Ukraine war live updates: Kyiv faces sixth attack this month; Zelenskyy says Ukraine grain export ban 'unacceptable'

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Russia attempts its sixth drone attack on Kyiv, but all drones were destroyed, Ukraine says

Russia launched an airstrike on Kyiv in the early hours of Tuesday, but all drones were detected and destroyed before any damage was caused, according to a Telegram post by the Kyiv City Military Administration, according to a Google translation.

The barrage was reportedly the sixth drone attack on the capital in July, and lasted a total of three hours.

A view of Kyiv, Ukraine.

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There were no injuries or destruction to the city, Serhiy Popko, head of the KCMA, wrote.

The attack came after Russia accused Ukraine of carrying out a "terrorist" drone attack on Moscow Monday.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Nuclear watchdog confirms anti-personnel mines at Zaporizhzhia plant

The Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine on June 15, 2023.

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The International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed the presence of anti-personnel mines at the Russia-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine, Director General Rafael Grossi said on Monday.

His team was notified this is a military decision implemented in an area controlled by military forces.

"Having such explosives on the site is inconsistent with the IAEA safety standards and nuclear security guidance and creates additional psychological pressure on plant staff," Grossi said, "even if the IAEA's initial assessment based on its own observations and the plant's clarifications is that any detonation of these mines should not affect the site's nuclear safety and security systems."

The IAEA has repeatedly called to secure, demilitarize and ensure the safe operation of Zaporizhzhia to minimize the risk of nuclear explosion. The agency still does not have full access to the entire facility during its inspections.

Russia has occupied the plant since March 2022.

Ruxandra Iordache

White House is concerned over possibility of Russian 'false flag' operations

Russia may attack civilians and blame those attacks on Ukraine in a "false flag operation," a White House spokesperson said in press conference Monday.

"This is something we have been warning about ... And we continue to monitor that closely," Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told the briefing room.

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"This is something we have been warning about ... And we continue to monitor that closely," Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told the briefing room.

There are also concerns that the Russian military may expand its targeting of Ukrainian grain facilities to include attacks against civilian ships in the Black Sea, she added, "even though they are simply trying to pick up grain and ... products to feed people around the world."

The White House urged Russia to return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative "immediately."

Russia abandoned the U.N.-brokered deal that allowed the delivery of key Ukrainian grains to global markets on July 17.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

UN's Guterres urges Russia to return to the Ukraine grain deal

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Russia to return to the U.N.-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative that facilitated the export of Ukrainian agricultural goods to the global markets. Moscow pulled out of the agreement on July 17, objecting to Western restrictions on its own grain and grain supplies.

Western nations have condemned Moscow's decision.

"With the termination of the Black Sea Initiative, the most vulnerable will pay the highest price," Guterres told the U.N. food summit on Tuesday. "As food prices rise, the hopes of developing countries fall.

The Black Sea grain deal has benefited multiple recipients across the globe, including some food-insecure countries in the Middle East and Africa.

Ruxandra Iordache

Zelenskyy urges EU to lift 'unacceptable' ban on Ukrainian exports

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged the European Union to ensure that an "unacceptable and clearly non-European" ban on Ukrainian exports be lifted in his nightly address Monday.

Ukraine is currently under temporary restrictions that prevent it from exporting agricultural products to five countries in Europe, under rules in place until Sept. 15.

"We believe that the European side will fulfil its obligations regarding this date, when the temporary restrictions will cease to apply," Zelenskyy said.

A farmer inspects unsold corn grain stores on a farm in Sedziejowo, Poland, on Monday, April 17, 2023.

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In May, the EU allowed Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia to ban domestic sales of Ukrainian agricultural products, including wheat and sunflower seeds, after those countries expressed concern that the trading was damaging the livelihoods of local farmers.

The countries are poised to jointly ask for an extension of the ban, according to a report by Reuters.

"We are going to Warsaw to solidify the cooperation of the five countries and sign a declaration or agreement in which we will ask the EU to extend the ban beyond Sept. 15," Polish Minister of Agriculture Istvan Nagy reportedly told the news agency on July 19.

In his address Monday, Zelenskyy also mentioned Ukraine's hopes to join the European Union this year and said the country is doing "everything necessary" to make that happen.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Zelenskyy says Ukraine is focusing on defending against Russian drone strikes in port cities

Ukrainians clear away debris after a Russian missile struck the historic Holy Transfiguration (Spaso-Preobrazhensky) Cathedral in central Odesa, Ukraine, on July 23, 2023.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that his country's forces are bracing for Russian drone attacks.

"Our focus is on safeguarding our people, cities, ports, and the Black Sea grain corridor. Robust responses to attacks by Russian terrorists are being prepared to maintain our security and protect our interests," Zelenskyy wrote on his official Telegram channel.

"In all directions, our primary task is to inflict maximum damage on the occupiers, targeting their equipment, supplies, warehouses, and headquarters. Ensuring that Russia suffers losses every day is a just goal," Zelenskyy added.

In recent days, Russian forces have carried out punishing drone strikes on port cities, like Odesa.

— Amanda Macias

Romanian president slams Russian attacks near border

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis slammed Russian attacks on port infrastructure close to his country's border.

"I strongly condemn the recent Russian attacks against the Ukrainian civilian infrastructure on Danube, very close to Romania," Iohannis wrote.

The NATO ally shares a border with Ukraine and a coastline on the Black Sea.

"This recent escalation poses serious risks to the security in the Black Sea. It also affects further Ukrainian grain transit and thus the global food security," he added.

— Amanda Macias

Meeting of the Ukraine-NATO council will be held this week, Zelenskyy says

NATO head Jens Stoltenberg (L) shakes hands with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the end of a joint press conference in Kyiv, on April 20, 2023.

Dimitar Dilkoff | Afp | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the first meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Council will be held on Wednesday.

"I thank NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg for promptly convening the first meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Council," Zelenskyy said in a post on the Telegram platform. The group is expected to discuss Black Sea security following Russia's exit from the landmark deal that brokered a maritime humanitarian corridor for agricultural exports.

Zelenskyy also said that Western allies are preparing additional security packages that include air defense systems, artillery as well as long-range weapons.

"The recipe for ending the war is obvious: everything depends on the unity and determination of all who value freedom, culture, and life," he added.

— Amanda Macias

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