Ukraine latest: Odesa strike condemned; Orban wants arms halt

Pentagon looking into the feasibility of providing fighter jets to Ukraine.
A truck unloads wheat grain during the summer wheat harvest on a farm. Image: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg
Condemnation was swift after Russia struck Odesa’s port with cruise missiles, a day after officials from Russia and Ukraine signed parallel agreements with Turkey and the United Nations to allow the safe transit of millions of tonnes of Ukrainian grain through the key Black Sea port.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukraine has about $10 billion in grain, including 20 million tonnes from last year’s harvest, available to export. Ukraine’s president rejected any cease-fire that would allow Moscow to keep territories seized since February.

The Pentagon is looking into the feasibility of providing fighter jets to Ukraine, a move previously seen as off-limits for fears Ukraine would expand the conflict into Russian territory.

Key developments
Russian Strike on Odesa Tests Day-Old Grain Export Deal
Russia Cuts Rates Below Pre-War Level in Surprise Jumbo Move
Ukraine Grain Challenge: Clear Mines, Find Ships and Trust Putin
US Treasury Gives Blessing for Swaps Auction on Russian Bonds
Banned in Europe, Kremlin-Backed RT Channel Turns to Africa

On the ground
As Russia’s invasion nears the five-month mark, Russian troops are concentrating on the Slobozhansk region to repel the advance of Ukrainian troops to the state border of Ukraine in the north and northeast of the Kharkiv region, according to Ukraine’s Military Office.

Moscow’s forces launched assaults in the direction of Pokrovsky and the territory of the Uglegorsk thermal power plant. Ukraine’s troops have continued an offensive in Kherson oblast, west of the Dnipro river, the UK said on Twitter. Supply lines of the Russian force west of the Dnipro “are increasingly at risk” after Ukrainian strikes, the UK said.

(All times CET)

Zelenskiy Meets With Congressional Delegation Led by Adam Smith (3:10 p.m.)
US lawmakers led by Adam Smith, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, met in Kyiv with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Ukraine’s leader briefed them on Saturday’s Russian missile attack on Odesa, hours after Moscow signed a deal to unblock Ukrainian grain exports.

“This proves only one thing: no matter what Russia says and promises, it will find ways not to implement it,” Zelenskiy said. “Geopolitically, with weapons, bloodily, or not, it has several vectors, as it always acts.”

Hungary’s Orban Says Time to Stop Arming Ukraine (12:57 p.m.)
The West should stop arming Ukraine and work for a peace settlement instead, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban said at an annual retreat for supporters in Baile Tusnad, Romania. He said Moscow hadn’t been weakened by sanctions and that the rest of the world isn’t joining in the repudiation of Russia.

Orban directly blamed the arrival of Western long-range artillery shipments for Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s recent remark about annexing more Ukrainian territory, emphasizing the need to understand the Russian position of requiring security guarantees.

US, UN Condemn Russian Strike on Odessa (12:30 p.m.)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “unequivocally condemns” the reported strikes today in the Ukrainian port of Odesa, a spokesman said.

“Yesterday, all parties made clear commitments on the global stage to ensure the safe movement of Ukrainian grain and related products to global markets,” Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for Guterres, said in a statement. “Full implementation by the Russian federation, Ukraine and Turkey is imperative.”

Bridget Brink, the US ambassador to Ukraine, said Russian “must be held to account.”

Russian Missiles Strike Odesa Sea Port (11:10 a.m.)
Russia attacked the Odesa sea port on Saturday, less than 24 hours after signing an agreement aimed at restarting Ukrainian grain exports from Odesa and two other Black Sea locations.

Two Kalibr missiles hit the port’s infrastructure and two were shot down by Ukraine’s air defenses, Serhiy Bratchuk, adviser to the head of the Odesa regional military administration, said on Telegram.

Zelenskiy Says 20M Tonnes of Grain From Last Year Can be Shipped (7 a.m.)
About 20 million tonnes of grain from last year’s Ukrainian harvest can be exported under the new Black Sea protocol, in addition to new-crop supplies now being harvested, said President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

“We now have approximately $10 billion worth of grain,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly speech to the nation Friday night.

Separately, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Zelenskiy said there could be no cease fire with Russia that allowed Moscow to hold the territories seized since February. “They will not use this pause to change their geopolitics or to renounce their claims on the former Soviet republics,” he said.

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