Russia accuses US of direct war role in Ukraine, grain ship anchored off Turkish coast

  • Ukraine consults US on use of HIMARS launchers, official says
  • Commentary incites Kremlin to accuse US of direct involvement
  • First grain export ship from Ukraine reaches Bosphorus in wartime
  • US sanctions targeting ex-Olympic gymnast seen as close to Putin

ISTANBUL/LONDON, Aug. 2 (Reuters) – Russia on Tuesday accused the United States of being directly involved in the war in Ukraine, as the first ship carrying Ukrainian grain to world markets since the invasion of Moscow anchored safely off the coast of Turkey after a hassle-free journey.

Russia said it was responding to comments by Vadym Skibitsky, the deputy chief of Ukraine’s military intelligence, about how Kiev had used US-made and supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers based on what he said was excellent satellite imagery. and real-time named information.

Skibitsky told the British newspaper Telegraph that there had been consultations between US and Ukrainian intelligence officials prior to the strikes and that Washington had an effective veto over intended targets, although he said US officials did not provide direct information about the target.

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Russia’s defense ministry, led by a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, said the interview revealed Washington was embroiled in the conflict, despite repeated claims that it limited its role to arms deliveries because it did not want a direct confrontation with Moscow. read more

“All of this proves undeniably that, contrary to what the White House and Pentagon claim, Washington is directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

“It is the Biden administration that is directly responsible for all Kiev-approved rocket attacks on residential areas and civilian infrastructure in populated areas of Donbas and other regions that have resulted in mass deaths of civilians.”

There was no immediate response from the White House or Pentagon to the Department’s claims.

However, the Pentagon denied Moscow’s claims that Russia had destroyed six US-made HIMARS since the war in Ukraine began on February 24. Russia regularly claims that it has hit HIMARS, but has not yet provided any proof. read more

Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of carrying out devastating missile attacks on civilian targets almost daily. Both sides deny that they deliberately targeted civilians.

The accuracy and long range of missile systems supplied by the West were intended to diminish Russia’s artillery advantage, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Tuesday evening that despite those supplies, his country’s troops would not lose Russian advantages in heavy weapons and weapons. manpower could not yet overcome.

“This is very much felt in combat, especially in the Donbas. … It’s just hell there. Words can’t describe it,” he said.

A Russian diplomat told the United Nations that the conflict in Ukraine does not justify Russia’s use of nuclear weapons, but Moscow could decide to use its nuclear arsenal in response to “direct aggression” by NATO countries over the invasion. read more

At a nuclear non-proliferation conference, diplomat Alexander Trofimov said Moscow would only use nuclear weapons in response to weapons of mass destruction or a conventional weapons attack that threatened the very survival of the Russian state.

“Neither of these two hypothetical scenarios is relevant to the situation in Ukraine,” Trofimov, a senior diplomat in the Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Branch of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said at the United Nations conference to conclude the Treaty on Non-Proliferation. dissemination of nuclear energy. weapons.


Meanwhile, a July 22 UN brokered deal to unblock Ukrainian grain exports had an initial success. Turkey said the first loaded ship since the Russian invasion more than five months ago was safely anchored off the Turkish coast. read more

The ship, the Sierra Leonean-flagged Razoni, was at the entrance to the Bosphorus Strait connecting the Black Sea to world markets around 1800 GMT on Tuesday, about 36 hours after leaving the Ukrainian port of Odessa.

A delegation from the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) in Istanbul, which employs Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and UN personnel, is expected to inspect the ship at 7 a.m. GMT on Wednesday, the Turkish defense ministry said.

It was loaded with 26,527 tons of corn.

“We hope there will be some more outbound movement tomorrow,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York.

Dujarric said about 27 ships were ready for departure in the three Ukrainian ports covered by the export agreement.

Exports from one of the world’s largest grain producers are set to help alleviate a global food crisis.

“Our goal now is to have an ordered schedule so that when a ship leaves port, there should be other ships — both those loading and those approaching port,” Zelenskiy said.

To maintain the safe passage agreement, there are other hurdles to overcome, including clearing naval mines and creating a framework for ships to safely enter the war zone and pick up cargo. read more

Known as the breadbasket of Europe, Ukraine hopes to export 20 million tons of grain in silos and 40 million tons of the harvest now underway, initially from Odessa and nearby Pivdennyi and Chornomorsk.

Russia calls the departure of the Razoni “very positive” news. It has denied responsibility for the food crisis and says Western sanctions have slowed exports.

In addition to those sanctions, the United States on Tuesday targeted Alina Kabaeva, a former Olympic gymnast described by the Treasury Department as having a close relationship with Putin. Putin has denied that they have a romantic relationship.

The department said in a statement that Kabaeva heads the National Media Group, a pro-Kremlin group of television, radio and print organizations.

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Reporting by Reuters agencies; written by Andrew Osborn. Mark Heinrich and Alistair Bell; adaptation by Nick Macfie, Grant McCool, Howard Goller and Cynthia Osterman

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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