The Russia-Ukraine War which has dragged on since February 24, 2022, is seeing more battles of attrition via drone warfare. Kyiv has suffered a hit in their food supplies but their retaliation attempts have sent a clear message across the border with President Volodymyr Zelensky hinting at a “full-fledged war” in the coming weeks.
On Saturday, Russian anti-aircraft units downed three drones targeting Moscow’s financial center but two were able to hit major offices. One of the drones attacked the same skyscraper that was hit two days ago, namely the IQ-Quarter Tower 1. According to Sergei Sobyanin, Mayor of Moscow, no individuals were harmed in the attack but it did cause severe infrastructural damage to the building, particularly on the 21st floor.
Reuters also reported that the Russian Defence Ministry claimed Ukraine tried to target them in the sea but was unsuccessful. The Ministry stated that three semi-submersible unmanned seat boats attacked the Sergei Kotov and Vasiliy Bykov civilian patrol ships in the Black Sea. However, Mykhailo Podolyak, advisor to President Zelensky, denied the accusations and stated the report to be fictitious as Kyiv would never target civilians.
The Russian Defence Ministry condemned the transgressions from Ukraine and termed them a ‘terrorist attack.’ President Zelensky did not confirm nor deny the recent accusations although he did state that “the war is returning to the territory of Russia - to its symbolic centers and military bases, and this is an inevitable, natural, and absolutely fair process."
In the latest news covered by AlJazeera, a Ukrainian grain silo at the port of Izmail on the Danube River was hit by a drone attack. Odesa governor Oleh Kiper wrote in a post on Telegram that there were no casualties while Zelensky condemned the act of destroying grain that could have fed millions of people. The Defense of Ukraine shared pictures of the devastation on the messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
The fresh attacks are a result of Russia’s aggressive approach to counter potentially cargo-carrying ships. Vladimir Putin’s regime is treating anything Ukraine-bound in the Black Sea as a potential threat to their safety since Wednesday, July 17 from 21:00 GMT onwards. In 2022, the Russian President lifted the war-time blockade of Ukrainian ports but negotiations for extending the Black Sea Grain Initiative agreement failed last month.
Ukraine has since been under heavy shelling with major ports and grain silos damaged or destroyed. One of the world's major grain producers, the United Nations has warned of food shortages in poor countries and a rise in prices in the upcoming weeks due to the attacks on the country. There has been an increase in the export of maize from Ukraine’s side, with almost 50% of it accounting for July, according to reports by the EU.
Saudi Arabia will reportedly host a peace summit on August 5 and 6 in the city of Jeddah, with around 30 countries expected to be in attendance including India, Brazil, and South Africa. They will discuss with President Zelensky how to provide peace and security to Ukraine and renew their efforts for global peace. Sources close to the Associated Press stated that Russia hasn’t been invited.
“Only the removal of Putin’s clan”, Mykhailo Podolyak’s solution for the Russia-Ukraine War
Underdeveloped countries such as South Africa have been heavily affected by the economic instability bought by the Russian-Ukraine War. Western sanctions imposed on Russia, lead to a decrease in oil and gas exports and thereby increased inflation. Compounding the problems were the attacks on the grain silos in Ukraine which affected the food prices in many countries.
Vladimir Putin offered free grain supplies for African nations like Somalia and Zimbabwe to strengthen his ties with the country during the Russia-Africa Summit on July 31. The move was condemned by the West and stated to be a propaganda tool to pressurize countries to abstain from assisting Ukraine. It is worth mentioning that NATO has had good relations with Africa since the beginning.
The summit highlighted how Russia is trying to expand its influence in Africa. It became more clear to Mykhailo Podolyak when Russian mercenary leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, hailed the military coup in Niger and the Kremlin government largely ignored the issue. The Ukrainian politician wrote on Twitter:-
“It is now absolutely clear that Russia is behind the so-called ‘military coup’ in Niger. It is a standard Russian tactic: to divert attention, seize the moment and expand the conflict… It's time to draw the right conclusion: only the removal of Putin’s clan and sending Russia to the political rebirth can guarantee the inviolability of rules and stability to the world.”, wrote Mykhailo Podolyak.
Leader of Russia’s Wagner Group, Prigozhin warned that Putin’s army will seek new recruits in the future. It could be taken as a sign of a full-fledged war in the future.
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