Moscow evacuates thousands as fire reported at Crimea military base – live

Crimean Bridge badly damaged after ‘multiple blasts’ in early hours

Russian is evacuating thousands of people and a major highway has been shut down in the Crimean peninsula after a fire broke out at a military training base in the Kirovske district.

“It is planned to temporarily evacuate residents of four settlements – this is more than 2,000 people,” said Russian-installed governor Sergei Aksyonov.

An ammunition depot was on fire at the base after an overnight Ukrainian air raid, reported Russian Telegram channels linked to Moscow’s security services. Neither Ukraine nor Russia has confirmed the reports of an attack.

Big flames and plumes of smoke were seen in videos shared online showing an uninhabited area, broken by a series of detonations.

Some Telegram channels indicated that the fire was still not contained as of Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s port city of Odesa witnessed “hellish” scenes overnight as it sustained more Russian airstrikes, officials said, a day after Vladimir Putin pulled out of a deal to allow safe grain exports from the region.

Authorities were still assessing the scale of damage and casualties from the “very powerful, truly massive” attack, said Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesperson for the Odesa military administration.


Chechen leader’s ‘dear’ nephew made head of Russia’s Danone subsidiary

A nephew of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has been appointed the new head of Russia’s Danone subsidiary after the Kremlin ordered the state to take temporary control of the French yoghurt maker’s business in Russia.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, many Western companies have fled Russia and some assets have been put under state management, with close allies of President Vladimir Putin gaining day-to-day control.

According to a decree signed by Putin on Sunday, the Russian state had taken control of Danone’s Russian subsidiary along with beer company Carlsberg’s stake in a brewer.

Yakub Zakriev, 32, a deputy prime minister of Chechnya and the republic’s agriculture minister, took the post of general director of Danone Russia on Tuesday, Interfax’s SPARK database of company disclosure documents in Russia showed.

Kadyrov, a close ally of Putin, has referred on social media to Zakriev as his “dear nephew”. Zakriev is the son of Zulai, one of Kadyrov’s elder sisters, and studied economics at Moscow State University.

The appointment is another indicator of the scope of the transfer of assets underway in Russia since the Ukraine war triggered the biggest crisis in Moscow’s relations with the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. It also indicates the considerable clout of Kadyrov, the son of former Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov who was assassinated in a 2004 bombing in Grozny.

Tara Cobham19 July 2023 09:00


Russia strikes Ukraine’s Odesa port in ‘hellish’ attack, says official

Russia launched a massive air attack on the Ukrainian port of Odesa for a second night in a row, which one Ukrainian official on Wednesday described as “hellish”.

However, authorities vowed they would not be intimidated, saying they would continue work to export grain.

The attack was “very powerful, truly massive,” Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesperson for the Odesa military administration, said in a voice message on his Telegram channel on Wednesday. “It was a hellish night,” he said, adding that details on damage and casualties would come later.

The attacks on Odesa, one of Ukraine’s main ports for exporting grain, followed a pledge of retaliation by Russia after a blast on a bridge linking Russia to the Crimean Peninsula on Monday that Moscow blamed on Ukraine.

Shortly after the bridge was hit on Monday, Moscow withdrew from a year-old Black Sea grain agreement that allowed for the safe export of Ukraine’s grain, a move the United Nations said risked creating hunger around the world.

“(They) are trying to scare the whole world, especially those who want to work for the grain corridor … Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations,” said Bratchuk.

Tara Cobham19 July 2023 08:32


Ukraine’s air force says it destroyed 37 of 63 targets in overnight attack

Ukraine’s air force said on Wednesday it downed 37 out of 63 targets in a vast Russian overnight missile and drone attack, including 23 suicide drones and 14 cruise missiles.

The air force said critical infrastructure and military facilities had been attacked in the nighttime strikes, and that the main target was Ukraine’s southern Odesa region.

Tara Cobham19 July 2023 07:42


More than 2,000 to be evacuated from near military base on fire in Crimea, says official

More than 2,000 people from the area near the Kirovske military base in Crimea will be temporarily evacuated after a fire broke out at the base, Russian-installed Governor Sergei Aksyonov of Crimea said on Telegram.

“It is planned to temporarily evacuate residents of four settlements – this is more than 2,000 people,” Aksyonov said.

Arpan Rai19 July 2023 06:34


Russia claims advances in Kharkiv

Moscow and Kyiv have presented vastly different accounts of fighting in northeastern Ukraine.

A Russian defence ministry spokesperson said its forces had advanced by up to 2km (1.2 miles) in the direction of Kupiansk, an important railway junction in the northeastern Kharkiv region.

Contesting the claims, Ukrainian deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar said the initiative in the area had switched to Ukrainian forces.

She said Ukrainian forces made new gains near Bakhmut in the east, a town that was captured by Russian forces in May after months of battles.

Six weeks since Ukraine launched a counteroffensive in the east and south, Russia is mounting a ground offensive of its own in the northeast.

Arpan Rai19 July 2023 06:17


‘Hellish’ attack on Ukraine’s Odesa port – official

Russia launched a massive air attack on the Ukranian port of Odesa for a second night in row, which one Ukrainian official described as “hellish”.

The Ukrainian authorities maintained they have not been intimidated and will continue to work to export grains.

The attack was “very powerful, truly massive,” Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesperson for the Odesa military administration, said in a voice message on Telegram.

“It was a hellish night,” he said, adding that details on damage and casualties will come later.

Arpan Rai19 July 2023 05:31


UN says ideas ‘floated’ on how to get Ukraine, Russia grain to world

There are a “number of ideas being floated” to help get Ukrainian and Russian grain and fertilizer to global markets after Moscow quit a deal allowing the safe Black Sea export of Ukraine grain, the United Nations said yesterday.

The Black Sea deal was brokered by the UN and Turkey in July last year to combat a global food crisis worsened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine and Russia are among the world’s top grain exporters.

Russia’s withdrawal on Monday, which included revoking its guarantees for safe navigation, also ended a pact between the United Nations and Moscow in which UN officials agreed to help Russian food and fertilizer exports reach world markets.

However, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres “will continue to explore all possible avenues to ensure that Ukrainian grain, Russian grain, Russian fertilizer are out on the global market,” UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

“There are a number of ideas being floated,” he told reporters, without giving details.

Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said an alternative to the Black Sea grain deal had to be found and “there are very active discussions now.”

Arpan Rai19 July 2023 05:22


Fire breaks out at military base in Crimea, major highway closed

A fire broke out at the military training grounds in the Kirovske district on the Crimean peninsula, the Moscow-backed governor of Crimea said today.

The fire forced the closure of the nearby Tavrida Highway, Russian-installed governor Sergei Aksyonov of Crimea said on Telegram.

Earlier, the RBC-Ukraine news agency reported that there were explosions on the military training grounds.

Arpan Rai19 July 2023 05:11


Russian air strikes continue for second night on Ukraine port

Ukrainian air defence systems were engaged in repelling a Russian air attack on the southern port of Odesa for a second consecutive night, the region’s governor said today.

Russia struck Ukrainian ports last night, a day after pulling out of a UN-backed deal for safe Black Sea grain exports, a decision that raised concern primarily in Africa and Asia of rising food prices and hunger.

“Do not approach the windows, do not shoot or show the work of air defence forces,” Odesa governor Oleh Kiper said on Telegram

All of the eastern part of Ukraine was under air raid alerts, starting soon after midnight.

Arpan Rai19 July 2023 04:32


US general defends Ukraine counter-offensive, says ‘far from failure’

The top US general has warned that while Ukraine’s slow-moving counteroffensive against Russian invasion is far from failure, the war ahead will be long and bloody.

“I think there’s a lot of fighting left to go and I’ll stay with what we said before: This is going to be long. It’s going be hard. It’s going to be bloody,” General Mark Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters.

Asked whether the counter-offensive was a failure, at least so far, he said: “It is far from a failure. I think that it’s way too early to make that kind of call.”

He confirmed that the counteroffensive will be slow, and was asked about another round of talks on arms for Ukraine.

In a delayed counteroffensive that began only a few weeks back, casualties on both sides mount and the frontlines have moved only incrementally.

The United States and other allies have spent months building Ukraine a “mountain of steel” of weaponry and training Ukrainian forces in combined arms techniques to help Kyiv pierce formidable Russian defences during its counteroffensive.

Kyiv has recaptured some villages in the south and territory around the ruined city of Bakhmut in the east, but has yet to attempt a major breakthrough across heavily defended Russian lines.

Kyiv says it is deliberately advancing slowly to avoid high casualties on fortified defensive lines strewn with landmines, and is focused for now on degrading Russia’s logistics and command. Moscow says the Ukrainian counteroffensive has failed.

Arpan Rai19 July 2023 04:07


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