Russia-Ukraine war live news: UN hails ‘critical step forward’ in resuming grain exports; Russia shells Mykolaiv, mayor says

Key events:

Water supplies will resume this month in the Russian-held Ukrainian city of Mariupol, according to Russian media reports.

Russian state news agency Tass cited the Russian-designated mayor, Konstantin Ivaschenko, as saying authorities plan to resume operation of the city’s passenger port that links to Russia’s Rostov-on-Don and Black Sea cities.

Myanmar junta chief visits Moscow, signs nuclear energy cooperation memorandum

The head of Myanmar’s military junta visited Moscow in a private meeting with officials from Russian space and nuclear agencies and signed a memorandum of understanding on nuclear energy cooperation according to the ministry of information.

Min Aung Hlaing flew into Moscow on Tuesday on a “private” visit, Russia’s embassy in Myanmar told the Interfax news agency.

“He plans to take part in the opening of a Myanmar cultural centre,” it said.

Russian state media agency RIA Novosti reported the military chief was due to meet the head of Russia’s space agency as well as officials at the Rosatom nuclear agency.

During the visit, Myanmar and Rosatom State Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding on nuclear energy cooperation according to the ministry of information and as reported by Bloomberg.

The announcement of the visit comes two days after secretary of state, Antony Blinken, vowed to keep pressuring Myanmar’s military regime as he met democracy activists on a visit to neighbouring Thailand.

Chasiv Yar death toll climbs to 48

The death toll from Saturday’s Russian missile attack on the town of Chasiv Yar has climbed to 48, according to Ukrainian emergency services.

Ukraine’s state emergency services issued an update late on Wednesday:

As of 7pm, the body of 1 dead person was found in a five-story residential building in the city of Chasiv Yar . In total, the bodies of 48 dead people were found, including 1 child, and 9 people were rescued from the rubble.”

Firefighters remove a body from debris of a building as search and rescue operations continue after Russian airstrikes hit residential areas in Chasiv Yar, Donetsk, Ukraine on July 11.
Firefighters remove a body from debris of a building as search and rescue operations continue after Russian airstrikes hit residential areas in Chasiv Yar, Donetsk, Ukraine on July 11. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Zelenskiy added that the clearance of debris continues in his evening address on Wednesday.

Debris clearance continues after the Russian attack on the city of Chasiv Yar. As of this time, the list of the dead includes 48 people, including one child. Unfortunately, the number of those rescued has not changed – 9 people. Rescuers will work on site until all debris is cleared.

It was one of the most brutal Russian strikes during the entire war – so many victims… My condolences to the relatives and friends of the victims.”

Russia reportedly made another attempt to bomb Snake Island overnight, according to military officials.

An update from Ukraine’s operational command south reports on 13 July that two Russian fighter jets attempted to strike the strategic island on the Black Sea but failed as the bombs landed in the sea.

Ukrainian presidential advisor, Anton Herashchenko, added: “A pair of Su-27 fighters tried to bomb Snake Island, the bombs fell into the sea, near the island.”

A satellite image shows an overview of Snake Island, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
A satellite image shows an overview of Snake Island, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Photograph: Maxar Technologies/Reuters

Turkey announces deal to resume Ukraine’s grain exports

Turkey has announced a deal with Ukraine, Russia and the UN aimed at resuming Ukrainian grain exports blocked by Russia, raising prospects for an end to a standoff that has exposed millions to the risk of starvation.

Turkey’s defence minister, Hulusi Akar, said on Wednesday that the deal would be signed when the parties meet again next week and would include joint controls for checking grains in ports and Turkey ensuring the safety of Black Sea export routes for Ukrainian grain.

Turkey would also set up a coordination centre with Ukraine, Russia and the UN for grain exports, Akar said. Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, wrote on Twitter: “Its task will be to carry out general monitoring and coordination of safe navigation in the Black Sea.”

🇺🇦 Black Sea security is a priority in the issue of resuming of Ukrainian agricultural export.

That is why 🇺🇦 has proposed to form a basic navigation algorithm for the Black sea. It will ensure the 🇺🇦 grain export and guarantee food security for millions of people.

— Andriy Yermak (@AndriyYermak) July 13, 2022

In his daily address, Zelenskiy, Ukraine’s president, said: “We are indeed making significant efforts to restore the supply of food to the world market. And I am grateful to the United Nations and Turkey for their respective efforts.”

Ukraine, which was invaded by Russia in February, had said earlier that a deal appeared “two steps away” as Turkey hosted the four-way talks in Istanbul.

The UN secretary general, António Guterres, said a “critical step forward” had been made toward reviving Ukrainian grain exports but cautioned that “more technical work will now be needed to materialise today’s progress”.

A ray of hope in a world darkened by crises.

Today in Istanbul, we have seen a major step forward to ensure the export of Ukrainian food products through the Black Sea.

I salute the commitment of all those working to secure an agreement for our common humanity.

— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) July 13, 2022

“Today is an important and substantive step, a step on the way to a comprehensive agreement.” Ukraine and Russia had shown they could talk, but “for peace we still have a long way to go,” he told reporters in New York.

There was no immediate comment from Ukraine or Russia, both among the world’s largest grain exporters.

Russia shells Mykolaiv – reports

The sound of explosions have been reported in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv this morning.

City mayor Oleksandr Sienkevych reported that explosions were heard in the city just before 6am and urged residents to stay in shelters in an alert posted to his Telegram channel

Racists [Russian forces] again targeted a number of civilian objects in Mykolaiv. Rescuers and emergency teams are already working on the ground.”

According to Ukrainian news outlet Ukrinform, an air alert was first announced at 4.25 am before powerful explosions rang out in the city about half an hour later.

A firefighter works at a site of a residential building damaged by a Russian military strike in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, 12 July.
A firefighter works at a site of a residential building damaged by a Russian military strike in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, 12 July. Photograph: State Emergency Service Of Ukraine/Reuters

Russian forces enter town of Siversk, separatist official says

Russian and proxy forces have entered the town of Siversk in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, according to Russian media reports.

State news agency Tass quoted Vitaly Kiselyov, an official from the self-appointed Luhansk People’s Republic, as saying the town could fall within a couple of days, but it was not clear what that claim was based on.

Local residents collect their belongings from their homes damaged by shelling on a residential building in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
Local residents collect their belongings from their homes damaged by shelling on a residential building in Ukraine’s Donetsk region. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Ukraine’s armed forces said in their evening operational update that Russia had not conducted any new assaults on the frontline that includes Siversk, but that the town had been fired upon by artillery.

The Guardian has not been able to immediately verify the report.

In its latest intelligence report, the UK Ministry of Defence predicted that Russian forces will likely focus on taking several small towns during the coming week, including Siversk and Dolyna on the approaches to Slovyansk and Kramatorsk.

Summary and welcome

Hello and welcome back to the Guardian’s rolling live coverage of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

I’m Samantha Lock and I will be bringing you all the latest developments for the next short while.

Reports are filtering in of loud explosions and missile fire in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv early this morning.

Meanwhile, a breakthrough deal to resume exporting Ukrainian grain has been announced with the establishment of a coordination and monitoring centre in Istanbul.

It is 7.30am in Kyiv and here is where things currently stand:

  • A deal to resume exporting Ukrainian grain has been announced with the establishment of a coordination and monitoring centre in Istanbul. Turkey’s defence minister Hulusi Akar said Ankara will ensure the safety of shipments in transit and the parties will jointly check grain cargoes in ports after officials from Ukraine, Russia, United Nations and Turkey met for talks in Istanbul on Wednesday. UN chief António Guterres described the talks as a “critical step forward” but said more work was needed before a deal is set to be signed next week.
  • A traffic jam of more than 130 cargo ships loaded with Ukrainian grain is waiting in the Black Sea to gain access through the Sulina and Bystre estuary canals to reach a series of ports and terminals in Romania from where the grain can be transported on around the world
  • Russian and proxy forces have reportedly entered the town of Siversk in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, according to Russian media reports. State news agency Tass quoted Vitaly Kiselyov, an official from the self-appointed Luhansk People’s Republic, as saying the town could fall within a couple of days, but it was not clear what that claim was based on.
  • Russia has forcibly removed nearly 2 million people from Ukraine, including several hundred thousand children, since its invasion of the country, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said. Tens of thousands of Ukrainian are being held in filtration camps in the temporarily Russian-occupied territories, Zelenskiy said in a video address to the Asian Leadership Conference in Seoul on Wednesday.
  • Russian forces will probably focus on taking several small Donbas towns during the coming week, including Siversk and Dolyna on the approaches to Slovyansk and Kramatorsk, according to the UK Ministry of Defence. “The urban areas of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk likely remain the principal objectives for this phase of the operation,” the British intelligence report said.
  • A third American national is being held captive by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, according to reports. Suedi Murekezi, 35, was arrested last month in Kherson, a Russian-occupied port city in southern Ukraine where he had been living for more than two years, his brother Sele Murekezi said.
  • Lithuania will allow sanctioned Russian goods to transit its territory on their way to Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave, its foreign ministry said on Wednesday, reversing its policy after new European Commission guidelines.
  • The global economic outlook has “darkened significantly” following the consequences of the war in Ukraine, according to the head of the International Monetary Fund. Kristalina Georgieva said the global outlook remains “extremely uncertain” with an increased risk of recession. “The human tragedy of the war in Ukraine has worsened. So, too, has its economic impact … and it’s only getting worse,” she said. G20 finance ministers and central bank governors are preparing to meet in Bali this week.
A Ukrainian soldier poses near the front line in eastern Ukraine, on 13 July.
A Ukrainian soldier poses near the front line in eastern Ukraine, on 13 July. Photograph: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

source: theguardian.com