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Ukraine war: Western weapons 'not helping', US sanctions, Russian ships military targets

Emergency services work at a scene of a destroyed residential area after a Russian attack in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, Thursday, July 20, 2023.

Ukraine's use of cluster bombs against Russia effective, says US

US-supplied cluster munitions are being "effectively" used by the Ukrainian forces in the war front, a senior US defence official said on Thursday. 

"We have gotten some initial feedback from the Ukrainians and they're using them appropriately," White House national security spokesman John Kirby briefed reporters on Thursday. 

The bombs were having an impact on Russian forces and some disruption on their defensive formations have been seen, he added. 

The Biden administration decided to provide thousands of cluster munitions, in addition to €735 million package of military aid to Ukraine earlier this month, upon Kyiv's promise to use the controversial munitions carefully.

Following the US's decision, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his forces will also use cluster munitions, although Ukraine accused the Kremlin of using them beforehand. 

Russia, Ukraine and the US have not signed an international convention banning the use of cluster bombs.  

Ships travelling to Russia also military targets, says Ukraine

Ships travelling to Russia and occupied territories of Ukraine will also be deemed as military targets, Ukraine's defence ministry said on Thursday. 

The statement comes after Kremlin issued the same warning, calling the international waters in northwestern and southeastern parts of the Black Sea “temporarily dangerous” for shipping.

Ukraine will consider vessels in the direction of Russian seaports "as carrying military cargo with all the corresponding risks," the statement said. 

Kyiv's decision comes in retaliation to Moscow's decision that turned the Back Sea into a "danger zone" with "military threats," according to the statement. 

The decision comes into effect from today, and will put the responsibility for all risks upon the Russian leadership, Kyiv said, adding the action is a testament to Ukraine's might to "repel Russian aggression at sea".  

In response to the Russian decision on Wednesday, the White House accused the Russian military of preparing for possible attacks on civilian shipping vessels in the Black Sea.

Crucial supplies of Ukrainian wheat and other cereals were blockaded by Russia during the early stages of the war, sending food prices skyrocketing and triggering warnings of famine in certain parts of the world.

However, an UN-Turkey brokered deal last summer lifted the blockade, though Russia pulled out of it earlier this week. 

a U.N. official of the Joint Coordination Centre carries out an inspection on board of the bulk cargo ship TQ Samsun, which traveled from Odesa, Ukraine, loaded with grain. AP/AP

Chinese consulate hit by Russian attacks in Odesa

A Chinese consulate building at Odesa was damaged in the latest series of Russian attacks, Ukrainian officials said on Thursday. 

"Administrative and residential buildings nearby were damaged, also the consulate of the People’s Republic of China," local governor, Oleh Kiper said via Telegram. 

Russia has continued to shower drones and missiles in the port city of Odesa in an effort to damage grain facilities and oil terminals in southern Ukraine. 

Repeated bombardments have crippled significant parts of export facilities in Odesa and nearby Chornomorsk, destroying 60,000 tons of grain, according to Ukraine’s Agriculture Ministry.

A storehouse is damaged after a nightly Russian rocket attack in Odesa, Ukraine on Wednesday, June 14, 2023. Nina Lyashonok/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

Kiper added the attacks prove Russia has "no consideration" for anyone, including its close allies. 

Despite China's claims of remaining neutral in the conflict, Beijing has refused to condemn the Russian aggression. 

Russia's Defence Ministry released images on Thursday allegedly showing Moscow and China conducting joint war drills in the Sea of Japan, hinting at continuing support for the war.

Posted on 21 Jul 2023 08:52 link