Russia-Ukraine war news: 3 countries ban Ukrainian grain imports; Kim watches missiles in Vladivostok
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Vladivostok, a city in the Far East of Russia that is close to the borders of China and North Korea. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu met him and saw aircraft equipment and missile systems, state media agency Tass said. This is the last stop on Kim’s visit to the country, which has raised concerns in Washington that Moscow and Pyongyang are seeking a military agreement.
Here is the latest information about the war and its effects around the world.
The ban on grain imports does not apply to the transportation of Ukrainian goods through individual countries. Slovakia’s agriculture ministry emphasized this on social media, saying that it “shows solidarity with Ukraine” and places its products in “target markets.” Hungary’s agriculture minister also confirmed that the ban would not prevent traffic through it. However, Hungary expanded the restrictions to include other products and accused EU leaders of favoring international companies over farmers. “We can’t let this go,” he said.
Ukraine will take steps to avoid grain spillovers and prevent price distortions after the ban ends, said the European Commission. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky mentioned the increase in restrictions in his night speech, saying “if the decisions of the neighbors are not neighborly, Ukraine will respond civilly.”
Russia had not signed any agreement “with North Korea in the field of military-technical cooperation” yet, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday. Kim visited a factory that builds fighter jets on Friday with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov, who said Moscow sees potential for a partnership with North Korea in aircraft manufacturing, according to Russian news reports.
Zelensky is expected to make a trip to Washington next week, which would be his second since the war broke out last year. The Washington Post reported. The trip was coordinated by the Biden administration amid efforts to push Congress to provide $24 billion in additional aid to Ukraine and comes as tensions grow over aid to Ukraine. within the Republican Party and among a small number of Democrats. Zelensky is “very familiar” with the debate in Washington, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters.
US Ambassador to Russia Lynne M. Tracy visited detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich at the Lefortovo pretrial detention center in Moscow, where the American reporter has been held for months on espionage charges that the United States says are politically motivated. “He is still strong and keeping up with the news,” wrote the US Embassy in Moscow on social media.
Zelensky pointed to Ukrainian forces retaking Andriivka, a small Russian town near Bakhmut, in his evening speech, calling the development “a much-needed result” and thanking the soldiers involved. Ukrainian forces “inflicted heavy losses in manpower and equipment on the enemy, and consolidated their new positions,” the Ukrainian general staff said on Friday.
UNESCO added Saint Sophia Cathedral Kyiv and Lviv to the list of World Heritage in Danger Friday. The sites are “at risk of direct attack” and are “vulnerable to the shock waves caused by the bombing of the two towns,” the group said. The UNESCO list designates 56 sites “at risk,” including the Black Sea port city of Odessa, which was added in January.
Finland banned Russian-registered cars from entering its territory, joining its Baltic neighbors Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which have imposed similar restrictions, Finnish media reported. The move follows an update to the European Commission’s directives, which require member states to stop Russian citizens from bringing cars and other goods into the EU in an effort to prevent impose sanctions.
Britain officially banned Russia’s Wagner Group and declared it a terrorist group, supporting the group is punishable by up to 14 years in prison, according to a government statement. The ban, approved on Friday, comes weeks after the group’s leader Yevgeniy Prigozhin died in a plane crash and months after his short-lived rebellion.
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko proposed “three-way cooperation” with Russia and North Korea, at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Russian resort of Sochi, the Associated Press reported. Lukashenko, a close ally of Putin, did not elaborate, but said that Minsk “will be looking for opportunities.” “
Russian military commanders were mobilized before the death of commander Wagner Prigozhin: The dismissals and disappearances of regular Russian military commanders and the death of commander Wagner Prigozhin show Putin’s lack of confidence in his military leadership, analysts say. Fearing betrayal, the Russian leader has prioritized loyalty over competence, and has accepted disappointments that have weakened his war machine, writes Francesca Ebel.
“The army has deteriorated organizationally, intellectually and technically,” Pavel Luzin, an expert on the Russian military and senior fellow at the US-based Jamestown Foundation, told the Post.