Himars strike closes key bridge into Russian-occupied city of Kherson

·36 min read
Antonivskyi bridge was seriously damaged in Kherson - ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO/Reuters
Antonivskyi bridge was seriously damaged in Kherson - ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO/Reuters

Authorities in the Russian-controlled Ukrainian city of Kherson have closed the city's only bridge across the Dnieper river after it came under fire from US-supplied high mobility artillery rocket systems (Himars), according to Interfax and TASS reports on Wednesday.

The Antonovsky bridge has been closed for civilians but its structural integrity has not suffered from the shelling, Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-appointed city administration, told Interfax.

Separately, TASS quoted the official saying that Himars had targeted the bridge.

A Ukrainian counteroffensive to recapture the southern region from Russia could potentially benefit from the destruction of the bridge.

Follow the latest updates below.

04:58 PM

That's all for today

Today's top stories were:

  • A Himars strike damaged Antonovsky Bridge, curtailing supplies to Russian forces in the south

  • Germany confirms Gazprom cuts its Nord Stream 1 pipeline supply to 20 per cent capacity

  • Work to begin grain exports from Ukraine's Black Sea ports has begun, its Navy said

  • Russian forces claim they've captured Ukraine's second biggest power plant intact

  • Russian's foreign minister blames the West's green policies for the global food crisis

04:01 PM

Macron brands Russia 'imperial colonial power' on visit to Benin

French President Emmanuel Macron has on a visit to Benin branded Russia "one of the last imperial colonial powers" for its invasion of Ukraine.

"Russia launched an offensive against Ukraine. It's a territorial war the likes of which we thought had disappeared from European soil," Macron said on the second leg of a trip to Africa to reset France's relations with the continent, where many nations are former French colonies.

"I speak on a continent that has suffered colonial imperialism. Russia is one of the last imperial colonial powers," he said at a press conference with Benin President Patrice Talon.

Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov today visited Ethiopia as the Kremlin tries to forge stronger ties African states.

03:05 PM

Czechs ready to patrol Slovakia's skies as it could send fighter jets to Ukraine

The Czech government has backed plans that will allow its fighter jets to protect neighbouring Slovakia's air space from September, the Defence Ministry said.

Slovakia has asked its NATO allies to patrol its skies after signalling it could send its Russian-made MiG-29 fighter jets to neighbouring Ukraine to help Kyiv defend itself against Russia's invasion.

02:48 PM

G7 aims to impose Russia oil price cap when EU sanctions bite in December

The Group of Seven richest economies aim to have a price-capping mechanism on Russian oil exports in place by the time EU sanctions banning seaborne imports of Russian crude come into force on December 5, a senior G7 official has said.

"The goal here is to align with the timing that the EU has already put in place. We want to make sure that the price cap mechanism goes into effect at the same time," said the official, who asked not to be named.

"We've already heard from a number of Asian countries that are interested in either joining the coalition or better understanding the price point at which the price will be set in order to strengthen their hand in their negotiations with the Russians over future contracts."

The G7 - the United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Britain - said last month they would consider setting a price cap on Russian crude to curb the oil revenue that Moscow uses to finance its invasion of Ukraine.

China and India are interested in the idea of minimising their oil import costs because they are concerned about the budget impact through often-subsidised retail prices and inflation, the official said.

02:46 PM

Gazprom says it still hasn't received Nord Stream turbine

Gazprom's deputy CEO Vitaly Markelov said the Russian oil giant has still not received a Siemens turbine used at Nord Stream 1's Portovaya compressor station that has been undergoing servicing in Canada.

Markelov blamed Siemens, which is servicing the turbine, for the delay, saying that there were sanctions risks associated with the machinery.

Germany said supplies via the pipeline halved to 20 per cent capacity today.

02:42 PM

Spain's PM says it can become a gas hub for Europe

Spain has the capacity to become a gas hub for Europe as part of regional efforts to curb dependence on Russian gas, its Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said today.

Speaking at news conference alongside his Polish counterpart, he said: "Spain is prepared to increase its solidarity measures", adding that 20% of its imported Liquefied Natural Gas was re-exported to other EU countries in June.

02:37 PM

Boy loses mum and suffers burns in nearly half his body

Seven-year-old Roman Oleksiv recovers in hospital after suffering burns on nearly half his body from a Russian missile strike - CBS/CBS
Seven-year-old Roman Oleksiv recovers in hospital after suffering burns on nearly half his body from a Russian missile strike - CBS/CBS

Seven-year-old Roman Oleksiv recovers in hospital after suffering burns on nearly half his body from a Russian missile strike.

His mother Galyna was among at least 23 people who were killed in the explosion in the central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia.

Roman's heartbroken father Yaroslav Oleksiv said his son had been able to tell his rescuers that his mother was buried in the rubble of the strike on July 14.

In an interview with Current Time, he said: "The explosion threw his body and that ended up saving him.

"He was picked up right away and an ambulance arrived immediately."

"All the bodies they found from this shock wave, they were all badly burned...many had their limbs ripped off. None of the bodies remained fully intact.

"The doctors said they found some fabric with some writing on it. We knew that [Roman's mother] had a T-shirt like that... Plus, she had braces, and we could [identify her] by the braces."

They confirmed she had been killed with a DNA test, he said.

The Medical Association of Lviv said that about 45 per cent of his body is covered in external burns and that another 35 per cent of his body is burned internally.

Seven-year-old Roman Oleksiv recovers in hospital after suffering burns on nearly half his body from a Russian missile strike - CBS/CBS
Seven-year-old Roman Oleksiv recovers in hospital after suffering burns on nearly half his body from a Russian missile strike - CBS/CBS

02:19 PM

Ukrainian recruits shown how to take aim from weapons platform

A weapon handling instructor shows recruits at the Territorial Defence unit of Boryspil city how to adopt the most stable firing position - Dominic Nicholls/The Telegraph
A weapon handling instructor shows recruits at the Territorial Defence unit of Boryspil city how to adopt the most stable firing position - Dominic Nicholls/The Telegraph

The Telegraph's Defence and Security Editor Dominic Nicholls took this photo.

‘Max’, one of the weapon handling instructors training new recruits of the Territorial Defence unit of Boryspil city, near Kyiv, takes aim from a platform designed to shake in order to teach the firer how to adopt the most stable firing position.

02:05 PM

Boris Johnson should stay in politics, Zelensky says

Volodymyr Zelensky has said he does not want Boris Johnson to "disappear" after he stands down as Prime Minister.

The Ukrainian President noted he has "no right" to interfere in the UK's domestic affairs, but claimed he would like Mr Johnson to "be somewhere in politics in a position to be someone".

Mr Zelensky made his remarks during an interview on Piers Morgan Uncensored, where he appeared alongside his wife, First Lady Olena Zelenska, which airs on TalkTV tonight at 8pm.

On whether he would support a campaign to have Mr Johnson back as prime minister, Mr Zelensky told Piers Morgan: "I have no right to play in politics inside the UK. What I can say is he is a big friend of Ukraine.

"I want him to be somewhere in politics in a position to be someone.

"I don't want him to disappear, but the decision is in the hands of the British people."

01:57 PM

France offers gas to Germany after Gazprom cuts pipeline supply by 80 pc

France could provide Germany two per cent of its gas consumption - 20 terawatt hours - during winter months if needed in the context of the conflict in Ukraine, French energy ministry officials said.

Berlin said Russia's Gazprom had cut its gas supply via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to 20 per cent capacity today.

A standoff between Europe and Moscow since the Russian invasion of Ukraine has exposed the bloc's reliance on Russian gas and sparked a frantic search for alternative energy sources.

Germany, Europe's top economy and its largest importer of Russian gas, has been particularly hit by supply cuts since mid-June and is preparing for all scenarios including a complete stop to Russian gas supplies.

01:36 PM

West driving up food prices with green policies and Covid food hoarding, Sergei Lavrov says

Russia's foreign minister blamed the West's "reckless" green policies and food hoarding during the pandemic for driving up prices behind the "so-called food crisis".

Denying his country was responsible for the global surge in food prices following its invasion of Ukraine, Sergei Lavrov told reporters and African diplomats in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, that: "The situation in Ukraine did additionally negatively affect food markets, but not due to the Russian special operation, rather due to the absolutely inadequate reaction of the West, which announced sanctions."

01:17 PM

Ukrainian navy says work to prepare Black Sea port exports has begun

Ukraine's navy has confirmed that work had started at three Ukrainian Black Sea ports aimed at preparing for the resumption of grain exports.

"In connection with the signing of the agreement on the unblocking (by Russia) of Ukrainian ports for the export of grain, work has been resumed in the ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdeny," the navy said on Facebook.

"The departure and arrival of ships to seaports will be carried out by forming a caravan that will accompany the lead ship."

01:15 PM

US basketball star arrives in Russian court charged with drug offences

US basketball player Brittney Griner has arrived in a Russian court charged with drug offences.

The 31-year-old, a Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) star who has played in Russia during the league's offseason, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

At the sixth hearing into her case, Griner was escorted into a courtroom by police, bending down to avoid banging her head against the doorway.

Wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt from her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury, Griner held up personal photographs and shook her lawyers' hands through the bars of the defendant's cage before taking a seat.

She was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport in Feb 17 with vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage.

The case against her is being heard at the Khimki District Court outside Moscow.

01:13 PM

Russia's Africa tour sees Ethiopia thank Moscow for 'unwavering support'

Moscow's whistle-stop tour of African states has seen Ethiopia's foreign minister tell of his country's gratitude for "Russia's unwavering support in helping us in safeguarding Ethiopia's sovereignty".

Appearing alongside his counterpart Demeke Mekonnen in Addis Ababa, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: "We confirmed our firm support for those efforts which the government is making to stabilise the situation and launch inclusive national dialogue to solve the key questions."

Ethiopia was considered a stalwart ally of the West until conflict broke out in November 2020 in its northern region of Tigray. The Ethiopian government has come under pressure from the United States and European Union over its conduct of the conflict, which has killed thousands and displaced millions.

01:04 PM

Picture of the opening of the new HQ overseeing Ukrainian grains exports

Delegates and military officers from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and UN attend the opening ceremony of the joint coordination centre - UMIT BEKTAS/REUTERS
Delegates and military officers from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and UN attend the opening ceremony of the joint coordination centre - UMIT BEKTAS/REUTERS

01:02 PM

Ukraine granted spot among EU members in 'Mini-Europe' theme park

A Brussels open-air theme park of famous European landmarks has granted Ukraine a place alongside members of EU this week.

Visitors to "Mini-Europe" will see depictions of refugees fleeing Ukraine following Russia's invasion in February, and trucks taking medical and food aid into the country.

The centrepiece is a model of the independence monument in Kyiv's Maidan Square surrounded by people with Ukrainian and EU flags, and President Volodymyr Zelenskiy handing over Ukraine's formal application for membership of the EU.

Mini-Europe owner Thierry Meeus told Reuters the idea was to demonstrate the EU's solidarity with Ukraine.

12:54 PM

Poland buying nearly 1,000 tanks, AVs, and fighter jets from South Korea

Poland is buying nearly 1,000 tanks, more than 600 pieces of artillery and dozens of fighter jets from South Korea to replace the military equipment it donated to Ukraine's fight against Russia, the Polish Ministry of Defense told CNN on Tuesday.

It will see Warsaw purchase 980 tanks based on the South Korean K2 model, 648 self-propelled K9 armoured howitzers, and 48 FA-50 fighter jets, the ministry said.

The value of the deal is not known. It is expected to be officially announced in Poland on Wednesday.

The armoured vehicles would partly replace the Soviet-era tanks that Poland has donated to Ukraine to use in its fight against Russia.

Chun In-Bum, a retired South Korean general, said the deal with Poland is Seoul's single biggest weapons export pact ever.

12:45 PM

Turkish minister says preparations for first Ukraine grains shipment underway

Preparations are continuing for the first ships to leave Ukrainian ports under a landmark UN deal to export Ukrainian grains, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said.

Unveiling a centre in Istanbul to oversee the exports, he added the goal of the monitoring centre in Istanbul was to ensure the safe shipment of grains from three Ukrainian ports, with more than 25 million tonnes of grain waiting there.

12:44 PM

Germany brands Russia's gas supply cut 'power play'

The German government slammed a further reduction in Russian gas deliveries via Nord Stream 1 today, calling it a "power play".

A spokesperson said Berlin saw no reason for Russia not to accept the return of a repaired turbine for the pipeline, which saw its supplies of gas to Germany halved to 20 per cent capacity today.

"This is a power play," a government spokesperson said at a regular news conference in Berlin.

12:41 PM

Man accused of leaking Ukrainian military details to Belarusian police and spies

A man has been accused of leaking Ukrainian military data to Belarusian police and special services.

Data about checkpoints, deployment and movement of personnel and equipment and other military formations in western Ukraine were handed over during illegal crossings of the state border with Belarus, it was alleged.

A spokesman for the Security Service of Ukraine said an investigation had found the informant's "neighbours" were particularly interested in fortifications near the border.

"The investigation established that the informant gave the data to the Belarusian law enforcement officers during an illegal crossing of the state border with Belarus," the spokesman said.

"The SSU is verifying information on his other ‘visits’ to enemy law enforcement and special services."

12:28 PM

Scotland starts to house first Ukrainian refugees off cruise ship

Scotland has started to house Ukrainian refugees who fled the Russian invasion on a cruise ship docked off Edinburgh, the devolved government has said.

The first Ukrainians boarded the specially chartered M/S Victoria on Tuesday which the Scottish government insists is  "fully staffed" and safe to house up to 1,700 Ukrainian refugees in 739 cabins until next January.

"We do not want people spending more time in temporary accommodation, such as the ship, for any longer than is absolutely necessary," government minister Shona Robison said.

"But we want to make them as comfortable as possible during their stay and we have worked with partners to provide a variety of services on-board for guests in addition to the support services available."

11:51 AM

Russia says EU understands how 'essential' Kaliningrad is after transit ban dropped

The EU's decision to strike a deal with Russia to unblock transit of goods to its Kaliningrad enclave shows the bloc has understood how "essential" it is to Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

He added that developments around the enclave sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania along the Baltic coast were “positive”.

Tensions between the EU and Russia soared over suggestions that sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine could ban goods transfers between the Russian mainland and Kaliningrad.

11:41 AM

New Ukraine prosecutor general appointed after 'treason' claims

Ukrainian parliament approved the appointment of Andriy Kostin as the country's prosecutor general on Wednesday, the prosecutor general's office said.

Some 299 deputies in the 450-seat parliament endorsed the lawmaker's appointment, it said on the Telegram messaging app.

Kostin is a member of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's Servant of the People party.

The president had earlier nominated Kostin to replace Iryna Venediktova, who was abruptly removed as prosecutor general earlier this month, amid claims her office had failed to root out Russian collaborators.

11:35 AM

Russia shares footage of soldiers firing sniper rifles and machine guns in Donetsk

Russia's Defence Ministry releases footage of soldiers firing sniper rifles and heavy machine guns in Donetsk - Avalon/EPN/Newscom / Avalon
Russia's Defence Ministry releases footage of soldiers firing sniper rifles and heavy machine guns in Donetsk - Avalon/EPN/Newscom / Avalon

11:32 AM

Russian forces claim to have captured Ukraine's second biggest power plant

Russian forces have claimed to have captured Ukraine's second biggest power plant intact.

If confirmed, the seizure of the Soviet-era coal-fired Vuhlehirsk power plant in eastern Ukraine would be Moscow's first strategic gain in more than three weeks in what it calls its "special military operation".

Unverified footage posted on social media appeared to show fighters from Russia's Wagner private military company posing in front of the Vuhlehirsk power plant.

One of the Wagner fighters in front of the plant showed his watch to the camera - the time on it was 1001 local and gave the date as July 26.

Some Russian state media - citing Russian-backed officials - reported separately it had been stormed.

Russian and Russian-backed forces have been struggling to make meaningful progress on the ground since their capture in early July of the eastern Ukrainian city of Lysychansk.

They have been repeatedly pushed back by fierce Ukrainian resistance to what Kyiv and the West regard as an imperialist Russian land grab in a pro-Western neighbour that Moscow dominated until the Soviet Union's 1991 break-up.

11:26 AM

Devastation after Donetsk residential area bombed by Russians

A rescuer walks among debris at a site of a residential area destroyed by a Russian military strike in the town of Toretsk, Donetsk region - STATE EMERGENCY SERVICE OF UKRAINE/REUTERS
A rescuer walks among debris at a site of a residential area destroyed by a Russian military strike in the town of Toretsk, Donetsk region - STATE EMERGENCY SERVICE OF UKRAINE/REUTERS
At least one person was killed in a Russian strike on a hotel - STATE EMERGENCY SERVICE OF UKRAINE/REUTERS
At least one person was killed in a Russian strike on a hotel - STATE EMERGENCY SERVICE OF UKRAINE/REUTERS

11:20 AM

Kremlin insists Gazprom is supplying as much gas as possible to Europe

Russia's Gazprom is supplying as much gas to Europe as possible, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters as he blamed sanctions-driven technical issues with equipment.

Germany today said the state-owned gas giant had cut supplies via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to 20 per cent capacity amid an energy stand-off between Moscow and the European Union that will make it harder, and costlier, for the bloc to fill up storage ahead of the winter heating season.

The cut in supplies, flagged by Gazprom earlier this week, has reduced the capacity of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline - the major delivery route to Europe for Russian gas - to a fifth of its capacity, as Russia said another gas turbine needed a repair.

"Gazprom supplies as much as needed and possible. We know that technical possibilities for supplies have decreased now," Peskov said, adding that European sanctions prevented a timely repair of the Nord Stream 1 equipment.

Peskov said that Gazprom will be able to increase supplies once maintenance is over. "Gazprom was and remains a reliable guarantor of all its obligations but it can not guarantee supplies if foreign equipment could not be serviced due to European sanctions," he said.

11:00 AM

Russia says it has destroyed more than 100 HIMARS in Dnipropetrovsk

Russia's Defence Ministry has claimed its forces destroyed more than 100 US-made HIMARS rockets in Ukraine's Dnipropetrovsk region on Sunday.

Previous claims by Russia that it has destroyed several HIMARS systems supplied to Ukraine by the West have been denied by Kyiv.

The battlefield accounts from either side have not been verified.

10:57 AM

Germany says Russia's Gazprom has cut gas deliveries to 20 pc capacity

Russian energy giant Gazprom has drastically cut gas deliveries to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline to about 20 per cent of its capacity, German authorities said.

Klaus Mueller, head of Germany's energy regulator, said gas flows had dropped to 20 per cent of the pipeline's capacity on Wednesday from 40 per cent, adding: "We'll see today if it stays that way."

On Monday, Gazprom said it would choke supply to half the amount it has been delivering since service resumed last week after 10 days of maintenance work - 33 million cubic metres a day.

EU states have accused Russia of squeezing supplies in retaliation for Western sanctions over Moscow's war in Ukraine.

Gazprom cited the halted operation of one of the last two operating turbines for the pipeline due to the "technical condition of the engine".

The German economy ministry dismissed the explanation, saying there was "no technical reason for a reduction of deliveries".

10:55 AM

Kremlin vows tit-for-tat ban on Western media after RT ban upheld

The Kremlin has vowed to hinder work of Western media in Russia after a European court upheld a broadcast ban imposed on Russian news channel RT France.

"Of course, we will take similar measures of pressure on Western media that operate in our country," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. "We will also not let them work in our country."

10:53 AM

Kremlin crony claims it planned for bridge attack and repairs will begin soon

Russia planned for the attack on Antonivskyi Bridge fueling its occupation of south Ukraine and will begin repairs soon, a separatist Ukrainian politician told Russian news agency Tass.

Kirill Stremousov, one of the self-appointed officials in the Russian-imposed administration in the occupied Kherson region, added on his Telegram channel: "Traffic on the bridge is blocked. Indeed, another HIMARS strike was launched during the night."

"We have provided for all things like this, and in fact there are several ferry crossings," said Stremousov, who is wanted for treason in Ukraine.

Ukrainian forces meanwhile said they took care to damage the bridge so that it was unusable for heavy goods and military machinery, but not to destroy it.

Spokeswoman Nataliya Humeniuk said: “I will note that we appreciate everything that is in our country, even when it is under occupation. There were strikes, but they were intricate.”

10:23 AM

EU ban on Russia Today upheld

Europe's second-top court has upheld an EU ban on Russian state-controlled media outlet Russia Today.

The prohibition was imposed in March due to its systematic disinformation over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"The Grand Chamber of the General Court dismisses RT France's application for annulment of acts of the Council, adopted following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, temporarily prohibiting that organisation from broadcasting content," the Luxembourg-based General Court said.

10:17 AM

Shipowners still face 'a lot of uncertainty' over water mines

Shipowners racing to export millions of tons of grain out of Ukraine still face a "lot of uncertainty" over water mines, said the secretary-general of the International Chamber of Shipping Guy Platten.

The landmark UN deal to resume exports from Ukraine's ports in a bid to alleviate a global food crisis only last for 120 days after Russia and Ukraine signed it in Turkey last Friday.

The chamber represents national shipowners associations, accounting for about 80 per cent of the world's merchant fleet.

"We have to work very hard to now understand the detail of how this is going to work practically," said Mr Platten.

"Can we make sure and guarantee the safety of the crews? What's going to happen with the mines and the minefields, as well? So lots of uncertainty and unknowns at the moment."

10:06 AM

Picture of Antonivskyi Bridge across the Dnieper River in Kherson

A general view of the Antonivskyi bridge in Kherson - ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO/REUTERS
A general view of the Antonivskyi bridge in Kherson - ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO/REUTERS

10:04 AM

At least one killed in Russian strike on hotel in Donetsk

At least one person has been killed and four people have been wounded by a Russian strike on a Ukrainian hotel in the Donetsk region town of Bakhmut on Wednesday, local authorities said.

"According to preliminary information, there are dead and wounded, a rescue operation is underway," local governor Pavlo Kyrylenko wrote on Facebook.

The local emergency service said a toll of one dead and four wounded had been confirmed so far.

10:03 AM

Russian minister warns grains exports may collapse

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko has warned the landmark exports deal to unblock Ukrainian grain exports on the Black Sea could collapse if obstacles to Russia's agricultural exports are not promptly removed, Interfax reported.

Interfax cited Rudenko as saying that grain shipments from Ukraine would start soon, and he hoped the grain deal would hold.

10:02 AM

Tobias Elwood MP praises Bournemouth schools for taking in nearly 100 Ukrainian pupils

Tobias Elwood, chair of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, has praised schools in his constituency for taking in nearly 100 Ukrainian refugee pupils.

The Tory MP for Bournemouth East and former Army lieutenant colonel retweeted a local paper report that said figures from the Department for Education showed at least 92 Ukrainian pupils have been offered school places in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole as of May 27.

09:48 AM

Ukraine in talks for world's second biggest IMF loan worth up to £16.6bn

Ukraine is in talks over securing the world's second biggest active loan from the International Monetary Fund worth up to £16.6bn to help shore up its war-torn economy, the country's central bank governor Kyrylo Shevchenko told Reuters.

Speaking in London, Shevchenko, 49, also said he hoped to agree on a swap line with the Bank of England "within weeks", though he did not specify the amount, adding: "The IMF has always acted as Ukraine's partner during the war.

"My hope is to start the programme this year."

Kyiv is now in consultation with the IMF over the new financing that he hoped would provide as much as $20 billion over two or three years in form of a Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) or an Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

A $20 billion programme would be the second largest currently active loan from the IMF after Argentina.

09:35 AM

New HQ overseeing crucial grains exports to be unveiled on Wednesday

The headquarters overseeing exports of Ukrainian grains which are hoped to alleviate a global food crisis is set to be unveiled in Istanbul on Wednesday.

A senior Turkish official said the first ship is likely to depart Black Sea ports in a few days.

The joint coordination centre (JCC) in Istanbul will oversee departures from three Ukrainian ports in which ships must circumvent mines, and will conduct inspections of incoming ships for weapons. All vessels pass through Turkish waters.

A Turkish official said all the details had been worked out, including a safe route for ships that will not require the clearing of sea mines.

Russia and Ukraine last week signed a landmark UN deal to resume exports of grains and fertilisers which had been blocked because of war.

09:28 AM

More footage of wrecked Kherson bridge used to supply Russian troops

The damaged Antonovsky bridge in Kherson region - Unknown/Twitter
The damaged Antonovsky bridge in Kherson region - Unknown/Twitter
The damaged Antonovsky bridge in Kherson region - Unknown/NEXTA
The damaged Antonovsky bridge in Kherson region - Unknown/NEXTA

09:25 AM

Video of ruined bridge after HIMARS strike

09:23 AM

Ukrainian troops hit Moscow supply bridge in the south

Ukrainian military have struck a key supply bridge essential for Moscow's forces occupying the country's south using US-supplied HIMARS rocket launchers.

Vehicles will no longer be able to cross the Antonivskyi Bridge across the Dnieper River after its deck was pierced with holes late on Tuesday, the deputy head of the Moscow-appointed administration for the Kherson region, Kirill Stremousov, said.

The 1.4-kilometer (0.9-mile) bridge sustained serious damage in Ukrainian shelling last week, when it took multiple hits. It was closed for trucks but had remained open for passenger vehicles until the latest strike.

09:17 AM

Boris Johnson says Churchill would have 'wept' for Zelensky

09:16 AM

Philippines scraps Russian helicopter deal

The Philippines has scrapped a deal to buy 16 Russian military transport helicopters because of fears of US sanctions, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday, citing Philippine officials.

A former Philippine defence secretary, Delfin Lorenzana, said late on Tuesday the 12.7 billion peso ($227 million) deal to acquire the Mi-17 helicopters had been cancelled. The decision to buy the helicopters was approved last month by former President Rodrigo Duterte, before their terms in office ended on June 30, the news agency reported.

09:07 AM

Russians shoot down their own helicopter in Kherson

Ukrainian forces have mocked Russians for shooting their own Ka-52 helicopter during air strikes on Kherson.

Writing on Facebook, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Command South sarcastically called the friendly fire a "gesture of goodwill".

"Four strikes were inflicted by enemy air on our positions," the translated post read.

"In the morning - twice with a pair of striking Ka-52. Without our loss.

"At noon, the trio of Ka-52 in the area of Olginoy, intending to attack our units, caused an impact on their own. For which on the way back was attacked by anti-aircraft defense means of Rashist troops. Thus, the enemy another gesture of good will deprived himself of one striking ka-52. Our losses will not be allowed.

"During the missile attack by a pair of enemy Su-34 X-31 rockets towards Bashtanka, both missiles were destroyed by our air defense forces."

08:47 AM

40,000 Russian soldiers lost since Feb 24

Almost 40,000 Russian troops have been killed since the beginning of the invasion, according to Volodymyr Zelensky.

Speaking in his latest national address, the president said:

For four months, the Russian state has not provided to its citizens any information - even censored - about the losses of the occupation contingent.

Total silence. Nothing was published or said in numerous interviews and speeches at the political and military levels.

However, this number is already almost 40,000 - that is how many killed people the Russian army has lost since February 24. And tens of thousands more were wounded and maime

The toll has not been independently confirmed.

08:25 AM

Volodymyr Zelensky nominates lawmaker from own party as prosecutor general

President Volodymyr Zelensky has nominated Andriy Kostin, a lawmaker from the president's Servant of the People party, to be the country's next prosecutor general.

Zelensky submitted a formal request to parliament for the assembly to vote to confirm Kostin's appointment to replace Iryna Venediktova, who was removed as prosecutor general earlier this month.

It was not immediately clear when parliament will vote on Kostin's appointment.

Parliament formally dismissed Venediktova and domestic security agency chief Ivan Bakanov on July 19, two days after Zelenskiy suspended them for failing to root out Russian spies since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

After that vote, ruling parliamentary party leader and close Zelensky ally David Arakhamia wrote on Telegram that Venediktova "remains in the team," and implied that she was due for a diplomatic posting.

08:10 AM

Russian firm Wagner made tactical advances in Donbas

Russian private military firm Wagner has likely made tactical advances in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, British military intelligence said on Wednesday.

The advances were made around the Vuhlehirska Power Plant and the nearby village of Novoluhanske, the Ministry of Defence said on Twitter, adding that some Ukrainian forces have likely withdrawn from the area.

07:46 AM

Nord Stream 1 pipeline gas nominations nearly halve for July 27

Requests for Russian natural gas flows through Nord Stream 1 into Germany nearly halved from 8 a.m CET on July 27, data from the pipeline operator showed on Wednesday.

Nominations were at 14,423,764 kilowatt hours an hour (kWh/h) for 0800-0900 CET (0600-0700 GMT) onwards, down from levels above 27,000,000 kWh/h previously.

Russian energy giant Gazprom said on Monday it was halting one more turbine at the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline for maintenance which would result in a reduction of gas flows from Wednesday.

07:18 AM

Bridge closed in Russia-held Kherson after Himars shelling

Authorities in the Russian-controlled Ukrainian city of Kherson have closed the city's only bridge across the Dnieper river after it came under fire from US-supplied high mobility artillery rocket systems (HImars), according to Interfax and TASS reports on Wednesday.

The Antonovsky bridge has been closed for civilians but its structural integrity has not suffered from the shelling, Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-appointed city administration, told Interfax.

Separately, TASS quoted the official saying that Himars had targeted the bridge.

A Ukrainian counteroffensive to recapture the southern region from Russia could potentially benefit from the destruction of the bridge.

06:49 AM

Meeting the mayor of Kyiv

The Telegraph's David Knowles shares his experience upon meeting the mayor of Kyiv...

Vitaly Klychko enters the room and walks towards the table where Dominic Nicholls and I sit. My chair is too close to the wall and, when the mayor of Kyiv extends his hand, I find I can’t quite stand up properly. The top of my head barely grazes his chest – it’s like being ambushed by a mountain.

In the interview in his office, Mr Klychko rests his dinnerplate-size hands on a long table opposite us and holds our gaze while delivering his answers. He speaks slowly, commanding attention, with the poise and balance of the prize fighter he was before entering politics.

When he gets more animated, speaking with deep anger of the barbaric actions committed by Russia’s invading forces, you can feel the needle of distant seismographs twitching.

Read the interview by Dom Nicholls later today…

06:42 AM

SNP ship welcomes first Ukrainian refugees

MS Victoria at Leith Docks Edinburgh - Alan Simpson Photography
MS Victoria at Leith Docks Edinburgh - Alan Simpson Photography

A cruise ship rented by Nicola Sturgeon’s government to house Ukrainian refugees in cabins compared to prison cells has welcomed its first arrivals.

The Scottish Government announced the first group of refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion have arrived aboard the MS Victoria – currently berthed outside Edinburgh.

small rooms
small rooms

Between 1,600 and 1,700 Ukrainians will initially be housed aboard the vessel after the SNP ran out of temporary accommodation and shelved its super-sponsor scheme.

READ MORE: SNP ship with cabins smaller than prison cells welcomes first Ukrainian refugees

05:15 AM

Yellen and Zahawi discuss support for Ukraine, says US

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen highlighted a proposed price cap on Russian oil on a phone call with British Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi on Tuesday, a move to reduce the impact of the war in Ukraine on global energy prices.

Both discussed the need to continue to accelerate budgetary support for Ukraine, and opportunities to build on sanctions imposed on Russia, the US Treasury Department said.

A local man walks in the rubble of residential buildings destroyed by a Russian missile strike in the settlement of Zatoka, Odesa region, Ukraine - REUTERS/Igor Tkachenko
A local man walks in the rubble of residential buildings destroyed by a Russian missile strike in the settlement of Zatoka, Odesa region, Ukraine - REUTERS/Igor Tkachenko

04:28 AM

US-China chat to include Russian invasion of Ukraine

Tensions over Taiwan, as well as Russia's invasion of Ukraine, are likely topics for a call expected this week between US President Joe Biden and China's leader, Xi Jinping, the White House said.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said managing economic competition between the two countries would also be a focus of the call, which Mr Biden said was expected later this week.

"Everything from the tensions over Taiwan, to the war in Ukraine, as well as how we better manage competition between our two nations, certainly in the economic sphere," Mr Kirby said of the topics to be discussed.

"This is a call that has been scheduled for a long time and there's already a pretty robust agenda of things for these two leaders to talk about."

04:11 AM

Corruption must be combated, US tells Ukraine

US State Department spokesman Ned Price has said the fight against corruption in Ukraine, long a major concern, is critical as the country seeks membership in the EU.

"Corruption must be combated even as Ukraine defends itself against Russia's war of aggression. Russia's war against Ukraine poses an external threat. Corruption poses an internal threat," he said.

The US, which has poured billions of dollars into Ukraine to help it repel Russia, has a memorable history of addressing corruption in Ukraine.

President Joe Biden, while serving as vice president, demanded on a trip to Kyiv that Ukraine fire a prosecutor general seen as ineffective in fighting corruption, warning that the US would otherwise withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees.

The episode became the source of unfounded conspiracy theories by former president Donald Trump, who was impeached for withholding security aid to Ukraine unless Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, agreed to dig up dirt on Mr Biden.

03:10 AM

US support for credible top prosecutor in Kyiv

The US has urged Ukraine to pick a credible top prosecutor to replace one sacked by President Volodymyr Zelensky, calling for action on corruption even as Kyiv battles Russian invaders.

"We join the people of Ukraine in emphasising the importance of transparently appointing a highly qualified and truly independent successor as prosecutor general," State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

"The independence and impartiality of the prosecutor general is vital to ensuring the integrity of accountability efforts in Ukraine."

Mr Zelensky announced earlier this month that he was firing prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova as well as security chief Ivan Bakanov.

Mr Zelensky cited the need to act against suspected treason by officials supporting Russia. The president had been critical of the two senior figures' performance even before Russia's invasion on February 24.

02:59 AM

EU agrees on emergency deal to slash gas use

Pipelines leading to the Bovanenkovo gas field - ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP
Pipelines leading to the Bovanenkovo gas field - ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP

The European Union has backed a watered-down emergency plan to slash gas consumption by 15 per cent amid mounting fears Vladimir Putin is poised to turn off the taps on the bloc’s supply.

The deal was struck as European gas prices soared by 20 per cent in two days after Russia put a further squeeze on supplies to the continent in an attempt to weaponise energy exports.

Panicked European capitals fear they could be plunged into darkness this winter, unable to heat homes or power factories without their usual supplies of Russian gas.

READ MORE: EU agrees emergency deal to slash gas consumption after Russia cuts supplies

01:56 AM

Plan to treat Ukrainian troops in US military hospital

The Pentagon formally approved in late June a plan to help treat wounded Ukrainian troops at an American military hospital in Germany, a defence official said.

The Ukrainian Government said 100 to 200 of its troops were being killed per day.

A man sits and looks at a memorial wall displaying images of Ukrainian troops killed since Russia invaded Ukraine - SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP
A man sits and looks at a memorial wall displaying images of Ukrainian troops killed since Russia invaded Ukraine - SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP

A US official said no Ukrainian troops had been treated yet and US troops would not be going into Ukraine to bring Ukrainian personnel out.

It is unclear how many Ukrainian troops have been wounded but thousands of civilians have died and millions have fled.

It is unclear if any Ukrainian troops have been treated in other countries, such as neighbouring Poland.

Ukrainian troops would be treated at Landstuhl Regional Medical Centre if needed, the US official said.

Adjacent to the Ramstein Air Base southwest of Frankfurt, it is the largest US military hospital outside the continental United States.

The US has already been training Ukrainian forces in Germany and provided more than $8 billion in security assistance to the Kyiv Government.

01:40 AM

Today's top stories

  • The European Union has backed a watered-down emergency plan to slash gas consumption by 15 per cent amid mounting fears Vladimir Putin is poised to turn off the taps on the bloc’s supply

  • A cruise ship rented by Nicola Sturgeon’s government to house Ukrainian refugees in cabins compared to prison cells has welcomed its first arrivals

  • Under exhausting conditions, Ukrainian soldiers have been conducting operations to push Russia back, as they prepare for the counter-offensive in which Ukraine is expected to move in on Kherson, the first major city to fall into Russian hands

  • Russia has said it will withdraw from the International Space Station after 2024 to focus on building its own orbiting lab

  • Boris Johnson has said that “as far as I am aware” no government business was discussed at a meeting he held with a former-KGB agent in Italy

  • While the Russians were focusing on regrouping in Donbas, the Ukrainians started hitting targets on the Kherson front in the South. In fact, this continues a theme: the Ukrainians have actually taken more territory off Russia in the South, than the Russians have off them in the Donbas. This is the reason why Russian military activity has dropped – they are playing catch up and trying to rush assets and personnel to defend Kherson in the South