Russia Ukraine War News Highlights: Zelenskyy hosts talks with UN Chief and Turkish President Erdoğan – The Indian Express

Russia Ukraine War news: Turkey’s president and the UN chief met with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy on Thursday in a high-stakes bid to ratchet down a war raging for nearly six months, discuss desperately needed grain exports and address the safety of Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant amid the fighting. The gathering, held far from the front lines in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, near the Polish border, marked the first visit to Ukraine by Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan since the outbreak of the war, and the second by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres.
Ukraine’s foreign ministry on Thursday posted an update on Twitter highlighting Russia’s losses since the start of the invasion. According to the ministry, at least 44,300 Russian soldiers have been killed. Russia Thursday claimed that Ukraine is preparing a ‘provocation’ at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant on August 19, reported the news agency Reuters.
Russia has sacked the sitting commander of its Black Sea fleet Igor Osipov and named Viktor Sokolov as the new chief, said Reuters news agency on Wednesday, quoting a report in Moscow’s RIA that cited sources. If confirmed, the move would mark one of the most prominent sackings of a Russian military official so far in the Russia-Ukraine war. The Black Sea Fleet, which has a revered history in Russia, has suffered several humiliations since President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday he discussed possible ways of ending the war between Ukraine and Russia in a trilateral meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskky and UN chief Antonio Guterres.
Speaking after the meeting in Ukraine’s Lviv, Erdogan said they discussed using the positive atmosphere created by a U.N.-brokered grain export deal to establish lasting peace. He also said they discussed the exchange of prisoners of war between Ukraine and Russia, and that he would later raise the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We attach great importance to this issue…of what happened to the exchange of these captives,” Erdogan said.  (Reuters)
Turkey’s president and the UN chief met with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy on Thursday in a high-stakes bid to ratchet down a war raging for nearly six months, discuss desperately needed grain exports and address the safety of Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant amid the fighting. 
The gathering, held far from the front lines in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, near the Polish border, marked the first visit to Ukraine by Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan since the outbreak of the war, and the second by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres.Erdogan has positioned himself as a go-between in efforts to stop the fighting that erupted when Russia invaded Ukraine. 
While Turkey is a NATO member, its wobbly economy is reliant on Russia for trade, and the country has tried to steer a middle course.On the battlefield, meanwhile, at least 11 people were killed and 40 wounded in heavy Russian missile strikes on Ukraine’s Kharkiv region on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, Ukrainian authorities said.Russia’s military claimed that it struck a base for foreign mercenaries in Kharkiv, killing 90. (AP)
Estonia’s foreign minister on Thursday defended his country’s decision to bar Russian tourists, saying they are shirking their “moral responsibility” to stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime and its “genocidal war” in Ukraine. 
The small Baltic country, which shares a 300-kilometer (190-mile) border with Russia, stopped issuing tourist visas to Russians months ago, and as of Thursday no longer accepts those previously issued.“Our idea is to give a signal to all our European partners, all our Western community partners, to close down our borders to Russian citizens, except humanitarian cases,” Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu told The Associated Press in an interview in Tallinn. 
“Russian citizens are not welcome in Europe. Their country is committing a genocidal war against an innocent people. (AP)
Three civilians were killed and 17 wounded in a pre-dawn rocket attack on the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Thursday, the local emergency service said. In a post on Facebook, the agency said 40 rescuers had worked to deal with the attack’s aftermath, and that eight people had been rescued from the rubble.
The strike followed a Russian attack on Kharkiv on Wednesday, in which the emergencies service said 12 people were killed. “Last night was one of the most tragic of the entire war in the Kharkiv region,” local governor Oleh Synehubov wrote on the Telegram messaging app. Synehubov also said two people were killed on Thursday in a rocket attack on the town of Krasnohrad in the Kharkiv region.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy described Wednesday’s attack on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, as a “devious and cynical strike on civilians with no justification”. (Reuters)
A Russian cargo ship that Ukraine alleges holds stolen wheat from territory seized by Moscow appears to have reached the Syrian port of Tartus, according to satellite images analyzed Thursday by The Associated Press.The arrival of the SV Konstantin marks just the latest shipment of Ukrainian grain — whether legally purchased or allegedly looted — to reach Syria. 
Another vessel, the Razoni, recently docked full of legally purchased Ukrainian corn as part of a United Nations-led effort to get the country’s food out of the war zone to a hungry world. 
The Konstantin’s arrival also shows the level Damascus has relied on Russia to keep Syria’s embattled President Bashar Assad in power amid his own nation’s yearslong war, particularly at this Mediterranean Sea port that hosts Russian warships and has crucial Russian-run grain silos. The Konstantin traveled from the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula in the Black Sea from around July 6, according to ship-tracking data from MarineTraffic.com analyzed by the AP. (AP)
The illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is continuing.

The map below is the latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 18 August 2022

Find out more about the UK government’s response: https://t.co/E2PWzbDV9Y

🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/wmDpKm5g3N
Russian anti-war activists in Cyprus have vowed to continue holding protests against the invasion of Ukraine despite, they say, becoming the target of a threat after their faces appeared on a billboard site draped in black ribbons. The pictures of nine activists appeared in late July on the seafront in Limassol, a city popular with both Russians and Ukrainians and where anti-war demonstrators regularly gather.
All nine had participated in protests that regularly take place in the city, which draw crowds ranging from dozens to hundreds. Their photos, each with a ribbon, had been set into a collage attached to a fence used for billboard announcements, together with three red candles set on a ledge.
“Its a memorial for people. In Russia its very common to make threats like this,” said one of those depicted, Evgenii Elesin, 38, one of thousands of Russians living in Cyprus. (Reuters)
Ukraine’s foreign ministry on Thursday posted an update on Twitter highlighting Russia’s losses since the start of the invasion. According to the ministry, at least 44,300 Russian soldiers have been killed.
1️⃣7️⃣6️⃣ days of full-scale #Russia’s war on #Ukraine.

Information on #Russian invasion.
Losses of the Russian armed forces in Ukraine, August 18. pic.twitter.com/gxaMLeyh7u

The Russian rouble steadied and stocks were flat on Thursday, lacking new momentum in summer trade, while bond prices inched higher after inflation data underpinned expectations for another rate cut by the central bank. At 0759 GMT, the rouble was little changed on the day at 60.77 against the dollar and down 0.2% at 61.78 against the euro. Propped up by capital controls, the rouble became the world’s best-performing currency. (Reuters)
As a potential power broker, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will use his first visit to Ukraine since the war started nearly six months ago to seek ways to expand the export of grain from Europe’s breadbasket to the world’s needy while UN Secretary-General António Guterres will focus on containing the volatile situation at a Russian-occupied nuclear power plant. 
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is hosting both men far away from the front lines, in the western city of Lviv, where diplomatic efforts to help end the war will also be on the agenda.Meanwhile, the screams of incoming shells still overpowered the whispers of diplomacy. 
A total of 11 people were killed and 40 wounded in a series of massive Russian missile strikes on Ukraine’s Kharkiv region on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.The late Wednesday attack on Kharkiv killed at least seven people, wounded 20 others and damaged residential buildings and civilian infrastructure, authorities said. At the same time, The Russian Defense Ministry on Thursday morning claimed it targeted “a temporary base of foreign mercenaries” in the city of Kharkiv, killing 90 of them. (AP)
They sneak down darkened alleys to set explosives. They identify Russian targets for Ukrainian artillery and long-range rockets provided by the United States. They blow up rail lines and assassinate officials they consider collaborators with the Russians.
Slipping back-and-forth across the front lines, the guerrilla fighters are known in Ukraine as partisans, and in recent weeks they have taken an ever more prominent role in the war, rattling Russian forces by helping deliver humiliating blows in occupied areas they thought were safe.
Increasingly, Ukraine is taking the fight against Russian forces into Russian-controlled areas, whether with elite military units, like the one credited Tuesday with a huge explosion at a Russian ammunition depot in the occupied Crimean Peninsula, or an underground network of the guerrillas. (Read more)
The Russian rouble steadied and stocks were flat on Thursday, lacking new momentum in summer trade, while bond prices inched higher after inflation data underpinned expectations for another rate cut by the central bank.
At 0759 GMT, the rouble was little changed on the day at 60.77 against the dollar and down 0.2% at 61.78 against the euro. (Reuters)
Russia’s Defence Ministry accused Ukraine on Thursday of planning a “provocation” at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on Aug. 19 when U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres is due to visit, Russian state-owned news agency RIA reported. The ministry provided no evidence to back up its assertion.
In a statement, it said there are no Russian heavy weapons at the Russian-controlled nuclear reactor complex, or in nearby districts.
The plant has come under fire repeatedly in recent weeks, with both Ukraine and Russia blaming each other for the shelling. Ukraine has said that Russia has deployed artillery in and around the plant. (Reuters)
Gas flows eastbound through the Yamal-Europe pipeline to Poland from Germany rose on Thursday, operator data showed, while flows via Nord Stream 1 from Russia, which has cut the pipeline to 20% of its capacity citing maintenance work, remained steady.
Exit flows at the Mallnow metering point on the German border stood at 5,693,614 kilowatt hours per hour (kWh/h) on Thursday morning, up from 5,030,862 kWh/h at midnight, data from pipeline operator Gascade showed.
Physical flows via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline stood at 14,438,059 kWh/h for 0700-0800 CET (0500-0600 GMT), unchanged from the previous day.
Russia’s Gazprom said it would ship 42.1 million cubic metres (mcm) of gas to Europe via Ukraine on Thursday, down slightly from 42.2 mcm on Wednesday. (Reuters)
Just in: Ukraine preparing a ‘provocation’ at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant on August 19, claims Moscow.
One more ship carrying grain has left Ukraine’s Chornomorsk port, Turkey’s Defence Ministry said Thursday, bringing the total number of vessels to leave Ukraine’s Black Sea ports under a UN-brokered grain export deal to 25.
The Belize-flagged I Maria was loaded with corn, it said, adding that four other ships will arrive in Ukraine’s ports on Thursday to be loaded with grain. (Reuters)
🚨 Russian bombardments in a residential area of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-biggest city, on Wednesday evening killed seven people and injured 16, the Ukrainian Emergencies Service said.
Russian military leadership is falsely claiming that recent #Ukrainian strikes on Russian military objects in #Crimea are terrorist attacks to deflect calls to designate #Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Read our full report w/ @criticalthreats: https://t.co/lt64oCp1oh pic.twitter.com/CA6ulG7dZV

🚨 Ukrainian forces killed 29 “occupiers” as well as destroying artillery, armoured vehicles and a military supply depot, the south district of the Operational Command of the Ukrainian armed forces said .
🚨 Russia’s Black Sea fleet based in annexed Crimea has installed a new commander, RIA news agency cited sources as saying on Wednesday, after Russian military bases on the peninsula were rocked by explosions in the past nine days.
🚨 Ukrainian technicians at the Russian-held nuclear power plant hit by shelling work under the barrels of Russian guns and face huge pressure, but they are staying on to make sure there is no Chornobyl-style disaster, one of them said. (Reuters)
Ukrainian authorities have performed disaster response drills near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, located near the city of Enerhodar in Ukraine’s south.
The plant has been under Russian occupation since it was captured in March, but is still run by Ukrainian technicians.
Kyiv and Moscow have accused each other of the shelling of the plant. Both sides have described this as “nuclear terrorism.” (DW)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Ukraine on Thursday, with grain exports and concerns about the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to top the agenda.
The trilateral meeting marks Erdogan’s first in-person discussion with Zelenskyy since Russia’s invasion on February 24, although the Turkish leader has met Russian President Vladimir Putin twice in recent months.
The three leaders will hold a joint news conference after their meetings in Lviv, an important transit point for Ukrainian refugees heading west to Europe since Russia’s February 24 invasion. (Reuters)

The first ship to depart Ukraine under a deal to resume grain exports from the country two weeks ago was docked in Syria’s Tartous on Tuesday, according to a shipping source and satellite data. (Reuters)
There was a mass grave that held 300 people, and I was standing at its edge. The chalky body bags were piled up in the pit, exposed. One moment before, I was a different person, someone who never knew how wind smelled after it passed over the dead on a pleasant summer afternoon.
Ukraine, Kyiv, Russian shelling in Ukraine, Ukrainian soldiers at their frontline position the frontline in the Mykolaiv region of southern Ukraine on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022. (Daniel Berehulak/The New York Times)
In mid-June, those corpses were far from a complete count of the civilians killed by shelling in the area around the industrial city of Lysychansk over the previous two months. They were only “the ones who did not have anyone to bury them in a garden or a backyard,” a soldier said casually.
He lit a cigarette while we looked at the grave.
The smoke obscured the smell.
It was rare to get such a moment to slow down, observe and reflect while reporting from Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. But that day, the Ukrainian soldiers were pleased after delivering packets of food and other goods to local civilians, so they offered to take reporters from The New York Times to another site that they said we should see: the mass grave.
Ukraine, Kyiv, Russian shelling in Ukraine, An artillery unit from Ukraine’s 58th Brigade fires toward advancing Russian infantry from a frontline position near the town of Bakhmut, Ukraine on Aug. 10, 2022. (David Guttenfelder/The New York Times)
After leaving the site, I naively thought the palpable presence of death in the air could not follow me home — over all of the roads and checkpoints separating the graves in the Donbas — to my loved ones in the western part of Ukraine.
I was wrong. (Read more)

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