World Drone explosion hits Russia's Black Sea Fleet headquarters
2 US volunteers believed to be fighting for Ukraine killed in Donbas, State Department says
It is believed that the US citizens were volunteer fighters, per ABC News. At least two other Americans have been killed while fighting against Russia.From the introduction of Russian currency to the complete shuttering of Ukrainian broadcasting, the Kremlin is taking extreme measures to make Ukrainian towns look, feel, and operate like Russia.
A small explosive device carried by a makeshift drone blew up Sunday at the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea Fleet on the Crimean peninsula, wounding six people and prompting the cancellation of ceremonies there honoring Russia's navy, authorities said.
Meanwhile, one of Ukraine's richest men, a grain merchant, was killed in what Ukrainian authorities said was a carefully targeted Russian missile strike on his home.
Neither Moscow nor Kyiv can control Ukraine's skies. These are the jets they're using to fight the air war.
As of late July, observers have identified 36 Russian aircraft and 35 Ukrainian aircraft as lost, but the totals for both sides are likely higher.Throughout the buildup to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, NATO countries, including the US, insisted they would not send troops to the region amid concern that the presence of their personnel on the ground would lead to a dangerous escalation of the conflict.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the drone explosion at the naval headquarters. But the seemingly improvised, small-scale nature of the attack raised the possibility that it was the work of Ukrainian insurgents trying to drive out Russian forces.
The blast took place in the port city of Sevastopol in Crimea, which was illegally seized from Ukraine by Russia in 2014. Observances of Russia's Navy Day holiday were canceled in Sevastopol.
The Black Sea Fleet's press service said the drone appeared to be homemade. It described the explosive device as “low-power.” Sevastopol Mayor Mikhail Razvozhaev said six people were wounded.
It was unclear where the drone began its flight. Sevastopol is about 100 miles south of the Ukrainian mainland, and Russian forces control much of the mainland area along the Black Sea.
Risks, mined waters slow rush to extract grains from Ukraine
Shipping companies are not rushing to export millions of tons of trapped grain out of Ukraine, despite a breakthrough deal to provide safe corridors through the Black Sea. That is because the waters are mined, ship owners are still assessing the risks and many still have questions over how the deal will unfold. The complexities of the agreement have set off a slow, cautious start, but it's only good for 120 days — and the clock began ticking last week.The goal over the next four months is to get some 20 million tons of grain out of three Ukrainian sea ports blocked since the Feb. 24 invasion.
In the wake of the explosion, Crimean authorities raised the terrorism threat level for the region to “yellow,” the second-highest tier. However, a Russian lawmaker from Crimea, Olga Kovitidi, told Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti that conclusions about the attack cannot be drawn until an investigation is complete.
Ukraine's navy and an advisor to President Volodymyr Zelensky said the reported drone attack underlined the weakness of Russian air defenses.
“Did the occupiers admit the helplessness of their air defense system? Or their helplessness in front of the Crimean partisans?” Oleksiy Arestovich said on Telegram.
If such an attack is possible by Ukraine, he said, “the destruction of the Crimean bridge in such situations no longer sounds unrealistic” — a reference to the span that Russia built to connect its mainland to Crimea after the annexation.
'New Cold War': Russia and West vie for influence in Africa
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Russian, French and American leaders are crisscrossing Africa to win support for their positions on the war in Ukraine, waging what some say is the most intense competition for influence on the continent since the Cold War. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and French President Emanuel Macron are each visiting several African countries this week. Samantha Power, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, went to Kenya and Somalia last week. The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Linda Thomas-Greenfield, will go to Ghana and Uganda next week.
Elsewhere in Ukraine, the mayor of the major port city of Mykolaiv, Vitaliy Kim, said shelling killed one of Ukraine's wealthiest men, Oleksiy Vadatursky, and his wife, Raisa. Vadatursky headed a grain production and export business.
Another presidential advisor, Mykhailo Podolyak, said Vadatursky was specifically targeted.
It "was not an accident, but a well-thought-out and organized premeditated murder. Vadatursky was one of the largest farmers in the country, a key person in the region and a major employer. That the exact hit of a rocket was not just in a house, but in a specific wing, the bedroom, leaves no doubt about aiming and adjusting the strike,” he said.
Vadatursky's agribusiness, Nibulon, includes a fleet of ships for sending grain abroad.
In the Sumy region in Ukraine's north, near the Russian border, shelling killed one person, the regional administration said. And three people died in attacks over the last day in the Donetsk region, which is partly under the control of Russia-backed separatist forces, said regional Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko.
Swimmers Blown Up by Mine in Black Sea Near Resort: Official
In an online post, Mykolaiv Oblast Governor Vitaliy Kim wrote that two people "blew themselves up on a mine in Koblevo while swimming near the barricade."Two people were "injured by mines while swimming in Mykolaiv Oblast," the Kyiv Independent stated on Twitter. "According to Mykolaiv Oblast Governor Vitaliy Kim, the incident happened in Koblevo, a resort on the Black Sea coast. Swimming is banned in the area," it added. The extent of the swimmers' injuries has yet to be disclosed.
Podolyak said on Twitter that images of the prison where at least 53 Ukrainian prisoners of war were killed in an explosion Friday indicated that the blast came from within the building in Olenivka, which is under Russian control.
Russian officials have claimed the building was attacked by Ukraine with the aim of silencing POWs who might be giving information about Ukrainian military operations. Ukraine has blamed Russia for the explosion.
Satellite photos taken before and afterward show that a small, squarish building in the middle of the prison complex was demolished, its roof in splinters.
Podolyak said those images and the lack of damage to adjacent structures showed that the building was not attacked from the air or by artillery. He contended the evidence was consistent with a thermobaric bomb, a powerful device sometimes called a vacuum bomb, being set off inside.
The International Red Cross asked to immediately visit the prison to make sure the scores of wounded POWs had proper treatment, but said Sunday that its request had yet to be granted. It said that denying the Red Cross access would violate the Geneva Convention on the rights of POWs.
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When whistleblowers go to prison, we're on the road to tyranny .
Daniel Hale is in a supermax prison for telling the truth about America's drone war. That prison awaits us all Whistleblower paper cut-out concept Getty Images/wildpixel