The essentials in brief:
- Brazil and South Africa push for the end of the war
- Again drone attacks in the Moscow area
- Deaths in Russian attacks in eastern Ukraine
- Russian drones destroy grain stores in Ismail and Odessa
- Senior Russian general Surovikin deposed, according to media
- Majority of Ukrainians against compromises for peace with Russia
At the BRICS summit meeting, the presidents of Brazil and South Africa again called for peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called for a quick end to the conflict. The war has global repercussions that cannot be ignored, said Lula on the second day of the summit in the South African economic metropolis of Johannesburg.
The group of important emerging countries Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, from whose name the acronym BRICS derives, is therefore an important forum for discussing questions of world security and peace. “We see it as positive that a growing number of countries, including BRICS countries, are in direct contact with Moscow and Kyiv,” said Lula. “We do not underestimate the difficulties of achieving peace, but neither can we be indifferent to the death and destruction that happens every day.”
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa also called for the Ukraine war to be settled through negotiations. “The BRICS countries will support efforts to end this conflict through dialogue, mediation and negotiations,” said the 70-year-old. Ramaphosa leads an African peace initiative to end the war, with mediation efforts in Moscow and Kiev.
Again drone attacks in the Moscow area
Russia’s capital region has again become the target of suspected Ukrainian drones during the night. The Russian Ministry of Defense announced that three of the unmanned aerial vehicles were shot down. The debris of one of the intercepted drones damaged a building in central Moscow, the other two were shot down by air defense systems west of the Russian capital.
The Russian news agency TASS reported that Moscow airports had once again temporarily suspended air traffic because of the attack. The major airports around the Russian capital have been repeatedly closed in recent days due to Ukrainian drone attacks.
After the reports from Moscow, the US government made it clear that the United States would not support or facilitate attacks within Russia. It is up to Ukraine to decide how to defend itself against the Russian invasion, a State Department spokesman said in Washington. Russia could end the war at any time by withdrawing from Ukraine.
Dead in drone attack on Russia’s Belgorod region
According to the authorities, three people have been killed in a Ukrainian drone attack in the Russian region of Belgorod, which borders Ukraine. The victims are three civilians in the town of Lawy, explained Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov in the online service Telegram. “The Ukrainian armed forces dropped an explosive device with a drone when there were people on the street.”
Ukraine: Russian anti-aircraft system destroyed in annexed Crimea
According to the Ukrainian military intelligence service, it has destroyed a Russian S-400 “Triumph” anti-aircraft system on the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which was annexed by Moscow. “As a result of the explosion, the facility, the associated missiles and the operating personnel were completely destroyed,” said the secret service. Drone footage was released showing the explosion on the Tarhankut promontory at the westernmost end of the peninsula. Images of a large explosion cloud were also distributed on social networks. The Ukrainian authorities did not initially say how the Russian air defense system was attacked. Russia initially did not comment on this.
Russian attack sets grain stores on fire
According to Ukraine, 13,000 tons of grain were destroyed in a Russian drone attack on the Danube heap Ishmajl near the Romanian border. As Vice Prime Minister Olexander Kubrakow also reported on Telegram, the port’s export capacities were also reduced by 15 percent as a result of the attack on Wednesday night. “Russia systematically attacks grain silos and warehouses to stop agricultural exports.” Grain industry facilities were also attacked with drones and partially destroyed in the greater Odessa area. According to Ukrainian sources, 270,000 tons of grain were destroyed in just one month. A statement from Russia was initially not available.
The government in Moscow had not extended an agreement brokered by the UN and Turkey on the safe export of grain from Ukraine in July. Since then, there have been increased attacks on the country’s Danube ports, which are used by alternative export routes.
Dead and injured in Russian attacks
At least six civilians have been killed in Ukraine by Russian shelling and drone attacks. At least four teachers were killed in a drone attack on a school in the city of Romny in the northeastern Ukrainian region of Sumy, Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said. At least four other people were injured.
There were also civilian casualties in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk. According to the authorities, three civilians were killed and another four injured by artillery fire the day before. One person was injured in the neighboring Kharkiv region. At least one person was killed and another eleven were injured in attacks with glide bombs and artillery in the southern Ukrainian region of Cherson.
There were also massive artillery, drone and rocket attacks in the neighboring Zaporizhia region. According to the authorities, there were no civilian casualties there.
Media: Russian general Surovikin deposed
According to state media reports, the Russian General Sergei Surovikin, who was once responsible for the Ukraine offensive and who is said to sympathize with the Wagner Group, has been removed from his post as commander-in-chief of the country’s aerospace forces. “Army General Sergey Surovikin has been removed from his post,” state-run Ria Novosti news agency reported, citing a source close to the army. Other media also reported the cancellation.
There was initially no official statement from the Russian government. According to media reports, the 56-year-old Surovikin was replaced by General Viktor Afsalov.
Zelenskyj is happy about military aid and commitments for reconstruction
After his return from Greece, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked European countries for new commitments regarding military and reconstruction aid. “There are planes for Ukraine. There is additional armor and we are strengthening air defenses,” he said in his daily evening video address.
This time, the video was recorded on a train that Zelenskyy was taking back to Kiev after a several-day journey through various countries of the European Union. According to Zelensky, he visited Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark and finally Greece, where he spoke to several heads of state and government from the Balkan region. In the past few days, Denmark and the Netherlands had promised Ukraine the delivery of Western F-16 fighter jets.
Zelenskyy thanked Greece not only for the arms aid, but also for the promise to take over the patronage for the reconstruction of the Ukrainian port city of Odessa, which had been hit several times by Russian rocket and drone attacks. “This is not only a meaningful decision, but also a very symbolic one,” with historical and cultural significance, he said. In ancient times, the Greeks had opened up the Black Sea region. Ancient settlements also existed in the territory of today’s city of Odessa.
More help is also to come from Great Britain – for the electricity sector: At a meeting with his Ukrainian colleague Herman Halushchenko in Kiev, British Energy Minister Grant Shapps announced export financing of £192 million (around €225 million) for nuclear fuel for Ukrainian nuclear power plants. “With this guarantee, we want to help Ukraine to stop having to get its nuclear fuel from Russia in the future,” Shapps told Reuters. The sum guarantees that the fuel will come from much safer sources in the future. One of them is Urenco, a partly British consortium.
Ukraine’s energy system has been badly damaged by massive Russian airstrikes, making the country even more dependent on its aging nuclear power plants. The largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine, Zaporizhia, has been occupied by Russia since March last year. Since then, both sides have repeatedly accused each other of endangering the safety of the facility.
Majority of Ukrainians against compromises for peace with Russia
According to a poll, an overwhelming majority of Ukrainians are against making compromises with wartime opponents Russia in favor of a peace deal. According to the results of two well-known institutes published on Tuesday, more than 90 percent of the approximately 2,000 respondents were against the transfer of territory. Almost 74 percent ruled out renunciation of NATO membership. A reduction in the number of troops in the army in peacetime was rejected by 80 percent.
At the same time, only just under 49 percent of Ukrainians saw a positive development of events in their own country. In December last year, after the successful expulsion of the Russian occupiers from northern Ukraine and large parts of the Kharkiv and Cherson regions, almost 60 percent still believed that.
The survey was conducted from August 9 to 15 in the regions controlled by the Ukrainian government excluding Luhansk Oblast, Donetsk Oblast and the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea. In total, 2019 adult Ukrainians were personally interviewed. The error tolerance should not exceed 2.3 percent.
Medvedev names new goals
Apparently, Russia is toying with the idea of annexing areas in neighboring countries other than Ukraine. According to former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Russia could annex the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
“The idea of joining Russia remains popular in Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council writes in an article published by the Russian newspaper Argumenty i Fakty early Wednesday. “It could well be implemented if there are good reasons for it,” said Medvedev. The ex-president is now deputy head of the Russian Security Council and is considered a close confidant of President Vladimir Putin.
as/kle/AR/wa/se (dpa, afp, rtr)
This article will be continuously updated on the day of its publication. Reports from the combat zones cannot be independently verified.