The latest developments from the war in Ukraine.
A second container ship passed through a makeshift Black Sea Corridor set up by the Ukrainian government on Saturday after Russia stalled a war deal meant to ensure safe grain exports from the attacked country’s ports.
The Primus, a Liberian-flagged bulk carrier, departed the port of Odessa on Saturday morning and steamed south towards the Bulgarian port of Varna, data from maritime surveillance agencies showed. Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksii Honcharenko also published a photo of the ship leaving port on his Telegram channel.
The departure of the Primus came ten days after the launch of another container ship that had already docked in Odessa before the start of the full-scale Russian invasion of its neighbor, the Hong Kong-flagged Joseph Schulte.
Analysts had suggested that China’s political proximity to Russia might have facilitated that ship’s passage, raising doubts that ships registered elsewhere would follow suit.
Sea mines also make the voyage risky and ship insurance costs are likely to be high for operators.
Russia withdrew from the United Nations-brokered grain deal on July 17, with Kremlin officials arguing their demands for easing Russian food and fertilizer shipments have not been met. The decision came hours after a dawn attack on a bridge linking the Crimea peninsula with Russia killed two and dealt an embarrassing blow to the Kremlin.
Though Russian officials insisted there was no link between the delay and the decision to pull out of the deal, they described a missile and drone attack on Odessa the day after Moscow pulled out of the Safe Shipping Agreement as retaliation for the damaged one Bridge.
Star-Ukrainian pilots killed in collision
Three Ukrainian Air Force pilots, including a decorated officer, have died in a collision between two Ukrainian planes, the country’s authorities announced yesterday.
“We extend our condolences to the families of the victims. This is a painful and irretrievable loss for all of us,” the Ukrainian Air Force said, describing the crash as “terrible.”
The accident happened in the Yytomyr region of northern Ukraine and involved two L-39 fighter trainer aircraft, it said, adding that an investigation was ongoing.
The crash represents a major setback for Kiev as the country awaits deliveries of American F-16 jets in hopes of bolstering its Soviet-era fleet and boosting its counter-offensive against the Russian army.
An Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ignat said one of the pilots killed – Andrii Pilshchykov, known by the nickname “Juice” – was a young officer with “super knowledge and super talent”.
“Andrii Pilshchykov devoted his short but brilliant life to the fight against aviation and dreamed of seeing F-16s in the Ukrainian sky,” he said in a tribute published on social networks.
“You were more than a friend. Rest in peace you’ve done so much for us,” he added.
Drone crash in Russian border area
A drone crashed into a residential building in Kursk, the capital of Russia’s border region with Ukraine, on Saturday evening, local authorities said.
“According to initial information, a drone crashed into a building in Kursk,” regional governor Roman Starovoyt wrote on Telegram.
The incident “broke windows on several floors,” he said, adding that a nearby regional university building was also affected.
“There was no fire and none of the residents were injured,” stressed Mr. Starovoyt.
For its part, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that it shot down two Ukrainian drones on Sunday in the Kursk and Bryansk regions, which also border Ukraine.
Ukrainian drone strikes and bombing of Russian border areas with Ukraine have increased in recent months.
On Saturday, Russia claimed to have shot down three Ukrainian drones on approach to Moscow and in the Belgorod region bordering Ukraine, with Ukrainian attacks killing one civilian and wounding six others on the same day.