The Russia-Africa Summit opens on Thursday in Saint Petersburg, amid concerns from African countries after Moscow abandoned an agreement that allowed the export of millions of tons of Ukrainian cereals. Follow the latest events in the war in Ukraine.
Russia has targeted the port infrastructure in the Odessa region, killing a security guard and damaging a freight terminal, said the regional governor.
The ports of Odessa are regularly targeted by Russian attacks since Moscow withdrew from the Black Sea cereals initiative last week.
6:51 am: Kim Jong-un unveils his new drones and missiles to the Russian defense minister
During a visit to North Korea, the Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, and Kim Jong-un “discussed issues of mutual interest in the field of defense and national and regional security environment,” said the Korean Central News Agency KCNA.
The North Korean leader supports Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, including by providing rockets and missiles, according to Washington.
The meeting “represents an important opportunity to develop the strategic and traditional relations between the DPRK and Russia, as demanded by the new century,” assured KCNA, describing “a cordial atmosphere overflowing with militant friendship.”
During his visit, Kim Jong-un talked to Sergei Shoigu “about the weapons and equipment that have been invented and produced” as part of North Korea’s national defense plan and “repeatedly expressed his conviction that the Russian army and people would achieve great success,” KCNA added.
6:04 am: Vladimir Putin welcomes African partners to the Russia-Africa Summit in Saint Petersburg
Vladimir Putin is welcoming his African partners to Saint Petersburg for a Russia-Africa summit, amid concerns from African countries after Moscow abandoned an agreement that allowed the export of millions of tons of Ukrainian cereals.
Isolated on the international stage since the launch of its military offensive in Ukraine in 2022, the Kremlin master can still rely on the support, or neutrality, of many African countries.
“We intend to further develop (cooperation)” with African countries, reassured Vladimir Putin in a welcoming letter sent to participants and published on Wednesday on the Kremlin’s website.
In Saint Petersburg, delegations from 49 African countries – including 17 heads of state – are expected, especially South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, despite “unprecedented pressure” exerted by the West to dissuade Africans from attending.
4 am: Washington calls on African leaders to confront Putin on the grain crisis
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has urged African leaders attending a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin to demand answers about the grain crisis that has plunged the poorest countries into crisis.
Speaking on the eve of a Russia-Africa meeting in Saint Petersburg, Vladimir Putin’s hometown, Antony Blinken stressed that African leaders knew that the increase in food prices and shortages of cereals and fertilizers were a direct consequence of the war waged by the Russian president in Ukraine.
Delegations from 49 African countries, including 17 heads of state, are expected at the Konstantinovsky Palace summit, especially South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“They know exactly who is responsible for the current situation,” Antony Blinken said about the leaders, some of whom have offered tacit support to Moscow or have refused to denounce the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “I expect Russia to clearly hear this message from its African partners,” he said during a visit to New Zealand.
July 26 highlights
The Russian army claimed on Wednesday to have repelled a large-scale Ukrainian attack involving several hundred soldiers near Orikhiv, in southern Ukraine, one of the sectors where Kiev has been conducting a slow counteroffensive since early June.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, Ukrainian forces carried out “intense offensive operations” on Wednesday morning near Orikhiv. It mentioned in its daily briefing a “massive attack by the forces of three reinforced battalions of tanks,” an operation of rare magnitude in the current phase of the fighting, involving several hundred soldiers.
North Korea rolled out the red carpet for Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who was welcomed in a “warm welcome atmosphere,” according to state media. Delegations from Moscow and Beijing are set to attend commemorations on Thursday for the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice on July 27, 1953, the first known official foreign visits since the pandemic.