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Russian shelling in the Kherson region and Dnipropetrovsk region killed two and wounded several people, officials said Wednesday,
One person was killed and another one was injured as a result of shelling in the Kherson region, according to the region's military administration.
In Ukraine's Dnipropetrovsk region, one civilian was killed and six were injured as a result of Russian shelling, local Ukrainian military official said.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian shelling killed one person and injured two others in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, according to a local leader.
Here are the latest developments:
- Russian attacks on Ukraine: An overnight drone attack in Ukraine's southern Odesa region marked the seventh time Russia has targeted Ukrainian ports since Moscow pulled out of the Black Sea Grain initiative, according to President Volodymyr Zelensky. Meanwhile, a Russian drone attack on Reni damaged warehouses and granaries, said Oleh Kiper, head of the Odesa regional military administration. No casualties were reported.
- Lithuania temporarily suspends border checkpoints with Belarus over Wagner concerns: Lithuania announced, Wednesday that it would temporarily suspend operations at the Šumskas and Tverečius border checkpoints between Lithuania and Belarus due to concerns about Wagner forces, according to a news release from the office of the Lithuanian government. The Belarusian border force slammed the decision, describing it as “another unconstructive and unfriendly step of our neighbors.”
- Russia claims it thwarted another cross-border attempt by Ukraine sabotage group: Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said it stopped an attempt by a Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group to enter the southwestern Bryansk region, which neighbors northern Ukraine, Russian state media reported on Wednesday.
- Top Ukrainian general acknowledges complications around Kupiansk: Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of Ukrainian Land Forces, has acknowledged some complications around the city of Kupiansk, in the Kharkiv region, where Russian forces have been making a push. “The enemy is trying to break through the defense of our troops with assault units, staffed mainly by prisoners, every day, in different directions, with the aim of blocking and then capturing Kupiansk," Syrskyi said in a Telegram post on Wednesday.
- Wagner mercenary group registers as "educational" organization in Belarus: The Russian private mercenary group (PMC) Wagner has been registered in Belarus as an educational organization, according to the information published on the Belarusian Unified State Register of Legal Entities and Individual Entrepreneurs.
- EU transfers funds originally earmarked for Russia and Belarus to Ukraine and Moldova: The European Commission has announced $147 million (135 million euros) in funding for Ukraine and Moldova — money that was originally earmarked for Russia and Belarus.
- US secretary of state speaks by phone with American detained in Russia US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by phone Wednesday with American Paul Whelan, who is being held in a remote prison camp in Russia, a source familiar told CNN. Whelan told his parents that “he was able to have a long, frank conversation with Secretary Blinken,” his brother, David Whelan, told CNN.
Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the United States, called on US politicians and the media to "stop playing" with the fate of prisoners and let the authorized bodies of the two states deal with exchange issues.
"We urge American politicians and the media: Give the competent authorities of the two countries the opportunity to work calmly. Stop playing with people's fates and leave the search for the necessary 'resolutions' to professionals," Antonov said.
Antonov noted that Russia is urging the United States to stop "hunting" for Russians in other countries and consider the return of all Russian citizens held in American prisons a priority.
"Russia has always opposed Washington's 'hunting' for Russians in 'other' countries. It demands an end to this practice. However, the administration continues to live in its own world, built on its own rules and ignoring the interests of other states. We will never agree with this approach," Antonov said. "For us, this is an absolute priority. Therefore, we consider speculations on this issue unacceptable."
Antonov's comments come as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by phone on Wednesday with American Paul Whelan, who is being held in a remote prison camp in Russia.
Ukraine is hoping to take part in the G20 summit in September although Kyiv has not been invited to the summit in India, Deputy Foreign Minister Nikolay Tochitsky said Wednesday.
"In short, we are working on this, together with our partners, because the topic itself will also concern economic problems. We believe that what the Russian Federation is doing to end the grain deal is a challenge not only for the countries of Africa and Asia, but also for the global economy," he said in a television interview.
"Therefore, we and our partners are working to be among those invited to India to be participants of this summit," Tochitsky added.
Some background: The deal allowed Ukraine to export grain by sea, with ships bypassing a Russian blockade of the country’s Black Sea ports and navigating safe passage through the waterway to Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait in order to reach global markets.
Vessels were inspected before they arrived in Ukraine by Russian, Ukrainian and Turkish officials, to ensure weapons were not being smuggled into Ukraine.
It proved vital for stabilizing global food prices and bringing relief to the developing countries which rely on Ukrainian exports. The impact of the war on global food markets was immediate and extremely painful, especially because Ukraine is a major supplier of grain to the World Food Programme.
Russia pulled out of the deal last month.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by phone Wednesday with American Paul Whelan, who is being held in a remote prison camp in Russia, a source familiar told CNN.
The top US diplomat told Whelan to “keep the faith and we’re doing everything we can to bring you home as soon as possible,” the source said of the call. This is the second time Blinken has spoken to Whelan, who has been detained in Russia for more than four years, the source said.
Whelan told his parents that “he was able to have a long, frank conversation with Secretary Blinken,” his brother David Whelan told CNN. David Whelan did not have further details about the call.
Whelan, who is deemed wrongly detained by the US government, is able to make calls from his prison camp in Mordovia, but the source would not get into further details about how the call to Blinken came about.
The conversation comes as the Biden administration continues to reiterate to Russia the serious proposal that it put on the table for Whelan’s release more than eight months ago. Russia has not responded in a substantive way, two administration officials told CNN.
Despite the Whelan proposal “absolutely” still being one that the US considers a live offer, explained one senior administration official, the lack of a substantive Russian response – along with the wrongful detention of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich earlier this year – has forced the US to continue efforts to search for another offer to put on the table.
The senior administration official said that it “remains a necessity that we figure out how to resolve this.”
“If we can't make it happen based on what's available to us now, we'll need to figure out what that takes so we can bring our people home,” the official said.
Both Whelan and Gerschkovich have been designated as wrongfully detained by the US government.
Ukrainian shelling killed one person and injured two others in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, according to a local leader.
"Today, Ukrainian armed formations shelled Donetsk, Yasynuvata and Horlivka. One person was killed and two were wounded," DPR head Denis Pushilin said.
Pushilin said there was damage to civilian infrastructure and claimed that cluster munitions were used in the shelling.
"Three residential buildings and two power facilities in Donetsk and Yasynuvata were damaged. A total of 169 munitions, including cluster munitions, were fired on the territory of the Republic," Pushilin said. CNN cannot independently verify this claim.
Some background: CNN could not verify Pushilin's claims about the casualties or the munitions used. However, two US officials and another person briefed on the matter said at the end of July that Ukraine has started firing the US-provided cluster munitions as part of its counteroffensive efforts.
The controversial weapons scatter “bomblets” across large areas, some of which could fail to explode on impact and can pose a long-term risk to anyone who encounters them, similar to landmines.
An overnight drone attack in Ukraine's southern Odesa region marked the seventh time Russia has targeted Ukrainian ports since Moscow pulled out of the Black Sea Grain initiative, according to President Volodymyr Zelensky.
"Last night, Russian terrorists again targeted our ports. Our infrastructure, which is involved in ensuring not ours, but the common — global — food security," Zelensky said Wednesday during his evening address. "In just one month since Russia's attempt to destroy the Black Sea Grain Initiative, this was the seventh, seventh massive Russian attack today."
"The port of Reni, the port of Izmail, the port of Pivdennyi, the port of Odesa, the port of Chornomorsk, Mykolaiv — every Russian attack on them is a stroke on global food prices, a stroke on social and political stability in Africa and Asia," he added.
The drone attack on Reni damaged warehouses and granaries, said Oleh Kiper, head of the Odesa regional military administration. No casualties were reported, he said.
Small ports on the Danube have become vital for Ukrainian grain exports following the collapse of the Black Sea grain deal last month. Ukrainian officials say Russian forces are deliberately targeting port infrastructure on the river as part of efforts to block the exports — posing a threat to food security in developing nations that rely on Ukrainian grain.
"The basic things that give every society a normal life are food on the tables of families. No other terrorist in the world, except for Russia, has ever so openly and deliberately attacked the security of so many nations at once," Zelensky said.
"We must respond to this. All of us! We need to counteract this — actively, with joint efforts," he continued.
One civilian was killed and six were injured as a result of Russian shelling in Ukraine's Dnipropetrovsk region on Wednesday, a local Ukrainian military official said.
The majority of the casualties were in the Mezhivskyi district, which is about 160 km (99 miles) from Dnipro city and borders the Donetsk region.
"There is also a lot of destruction. Three fires broke out, which rescuers have already extinguished," said Serhii Lysak, head of the Dnipropetrovsk region military administration.
An agricultural enterprise, an educational institution, 49 private homes and cars were damaged, he said.
Mykola Lukashuk, head of the Dnipropetrovsk region council, said the person who was killed was an 18-year-old man, and among the injured was a 2-year-old girl.
"She and one of the wounded who were hospitalized. The girl is feeling well and is at home now," Lukashuk said.
"Two evacuation buses from the village community have been engaged, and 12 people have been evacuated from the danger zone. A psychologist is working with the victims," he said.
Russian forces also shelled the Nikopol and the Marhanets community with heavy artillery, said Lysak.
"A 63-year-old man was injured. He received a mine-blast trauma and a shrapnel wound. He was hospitalized in moderate condition," Lysak said.
Cafes, over a dozen residential and other buildings, cars and power lines were damaged, he said. Forty solar panels were also smashed, he said.
One person was killed and another one was injured as a result of Russian shelling in the Kherson region on Wednesday, according to the region's military administration.
"In the village of Lvove, a 54-year-old local resident who was on the street was killed by a Russian strike," the administration said in a Telegram post.
"In Kherson, the occupiers shelled a residential building. A 71-year-old man was wounded and hospitalized," it added.