- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.
(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 06, 2022, US military personnel stand by a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) during Saudi Arabia’s first World Defense Show, north of the capital Riyad - Sputnik International

LIVE UPDATES: White House Says 'Safe to Assume' US Will Soon Announce More Military Aid to Ukraine

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Since Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine in late February, Moscow and Kiev have had several rounds of negotiations aimed to resolve the conflict. But after Ukraine reneged on certain ceasefire conditions agreed to during the Turkey-mediated talks in Istanbul in April, negotiations have been at an impasse.
Moscow and Kiev signed two deals in July allowing Ukrainian grain to be transported from the country. Under the provisions of the agreement, a joint coordination center has been established in Istanbul to ensure that Ukrainian ships carrying grain through the maritime routes agreed on enjoy safe passage.
UN representatives will monitor the secure export of Ukrainian grain through established maritime routes.
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23:47 GMT 29.07.2022
This photo taken on May 7, 2013 shows Russian and the US flags running up as the US Secretary of State arrives at Moscow Vnukovo Airport - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.07.2022
Russia
White House: US Looking Into Designating Russia as State Sponsor of Terrorism
21:49 GMT 29.07.2022
S&P Agency Downgrades Ukraine's Long-Term Rating From 'CCC+' to 'CC'
The S&P international agency has downgraded the Ukrainian long-term foreign currency issuer default rating from "CCC+" to "CC" amid the Russian military operation.

"On July 29, 2022, S&P Global Ratings lowered its foreign currency (FC) long-term sovereign credit and issue ratings on Ukraine to 'CC' from 'CCC+'. The outlook on the long-term sovereign rating is negative," the agency said in a statement.
18:51 GMT 29.07.2022
France to Fill Strategic Gas Reserves to 85% by End of Summer
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - France is on track to filling its strategic gas storage facilities to 85% by the end of the summer, but will aim for 100% volume by the end of the season, French government spokesman Olivier Veran said on Friday.
"We have activated all instruments to reduce our dependence on Russian gas and oil. Among other things, we have accelerated the filling of our gas storage facilities. We expect them to be 85% full by the end of the summer, but we would still like them to be 100% full," Veran said during a briefing.
Veran also said that France is in an "unprecedentedly difficult" situation in terms of energy production.
"France is now in an unprecedentedly difficult situation in terms of energy production. The reasons are well known. First of all, Russia has significantly reduced its gas supplies. The embargo on Russian oil supplies automatically reduces the possibility of supplying fuel until the end of the year. And on top of that we are facing difficulties in the production of nuclear energy, which are limited, among other things, by the need to carry out repairs," Veran said.
The French government also intends to unfreeze the renewable energy development program, Veran added.
French Energy Transition Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said on Wednesday that 18 nuclear reactors, which were shut down in May due to the traces of corrosion, would soon resume operation after maintenance work.
18:50 GMT 29.07.2022
US in Process of Procuring NASAMS Systems for Ukraine - Senior Official
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States is already in the process of procuring NASAMS air defense systems for Ukraine, a senior US defense official said on Friday.
"I do not have the deep information on the specifics of the contracting process, but we are already in the process of procuring the system because in the moment when we announced the Ukraine security assistance initiative we move forward with that," the official said during a conference call.
The United States is "confident" it can continue to send military aid to Ukraine in line with the needs of the Ukrainian military, including additional ammunition for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), the official added.
"We are constantly checking in with the Ukrainians on where they are with their consumption rates, because we want to make sure that they have what they need on the battlefield. So, we feel really confident in our security assistance processes to be able to continue to support them with their needs," the official said during a press briefing when asked whether there is any concern in the US on HIMARS munitions running out in Ukraine.
18:09 GMT 29.07.2022
Lavrov, Blinken Discuss Situation in Ukraine - Russian Foreign Ministry
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the situation in Ukraine with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
The ministry noted that Lavrov "outlined Russia's principled approaches in light of the ongoing special military operation in the Donetsk People's Republic, the Lugansk People's Republic and Ukraine, stressing that its goals and objectives will be achieved."
Lavrov assured Blinken that the Russian Armed Forces were strictly observing norms of international law in special operation in Ukraine.
Lavrov also told Blinken that Western arms supplies to Ukraine were only "extending the conflict, prolonging the agony of the Kiev regime and multiplying casualties."
"The attention of the Secretary of State was drawn to the fact that the continued pumping of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the nationalist battalions with US and NATO weapons, which are widely used against the civilian population, only prolongs the agony of the regime in Kiev, prolonging the conflict and multiplying the victims," ​​the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
17:42 GMT 29.07.2022
Ships Exporting Grain Ready to Leave Ukraine Once Procedures Worked Out - UN Spokesperson
UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - The United Nations believes that merchant ships are ready to start exporting Ukraine grain via the Black Sea and hopes the process will begin soon, UN spokesperson Farhan Haq said on Friday.
"There are ships that are basically ready to go once the procedure is in place. It can happen fairly quickly after that … I'm hoping it can be soon, but I don't want to be held to a day," Haq said during a press briefing.
The recently established Joint Coordination Center (JCC) is working to lay down operating procedures, including monitoring, inspection and emergency procedures, including the the routes and corridors of the inbound and outbound vessels, Haq added.
Earlier on Friday, the UN Security Council held its first official meeting on Ukraine since the so-called Black Sea Initiative on grain and fertilizer exports was signed on July 22.
Last week, Russia and Ukraine signed separate agreements with the United Nations and Turkey to ensure the safe export of grain and fertilizer via the Black Sea. Russia has sad it established corridors despite the Black Sea being heavily mined by Ukraine. Russia has also said it would have signed the agreement in April but the Western countries sabotaged the effort then.
17:41 GMT 29.07.2022
Lavrov Tells Blinken Using Food Crisis for Political Purposes is Unacceptable
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in a conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, outlined the details of the Istanbul agreements on lifting restrictions on the supply of Russian products for export and on Russia's assistance in the export of Ukrainian grain, stressed the role of US sanctions in the food situation, and also said that it was unacceptable to use the food issue for political purposes, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
"The minister emphasized that the situation was being complicated by US sanctions, and the US promises to provide appropriate exemptions for Russian food supplies had not yet been implemented. It was indicated that the use of this problem by the 'collective West' in their geopolitical interests was unacceptable," the ministry stressed.
The food deal was reached thanks to Turkey and UN's mediation.
On July 22 in Istanbul, the United Nations brokered an agreement to resume exports of Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea using three ports, including Odessa. The deal also clears the way for Russian food and fertilizers to access global markets, in an effort to stabilize surging food prices worldwide. The deal was signed by representatives of Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the UN.
16:55 GMT 29.07.2022
China Urges Against Politicizing Black Sea Grain Deal
UNITED NATIONS, July 29 (Sputnik) - The global community should dismiss any attempts to politicize the UN-brokered grain deal, Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Jun said on Friday.
"The international community should see the signing and implementation of the two agreements from the humanitarian perspective, reject politicization, create a favorable environment for the follow up implementation of the agreements and provide solid guarantees," Zhang told a UNSC meeting.
China, he noted, has pursued an "objective and impartial approach" since the onset of the Ukraine crisis, proceeding from historical developments and the merit of the issue itself.
16:41 GMT 29.07.2022
Russia Was Ready to Sign Grain Agreement in April But West Sabotaged Deal - Envoy to UN
UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - Russia was ready to sign the agreement on grain and fertilizer exports in April but Ukraine tried to sabotage the deal, Russian Deputy Representative to the United Nations Dmitry Polyansky said on Friday.
"I would like to underscore that we were prepared to resolve these issues back in April after they were discussed at the meeting in Moscow … but Kiev and its Western backers tried to sabotage the package nature of the agreements, overemphasizing only the parts that are related to Ukrainian grain," Polyansky said during a UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine.
Russia was ready to pursue the deal even though the amount totaled only 5 millions tonnes, which is less than 1% of the total grain supply globally, Polyansky added.
16:39 GMT 29.07.2022
White House Says 'Safe to Assume' US Will Soon Announce More Military Aid to Ukraine
15:27 GMT 29.07.2022
Trucks loaded with grain - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.07.2022
Russia
Ukraine Attacks Granaries in Russia-Controlled Zaporozhye Region, Local Gov't Says
15:27 GMT 29.07.2022
US Imposes Russia-Related Sanctions on Two Individuals, Four Entities
14:38 GMT 29.07.2022
UN Political Chief Says Grain Deal Indicates Russia, Ukraine Can Engage in Dialogue
The recent grain deal proves that negotiations between Russia and Ukraine are still possible, UN Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo said on Friday.

"The grain agreement is a sign that dialogue between the parties is possible," she said.
14:31 GMT 29.07.2022
Pieces of HIMARS Missile Found After Ukrainian Nighttime Airstrike - Video
14:27 GMT 29.07.2022
VIDEO Shows Aftermath of Ukrainian HIMARS Strike at Detention Center in DPR
13:05 GMT 29.07.2022
Firing High Mobility Artillery Rocket systems (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.07.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
Kiev Complains Its US-Gifted HIMARS Rockets are ‘Shooting Blind’
12:31 GMT 29.07.2022
Schengen visa - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.07.2022
Russia
Estonia to Propose EU-Wide Ban on Schengen Visas for Russians
11:58 GMT 29.07.2022
Bank Freezes Personal Account of Russia’s Envoy to UN Geneva Office - Permanent Mission
A Swiss bank froze a personal account of Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Gennady Gatilov, the Russian permanent mission to the UN office said on Friday.

According to the mission, the fact that Switzerland lost its neutrality did not affect only it’s political and economic relations with Russia but also everyday life of diplomats in Geneva.

"The situation is also escalated by artificial obstacles in the daily life of our diplomatic mission. A number of banks, insurance and car maintenance companies, with which we had long-standing partnerships, decided to abandon the contracts they had with us, while openly saying the reason - because we are from Russia. Even the personal account in the local bank of the Russian permanent representative in Geneva, which was used, among other things, to cover medical expenses, was frozen," the mission said.
10:42 GMT 29.07.2022
European Union flags flutter in the wind outside EU headquarters in Brussels, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.07.2022
Russia
Europe Will See War Economy by October If Brussels Doesn't Change Policies, Orban Warns
10:11 GMT 29.07.2022
Resident From LPR Says Ukrainian Soldiers Used Women and Children as Human Shields - Video
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