Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said Monday that Ukraine had received three of the 15 Gepard tanks Germany had promised to deliver in support of Kyiv’s effort to repel Russia’s invasion. Ten thousand rounds of ammunition were also provided.
In remarks carried on Ukrainian state television, Reznikov also said US-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) destroyed 50 Russian ammunition depots.
The arrival of the three Gepards marks Germany’s second delivery of heavy weapons since the war began five months ago. In June, Germany delivered seven howitzers with a range of up to 40 kilometers.
Irpin — located some 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) northwest of the capital Kyiv — along with the city of Bucha, made headlines after Russian troops withdrew revealing evidence of a litany of alleged war crimes, including executions of civilians.
The two ministers toured the destroyed buildings in Irpin, where nearly 50,000 people lived prior to the war. The suburb is now almost completely destroyed.
The trip is Faeser and Heil’s first to Ukraine since the war began. The two are to meet with Ukrainian lawmakers, including their counterparts and Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko, among others.
Discussions are expected to focus on rebuilding Ukrainian infrastructure, in particular for emergency services. Faeser will also discuss issues of cyber security, weapons smuggling, mine clearance and forensic investigations into Russian war crimes with Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyy.
Russia to bring crimes against humanity charges against 200 Ukrainians
Alexander Bastrykin, the head of Russia’s Investigative Committee, said Russia plans to bring cases for crimes against humanity against 200 captured Ukrainians at a court it is developing at present.
In an interview Monday with Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Bastrykin said the court would fall under the jurisdiction of one of its partner agencies.
In addition to Russia, Bolivia, Iran and Syria have expressed interest in joining the tribunal project.
Bastrykin added that there are additional investigations against foreign fighters from Canada, Georgia and the Netherlands.
In Donetsk, Russian-backed forces have already convicted two British citizens and a Moroccan national and sentenced them to death. Their appeals are ongoing.
The court would be something of a rogue state rival to the International Criminal Court (ICC) based in the Hague. There, over 1,300 criminal cases have been initiated against approximately 400 Russian nationals for war crimes committed against Ukrainian civilians.
That agreement — signed by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the UN — was to reopen three Black Sea ports in Ukraine for grain exports. The deal’s validity is 120 days and hopes to see 5 million tons of grain exported every month.
Ukrainian ports have been closed to grain export since Russia began its invasion on February 24. A fraction of what Ukraine typically ships has made it out of the country by rail or road through neighboring countries like Poland and Romania, leaving piles stocked in storage facilities in Ukraine.
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The halt in grain exports have contributed to global inflation and has brought populations in developing countries to the brink of starvation. The UN has voiced concerns that the food crisis could prompt mass migration on an enormous scale. Yet Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday that the missile strike on Odesa’s port would not negatively affect the price of grain.
At the Chicago Board of Trade, wheat futures rose to $7.86 (€7.69) a bushel on Monday, up nearly 4%. After the deal was announced Friday, wheat futures dropped 6%.
Grain shipment pileup has Ukraine’s cash-strapped farmers worried
Ukraine’s farmers need ports to start shipping their harvests in significant volumes or else they face the prospect of not being able to afford to plant next year’s crop due to non-payment.
DW’s Nick Connolly has been tracking developments in southern Ukraine where wheat farmers are harvesting this year’s crop.
Yields are down 40% when compared to last year but as Connolly points out, that is still millions of tons which countries around the world are waiting for.
Ukrainian farmer Mykhailo Lazarenko explained the dire circumstances currently facing the countries producers. “This is all grown for people abroad. Ukraine can’t and doesn’t consume all this food, but no one’s buying right now. The traders might be willing to take it off our hands for storage, but we only get paid once it goes to the customers,” Lazarenko said.
Wheat is now piling up in storage facilities, and includes last year’s crop which should have been shipped at the beginning of the year, but has been stuck at ports due to Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Kyiv is trying to get shipments moving by truck and barges, but reduced shipping capacity is causing a severe bottleneck which is taking weeks to clear.
Local trucker Vasyl told DW that the amount being shipped by truck is barely making a difference.
“Last time we were here for three weeks. When a barge does turn up, that’s only 20 trucks worth of grain, and there are thousands of us here,” Vasyl said.
It’s a similar situation in the Black Sea where more than 100 ships wait for their turn to enter the river Danube.
‘Inconclusive fighting’ in Donbas and Kherson, UK intelligence reports
The UK’s Ministry of Defense said in its daily intelligence update on Monday that Russia was facing the dilemma of whether to support its offensive in the east of Ukraine or bolster its defenses in areas that it has occupied in the west.
“Inconclusive fighting continues in both the Donbas and Kherson sectors,” the ministry said on Twitter. Ukrainian forces have launched their own counter-offensive against the occupied city of Kherson.
The ministry also said that “Russia likely continues to struggle to extract and repair the thousands of combat vehicles which have been damaged in action in Ukraine.”
It added that it had identified a facility near the Ukrainian border where some 300 vehicles were already present for repairs.
UK to host Eurovision in lieu of winners Ukraine
The UK will host Eurovision in 2023 instead of Ukraine, which won the 2022 iteration of the popular song contest with Kalush Orchestra’s “Stefania” and with it the right to host the following year.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said safety conditions were not met due to Russia’s invasion in Ukraine for the country to be eligible to host.
After coming at the bottom of the rankings with null points in 2021, the UK delivered a surprise hit and rose to second place in the 2022 contest. It is not known which city would host though Glasgow and Manchester have expressed a desire to do so.
Martin Österdahl, the Eurovision Song Contest’s executive supervisor, said in a statement issued by the EBU, “We’re exceptionally grateful that the BBC has accepted to stage the
Eurovision Song Contest in the UK in 2023.”
Ukraine last hosted the contest in 2017 in Kyiv after Jamala won the 2016 contest in Stockholm with a song about Stalin era deportations entitled “1944.”