Aftermath of a Russian drone strike on Odesa in southern Ukraine, April 19, 2023

EA on Ireland’s RTE: The Ukraine War from Bakhmut to Moscow

Tuesday’s Coverage: Putin Visits Occupied Territory in South

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Even as Poland lifts its ban on movement of Ukraine grains and other foodstuffs (see 0825 GMT), Bulgaria has introduced a temporary halt.

Caretaker Prime Minister Galab Donev said, “Over the past year, a significant amount of food has remained in the country and disrupted food chains. We are forced to adopt this national measure because the European authorities are still considering an adequate measure.”

Romania said it will not ban Ukrainian imports, but will seal and monitor Ukrainian grain cargoes with quality controls on food products at border checkpoints.

Romanian Agriculture minister Petre Daea spoke by video with Ukraine counterpart Mykola Solsky and asked him to “quickly identify solutions to restrict grain and oilseeds exports to Romania”. Discussions continue in Bucharest on Friday.

Seeking to ease tensions, the European Commission is proposing €100m in compensation for European Union farmers affected by the Ukrainian imports. There will also be restrictions on selling wheat and maize in affected countries.

Commission head Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the commission, has written to the leaders of Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia to set out the support measures.


Ilya Yashin, a former councillor in Moscow, has lost an appeal against an 8 1/2-year sentence over his criticism of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The rejection came two days after fellow dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza was given a 25-year sentence (see 0859 GMT).

Yashin was sentenced in December for describing the mass killing of Ukrainian civilians by Russian troops in Bucha, near Kyiv, as a “massacre”.

Yashin said in court that he has been imprisoned for “speaking the truth”: “The sentence delivered against me is amazing: 8 1/2 years for a 20-minute speech on the Internet. In prison, I met murderers, rapists, and robbers who have received lesser sentences for their crimes.”


Patriot air defense systems — provided by the US, Germany, and the Netherlands — have arrived in Ukraine.

Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov tweeted:

At a Thursday meeting of the international coalition in Rammstein, Germany, the Ukrainians will make a urgent request for surface-to-air missiles.


The latest Russian shelling across the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine has killed one civilian and injured at least 14.

A hospital was damaged in Druzhkivka.

One person was killed and 10 injured amid 18 shellings of the Kherson region in southern Ukraine.

Two civilians were injured, with rescuers looking for more under the rubble, after the Russian dropped two bombs on Vovchansk in the Kharkiv region late Tuesday.


Russian dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza, sentenced on Monday to 25 years in prison, has published a letter to his supporters.

Kara-Murza thanked his backers and asked them not to “say goodbye” to him too quickly: “Russia’s reality is often very different from what the official papers say it is.”

Recounting a story from the end of the Stalin era in the 1950s, he wrote, “They think they’re masters of eternity! You’ll see: this eternity will be over soon.”

The dissident addressed his wife Evgenia, “I love you. Everything will be fine. We’ll definitely see each other again.”


Ukraine Agriculture Minister Mykola Solsky has confirmed the resumption of exports of grains and other foodstuffs through Poland.

Facing protests by farmers in an election year, the Polish Government imposed the ban on Saturday, followed by Hungary and Slovakia.

Poland’s Agriculture Minister Robert Telus said Tuesday, after two days of meetings with Solsky and other Ukrainian officials, that an agreement had been reached to remove the ban.

Telus explained that Ukraine had guaranteed that all of its exports would transit through Poland and go to other destinations.

Ukraine’s Solsky continued to express concern that Russia is sabotaging the July 2022 deal lifting Moscow’s blockade of three Ukrainian Black Sea ports.

On two occasions since April 11, Russia has prevented ships from reaching the ports by blocking inspections.

Ukraine Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said that inspections resumed Wednesday “despite the Russian Federation’s attempts to disrupt the agreement”.


Five countries — China, India, the UAE, Turkey, and Singapore — are helping Russia evade international sanctions by refining and re-exporting Russian oil, according to a report by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

CREA identified the quintet as “laundromat countries” helping Moscow get around the $60 per barrel cap on its exports, adopted by the G7 nations, the European Union, the US, and other countries in December.

The five have increased seaborne imports of Russian crude oil by 140% in the past year. They take 70% of Russiaʼs oil exports.

“This is currently a legal way of exporting oil products to countries that are imposing sanctions on Russia as the product origin has been changed,” the report summarizes. “This process provides funds to Putinʼs war chest.”

The EU is the largest purchaser of the re-exported Russian oil as refined products, with Australia second. Japan, the UK, Canada, and the US have also imported the products.

The five “laundromat countries” increased their exports of oil products by 26% to price-cap coalition countries, and by only 2% to countries without a price cap.


In a notable shift, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol says Seoul might provide military aid for Ukraine if Russia carries out a widespread attack on civilians.

Yoon, who is on a state visit to the US next week, said the government is examining how to help defend and rebuild Ukraine. He compared the situation to international assistance to South Korea during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953.

If there is a situation the international community cannot condone, such as any large-scale attack on civilians, massacre or serious violation of the laws of war, it might be difficult for us to insist only on humanitarian or financial support….

I believe there won’t be limitations to the extent of the support to defend and restore a country that’s been illegally invaded both under international and domestic law.

Last week South Korea agreed to lend the US 500,000 rounds of 155mm artillery shells, enabling Washington to provide more munitions to Ukraine.

President Yoon had ruled out any supply of munitions, citing a provision that South Korea cannot directly provide lethal military aid to a party in a war.

South Korea has provided hundreds of tanks, aircraft, and other weapons to Ukraine’s neighbor Poland during the Russian invasion.

Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s former President and deputy chair of the State Security Council, responded on Wednesday with a threat:

I wonder what the inhabitants of this country will say when they see the latest designs of Russian weapons from their closest neighbors – our partners from the DPRK [North Korea]? What is called “Quid pro quo”.


Balancing his position, Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has condemned the “violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity” by Russia.

Speaking at a lunch on Tuesday with Romanian president Klaus Iohannis, Lula repeated that a group of neutral nations should mediate peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.

The President had pleased the Russians in recent days by putting equal responsibility on Kyiv and Moscow for the Russian invasion, and by declaring that an international coalition was prolonging the war by providing military assistance to Ukraine.

On Monday, Lula hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Brasilia.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Zelenskiy Government invited the Brazilian leader to visit Ukraine and see the destruction of the invasion.


Russian authorities have seized public relations specialist Yaroslav Shirshikov, an associate of detained Wall Street Journal reporter and US citizen Evan Gershkovich.

Shirshikov was taken away on Tuesday in Yekaterinburg, where Gershkovich was detained by security forces on March 29. He was charged with justifying terrorism, possibly over social media posts about the killing of Russian fighter and military blogger Maxim Fomin in the bombing of a St. Petersburg cafe on April 2.

Shirshikov spoke to Gershkovich shortly before the journalist’s arrest and was one of the first people to report that Gershkovich was missing. He confirmed that the reporter, who had lived in Moscow for six years, was in Yekaterinburg to report on Wagner Group head Yevgeny Prigozhin and the opinions of residents about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Gershkovich appeared in a Moscow court yesterday. His appeal for release before trial — which could lead to a 20-year sentence — was denied.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukraine’s air defenses have downed 10 of 12 Iranian-made drones in Russia’s latest, diminishing assault.

However, one drone struck an infrastructure facility in the port city of Odesa, setting the plant on fire, early Wednesday.

Emergency crews are extinguishing the blaze. No casualties have been reported.

Russia has carried out about 20 waves of missile and drone strikes on Ukraine since October 10, targeting energy infrastructure and hitting other civilian sites.

The campaign has all but ended, however, without knocking out the Ukrainian grid during the winter. Officials said earlier this month that repairs have been completed in all areas.

Ukrainian officials, foreign intelligence services, and independent analysts all assess that Russia’s missile stocks have dwindled. There has not been a significant wave since March, with Russia carried out individual, deadly strikes which have destroyed apartment blocks and residential houses.

Last Friday, 15 civilians were slain in Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine when S-300 missiles levelled apartments.