The Battle of Sloviansk: Emerging Europe This Week

You can read all of our coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including explanations and articles offering background and contextual information here.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday that the heavy weapons of the Western allies have finally started to operate at “full capacity” in the first line. In his nightly video address, Zelensky said the Ukrainian military was able to target “logistically important” Russian warehouses and locations.

Meanwhile, British intelligence said on Thursday that the battle of Sloviansk will likely be the next key fight in the fight for Donbass as Russian forces approach within 10 miles of the city of Donetsk. On Wednesday, at least two people were killed and seven others injured by a Russian strike in the city’s main market. Last weekend, Russia took full control of the neighboring Luhansk region after retaking Lysychansk, the last Ukrainian-held city in the region.

Ukraine this week rejected the claim that Russian forces destroyed two US-made advanced Himars rocket systems and their ammunition depots. Ukraine’s General Staff said the Russian Defense Ministry’s claims were false and that it was using US-supplied Himars to inflict “devastating blows” on Russian forces.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday a Russian ship carrying Ukrainian grain was allowed to leave the Turkish port of Karasu, calling it an “unacceptable situation” and summoning the Turkish ambassador. “We regret that the Russian ship Zhibek Zholy, which was full of stolen Ukrainian grain, was allowed to leave the port of Karasu despite criminal evidence presented to the Turkish authorities,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko. Turkey had detained the vessel on Monday in response to a Ukrainian request, saying it was carrying stolen grain.

Odessa authorities reported on Thursday that grain silos in the area and Snake Island were hit by rockets or missiles overnight. An official Odessa channel said two rockets hit two agricultural sheds overnight, which were destroyed. About 35 tons of grain were stored in one of them. Then, at dawn, during the aerial overflight and reconnaissance of Zmiinyi [Snake Island]the island was attacked by two air-launched missiles.

On Wednesday, the Ukrainian union of grain traders revised its grain and oilseed harvest forecast upwards to 69.4 million tonnes from the previous 66.5 million, but still well below the 2021 level of 106 million tonnes. Meanwhile, grain exports from Ukraine fell 68.5% year-on-year to 163,000 tonnes in the first six days of July, the Agriculture Ministry said on Thursday. Also on Thursday, Romania reopened a Soviet-era rail link from its Danube port of Galați to Ukraine a month ahead of schedule to help boost vital grain exports from its neighbour.

More … than 8.79 million people crossed the border from Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion in late February, the UN refugee agency said on Wednesday.

Other news

At least 47 police officers were injured in the North Macedonian capital of Skopje during protests against government concessions on ethnic rights as part of EU accession talks, according to the Makfax news agency which quoted the police. Wednesday’s report said two of the 47 officers were seriously injured during Tuesday’s protests. Eleven demonstrators were arrested. The nationalist opposition party VMRO-DPMNE had called for demonstrations, furious at the concessions made to Bulgaria as part of the EU accession process.

Hungary The biggest interest rate hike since 2008 failed to stem the forint’s slide as policymakers sought to prop up the weakest currency in emerging markets. The central bank on Thursday raised the one-week deposit rate by 200 basis points to 9.75%, by far the highest level in the European Union. But the forint quickly erased its initial gains to fall 1.3% against the euro, taking its losses to nearly 13% since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Latvia is to restore compulsory military service amid growing tension with Russia following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. “Latvia’s current military system has reached its limits. In the meantime, we have no reason to believe that Russia will change its behavior,” Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks told reporters on Tuesday. Latvia abolished compulsory service a few years after joining NATO’s military alliance.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Thursday asked his government to diversify its oil supply routes, the day after a Russian court ruling that ordered the Caspian Pipeline Consortium to suspend operations for 30 days. The shutdown of the pipeline, which carries oil from Kazakhstan’s vast Tengiz field through Russia to the Black Sea, would put a strain on the oil market just as it faces one of the worst supply shortages since the Arab oil embargo in the 1970s.

Poland The prime minister on Wednesday accused Russian agencies of hacking into government systems and manipulating and leaking emails that allegedly revealed his administration’s links to the judiciary. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called the leaks a “provocation” by Russian and Belarusian secret services aimed at sowing discord in Poland as revenge for Warsaw’s support for Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.

The Polish The cabinet passed legislation easing rules on the development of wind farms, as the country aims to increase its installed capacity and diversify energy supplies. Wind development in Poland has been blocked since 2016 by rules that require a minimum distance of 10 times the height of an onshore wind power plant between the park and residential buildings, effectively blocking new projects. Under the revised rules, a minimum distance between a wind farm and a residential building would be set at 500 meters.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said in the Netherlands on Monday that Shell “may” have made a major oil discovery in the south of the country. “There are signs that show that we could be close to a very important oil and gas discovery that will have a significant impact not only on the future of our country but will play a role even in the future of the energy in Europe,” said Rama. . Since the collapse of communism in 1991, several foreign companies have spent large sums searching for oil onshore and offshore in Albania – with little result.

Turkey and Armenia agreed to partially open their common land border, which has been closed for almost three decades. The two countries announced, in identical statements, that they had agreed to “allow the crossing of the land border between Armenia and Turkey by citizens of third countries visiting Armenia and Turkey respectively as soon as possible “. The border has been closed since 1993, when Turkey closed it to support Azerbaijan during the first Nagorno-Karabakh war.

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