War in Ukraine: six recent events related to the Russian invasion

As a result of the Russian air strike on Vinnitsa, 4-year-old Liza became one of the victims.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense on Friday released a video of a 4-year-old girl named Liza, who was identified as one of the victims of the Russian rocket attack on Vinnitsa the day before.

The video allegedly shows some of the last moments of Lisa’s life. She was taken in by her mother, Irina, who was badly injured during the strike.

Russian rockets hit Vinnytsia on Thursday, killing at least 23 people and injuring more than 100 far from the front lines, according to Ukrainian authorities.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Liza was among those killed. A video of a little girl pushing her stroller while walking with her mother has gone viral on social media.

“Today our hearts are bleeding and our eyes are full of tears because our family of thousands has lost one of us,” Down Syndrome wrote.

Zelensky accused Russia of deliberately targeting civilians in places of no military significance.

“They were just coming from a speech therapy class and just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” the president said in a video message.

Zelensky’s wife, Elena Zelenskaya, later wrote that she met this “wonderful girl” while filming a Christmas video with a group of children who were given oversized decorations to paint.

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

On Friday, rescuers with sniffer dogs combed the rubble in the central Ukrainian city in search of missing people.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday that its strikes on the Ukrainian city of Vinnitsa hit a building where the Kyiv military met with foreign delegates.

The Ukrainian authorities insisted that the site had nothing to do with the military. (AP)

Ukraine received the first batch of multiple rocket launchers M270

On Friday, Ukraine announced that it had received the first batch of a modern multiple rocket launcher system, which added to the arsenal of long-range artillery provided by the West.

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

In June, London announced the delivery of M270 MLRS rocket launchers with a range of 80 kilometers, in addition to American precision artillery systems of the same range sent by Washington.

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

The delivery of Himar to Ukraine in recent weeks has bolstered its forces and could help slow Russia’s advance, military experts say.

Since mid-June, Ukraine has destroyed more than 20 large Russian munitions depots and command posts, previously too far from the front line for traditional Khimary rounds to reach.

But these new weapons are no panacea either, experts warn, pointing out that more weapons and radar systems will be needed to defeat the Russians. (AFP)

3. New routes: how does Ukraine export grain?

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

The implication of this is that many African countries are now facing the very real prospect of famine, while many Ukrainian farmers have no idea what they are going to do with this year’s harvest, given that their silos are still full of last year’s harvest.

As Ukraine and the EU scramble to find what diplomats are calling “alternative routes,” Hans von der Brehli of Euronews has personally gone to see what is being done to boost Ukrainian grain and wheat exports.

Read and watch his report here.

EU to target Russian gold in next round of sanctions over war in Ukraine

The European Commission on Friday proposed including Russian gold imports in a new package of sanctions aimed at hurting the Russian economy.

The EU’s executive will not see the new proposed restrictions as a seventh round of sanctions, which many member states have already opposed, but rather as a “maintain and negotiate” package.

However, this will introduce a new embargo, this time on Russian gold.

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

Read more here.

5. The EU will adjust sanctions to keep Russian food exports

The commission will also amend existing sanctions to ensure they do not disrupt food and grain exports from Russia.

African countries have blamed the EU sanctions for exacerbating the ongoing food crisis, mainly caused by the war in Ukraine and the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports, from where grains are usually exported to the world.

The EU denies that its sanctions have affected the food trade. The proposed adjustments are meant to ensure the rules are not misinterpreted by traders, one official said, including a ban on Russian ships from entering EU ports.

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

At the same time, the Commission is seeking to tighten the existing ban and prevent Russian ships from circumventing sanctions by unloading their cargo at external docks, the source said. To do this, you need to expand the definition of ports.

A ban on Western firms offering cloud services to Russian customers, also under consideration in the new package, has been deferred to future rounds as the measure is currently being negotiated with the US and UK, whose companies dominate the sector. (Reuters)

  • The EU has shot itself in the lungs with rash economic sanctions on Russia that, if not lifted, risk destroying the European economy, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday.
  • A spike in gas and electricity prices forced nationalist Orban to cut a multi-year utility price cap on households with higher consumption on Wednesday by reversing one of the 59-year-old prime minister’s signature economic policies. Read more about this story here.

6. UK Holds Russia Responsible for Death of 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 must “take full responsibility”.

On Friday, a pro-Russian separatist spokesman in Donetsk said Yurey died in custody on July 15.

Paul Urey, born in 1977, was detained by Russian troops along with another man, Dylan Healy, at a checkpoint in April, according to an NGO helping the Healy family.

The two men were apparently detained while on their way to help evacuate a woman and two children from their home in southern Zaporozhye.

North of England native Paul Urey is described as a family man who spent eight years in Afghanistan as a civilian contractor.

Full story here.