– High-stake grain talks –  

Russia and Ukraine are due to hold their first talks with United Nations and Turkish officials aimed at breaking the impasse over grain exports.  The first face-to-face talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations since a meeting in Istanbul on March 29 comes with the threat of food shortages spreading across the poorest parts of the world.

Ukraine is one of the world’s biggest exporters of wheat and other grain, but shipments have been blocked by both Russian warships and mines laid across the Black Sea.

– Russia probe against activist –

Russian authorities launch a criminal case against Ilya Yashin, one of the last opposition figures remaining in the country, for allegedly spreading false information about the army.  His lawyer Vadim Prokhorov says the probe was launched because his client spoke of “the murder of civilians in Bucha” on his YouTube channel on April 7.


In June, Yashin, who is a Moscow city councillor, was sentenced to 15 days in jail for disobeying police. He had been set to be released in the early hours of Wednesday, July 13.

– Calm before the storm? –

The Ukrainian army warns Russia is preparing to stage its heaviest attack yet on Donetsk Region, the larger of the two areas comprising the Donbas war zone.

The Russian army has not conducted any major ground offensives since taking the smaller Luhansk Region at the start of July.  Analysts believe the Russians are taking an “operational pause” during which they are rearming and regrouping forces before launching an assault on Slovyansk and Kramatorsk.

– Kyiv ‘destroys’ arms depot –

Kyiv says it has launched artillery barrages that destroyed a Russian arms depot and carried out a “special operation” to free military captives in the Moscow-controlled Kherson Region.

Ukrainian military officials say the strikes have destroyed artillery, armoured vehicles “and a warehouse with ammunition” in the town of Nova Kakhovka. Russian-backed authorities accuse Ukraine, however, of damaging civilian infrastructure and killing at least seven people, a toll that could not be independently verified.

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