Ukraine War: Six Latest Developments Related to Russia’s Invasion

1. The Russian attack on Vinnytsia claims 4-year-old Liza as one of the victims

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry on Friday released video of a 4-year-old girl named Liza, who was named as one of the victims of a Russian rocket attack on downtown Vinnytsia the previous day.

The video claims to show some of the last minutes of Liza’s life. It was taken by her mother, Iryna, who was seriously injured during the strike.

Russian missiles hit Vinnytsia on Thursday, killing at least 23 people and injuring more than 100 others far from the front line, Ukrainian authorities said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Liza was among those killed. Video of the little girl pushing her stroller while taking a walk with her mother has been widely shared on social media.

“Today our hearts bleed and our eyes filled with tears because our extended family of thousands lost one of us,” wrote the Down Syndrome charity.

Zelenskyy accused Russia of targeting civilians in places without military value.

“You were on your way from a speech therapy class and happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” the president said in his video address.

Zelenskyy’s wife, Olena Zelenska, later wrote that she met this “wonderful girl” while filming a Christmas video with a group of children being given oversized ornaments to paint.

80 people remain in hospitals after a Russian rocket attack on a residential area in the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, according to the government.

Rescue teams with sniffer dogs combed debris in the central Ukrainian city on Friday in search of missing people.

Russia’s Defense Ministry on Friday claimed its attacks on the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia hit a building where Kyiv military officials were meeting with foreign delegates.

Ukrainian authorities insisted the location had nothing to do with the military. (AP)

2. Ukraine receives the first shipment of M270 rocket launchers

Ukraine announced on Friday that it had received its first delivery of a sophisticated multiple rocket launcher system to complement a Western-provided arsenal of long-range artillery.

“The first MLRS M270 have arrived! They will keep Himars in good company on the battlefield,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov wrote on social media, referring to US precision missile systems recently deployed in the conflict. “No mercy for the enemy,” he added.

London announced in June the delivery of M270 MLRS rocket launchers with a range of 80 kilometers to complement the US Himars precision artillery systems sent from Washington with the same range.

Moscow has repeatedly warned Western countries against supplying Kyiv with long-range weapons.

The delivery of Himars to Ukraine has given its troops a boost in recent weeks and could help slow Russia’s advance, military experts say.

Since mid-June, Ukraine has destroyed more than 20 major Russian ammunition depots and command posts that were previously too far from the front line for traditional Himar projectiles to reach.

But even these new weapons are no silver bullet, experts warn, pointing out that more guns and radar systems are needed to strike the Russians together. (AFP)

3. New Routes: How Does Ukraine Get Its Grain?

Russia’s naval blockade of the Black Sea has created logistical chaos in Ukraine, the world’s fourth-largest grain producer.

As a result, many African countries are now facing a very real prospect of famine, while many Ukrainian farmers have no idea what to do with this year’s harvest as their silos are still filled with last year’s harvest.

As Ukraine and the EU desperately try to find what diplomats are calling “alternative routes,” Euronews’ Hans von der Brelie went to see for himself what is being done to speed up Ukraine’s grain and wheat exports .

Read and see his report here.

4. The EU will target Russian gold in the next round of sanctions over the Ukraine war

The European Commission proposed on Friday to include Russian gold imports in a new sanctions package aimed at crippling Russia’s economy.

The EU executive would not view the new proposed restrictions as a seventh round of sanctions – which many member states have already opposed – but rather as a “maintenance and alignment package”.

However, it would introduce a new embargo – this time against Russian gold.

The precious metal is Russia’s top export after energy and was worth more than 18.5 billion euros in 2020.

Read more here.

5. EU wants to optimize sanctions to protect Russian food exports

The commission will also amend existing sanctions to ensure they don’t disrupt Russia’s food and grain exports.

African countries blame EU sanctions for exacerbating the ongoing food crisis, mainly caused by the war in Ukraine and the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports from which grain is normally exported to the world.

The EU has refused its sanctions for the food trade. Proposed changes aim to ensure the rules are not misinterpreted by traders, including a ban on Russian ships entering EU ports, an official said.

Russian ships carrying food or medicine are already exempt, but some traders have avoided exporting food from Russian ports indirectly owned by Russian state-owned companies sanctioned by Brussels. The new package will clarify that these ports will not be subject to sanctions, the source said.

At the same time, the commission aims to tighten the existing ban and prevent Russian ships from evading sanctions by unloading their cargoes at external docks, the source said. For this purpose, the definition of ports should be expanded.

A ban on Western companies offering cloud services to Russian customers, also under consideration for the new package, will be maintained for future rounds as the measure is now being coordinated with the United States and Britain, whose companies dominate the sector. (Reuters)

  • The European Union has “shot itself in the lungs” with ill-considered economic sanctions against Russia that, if not reversed, threaten to wreck the European economy, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday.
  • Soaring gas and electricity prices forced nationalist Orban on Wednesday to slash a years-long cap on utility prices for higher-consumption households, reversing one of the 59-year-old prime minister’s signature economic policies. Read more about this story here.

6. Britain blames Russia for the death of a captured British aid worker

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she was “shocked” by reports of the death of British aid worker Paul Urey, who was captured in Ukraine in April, and warned that Russia should “take full responsibility”.

On Friday, a spokesman for the Russian-backed separatists in Donetsk said Urey died in custody on July 15.

Paul Urey, who was born in 1977, was arrested by Russian forces at a checkpoint in April along with another man, Dylan Healey, according to an NGO helping Healey’s family.

The two men were apparently detained while driving to help evacuate a woman and two children from their home in the southern Zaporizhia region.

Originally from northern England, Paul Urey is described as a family man who spent eight years in Afghanistan as a civilian contractor.

Full story here.