Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday called the Crimean Bridge a target that must be “neutralized,” ratcheting up tensions after Kyiv launched an assault on the structure last week. The attack on the bridge killed two people and temporarily shut down its roadway, which links the peninsula to mainland Russia.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
Zelensky said Ukraine would retaliate against Russian attacks in Odessa. Emergency workers flocked to the scene of Russian attacks, which killed one person and injured at least 19 people, including four children, according to the regional government. Photos and footage posted by Ukrainian authorities on Telegram showed piles of rubble, overturned cars and blown-out roofs in the city, as well as shattered religious murals at the destroyed Transfiguration Cathedral, a religious structure with more than 200 years of history that was previously destroyed by Soviet authorities in 1936.
One person was killed by Russian shelling in Kherson, Ukraine’s armed forces said. The attacks were aimed at a residential area and an administrative building, they added.
Zelensky discussed steps with NATO’s secretary general to unblock grain export routes outlined in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a pact that Russia pulled out of last week, Ukraine’s president said in his evening address. Zelensky and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also discussed Ukraine’s “fastest possible accession to NATO,” he added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko will meet on Sunday to discuss their nations’ “strategic partnership,” the Kremlin said, two days after Putin warned that any attack against the neighboring state would also be considered an attack against Moscow. The meeting is set to take place in Russia.
Ukraine’s counteroffensive operations are likely to “gain pace,” Zelensky said at the Aspen Security Forum, as Ukrainian forces try to retake ground from Russian troops. “We are already going through some mines’ locations and we are demining these areas,” he said.
Radar imagery appears to show newly arrived vehicles and equipment in Belarus at a rumored base for fighters from the Wagner Group. The images, provided to The Washington Post by Maxar Technologies and Umbra, show that “dozens, if not hundreds, of vehicles and equipment have recently arrived at the facility,” according to Stephen Wood, senior director at Maxar. The images show an increase in materiel compared with previous imagery gathered on July 16.
A drone attack in Crimea caused an explosion at an ammunition depot, prompting evacuation orders, according to Sergei Aksyonov, the Russian-backed head of Crimea. Aksyonov blamed the explosion on Ukraine, and the Ukrainian armed forces later claimed they had destroyed oil and ammunition depots.
Bulgaria has agreed to provide heavy military equipment to Ukraine for the first time since the war started, the Associated Press reported. It will provide about 100 armored personnel carriers.
“Many may die” from starvation without an active Black Sea grain deal in place, said U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths, as he also warned of a spike in global food prices and financial devastation for Ukrainian farmers. “Some will go hungry, some will starve, many may die as a result of these decisions,” he said.
A Russian official condemned Ukraine and the United States after the death of a war correspondent from Russia’s RIA state news agency. In a Telegram post, Viktor Bondarev, chairman of the defense and security committee in the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament, accused Ukraine of using cluster munitions and implied the United States was also to blame. Human Rights Watch has previously said that Russia and Ukraine were using cluster munitions during the war.
Russian tennis player Vera Zvonareva was barred from entering Warsaw days ahead of the Poland Open, border authorities said on Saturday. Though the reason for her denied entry is not clear, the Polish Internal Ministry cited Zvonareva’s nonadmission, suggesting she supports Russia and Belarus. However, the BBC reported that Zvonareva had worn a visor with the words “No War” at the Miami Open last year.
President Biden elevated CIA Director William J. Burns to his Cabinet, a symbolic move that reflects the central role the spy chief has played in the administration’s foreign policy, The Post’s Shane Harris reports.
Ukraine is littered with explosives. It will take decades to make it safe. In a year and a half of conflict, Ukraine’s heartland has been transformed into patches of wasteland riddled with danger. Explosive materials, artillery shells, undetonated bombs or rockets and land mines have contaminated a swath of land roughly the size of Florida or Uruguay. Undoing it could take hundreds of years and billions of dollars in what is now the most mined country in the world, Eve Sampson and Samuel Granados write.
“The sheer quantity of ordnance in Ukraine is just unprecedented in the last 30 years. There’s nothing like it,” said Greg Crowther, the director of programs for the Mines Advisory Group.