Day 514 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Drone Attack in Crimea temporarily stopped Traffic on the Kerch Bridge

World » UKRAINE | July 22, 2023, Saturday // 09:40
Bulgaria: Day 514 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Drone Attack in Crimea temporarily stopped Traffic on the Kerch Bridge @novinite.com

Day 514 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:

  • Ukrainian drone attack in Crimea temporarily stopped traffic on the Kerch bridge
  • Zelensky explained the reasons for the slow counteroffensive
  • Ukraine will receive F-16s by the end of the year
  • Poland summoned the Russian ambassador after Putin's speech
  • The US is preparing military aid for Ukraine for another 400 million dollars
  • It has not yet been decided how to use Russian assets frozen in Europe to help Ukraine
  • Zelensky: The Crimean bridge is an enemy facility, built illegally. It must be neutralized
  • South Africa was ready to arrest Putin


Ukrainian drone attack in Crimea temporarily stopped traffic on the Kerch bridge

Ukrainian drones have attacked infrastructure facilities on the Crimean Peninsula. Emergency response teams have been sent to the site in the Krasnogvardei region, the head of the Moscow-appointed administration of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, said. Traffic has been restored on the bridge over the Kerch Strait connecting Russia with Crimea, which was closed to earlier today. The reasons are not given.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the Crimean bridge must be neutralized to cut off the supply of ammunition to Russian forces in Ukraine.

Two residents of Konstantinovka in the Donetsk region were killed and one was injured in Russian attacks over the past 24 hours. Residential buildings were damaged in Kramatorsk, but there were no reports of casualties. Three people were injured during artillery shelling of Nikopol in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.

The United States is preparing a new $400 million military aid package for Kyiv that will not contain cluster munitions. It will include basic artillery equipment and ammunition for various missile systems, anti-tank weapons and armored vehicles. Some Western politicians are unhappy with the slow pace of the Ukrainian counteroffensive and are visibly getting nervous, the BBC reported in a report from the International Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado. Ukraine still hopes to find the weak spot in Russian defenses and then deploy its reserve forces in an attempt to achieve a significant breakthrough, the media noted.

Zelensky explained the reasons for the slow counteroffensive

The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, explained why the Ukrainian counteroffensive is going slower than expected, the UNIAN agency reported. According to him, the reason is that the operation itself started later than originally expected. "We had plans to start it in the spring, but we didn't start because we didn't have enough ammunition and weapons, we didn't have enough well-trained brigades, I mean, well-trained with these weapons. Because we started a little late, it gave Russia time to mine all our land and build several lines of defense," the Ukrainian leader told the Aspen Security Forum via video link. It can be said that this is the truth shared by all the experts, he added

Zelensky noted that the invaders had time to prepare for the offensive of the armed forces of Ukraine. "Of course, they had a little more time than they needed; thanks to that, they built all these lines. And indeed, they had a lot of mines in our fields. Hence the slower pace of our counteroffensive actions. But the offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine continues and we are approaching the moment when actions can gain speed, because we are already passing through some minefields and clearing these areas," he said.

Before the forum in Aspen, Volodymyr Zelensky called the Crimean bridge a target for Kyiv. "It is clear that this is our goal. And any goal that brings war and not peace must be neutralized," he said. According to Zelensky, Ukraine's task is the full return of Crimea.

Ukraine will receive F-16s by the end of the year

Ukraine will receive American F-16 fighter jets by the end of this year, writes "Politico", referring to a statement by the spokesman of the US National Security Council, John Kirby, to Fox News.

The US is also discussing the delivery of ATACMS long-range ballistic missiles to Ukraine, presidential national security adviser Jake Sullivan said at a briefing. He said President Joe Biden would have the final say on those supplies.

Ukraine has long pushed for these types of weapons to overcome current Russian air superiority and to be able to conduct deep strikes on important targets. The US has so far been reserved, pointing out that Western fighter jets involve long preparation and long-range missiles could lead to an uncontrollable escalation of war if Ukraine uses them against Russian territory.

Training of Ukrainian military F-16 pilots is expected to begin next month in Denmark.

Kirby warned that the F-16 fighters alone are unlikely to change the course of the war. Sullivan confirmed his words that the Biden administration is doing everything in its power to get them delivered as quickly as possible.

Poland summoned the Russian ambassador after Putin's speech

Diplomatic tension - Poland summoned the Russian ambassador to the country after President Putin's speech. Yesterday, the Russian head of state said that the western territories of today's Poland were a gift from Stalin. He also said that Moscow will react to any aggression against Belarus.

The authorities in Warsaw commented that this was an open threat to the security of the country. According to them, Putin used claims of "territorial gifts" to justify the annexation of Crimea and the invasion of Ukraine. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki also condemned Putin's remarks, calling them "dangerous" and "false.”

The US is preparing military aid for Ukraine for another 400 million dollars

The United States is planning a new 0 million military aid package for Ukraine that will not contain cluster munitions. Efforts continue to find a solution following Russia's withdrawal from an agreement to export Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea.

The new package will include basic artillery equipment and ammunition for the NASAMS, HIMARS, Patriot and Stinger systems, as well as anti-tank weapons. It might be officially announced as early as next week. Total US military aid to Kyiv so far amounts to more than 41 billion dollars, notes Reuters.

The presidents of Ukraine and Turkey, Volodymyr Zelensky and Recep Erdogan, have discussed in detail the issue of extending the deal on the Black Sea Grain Corridor in a telephone conversation. Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan stated that any alternative solution to this agreement without the participation of Russia carries risks:

"Ukraine is trying to offer an alternative, but we believe that the Russian Federation should be convinced to return to the negotiating table. Any different solution could create a security risk. In the talks with the UN Secretary General, we expressed agreement on this issue."

Moscow is working to create new export routes for Russian grain, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin said:

"For example, all our free fertilizer shipments that we are trying to secure for African countries also required a lot of time to coordinate and organize, but they were still implemented. At least two such shipments were made."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was adamant that there would be a response to the Russian strikes on grain silos at the port of Odesa, in which more than 20 people were injured. UNESCO condemned the Russian actions in the city, whose center is part of the list of world heritage sites, after several museums in the area were reported to have been affected.

It has not yet been decided how to use Russian assets frozen in Europe to help Ukraine

The case of how to use Russian assets frozen in Europe to help Ukraine has not yet been resolved, although European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has threatened to do so before the August holiday.

In a recent analysis for the Financial Times, economic commentator Martin Sandbu recalled that "time is running out."

The idea being discussed in Brussels is to use the "proceeds" of Russian central bank assets worth hundreds of billions of euros held in Europe - funds that have been frozen since the start of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine.

Experts debate the effectiveness of such a solution given the fact that it would bring in several billions a year, but requires provisioning against the potential risk of loss and a number of other actions.

Still others look with interest at the numbers - for example, the report of the Belgian depository Euroclear, published yesterday, revealed that it earned 1.7 billion euros in the first half of 2023 investing in frozen assets of Russia.

In total, for the same period, the financial group has an operating profit of EUR 3.1 billion. In fact, it is the most important depository because it holds about 180 billion euros, or nearly two-thirds of all frozen Russian reserves, according to the government of Belgium, where it is headquartered.

However, the case has a number of legal aspects that prevent a definite and uniform decision. Even the European Central Bank itself has expressed concerns that if Russian assets were confiscated, potential other countries would reduce their euro reserves to avoid being in a similar situation in the event of tension along the axis between their capitals and the European Union.

That is why the taxation of excess profits is sought, it is clear from the analysis published by the "Financial Times".

At the last meeting of economic and financial ministers in the European Union, Bulgarian Finance Minister Asen Vassilev proposed to consider the legal possibility of directing the frozen Russian assets to a fund for compensation of the victims of the war against Ukraine and to use them even before its end, as well as in the form of reparations.

Zelensky: The Crimean bridge is an enemy facility, built illegally. It must be neutralized

The illegally built bridge across the Kerch Strait connecting Russia to Crimea must be neutralized, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told participants of the Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado last night via video link, as quoted by CNN, Ukrinform and BTA reported.

"The Crimean bridge is not just a logistical link, it is a road used to feed the war with ammunition, and this is done daily...Therefore, understandably, this is our goal. Any goal that brings war and not peace must be neutralized," Zelensky said.

In his words, the Crimean Bridge is "an enemy facility, built illegally, contrary to international laws and all applicable norms."

Zelensky repeated that the goal of the Ukrainian authorities is "to take back all of Crimea".

"This is our sovereign territory, an inalienable part of our country," he said.

South Africa was ready to arrest Putin

The government of South Africa was going to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin upon his eventual entry into the country, according to a written statement by the Ministry of Justice, which the opposition Democratic Alliance published yesterday, DPA reported, quoted by BTA.

After months of uncertainty, South Africa and Russia announced last week that Putin would not travel to South Africa for the BRICS summit. Instead, he will join via video link the August 22-24 forum in Johannesburg, which brings together Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The Democratic Alliance, along with human rights group Amnesty International, filed a lawsuit in a court in Pretoria to force the government to arrest Putin if he enters the country. The executive director of Amnesty International's South African branch, Shenilla Mohamed, called the declaration "a victory for the rule of law and international justice, but most importantly, a victory for the victims in Ukraine."

An international arrest warrant has been issued against Putin for alleged war crimes committed in Ukraine. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said Moscow had warned South Africa that any arrest of Putin would be tantamount to a "declaration of war".

South Africa is a signatory to the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which issued Putin's arrest warrant and has been under pressure from the international community to arrest Putin if he attends the forum.

A few days ago, it became clear that instead of Putin, Moscow will be represented by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the BRICS meeting. In this way, the authorities in Pretoria will not be forced to execute the arrest warrant for Putin, which was issued by the ICC.

The decision was the result of months of consultations with the Russian authorities, the President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, announced at the time. The African country is the rotating chairman of the BRICS group. The organization was formed to counter Western economic dominance.


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