War in Ukraine: Five things to know about the conflict from Friday

Russia shelled residential buildings in the Odessa region, killing at least 21 people

Ukrainian authorities say Russian missiles hit a multi-storey residential building and nearby resorts in the southern Odessa region of Ukraine, killing at least 21 people and injuring dozens.

The office of the President of Ukraine said that three X-22 missiles fired by Russian bombers hit a residential building and two campsites. The Security Service of Ukraine reported that two children were among the dead.

The Security Service of Ukraine reported that 38 people, including six children and a pregnant woman, are in hospital with injuries.

Kyiv claims the missiles were fired from an aircraft in the Black Sea, from where Russian troops had left the strategically important Zmeiny Island a day earlier.

“A terrorist country is killing our people. In response to defeats on the battlefield, they are fighting civilians,” said Andriy Yermak, Chief of Staff of the President of Ukraine.

2. Norway announces970 million eurosdonation to Ukraine

Norway said on Friday that it would donate 970 million euros to Ukraine during a visit by its prime minister.

Over the course of two years, Kyiv must use a significant donation of NOK 10 billion for humanitarian aid, reconstruction work, arms purchases and support for the functioning of the Ukrainian authorities, according to the Norwegian government.

This money comes in addition to previous aid and weapons promised to Ukraine by the Scandinavian country.

“We support the people of Ukraine,” Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said in a statement. “We are doing our part to support the struggle of Ukrainians for freedom. They are fighting for their country and also for our democratic values.”

The Norwegian government made the announcement following Støre’s Friday trip to Kyiv, as well as to Yagidne, a Ukrainian village devastated by the war.

According to the Norwegian news agency NTB, the Norwegian leader was shocked by the visit, calling what he saw in the village “a glimpse of hell on earth.”

Kyiv asks Turkey to seize a ship allegedly carrying stolen grain

Ukraine turned to Turkey with a request to detain and arrest the Zhibek Zholy cargo ship under the Russian flag, which was transporting Ukrainian grain taken out of the Russian-occupied port of Berdyansk.

In a June 30 letter to the Turkish Ministry of Justice, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine stated that the 7,146-ton Zhibek Zholy was involved in the “illegal export of Ukrainian grain” from Berdyansk and was heading to Karasu, Turkey, with 7,000 tons of cargo, which is a larger cargo than indicated by the official.

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office has asked Turkey to “search this sea vessel, seize grain samples for forensic medical examination, demand information about the whereabouts of such grain,” the letter says, saying Ukraine is ready to conduct a joint investigation with Turkish authorities.

A Russian official in Russia-occupied areas of Ukraine’s Zaporozhye region said on Thursday that after several months of inactivity, the first cargo ship left the port of Berdyansk without naming Zhibek Zholy.

Ukraine has accused Russia of stealing grain from territories seized by Russian forces since its invasion began in late February. The Kremlin has previously denied that Russia has stolen any Ukrainian grain.

4. Russia takes over a British-Japanese energy project

On Thursday, Russia took control of a large-scale gas and oil project in the Far East, which could escalate tensions with the West.

President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on full control over the Sakhalin-2 project, which is partly owned by Shell and Japanese investors.

The five-page decree, which was signed late Thursday evening, created a new firm that took over all the rights and obligations of Sakhalin Energy Investment Co, in which British Shell and two Japanese trading companies, Mitsui and Mitsubishi, own just under 50%.

The move follows Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, which have dealt a blow to Russia’s major energy industry.

Russian state-owned Gazprom, itself subject to US, UK and European sanctions, already owns 50% of the Sakhalin-2 project, which produces 4% of the world’s liquefied natural gas.

This is one of the world’s largest LNG projects with a capacity of 12 million tons, the main cargoes of which are sent to Japan, South Korea, China, India and other Asian countries.

Ukraine won the “borscht war” against Russia

Ukraine won a symbolic battle with Russia on Friday after UNESCO recognized that the Russian invasion threatens the country’s borscht culture, adding it to its list of intangible cultural heritage at risk.

Borscht is a sour soup of beets, meat, cabbage, and vegetables, variants of which are eaten in Eastern Europe, including Ukraine and Russia.

“Victory in the borscht war is ours,” Ukrainian Minister of Culture Oleksandr Tkatchenko said after the UNESCO statement.

Ukraine “will win both the borscht war” and the ground war against Moscow, he wrote in his Telegram account.

In April, Ukraine asked UNESCO to include borscht on its list, saying the Russian invasion threatened the “viability” of traditions associated with the dish.

Two months later, the UNESCO committee agreed with Kyiv’s request.

Although the existence of soup is “not threatened by anything in itself”, committee member Pier Luigi Petrillo said that “the human and living heritage associated with borscht […] is in imminent danger because the ability of the population to practice, to pass on their intangible cultural heritage, has been severely undermined due to the armed conflict.”