Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now
The United States promised Ukraine $270 million more in military support, including drones, and is doing preliminary work on whether to send fighter aircraft, as fighting rages in the east of the country five months into Russia’s invasion.
* Washington is exploring whether it can send U.S.-made fighter jets to Ukraine, although this would not be done immediately, a White House spokesman said.
* Zelenskiy told the Wall Street Journal a ceasefire with Russia without reclaiming lost territory would only prolong the war.
* Russia’s defense ministry said its forces had destroyed four U.S.-supplied high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) between July 5 and Wednesday.
Reuters could not immediately verify the battlefield reports.
* Credit rating firms Fitch and Scope downgraded Ukraine to a notch above default after Kyiv requested a debt-payment freeze, while adviser JPMorgan said it cannot rule out Ukraine needing more debt relief.
* Lithuania lifted a ban on the rail transport of sanctioned goods into and out of Kaliningrad, the Russian territory sandwiched between the Baltic country and Poland, Russia’s RIA news agency said.
* Ukraine has around $10 billion worth of grain available for sale in the wake of a deal signed with Russia to unblock supplies, and will also have a chance to sell the current harvest, Zelenskiy said.
* A number of insurance underwriters are interested in providing cover for grain shipments from Ukraine after an the agreement to reopen Black Sea ports although details need to be worked out, said a senior London marine insurance market official.
* Russia’s state-owned Rosneft and Gazprom will be able to ship oil to third countries under an adjustment of EU sanctions aimed at limiting the risks to global energy security.
“Today, there is a beacon on the Black Sea. A beacon of hope…, possibility … and relief in a world that needs it more than ever,” U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said of the grain exports deal. (Compiled by William Mallard)