The Sierra Leone-flagged Razoni, with 26,000 tons of Ukrainian corn, in Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait, August 2, 2022
Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1412 GMT:
The Sierra Leone-flagged Razoni, with more than 26,000 tons of Ukrainian corn, has cleared inspection in Turkey and is proceeding to the port of Tripoli in Lebanon.
The UN said that, in a three-hour inspection, a team confirmed the crew and cargo are authorized and are consistent with the information received by the Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul.
UPDATE 0928 GMT:
UK military intelligence says Ukrainian forces have damaged an important rail link in the Russian-occupied Kherson region in southern Ukraine, as Kyiv prepares for a counter-offensive to retake territory lost in the opening days of Moscow’s invasion.
A Ukrainian missile hit a Russian ammunition train. As a result, “it is highly unlikely the rail link connecting Kherson with Crimea remains operational”, assess the UK analysts.
Russia will likely repair the railway within a few days, but “it will remain a vulnerability for Russian forces”.
UPDATE 0904 GMT:
The US has added Vladimir Putin’s partner Alina Kubayeva and several oiigarchs, including the owner of the second-largest estate in London, to its sanctions list over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Also on the list are four officials named by Russia to administer occupied territories in Ukraine, and about two dozen high technology institutes and companies, including key state-backed electronics entities.
Putin associate and billionaire Andrey Guryev owns Witanhurst, second in size only to Buckingham Palace in the UK capital. He is the founder and former deputy chairman of PhosAgro, a major supplier to global fertilizer markets.
Natalya Popova, the wife of Kirill Dmitriev, the manager of the Russian government’s massive sovereign wealth fund, is also blacklisted. She works for the technology firm Innopraktika, run by one of Putin’s daughters.
Dmitriev conferred with Donald Trump’s associates — including Rick Gerson, a close associate of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Erik Prince, founder of the mercenary firm Blackwater — in early 2017 on a plan for close relations between Trump and Vladimir Putin.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: The first grain ship to leave Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, following a deal on July 22 to lift the Russian blockade, has reached Turkey.
The Sierra Leone-registered Razoni arrived in the Bosphorus Strait on Tuesday afternoon, en route to the Mediterranean with 26,000 tons of corn. Its destination is the port of Tripoli Lebanon, which is in a food crisis with an inflation rate of 332%.
The ship is anchored off the mouth of the Bosphorus. It will be inspected on Wednesday by officials from the joint coordination center set up in Istanbul to implement the grain export deal.
The Ukrainians plan for one ship to leave each day after 16 were bottled up in ports by Russia’s February 24 invasion. Officials expect $10 billion in foreign revenue from the resumption of exports.
In his nightly video address to the nation, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said:
Our goal now is to have regularity so that when one ship leaves the port, there are other ships as well — both those leaving and those approaching the port. Continuity and regularity is the necessary principle….
Russia provoked the food crisis in order to use the supply of wheat, corn, oil as a weapon, just as it is already doing with gas and crude oil….Let’s see how the grain initiative will work in the coming days.
Zelenskiy Speaks With NATO About Ukraine POWs
Zelenskiy also spoke about Ukraine’s prisoners of war, following the killing of at least 40 in shelling of a detention facility in the Russian proxy area of eastern Ukraine.
The President spoke with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, the current chair of the Organization for Security in Europe, on Tuesday. Zelenskiy summarized:
I paid special attention to the issue of our prisoners of war being kept by Russia. In particular, this also applies to the Russian terrorist attack in Olenivka, which must become an ultimate argument for all civilized countries of the world to officially recognize Russia as a terrorist state.
The Ukrainian detainees were slain in the prison last Friday. The Russian Defense Ministry initially tried to claim an attack by Kyiv on its own troops.
That claim was not supported, and the Ukrainian military said Russia carried out the attack “to accuse Ukraine of committing “war crimes”, as well as to hide the torture of prisoners and executions”.
The military noted that the POWs had been transferred to the facility days earlier. It cited intercepted phone conversations between Russian troops, the lack of reported shelling in Olenivka, and the absence of casualties among Russian personnel at the prison.
US officials added on Monday that a Russian attack was the most likely cause of the killing, given the evidence in images of the prison and its surroundings. They noted that the Russian claim of a strike with the US-made HIMARS rocket system was not supported by the images, and that there was on indication of any HIMARS — 16 of which have now been delivered by the US to Ukraine — in the area.
Russian officials now say they will permit an investigation. However, they still have not granted access to the Red Cross to examine the site and to see wounded POWs. They have also refused to provide detailed information on which Ukrainian POWs were killed or injured, or to return the bodies of the victims to Ukraine’s authorities.
On Tuesday, Ukraine Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said a preliminary investigation indicates that a Russian vacuum bomb exploded inside the prison.