Here are the key events so far on Sunday, July 31.
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- A senior official in Russian-annexed Crimea accused Ukraine of carrying out a drone attack before planned celebrations to mark Russia’s Navy Day, injuring five and forcing the cancellation of festivities. “An unidentified object flew into the courtyard of the fleet’s headquarters,” Mikhail Razvozhayev, governor of Sevastopol, home to Russia’s Black Sea fleet, wrote on the Telegram messaging application. Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych said the southern Ukrainian city had been hit by heavy Russian strikes overnight, with two people confirmed killed and three wounded. He wrote earlier on Telegram that the Mykolaiv strikes were “probably the most powerful of the entire time [of the war]”. The southern city of Nikopol also came under heavy attack, the governor of Dnipropetrovsk, Valentyn Reznichenko, wrote on Telegram. He said up to 50 rockets hit residential areas in Nikopol on Sunday morning, wounding one man and damaging homes and gas and water pipes. Ukraine’s government has decided on a mandatory evacuation of people in the eastern Donetsk region, the scene of fierce fighting with Russia, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Saturday.
- The possibility of the first grain-exporting ship leaving Ukraine’s ports on Monday is high, a spokesperson for Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday. Speaking in an interview with broadcaster Kanal 7, Ibrahim Kalin said the joint coordination centre in Istanbul will probably complete the final work on the exporting routes very soon. Russia and Ukraine are major global wheat suppliers, and the UN-brokered agreement they signed in Istanbul last week is intended to ease the food crisis and reduce global grain prices that have risen since the Russian invasion. Zelenskyy said Ukraine’s harvest could be half its usual amount this year due to the Russian invasion. “Ukrainian harvest this year is under the threat to be twice less,” Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter. “Our main goal – to prevent global food crisis caused by Russian invasion.” Russia’s Gazprom said its supply of gas to Europe through Ukraine via the Sudzha entry point was seen at 42.2 million cubic metres (mcm) on Sunday, up from 42.1mcm seen a day earlier. An application to supply gas via the Sokhranovka entry point was rejected by Ukraine, Gazprom said.
- Russia’s foreign ministry denounced the “outrageous” behaviour of a Norwegian consul in Russia, after security footage of her insulting Russians at a hotel reception was shared on social media. Russia has invited experts from the United Nations and the Red Cross to investigate the deaths of dozens of Ukrainian prisoners in a jail held by Moscow-backed separatists, the defence ministry said. In a statement, the ministry said it was acting “in the interests of conducting an objective investigation” into what it called an attack on the jail earlier in the week.