Ukraine Daily Summary - Sunday, July 9

Why culture matters during war -- Ukraine concerned about Americans' alleged back-channel diplomacy with Russia -- Military allege Russia prepares to export stolen grain from occupied Ukraine to China -- Russian forces prepare for possible hostilities in Crimea -- Zelensky, Dutch PM discuss F-16 training for Ukrainian pilots -- and more

Sunday, July 9

Russia’s war against Ukraine

President Volodymyr Zelensky and the commanding officers who defended the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol on the way to Ukraine on July 8 (Photo: President’s Office)

Azovstal defenders to return to Ukraine with Zelensky. The commanding officers who defended the Azovstal plant in Mariupol will be returning home from Turkey, where they had been kept after a prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office announced on July 8.

Defense Ministry: Russian forces prepare for possible hostilities in Crimea. Russia is fortifying its defenses in occupied Crimea to prepare for a potential Ukrainian advance, the Defense Ministry’s Military Media Center reported on July 8.

General Staff: Russian forces attempt advances in Donetsk, Luhansk oblasts. Russian forces attempted offensives in five directions in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported in its evening update on July 8.

Media: Ukraine concerned about Americans’ alleged back-channel diplomacy with Russia. Ukraine is worried about alleged secret talks between former U.S. officials and Kremlin-linked Russians concerning Ukraine’s NATO membership, NBC News reported on July 8, citing an unnamed Ukrainian official.

Peskov claims Ukraine, Turkey ‘violated’ prisoner exchange agreements on return of Azov commanders. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov claimed Ukraine and Turkey “violated” prisoner exchange agreements amid the return of Ukrainian commanding officers who defended the Azovstal steel plant from Turkey.

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Military allege Russia prepares to export stolen grain from occupied Ukraine to China. Russia is implementing measures in occupied Ukrainian regions that will allow it to export stolen agricultural products, including grain, to China, Ukraine’s National Resistance Center reported on July 8.

Reuters: Wagner troops not leaving Central African Republic. Wagner Group forces that are stationed in the Central African Republic will not leave the country, but rather conduct a rotation of troops, a spokesperson for the Central African Republic told Reuters on July 8.

Minister: Russia’s war inflicts $55 billion in environmental damage. Ukraine’s State Environmental Inspectorate reported that Russia’s full-scale invasion has caused $55.9 billion (Hr 2 trillion) in environmental damage, Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Ruslan Strilets said on July 8.

Reznikov: Ukraine is de facto member of NATO. Ukraine will be able to become a member of NATO because of its success in countering the Russian Federation, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on national television on July 8.

Official: Around 1,000 locals remain near Bakhmut. Around 1,000 residents are staying in Chasiv Yar, a small city just west of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast, Serhii Chaus, the head of the Chasiv Yar Military Administration, told Suspilne news outlet on July 8.

Human cost of war

Update: Lyman shelling causes 8 deaths. The death toll of a Russian rocket attack on Lyman in Donetsk Oblast has risen to eight, with 13 people injured, according to the head of the regional military administration, Pavlo Kyrylenko.

Governor: Russian forces launch drone attack on Kryvyi Rih, injuring 1. Russian forces launched a drone attack on Kryvyi Rih overnight on July 8, injuring one man, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Governor Serhii Lysak reported.

General Staff: Russia has lost 233,440 troops in Ukraine since Feb 24, 2022. According to the report, Russia has also lost 4,074 tanks, 7,953 armored fighting vehicles, 6,914 vehicles and fuel tanks, 4,346 artillery systems, 661 multiple launch rocket systems, 410 air defense systems, 315 airplanes, 309 helicopters, 3,666 drones, and 18 boats.

This Week in Ukraine Ep. 15 -

Why culture matters during war

Why culture matters during war | This Week in Ukraine Ep. 15

International response

Spain, UK against provision of cluster bombs to Ukraine. U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles on July 8 came out against the provision of cluster munitions to Ukraine by the U.S.

Zelensky, Dutch PM discuss F-16 training for Ukrainian pilots. President Volodymyr Zelensky said on July 8 he had confirmed the dates when Ukrainian pilots would begin their training to operate F-16 fighter jets during a phone conversation with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Portugal states support for Ukraine’s NATO membership. Portugal came out in support of Ukraine’s NATO membership on July 8 in a joint statement with Kyiv following a phone conversation between President Volodymyr Zelensky and Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa.

Reuters: Syria cracked down on Wagner fighters during rebellion. Syria cracked down on Wagner mercenaries fighting on its territory in cooperation with the Russian military to stop Wagner’s June 23-24 rebellion from spreading, Reuters reported on July 7, citing six undisclosed sources.

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