War in Ukraine: what you need to know today

Key infrastructure for Ukrainian grain export opened in Istanbul

The headquarters, which will coordinate grain exports from Ukraine, opened on Wednesday in Turkey following a landmark deal to unblock supplies last week.

The first ships carrying the much-needed wheat and corn are expected to leave the Black Sea ports in the coming days.

Last Friday, Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement brokered by the United Nations (UN) and Turkey that aimed to provide safe lanes for vessels exporting Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea that have been unable to sail since the invasion began. .

The Joint Coordination Center (JCC) will control the departure from the ports of Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny.

According to the terms of the deal, the ships must bypass heavily mined waters and then be checked in the Turkish capital for weapons.

“The responsibility of the center is to ensure the safe sea transportation of grain and similar food products for export from Ukraine,” Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Wednesday as he opened the headquarters.

Akar said that preparations for the departure of the first ships from Ukrainian ports continue.

Officials from Ukraine, the UN and Turkey have expressed hope that the first ships will depart from one of the Black Sea ports in a few days, although they suggested that it could take two weeks for all three ports to be operational.

On Saturday, Russian missiles hit Ukraine’s largest and most important port, Odessa, jeopardizing a grain deal.

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Ukraine blows up key Russian supply bridge for American weapons

Ukrainian troops used US-supplied precision-guided missile launchers to destroy a strategic bridge that Russia was using to resupply its troops in the occupied Kherson region in southern Ukraine, officials said Wednesday.

Ukraine also said it had destroyed an enemy ammunition depot, artillery pieces and other military equipment in the region, killing 51 members of the Russian army.

Euronews cannot independently confirm this.

According to the deputy head of the Moscow-appointed administration of the Kherson region, Kirill Stremousov, on Tuesday evening, the Antonovsky bridge across the Dnieper was shelled. According to him, the bridge stood, but large holes did not allow vehicles to cross it.

After Ukrainian attacks damaged the bridge last week, it was closed to trucks but remained open to cars until the final blow.

According to Stremousov, Ukrainian forces used US-supplied HIMARS multiple rocket launchers to shell the bridge.

The weapons were among the billions of euros of Western military aid that has helped Ukraine fend off the Russians since the invasion began.

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Moscow warns of retaliation after Russia Today loses fight against EU ban

Russia Today (RT) on Wednesday lost a legal battle against the EU’s ban on state-controlled media, prompting the Kremlin to threaten retaliation against Western media.

The 27-member bloc banned RT in March over alleged misinformation, a decision that Europe’s second-largest court upheld today.

“The Grand Chamber of the General Court rejects RT France’s request to set aside Council acts adopted after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine temporarily prohibiting this organization from broadcasting content,” the Supreme Court in Luxembourg said.

Russia Today argued in court that the ban limited freedom of speech. However, the court ruled that the EU ban “did not violate the core content of RT France’s freedom to do business, as they are temporary and reversible.”

The Kremlin said the EU court’s decision was “extremely negative” and that Moscow would take similar action against Western media in response.

Speaking to reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia Today cannot operate in Europe but hopes there will be a loophole to resume broadcasting.

“The confirmation by the court of this general indefinite ban, unfortunately, shows that the EU judiciary is unable or unwilling to oppose political power,” said Ksenia Fedorova, president of RT France.

Due to EU sanctions that apply to RT’s English branch and operations in the UK, Germany, France and Spain, RT content cannot be broadcast or distributed by EU operators.

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Russia ‘one of the last colonial imperialist powers’ accuses Macron

The French president on Wednesday accused Russia of being “one of the last colonial imperialist powers” during a conference in Benin, a former French colony.

Deciding to “invade a neighboring country to protect its interests there,” “Russia is one of the last colonial imperialist powers,” said Emmanuel Macron.

“Russia launched an offensive against Ukraine, this is a territorial war that we thought had disappeared from European soil, this is a war of the early 20th century, even the 19th century,” he said during a press conference with his Beninese counterpart Patrice. Talon in Cotonou.

Benin was a French colony from the late 19th century until 1960.

For the French president, who is currently touring the African continent at the same time as high-ranking Russian diplomat Sergei Lavrov, “Russia has launched a new type of hybrid world war.”

“He decided that information, energy and food are military tools put at the service of the continental imperialist war against Ukraine,” he said.

Russia is spreading disinformation “all over the world” and “using propaganda tools,” Macron said, adding that Moscow is to blame for the current food security crisis.

Meanwhile, Lavrov said that Russia was not responsible for the “energy and food crises”, condemning the “very noisy campaign” around the issue.

Lavrov urged Africans not to support a Western-led peace

Russia’s foreign minister on Wednesday urged developing countries, especially in Africa, not to support a world ruled by the West, warning that they could be next to suffer from its wrath.

“It is up to us to decide if we want a world in which the West (…), completely subservient to the United States (…), believes it has the right to decide when and how to advance its own interests, without respect for international interests. law,” Sergei Lavrov said in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

Lavrov made the announcement while addressing mostly African diplomats at the Russian embassy in Ethiopia on the last leg of his mini-Africa tour, which saw him visit Egypt, the Congo and Uganda.

During his 20-hour stay in Addis Ababa, Lavrov met with his Ethiopian counterpart Demeke Mekonnen and the country’s deputy prime minister.

“The West has created a system based on certain principles – a market economy, fair competition, the inviolability of private property, the presumption of innocence …: all these principles were thrown to the wind when it came to what they considered necessary to punish Russia,” Lavrov said.

“And I have no doubt that, if necessary, they will not hesitate to do the same with any other country that (…) annoys them in one way or another,” he added.