge.

Oleh Kiper of the Odesa administration said two people were hospitalized as a result of the latest hostilities, in Google-translated comments on Telegram.

— Ruxandra Iordache

Russian strikes on Ukrainian port cities continued overnight, Ukraine’s air force said on the Telegram messaging app, according to a Google translation.

Russia fired 19 missiles and 19 drones, some of which hit ports, residential buildings and shopping areas in Odesa and Mykolaiv, the air force said. It said it shot down two sea-based cruise missiles, three surface-based cruise missiles and 13 Shahed drones.

It is the third consecutive night of strikes, according to Ukrainian officials.

— Jenni Reid

An aerial view of a dry cargo ship transporting grain from Ukraine under the U.N.-brokered Black Sea deal.

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Russia’s Ministry of Defense said on its official Telegram channel that all vessels sailing toward Ukrainian ports will be considered military cargo carriers.

The announcement follows Moscow’s exit from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a maritime humanitarian corridor used for agricultural exports.

Russia’s military also said that all vessels transiting this waterway “will be considered to be involved in the Ukrainian conflict on the side of the Kyiv regime.”

— Amanda Macias

Farmers use harvesting vehicles to harvest grain in Stavropol Krai, one of Russia’s most important agricultural lands is seen in Stavropol, Russia on July 16, 2023.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russia’s missile and drone attack on Ukraine’s southern port of Odesa and the surrounding area over the last two days destroyed 60,000 tons of grain as well as crucial infrastructure, Ukraine’s minister of agriculture said Wednesday.

“The night-time attack put a considerable part of the grain export infrastructure in the port of Chornomorsk out of operation,” Mykola Solsky said via the Telegram app, according to a Google translation.

The port of Chornomorsk, in the Odesa region, has been a key port for the export of Ukraine’s grain and other agricultural products like corn and sunflower seeds. Before the war, Ukraine and Russia together accounted for 25% of the world’s grain exports.

The two days of Russian attacks on Ukraine’s ports immediately followed Russia’s withdrawal from a U.N.-brokered grain deal that allowed the safe passage of Ukrainian export ships out of the Black Sea. They also followed an explosion on Crimea’s Kerch Bridge that Moscow blames on Kyiv, though Kyiv has not claimed responsibility for it.

The U.N. and Western and Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of essentially attacking all those who rely on Ukraine’s grain exports, and of risking a hunger crisis. A large portion of Ukrainian grain and food products go to the Middle East and Africa.

— Natasha Turak

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