Moscow plans to attack merchant ships in the Black Sea, according to Washington

Russia will consider attacking merchant ships carrying grain from Ukraine to the Black Sea and then blame it on Kiev, a White House official said. Russia attacked Mykolaiv and Odessa early Thursday, leaving at least 11 injured. Follow, hour by hour, the events of the war in Ukraine.


EU foreign ministers are to discuss new military aid worth 20 billion euros on Thursday. The program presented by the head of the EU’s foreign policy, Josep Borrell, is part of the support that the bloc has provided to Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

Josep Borrell has proposed allocating five billion euros a year to Ukraine through an EU-run fund called the European Peace Facility, according to diplomats and EU officials who prefer to remain anonymous. This fund has already allocated more than five billion euros to Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict. These additional funds will be allocated from 2024 to 2027.

EU foreign ministers are expected to begin talks only on Thursday before examining the matter in depth at a meeting planned for late August in Spain, officials and diplomats said.

03:50: eleven injured after Russian attacks on Mykolaiv and Odessa

Russia attacked Mykolaiv and Odessa, port cities in southern Ukraine, early Thursday, wounding at least 11 people, local authorities reported.

“The Russians hit the center of the city (Mykolaiv). A garage and a 3-story residential building are on fire. Mykolaiv. Four adults and five children were injured, he added.

According to the mayor of Mykolaiv, Oleksandr Sienkevich, “there is a huge hole in the ground near a three-story residential building. The fire is very serious.”

In Odessa, a major Ukrainian port city on the Black Sea about 100 km southwest of Mykolaiv, another Russian attack left two people hospitalized, according to the local governor.

01:03: Moscow plans to attack merchant ships in Black Sea, then blame Kiev, according to Washington

“Our information suggests that Russia has laid new mines near Ukrainian ports. The Russian military may expand its targeting of Ukrainian grain shipments to include attacks on civilian ships” and then “bring Ukraine responsible for these attacks,” Adam Hodge, spokesman for the US National Security Council, told AFP.

Those allegations are based on elements of the information that have just been declassified, the spokesman said.

July 19 Essentials

Russia said on Wednesday that it will consider ships bound for Ukraine in the Black Sea from Thursday as “potential military vessels” and the countries whose flags they fly as parties to the conflict.

The US announced a new military aid package to Ukraine of 1.3 billion dollars. In particular, it provides for the delivery of four anti-aircraft defense missile systems, artillery ammunition, mine clearance equipment and explosive drones, the Pentagon describes in a press release.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Moscow of targeting sites used for grain exports overnight.

AFP and Reuters

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