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Ukraine update: New drone attack on Moscow

Russia Situation on Moscow's Komsomolsky Prospekt street after drone attack

Two drones have once again entered the airspace over the Russian capital Moscow. UNESCO is dismayed by the Russian shelling of the port city of Odessa. Our news overview.

The essentials in brief:

  • Russia reports drone attack on capital Moscow
  • Grain hall destroyed in Russian attack on Odessa region
  • UNESCO chief “deeply dismayed” by attacks on Odessa
  • Putin approves reservist age increase by five years
  • Many skirmishes at Donetsk and Kupyansk

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the Russian capital Moscow was the target of a Ukrainian drone attack on Monday night. The defense ministry said on Telegram that the air defense systems had thwarted the attack, and two Ukrainian drones had been intercepted and destroyed. It described the incident as a “terrorist attack”. There were no injuries. Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said two uninhabited buildings were hit. But there was no “serious destruction”. 

State news agencies report that drone fragments have been found on Komsomolski Avenue, about two kilometers from the Ministry of Defense. A business center was damaged on Likhachev Avenue in southern Moscow. Both streets were closed. The Department of Defense TV station released a short video showing a damaged skyscraper with missing windows on the upper floors. Other Russian Telegram channels linked to Russian security forces showed footage of glass and concrete debris on Komsomolsky Avenue.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, drones had already been shot down over the Moscow area in early July. At the time, the Ministry of Defense blamed Ukraine for the attack. There were also drone attacks on the capital Moscow in May. According to the authorities, houses were damaged and people were injured in an attack at the end of May. Attacks have also been increasing in Russia for weeks – mostly in the immediate border region with Ukraine. Ukraine almost never claims attacks within Russia or on Russian-held territory in Ukraine.

Drones hit ammunition depot in Crimea

Russia reports another Ukrainian airstrike on the annexed peninsula of Crimea. An ammunition depot in the city of Dschankoi was hit, said the governor, Sergei Axjonov, appointed by Russia. A residential building in the area was also damaged. The air defense intercepted eleven drones. It is unclear whether the ammunition dump was hit directly by a drone or by falling debris. There is a Russian air force base near Dschankoi. According to Ukrainian data, the area has become the largest Russian military base in Crimea. Only on Saturday did Russia report a Ukrainian drone attack on Crimea.

Crimean Peninsula |  Ammunition explodes |  Russian military compound
Cloud of smoke over the attacked ammunition depot in CrimeaImage: Viktor Korotayev/Kommersant Publishing House/AP/dpa/picture alliance

Grain hall destroyed in Russian attack on Odessa region

A grain warehouse was destroyed by a Russian drone attack on the port infrastructure in the Ukrainian region of Odessa. In addition, storage tanks were damaged on Monday night, as the Ukrainian army announced on Telegram. Four workers are said to have been injured. The air defense was able to shoot down three Iranian-type Shahed-136 drones. Since the agreement on exporting Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports expired last Monday, Russia has repeatedly attacked the port cities of Odessa and Mykolaiv, according to Ukrainian sources. The Ukrainian authorities only reported an attack on Odessa on Sunday night.

President Selenskyj thanks for your sympathy

After the Russian attacks on the port city of Odessa, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed words of gratitude to his own people and international allies. “Thank you to everyone who is in Odessa,” Zelensky said in his nightly video speech, acknowledging the work of the volunteer rescuers, doctors and local authorities in the city in the south of the country. “It’s very important to help each other and our city!” he added. 

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his video message on Sunday eveningImage:

Zelenskyj also found words of praise for NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the quick reaction of the new NATO-Ukraine Council on Sunday evening. At the request of Ukraine, Stoltenberg called a meeting of the new council for Wednesday. This new structure for cooperation between NATO and Ukraine was established at the recent NATO summit in Vilnius.

Lithuania |  Summit of NATO heads of state and government in Vilnius
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (left), here in conversation with US President Joe BidenImage: Kacper Pempel/Reuters

Odessa is under fire again

Russia had again massively attacked the Ukrainian city of Odessa on the Black Sea at the weekend. According to Ukrainian sources, at least one person was killed on Sunday night and more than 20 others were injured. The old town, classified as a World Heritage Site, and the Orthodox Transfiguration Cathedral were also hit.

The attack sparked numerous international reactions. The EU condemned the attacks on the port city, through which grain was until recently exported, as a war crime. Pope Francis included Odessa in a prayer for peace. Representatives of the USA, Great Britain, Italy and France also expressed their condolences. “It is heartbreaking to follow the scenes of destruction in Odessa,” tweeted Moldova’s President Maia Sandu.

UNESCO chief “deeply dismayed”

UNESCO also sharply condemned the Russian air raid on the Ukrainian port city of Odessa, which also hit the old town, which is a World Heritage Site. In a statement published in Paris, the UN cultural organization was “deeply dismayed” by the shelling that hit “several cultural sites”. UNESCO head Audrey Azoulay described the attack as an “escalation of violence against (the) cultural heritage of Ukraine”. 

Ukraine |  Attack on Odessa Cathedral
The cathedral in Odessa was also shelledImage: Jae C Hong/AP/picture alliance

Battles near Donetsk and Kupyansk

According to the general staff, the Ukrainian army encountered heavy Russian resistance in the east of the country during its counteroffensive. The general staff’s nightly situation report spoke of ongoing Russian attacks between Donetsk in the east and Kupyansk in the north-eastern region of Kharkiv.

According to this, 27 battles took place over the past 24 hours along a front length of around 230 kilometers. The Russian side used more artillery and air force, it said. More than 60 towns in the front section are said to have come under Russian rocket and artillery fire.

Russia has been waging a war of aggression against the neighboring country for almost 17 months  . A Ukrainian counter-offensive is currently underway.

According to Ukraine, it has reconquered 227 square kilometers

According to their own statements, the Ukrainian troops recaptured 227 square kilometers of land previously occupied by the Russians in a counter-offensive of about seven weeks. Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maljar announced that area gains of 192 square kilometers were achieved on the southern sections of the front. Twelve square kilometers of this had been freed in the past week. For comparison: 227 square kilometers corresponds approximately to the area of ​​the city of Duisburg in North Rhine-Westphalia.

In the section around the Russian-controlled city of Bakhmut, the Ukrainian soldiers recaptured a total of 35 square kilometers. In the past week, four square kilometers have been added in the eastern region of Donetsk. Such statements by the warring parties cannot be independently verified. According to Ukrainian military observers, Russia still controls more than 100,000 square kilometers of Ukrainian territory, including the Crimea peninsula, which was illegally annexed in 2014.

Putin approves reservist age increase by five years

In view of the war of aggression against Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law on the new age limit for reservists. Accordingly, the maximum limit for all ranks and categories is raised by five years. This emerges from a message on the official portal of the Russian government. In future, soldiers, sailors and sergeants up to the age of 55 can be called up for reserve duty. In the future, the age limit for officers up to the rank of captain will be 60 years, senior officers will serve up to the age of 65. Generals can now be reactivated even up to the age of 70.

Russia |  Conscripted reservists in Serpukhov
Conscripted Russian reservists march in Serpukhov (archive image)Image: Alexander Shcherbak/TASS/dpa/picture alliance

The decision to raise the age of reservists was primarily due to the war in Ukraine. During the partial mobilization in the fall, Russia officially drafted 300,000 reservists for the front. In the course of mobilization, however, major problems came to light. Among other things, many Russians avoided mobilization by fleeing abroad. Moscow officially denies any intention to carry out further mobilization. However, given the ongoing problems at the front, experts see a new wave of conscription as likely.

Russia can supply grain, says Putin

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin again commented on the grain agreement he had terminated. The continuation of the “grains agreement – which did not justify its humanitarian purpose – has lost its meaning,” Putin is quoted as saying on the Kremlin’s website. To alleviate the global food crisis, Putin declares that “our country is able to replace Ukrainian grain both commercially and free of charge, especially as we expect a bumper harvest this year as well”.

Theme Pack |  Grain trade Grain deal Grain deal Ukraine Russia
Ukraine is considered the breadbasket of Europe. The farmland is among the best in the world.PICTURED: ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO/REUTERS

Russia will continue to work to organize the supply of grain, food, fertilizer and other goods to Africa. “We value the full breadth of economic ties with Africa and will continue to develop them dynamically.”

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