Thu. Dec 1st, 2022

U.S. “will use every tool” to counter North Korean weapon provisions to Russia, State Department says

United States State Department spokesperson Ned Price confirmed that the U.S. has information on North Korea’s provision of weapons to Russia and will do everything possible to counter it.

“Just as we’re using every tool and we’ll use every tool to counter the Iranian provision of weapons to Russia, we will do the same when it comes to the DPRK provisions of weapons to Russia,” Price said in a press briefing.

Despite its denials, North Korea has covertly supplied weapons to Russia for its war in Ukraine, according to Price. North Korea has hidden the “real destination of arms shipments by trying to make it appear as though they’re being sent to countries in the Middle East or North Africa,” Price said.

Price also called on all responsible countries, especially the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, to fully enforce existing sanctions. Russia has become increasingly reliant on outside weapons sources, including Iran and North Korea. U.S. officials see this outsourcing as a mark of desperation as Russia’s position on the battlefield continues to deteriorate.

— Rocio Fabbro

Turkey’s Erdogan tells Zelenskyy to increase diplomatic efforts to end the war

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the parliament in Ankara, Turkey May 18, 2022. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. MANDATORY CREDIT

Murat Cetinmuhurdar | Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a phone call to increase diplomatic efforts to end the war.

“President Erdogan stated that on the basis of an understanding that will lead to the full restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, diplomatic efforts should be increased to end the war with a just solution,” reads a post from the Turkish president’s official Twitter account.

Erdogan also emphasized the importance of Ukrainian and Russian grain exports, underscoring the importance of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. In the same call, Zelenskyy thanked Erdogan for his “active participation in preserving the ‘grain deal,'” in a Telegram post.

Turkey played a crucial role in both brokering the United Nations-backed deal in July and in ending Russia’s suspension of the deal this week.

— Rocio Fabbro

Russian jets and missile containers still in Belarus, Ukraine’s armed forces says

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko chairs a meeting on security in Minsk, Belarus, October 10, 2022. Maxim Guchek/BelTA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. MANDATORY CREDIT.

Maxim Guchek | Belta | Reuters

Missile containers and MiG-31K interceptor jets belonging to the Russian Aerospace Forces remain in Belarus, Ukraine’s armed forces said.

In aerial photos of Machylyshchy posted to Telegram by the armed forces, three MiG-31K’s can be seen. These fighter-interceptors can carry and launch the Kh-47M2 “Kinzhal” nuclear-capable hypersonic missiles.

Several missile containers can also been in photographs, in which the “Kinzhal” missiles can be stored, according to the Ukrainian military.

“Russia has occasionally launched these weapons during the Ukraine war, but stocks are likely very limited,” the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense said in a statement on Tuesday regarding the MiG-31K interceptors.

The MiG-31K jets were spotted over Belarusian cities on multiple occasions in October. The U.K. Defense Ministry suggested that the presence of these interceptors in Belarus is meant to “portray Belarus as increasingly complicit in the war” to the West.

— Rocio Fabbro

Russia’s economy shrinks 5% year-on-year in September, economy ministry reports

An elderly customer counts ruble currency banknotes at a supermarket in Moscow, Russia.

Andrey Rudakov | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Russia’s economy shrank by 5% on an annualized basis in September, the economy ministry said, a sharper contraction than the 4% recorded a month earlier.

Western sanctions and the fallout from Russia sending tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in February have pushed the country into recession, but Moscow says the West has failed to destroy the Russian economy.

Earlier this year, economists were predicting a double-digit recession for 2022. The economy ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that the country was on track to post a 2.9% contraction this year, and that September’s slump was due to a high base effect in comparison with the same month last year.

— Reuters

Ukraine Foreign Affairs Ministry calls for increased sanctions against Russian state media

The English-language Russian news website RT “is for a western audience, and so what what’s being shown on RT is not what’s being told in Russia,” said Security Discovery’s Jeremiah Fowler.

Lionel Bonaventure | AFP | Getty Images

Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called for new and expanded sanctions against Russian state media over its disinformation campaign, and mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

“We call on the international community to introduce and expand sanctions against Russian state media that spread false information, including to justify Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The invasion of Russian troops became a new record of brutal repression against representatives of the regional media: hundreds of media in the temporarily occupied territories were forced to stop their work due to threats and impossibility of carrying out journalistic activities under the conditions of temporary occupation,” the ministry said.

According to data from the Institute of Mass Information, Russia has committed 457 crimes against journalists and media in Ukraine in the eight months since the start of the full-scale invasion.

“We also express our gratitude to thousands of Ukrainian and international journalists who, often risking their own lives, tell the world the truth about the war in Ukraine,” the ministry said.

— Rocio Fabbro

Putin confirms resumption of Black Sea Grain Initiative, but says Russia could withdraw again

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a news conference following the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) leaders’ summit in Astana, Kazakhstan October 14, 2022.

Ramil Sitdikov | Sputnik | via Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that despite Russia’s return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative, it “reserves the right to withdraw” from the deal if Ukrainian guarantees are not met.

Russia suspended its participation in the grain deal over the weekend, after claiming a Ukrainian drone attacked its Black Sea fleet in Crimea. Ukraine did not claim responsibility for the attack, which some Ukrainian officials blamed on Russian soldiers mishandling their own weapons.

“We demanded assurances and guarantees from the Ukrainian side that nothing like this will happen in the future,” Putin said in a meeting with permanent members of the Russian Security Council.

“I have given instructions to the Ministry of Defense to resume our full participation in this work,” he added. “At the same time, Russia reserves the right to withdraw from these agreements if these guarantees are violated by Ukraine.”

Early in the war, Russia relied on its Black Sea fleet to launch missiles deep into Ukraine, but the fleet drew back into a defensive position after a series of embarrassing attacks this spring by Ukrainian forces.

Before last weekend’s drone attack, analysts noted that Russia already appeared to be laying rhetorical groundwork for withdrawing from the deal, before reversing course this week.

The grain is critical to feeding populations in some of the world’s poorest countries, and a return to a full blockade could have brought famine to millions in Asia and the Middle East.

Putin also committed to delivering the “entire volume” of grain that has been delivered from Ukraine to the poorest countries “free of charge,” if Russia withdraws from the deal in the future.

— Rocio Fabbro

Kremlin insists Russia will respect international commitments for responsible nuclear powers

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs the supervisory board meeting of the presidential forum “Russia – Land of Opportunity” at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia April 20, 2022.

Mikhail Tereshchenko | Sputnik | via Reuters

The Kremlin’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has released a new statement pushing back on a New York Times report that Russian generals discussed how Moscow might use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine.

“Russia is strictly and consistently guided by the tenet that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” said the statement, which was posted in English to the ministry’s website.

The Times cited unnamed U.S. intelligence officials, and reported that word of the alarming conversations circulated within the intelligence community in mid-October.

The Kremlin said it remains fully committed to a 5-nation pledge released in January of this year, which said in part that “None of our nuclear weapons are targeted at each other or at any other State.”

Asked about the new statement, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said, “we are watching this the best we can.”

Growing concerns about the potential deployment of a Russian nuclear weapon has been driven in part by provocative statements from Russian President Vladimir Putin, and also by perceived desperation in Moscow over Russia’s inability to make progress on the battlefield in Ukraine.

— Christina Wilkie

North Korea set to supply Russia with weapons to wage its war in Ukraine, White House says

White House National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby addresses the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, July 27, 2022.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. has indications that North Korea has agreed to supply Russian President Vladimir Putin with weapons for his war in Ukraine.

“We don’t believe that this will change the course of the war,” Kirby told reporters on a call, adding that the U.S. was nonetheless “concerned” about these additional weapons shipments.

“It’s certainly not going to change our calculus,” Kirby said, adding that the U.S. and its allies will continue to supply Kyiv with additional security packages.

Kirby declined to detail any potential diplomatic or economic responses Washington might pursue in the event that North Korea does supply Russia with weapons.

On Tuesday, Kirby said that the U.S. also had indications that Iran was preparing to send Russia more drones as well as surface-to-surface missiles. Moscow has carried out scores of devastating missile and drone strikes against civilian targets and critical infrastructure, relying heavily on Iranian-built drones.

Iran and Russia have sharply denied reports that Tehran supplied Moscow with a fleet of drones for use in Ukraine and the Kremlin has repeatedly denied that it uses Iranian-made drones to target residential and other civilian areas.

— Amanda Macias

U.N. welcomes Russia’s resumed participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative

A photograph taken on October 31, 2022 shows a cargo ship loaded with grain being inspected in the anchorage area of the southern entrance to the Bosphorus in Istanbul.

Ozan Kose | AFP | Getty Images

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the announcement from Russia on its resumed participation in the implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

Guterres “is grateful for the diplomatic efforts of Turkey, and thanks the U.N. Coordinator, Amir Abdulla, and his team for their work to keep this vital food supply line open,” wrote U.N. Secretary General spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

Dujarric added that the Secretary-General “continues his engagement with all actors towards the renewal and full implementation” of the deal.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal brokered in July among Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, eased Russia’s naval blockade and helped reopen three key Ukrainian ports.

The first vessel left Ukraine’s port of Odesa on Aug. 1 carrying more than 26,000 metric tons of corn. Since then, more than 400 ships carrying foodstuffs have departed Ukraine’s ports.

On Saturday, Moscow suspended its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative in what it said was retaliation for Kyiv’s “act of terrorism” in firing on Russian warships.

— Amanda Macias

New film on Russia’s seizure of Mariupol premieres in New York City

A screening of the documentary film “Mariupol, unlost hope” in New York, New York on November 1, 2022.

Amanda Macias | CNBC

A documentary film focused on Russia’s brutal attack on the seaside town of Mariupol made its U.S. debut in New York City.

The film, entitled “Mariupol, Unlost Hope,” tells the stories of five Ukrainian residents of Mariupol who witnessed Russia’s brutal seizure of the industrial port city.

“Three women and two men, who had been living in Mariupol during the first month of the invasion, tell what they have seen and felt, how they have made decisions inside of a war,” the producers of the film wrote.

Mariupol, which is still under Russian occupation, has since been described as a “city of graves” due to intense fighting and indiscriminate attacks on civilian infrastructure.

The proceeds from the event will be used to organize further screenings of documentaries about the situation in Ukraine.

— Amanda Macias

‘The largest human displacement crisis in the world,’ UN says of Ukrainian refugees displaced by war

A taxi driver takes a Ukrainian refugee child in his arms from his taxi as they arrive to Madrid. A convoy of taxis traveled from Madrid to the Polish-Ukrainian border carrying humanitarian aid and bringing back Ukrainian families fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in total 133 refugees, of which 60 are children. The convoy arrived to the foundation ‘Mensajeros de la Paz’, which will provide them accommodation.

Marcos Del Mazo | Lightrocket | Getty Images

More than 7.7 million Ukrainians have become refugees and moved to neighboring countries since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, the UN Refugee Agency estimates.

Of those, more than 4.4 million have applied for temporary status in European countries, according to data collected by the UN Refugee Agency.

“The international armed conflict in Ukraine has led to the largest human displacement crisis in the world today,” the UN Refugee Agency wrote in a report.

— Amanda Macias

Ukrainians light candles on All Saints’ Day to honor those who have died in Russia’s war

Lit candles, lamps, flowers, and flags are seen at the graves of the Ukrainian soldiers who died in the war with Russia during All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day at the Lychakiv Cemetery in Lviv. 

Mykola Tys | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Visitors light candles near the graves of Ukrainians buried at the Lychakiv cemetery to mark the celebration of All Saints’ Day.

Also known as All Hallows’ Day or the Feast of All Saints, the solemn holy day in the Christian church commemorates all the saints of the church.

Below are photos of Ukrainians visiting the graves of relatives, friends and soldiers who have died during Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine.

Lit candles, lamps, flowers, and flags are seen at the graves of the Ukrainian soldiers who died in the war with Russia during All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day at the Lychakiv Cemetery in Lviv. 

Mykola Tys | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Lit candles, lamps, flowers, and flags are seen at the graves of the Ukrainian soldiers who died in the war with Russia during All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day at the Lychakiv Cemetery in Lviv. 

Mykola Tys | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Lit candles, lamps, flowers, and flags are seen at the graves of the Ukrainian soldiers who died in the war with Russia during All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day at the Lychakiv Cemetery in Lviv. 

Mykola Tys | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Lit candles, lamps, flowers, and flags are seen at the graves of the Ukrainian soldiers who died in the war with Russia during All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day at the Lychakiv Cemetery in Lviv. 

Mykola Tys | Lightrocket | Getty Images

— Mykola Tys | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Russian ‘blackmail’ failed over grain deal, Ukrainian presidential aide

Russia is resuming participation in a deal to free up grain exports from Ukraine because it realised the initiative would still work without the Kremlin’s involvement, a senior Ukrainian official said on Wednesday.

Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said in a written statement to Reuters that Moscow’s decision showed that Russian “blackmail” and “escalation and threats” fail when they meet a resolute response.

“One way or another, Russia, embarrassed, returned to the ‘grain initiative’ because it suddenly turned out that the grain corridor would work even without the Kremlin’s participation,” Podolyak said.

“This says only one thing: Russia is always inferior to those who are stronger, those who know how to take a blow, those who argue their position strongly.”

— Reuters

UK sanctions four Russian steel and petrochemical tycoons

The British government said Wednesday that it had sanctioned four Russian steel and petrochemical oligarchs who had enabled Putin to mobilize Russian industries to support his military effort.

Alexander Abramov and Alexander Frolov were among those sanctioned for their involvement in the extractive, transport, and construction sectors, the U.K. said Wednesday.

The pair are known to be business associates of oligarch Roman Abramovich and previously owned major stakes in Russian steel manufacturer Evraz.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with businessman and then-Evraz CEO Alexander Abramov (L) in 2017.

Mikhail Svetlov | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Abramov and Frolov are thought to have an estimated global net worth of £4.1 billion ($4.7 billion) and £1.7 billion respectively, and are reported to have U.K. property investments worth an estimated £100 million.

The U.K.’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly commented in a statement that “Putin continues to rely on his cabal of selected elite to maintain control of his industrial complex and fuel his illegal invasion of Ukraine. Today we are sanctioning an additional four oligarchs who rely on Putin for their positions of authority and in turn fund his military machine,” he said.

“By targeting these individuals, we are ramping up the economic pressure on Putin and will continue to do so until Ukraine prevails.”

The other two oligarchs that were sanctioned were Airat Shaimiev, who has an estimated global net worth of £902 million, and Albert Shigabutdinov, who has an estimated global net worth of £977 million. 

All four men are now subject to travel bans, asset freezes and transport sanctions.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia resumes its participation in Ukraine grain export deal

Russia said that it will resume its participation in the Black Sea grain initiative, a deal with Ukraine to enable vital agricultural exports from the country, saying it had received assurances from Ukraine that it would not use the humanitarian maritime corridor for military purposes.

Russia had withdrawn from the deal, which was brokered by the U.N. and Turkey in July and seen as helping to ease global food shortages and price rises, after it accused Ukraine of attacking its Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol in Crimea last Saturday.

In a statement, Russia’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday that “thanks to the participation of an international organization, as well as the assistance of Turkey, it was possible to obtain the necessary written guarantees from Ukraine on the non-use of the humanitarian corridor and Ukrainian ports designated for the export of agricultural products for conducting military operations against the Russian Federation.”

Russia said that “the Ukrainian side officially assured that the maritime humanitarian corridor will be used only in accordance with the provisions of the Black Sea Initiative.”

“The Russian Federation considers that the guarantees received at the moment seem sufficient and resumes the implementation of the agreement – the Initiative for the safe transportation of grain and food from the ports of Ukraine (the “Black Sea Initiative”), suspended after the terrorist attack in Sevastopol,” it said.

— Holly Ellyatt

Wagner Group owner trying to ‘burnish’ his credibility, UK says

Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian businessman and close ally of Vladimir Putin. He recently admitted to creating the Wagner Group, a private military company fighting in Ukraine, in 2014.

Mikhail Svetlov | Getty Images

The owner of the Russian Wagner Group private military company, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has become less secretive about his link to the state-linked paramilitary group, according to Britain’s Defense Ministry, as he tries to “burnish” his credibility within the Russian national security system.

“In the last two months, Prigozhin has abandoned any pretence that he is not associated with Wagner and has been more explicit in his public statements. He is likely trying to burnish his credibility within the stressed Russian national security system,” the ministry said in an intelligence update on Twitter.

The ministry noted, however, that Wagner forces were advancing more slowly than Russian military doctrine expected, noting that on Oct. 23, Prigozhin said that Wagner forces were making advances of 100-200m per day, which he claimed was “normal in modern warfare.”

“According to their military doctrine, Russian forces plan to advance 30km or more per day in most conditions,” the ministry said.

Ukraine says it has ‘eliminated’ 800 Russian soldiers in the last day alone

Russian forces in Ukraine have seen far more casualties than Moscow was expecting, analysts say. In this image, Ukrainian soldiers are salvaging equipment from the body of a dead Russian soldier after a Russian vehicle was destroyed by Ukrainian forces on March 3, 2022.

Marcus Yam | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Ukraine’s armed forces said Wednesday that they have eliminated 800 Russian troops in Ukraine over the last 24 hours, bringing Russia’s total personnel losses, as per Ukraine’s count, to 73,270.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported on Facebook Wednesday that they had destroyed 16 more Russian tanks over the last day (bringing the total destroyed to 2,714), 24 more armored combat vehicles as well as a helicopter and a warplane among other weapons systems.

An abandoned Russian military tank is seen after Russian Forces withdrew from Balakliia as Russia-Ukraine war continues on September 15, 2022 in Balakliia, Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

There is much dispute over the number of Russian troops that have died during the war that began in February. Russia has released very few updates on the number of fatalities among its forces. The U.K., for example, said in September that it believed over 25,000 Russian troops had died (although the number rose to around 80,000 when troops captured or wounded were included). Russia’s defense minister said in September that 5,937 soldiers had been killed.

Ukraine’s armed forces noted that Russian troops have suffered the highest losses in the Avdiivka and Lyman areas. CNBC was not able to verify the accuracy of the report.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine grain exports down near 32% so far this season, ministry says

Ukraine’s grain exports are down year on year in the 2022/23 season so far to almost 13.4 million tonnes from 19.7 million tonnes at the same date a season earlier, the agriculture ministry data showed on Wednesday.

The country’s grain exports have slumped since Russia invaded in February, with the closing off of its Black Sea ports driving up global food prices and prompting fears of shortages in Africa and the Middle East.

A photograph taken on October 31, 2022 shows a cargo ship loaded with grain being inspected in the anchorage area of the southern entrance to the Bosphorus in Istanbul.

Ozan Kose | AFP | Getty Images

Three Black Sea ports were unblocked at the end of July under a deal between Moscow and Kyiv, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey. The shipments are continuing despite Russia’s decision to suspend its participation in the agreement.

Ministry data showed that exports so far in the July 2022 to June 2023 season included 5.1 million tonnes of wheat, 7.1 million tonnes of corn and 1.1 million tonnes of barley.

The government has said that Ukraine could harvest between 50 million and 52 million tonnes of grain this year, down from a record 86 million tonnes in 2021, because of the loss of land to Russian forces and lower yields.

— Reuters

Zelenskyy says grain corridor has to be defended

Farmers are seen harvesting wheat in Druzhkivka, Ukraine on 7 August, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the “grain corridor” — a humanitarian maritime route set up to allow vital agricultural exports to leave Ukraine — needs to be defended.

“The grain corridor needs reliable and long-term protection,” the president said in his nightly address Tuesday.

“Russia should clearly know that it will receive a tough response from the world to any steps that disrupt our food exports. This is literally a matter of life for tens of millions of people,” he noted.

The grain corridor was established after the U.N. and Turkey brokered a deal between Russia and Ukraine in July to allow exports such as corn, wheat and rapeseed (of which Ukraine is a major producer) to leave the country via the Black Sea.

Russia withdrew from the deal last weekend, however, accusing Ukraine of using the maritime corridor to carry out an attack against infrastructure and its Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol in Crimea, which it annexed in 2014.

Ukraine denies using the corridor for such activities and has not said whether it was responsible for the attack. In turn, it has accused Russia of undermining the deal since September. Meanwhile, the U.N. has called on Russia to return to the deal, warning it could drive global food prices even higher and exacerbate food shortages faced by vulnerable countries in Africa and Asia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Turkish counterpart Tuesday that Moscow could consider returning to the deal, which was due to be renegotiated in a couple of weeks’ time, if an investigation is carried out into the drone attack.

Ukraine, Turkey and the U.N. have agreed not to plan for any movements of ships under the grain initiative from Wednesday.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine first lady makes plea to tech community

Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska smiles during a standing ovation following Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenski’s address via a video during the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York City, September 21, 2022.

Mike Segar | Reuters

Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska made an impassioned speech on Tuesday calling on the global technology community to aid her country and combat Russia’s invasion.

Speaking at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon, Zelenska told attendees that technology has become “battlefield” in the Russian war against Ukraine. Russia “puts technology at the service of terror,” she said.

“Technology has in many ways brought us closer together through social media and messenger apps,” Zelenska said Tuesday evening.

“But imagine, all of a sudden a social media account stops getting updated, the person running it no longer responds to messages. And then you see their black and white photos and you know the unthinkable has happened. During this month, thousands of Ukrainian social media accounts will never be updated again. Those people are gone.”

She called on tech entrepreneurs and investors to invest in Ukraine’s tech and science sectors and make donations to her Olena Zelenska Foundation. Launched in September, the foundation aims to restore Ukrainian hospitals and schools that have been destroyed in the war. Children “should be flying to Mars, not running to their basements” to flee Russian shelling in war shelters, Zelenska said.

“You are the force that moves the world,” she said. “You have the potential and technologies that can help, not destroy; by helping Ukraine, you can move the world in the right direction.”

Before Zelenska was due to speak, Paddy Cosgrave, Web Summit’s founder, launched an attack on Ireland’s government over Russia. He said it has allowed certain Russian actors to avoid facing sanctions.

“The Irish government has for years lobbied both Brussels and the White House so that certain Russian oligarchs might be exempted from both U.S. and EU sanctions,” Cosgrave, who has long been critical of the Irish government, said onstage at Web Summit.

“My message is simple, how can Ireland help Ukraine stop bankrolling Russian oligarchs?” he added.

For its part, Ireland says it is opposed to Russia’s war against Ukraine and has joined its European Union alies in imposing strict sanctions on Moscow.

— Ryan Browne

Macron slams Russia’s suspension of Black Sea Grain Initiative and vows to send Ukraine more air defense systems

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and “denounced a unilateral decision by Russia” to suspend its participation in the  Black Sea Grain Initiative.

Macron accused Russia of weaponizing global food supplies by ending its cooperation with the U.N.-backed deal that led to the reopening of three key Ukrainian ports.

Macron also said he confirmed to Zelenskyy that France is fully mobilized “to increase our military support for Ukraine as soon as possible, in particular anti-aircraft defense.”

Macron also said that France was prepared to help Ukraine with its electric infrastructure, which has been significantly damaged in Russian attacks.

“Action is needed before winter. We shall swiftly mobilize both the international community and the private sector,” Macron added on Twitter.

— Amanda Macias

Russia has ‘seriously damaged 40%’ of energy infrastructure, Ukraine says

Power substation destroyed by a Russian missile attack, Kharkiv, north-eastern Ukraine.

Future Publishing | Future Publishing | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that about 40% of his country’s entire energy infrastructure has been seriously damaged by Russian missile and drone strikes.

Moscow has carried out several devastating missile and drone strikes against what Ukraine said were civilian targets and critical infrastructure such as energy facilities.

Iran and Russia have sharply denied reports that Tehran supplied Moscow with a fleet of drones for the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine. The Kremlin has also repeatedly denied that it uses Iranian-made drones to target residential and other high civilian areas.

— Amanda Macias

White House concerned Iran will send more drones and surface-to-surface missiles to Russia for its war in Ukraine

White House National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby addresses the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, July 27, 2022.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

The White House is concerned that Iran is preparing to send Russia more drones as well as surface-to-surface missiles for its war in Ukraine.

“We are looking at a range of options here, as we have said clearly we said it last week, this is obviously a violation of U.N. resolution 2231,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on a conference call. The U.N. resolution endorsed the Iran nuclear deal.

“Let’s not forget at its core, this is a regime in Tehran that is openly and willingly making themselves an accomplice to the murder of Ukrainians,” Kirby added.

The resolution prohibits the transfer “of all items, materials, equipments and goods and technology” from Iran to another nation unless it is approved in advance by the U.N. Security Council on a case-by-case basis.

Kirby declined to detail potential diplomatic or economic actions Washington would take.

Moscow has carried out several devastating missile and drone strikes against what Ukraine said were civilian targets and critical infrastructure such as energy facilities.

Iran and Russia’s representatives at the United Nations have sharply denied reports that Tehran supplied Moscow with a fleet of drones for use in Ukraine. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied that it uses Iranian-made drones to target residential and other high civilian areas.

— Amanda Macias

No ships will sail Wednesday under the Black Sea Grain Initiative

A port in the city of Odesa, Ukraine, on July 29 2022. The first shipment of grain exports from Ukraine in months comes after Turkey and the United Nations brokered an agreement between Ukraine and Russia to allow for the resumption of key exports from Ukraine, such as grain and fertilizer.

The Washington Post | The Washington Post | Getty Images

The organization overseeing the export of Ukrainian agriculture said that no vessels will sail by way of the Black Sea Grain Initiative on Wednesday.

The Ukrainian, Turkish and United Nations delegations “agreed not to plan any movement of vessels” due to Russia’s decision to suspend its participation in the program.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal brokered in July among Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, eased Russia’s naval blockade and saw the reopening of three key Ukrainian ports.

Amir Abdulla, the U.N. Coordinator for the Black Sea Grain Initiative, said he is in close cooperation and consultation with all signatories of the deal to resume full participation.

— Amanda Macias

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