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US slams Russia's 'forced deportations' in Ukraine

July 13, 2022

According to the US State Department, Russia forcibly deported up to 1.6 million Ukrainian citizens, including 260,000 children, from their homes to Russia. Follow DW for the latest.

Ukraine | Pro Russische Soldaten in Mariupol
Pro-Russian troops have been fighting in eastern Ukraine since 2014Image: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters
  • Turkey, UN say agreement on grain export from Ukraine will be signed next week
  • Kyiv will not cede territory to Moscow in order to secure a peace deal
  • Germany's top diplomat says negotiations with Russia are currently not an option
  • Ukrainian Infrastructure Ministry says grain exports can be increased by 500,000 through reopened waterway
  • Ukrainian forces strike arms depot in Russian-occupied southern Kherson region

This live updates article is closed. For our latest, from July 14, click here.Russian strike on Mykolaiv kills 5 — Ukrainian authorities

Russian missile strikes in the southern city of Mykolaiv killed at least five people, Ukrainian authorities said.

Russian missiles also hit the southern city of Zaporizhzhia. At least 10 were killed and dozens more were wounded in a series of artillery and missile barrages in Ukraine's eastern and southern regions.

Recently, Ukrainian forces have launched a counter-offensive to recapture the country's south.

Ukraine proposes 'navigation algorithm' for grain exports

Head of the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Andriy Yermak, said that Kyiv had proposed the formation of a "basic navigation algorithm" that would allow grain exports through the Black Sea.Yermak made the comments following a meeting between Ukrainian, Russian and Turkish military delegations and UN officials in Istanbul."Black Sea security is a priority in the issue of resuming of Ukrainian agricultural export. That is why Ukraine has proposed to form a basic navigation algorithm for the Black Sea."

According to Yermak, the proposal will "ensure" the continuation of Ukraine's grain exports and "guarantee food security for millions of people."

"Based on the results of today's meeting, the parties agreed to form a Joint Coordination Center under the UN auspices," Yermak said, adding that the center will be located in Istanbul. The task of the UN-managed body will be to "carry out general monitoring and coordination of safe navigation in the Black Sea."

US calls for immediate halt to Russian deportations in Ukraine

The United States called on Russia to immediately release Ukrainians it has forced out of their home country and allow outside observers. According to reports, Moscow was putting Ukrainian children up for adoption and "disappearing" thousands of others.

"The unlawful transfer and deportation of protected persons is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians and is a war crime," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

"Estimates from a variety of sources, including the Russian government, indicate that Russian authorities have interrogated, detained and forcibly deported between 900,000 and 1.6 million Ukrainian citizens, including 260,000 children, from their homes to Russia — often to isolated regions in the Far East," Blinken said.

Kyiv had also accused Russia of deporting civilians from Ukraine.

The 1949 Geneva Conventions, which define international legal standards for humanitarian treatment in conflict, prohibit mass forcible transfers of civilians during a conflict to the territory of the occupying power, classifying it as a war crime.

Turkey, UN say agreement on grain export from Ukraine will be signed next week

Talks between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and UN officials on resuming Black Sea exports of Ukraine grain resulted in an agreement to form a coordination center in order to ensure the safety of routes, the Turkish defense minister said.

In a statement, Turkey's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said an agreement would be signed next week when all parties meet again, adding the parties had agreed on joint controls for checking grains at harbors.

UN chief Antonio Guterres also said that an "important and substantive step" was made in Istanbul toward a comprehensive deal to resume Black Sea exports of Ukraine grain.

"Next week, hopefully, we'll be able to have a final agreement. But, as I said, we still need a lot of goodwill and commitments by all parties," he told reporters in New York.

Guterres said that although Ukraine and Russia had engaged, "for peace, we still have a long way to go."

Russian, Ukrainian and Turkish military delegations met with UN officials in Istanbul for talks on resuming exports of Ukrainian grain from the major Black Sea port of Odesa as a global food crisis worsens.

More than 40 nations call on Russia to stop war in Ukraine

At the UN, dozens of countries from around the world called on Russia to halt the war in Ukraine. These included the United States, members of the European Union and countries in Asia.

In a statement, these 40 countries said they supported Ukraine's proceedings before the International Court of Justice seeking "to establish that Russia has no lawful basis to take military action in Ukraine on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations of genocide."

This alludes to Russia's stated justification early in the war that it invaded to halt what it called a "genocide" in pro-Russian areas of eastern Ukraine.

"We reiterate that Russia must be held accountable for its actions. In this regard, we consider that Russia's violations of international law engage its international responsibility," the statement said.

It also added that "the losses and damage suffered by Ukraine as a result of Russia's violations of international law require full and urgent reparation by Russia."

North Korea recognized Russia-backed separatist entities in Ukraine

North Korea recognized the independence of the separatist Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR), Russian news agency Interfax said on Wednesday citing North Korean embassy in Moscow.

According to the diplomatic mission, "the North Korean ambassador held a meeting with the DPR ambassador to the Russian Federation," during which he announced Pyongyang's decision. A meeting with the ambassador of the LPR is reportedly expected soon.

North Korea has become the third UN member state to recognize the independence of the DPR. Earlier this was done by Russia and Syria.

In response, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry announced it severed the diplomatic relations with North Korea. It also said that, due to the international sanctions imposed on Pyongyang, there were no political and economic contacts between the countries.

Russian opposition politician Yashin kept in jail under 'fake information' investigation

A Moscow court ordered opposition politician Ilya Yashin be kept in jail for two months pending an investigation into the spreading of "fake information" about Russia's army, a charge carrying a jail term of up to 15 years.

"Russia will be free!" Yashin shouted in court after the judge agreed with state prosecutors' request to keep him in prison until September 12.

Russia passed new legislation after sending its army into Ukraine on February 24 that prohibits public statements which "discredit" its armed forces or cite information from non-official sources.

A Moscow city councilor was jailed for seven years last week in one of the first cases using the new law.

EU refuses to recognize new Russian passports for Ukrainians

The European Union will continue to not recognize new Russian passports issued to Ukrainians, the bloc's top diplomat Josep Borrell said on Wednesday.

Borrell said on Twitter the move "is yet another flagrant violation" of Ukraine's sovereignty.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to expand eligibility rules for Russian passports to residents living in all parts of Ukraine. Previously this was limited to breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine controlled by Moscow-backed separatists, in a policy dating back to 2019.

Gazprom says it cannot guarantee good functioning of Nord Stream pipeline

Russian energy giant Gazprom said Wednesday it could not guarantee the good functioning of Nord Stream, saying it did not know if a "critical" turbine engine would be returned from repair in Canada.

"Gazprom does not have a single document to allow (German company) Siemens to take out of Canada the gas turbine engine currently being repaired there," Gazprom said in a statement.

"In these circumstances, it is not possible to draw an objective conclusion about the development of the situation and ensuring the safe operation of the Portovaya station — a critical facility for the Nord Stream gas pipeline."

The German economy ministry declined to comment on a statement Gazprom.

On Sunday, Canada has announced it will return to Germany a repaired turbine of the Russian Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which is a core source of the gas supply to Germany.

Germany to stop buying Russian coal on August 1, oil on December 31

Germany will completely stop buying Russian coal on August 1 and Russian oil on December 31, marking a major shift in the source of the country's energy supply, Joerg Kukies, state secretary in the German federal chancellery, said at a conference in Sydney.

"We will be off Russian coal in a few weeks," he told the Sydney Energy Forum, co-hosted by the Australian government and the International Energy Agency.

Russia previously supplied 40% of Germany's coal and 40% of its oil, he said.

The key challenge ahead will be filling the huge gap that will be left when the European Union weans itself off the 158 billion cubic metres per year of gas that Russia supplies, Kukies said.

Germany is rapidly developing liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminals to help fill the gas supply gap, but he highlighted that while the United States and Qatar could together supply around 30 bcm of gas in LNG form to Europe, that still left a huge gap.

EU clarifies transit ban on Russian goods to Kaliningrad

Russia can continue the rail transit of sanctioned goods bound for its Kaliningrad exclave though EU territory, but goods that serve a military purpose will be banned, a statement from the European Commission said.

Lithuania, which lies between Russia and Kaliningrad, will only be allowed to block rail shipments of certain goods that have dual civilian and military use.

Russia can transport other EU sanctioned goods like iron and steel products in regular quantities, diplomatic sources said. Road transport through EU territory remains prohibited.

The instructions sent to EU member states are meant to defuse growing tensions between Russia and Lithuania, which restricted in mid-June the transit of goods on the EU sanctions list, like iron and steel, prompting Moscow to threaten countermeasures.

UN survey reveals Ukrainian refugees hope for swift return

Most Ukrainian refugees want to return home as soon as possible but expect to stay in their host countries until hostilities subside, according to a United Nations survey.

UNHCR, the UN's refugee agency, found that those who have fled abroad to escape the Russian war in Ukraine were consistently worried about their future and do not feel they can make long-term plans.

The report said 65% of respondents planned to stay in their current host country and nine percent were planning to move to another host nation within the next month.

The data showed that a further 16% were planning to return to Ukraine in the coming two months. In focus groups, the majority said they hoped to return home as soon as possible.

UNHCR and its partners interviewed 4,871 refugees from Ukraine in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia between May 16 and June 15.

US-EU price cap on Russian oil in the works

The European Union and the United States are in "detailed discussions" to put a price cap on Russian oil, as the invasion of Ukraine continues.

"That is not a process that will be completed in days. It will take time because of the number of elements that have to be worked through," White House national security advisor James Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force 1 while en route to the Middle East on Wednesday.

Later this week, US President Joe Biden will make a case for the Gulf states to increase oil production and bring prices down.

Russia is the world’s second-largest oil producer, and exports remain a major source of revenue for the Kremlin as it weathers widespread sanctions.

The Group of Seven countries tentatively agreed to pay a fixed price for Russian oil at below-market rates. But China and India have maintained business-as-usual relationships with Russia since it invaded Ukraine.

"We think that ultimately countries around the world that are currently purchasing Russian oil will be very interested in paying as little as possible for that Russian oil," US Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo told the Associated Press.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said he hoped Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations would not be drawn into any economic punishments against Russia.

Ukraine seeks 'full liberation' of Russian-occupied cities, won't trade territory for peace

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the military is "planning and preparing for full liberation" of Russian-occupied cities near the country's Black Sea coast.

"We are fighting for our freedom, for our territorial integrity, and we want peace," Kuleba told the Associated Press in Istanbul, ahead of a much-anticipated meeting regarding grain shipments. "This war was imposed on us. This was not our choice."

"The objective of Ukraine in this war... is to liberate our territories, restore our territorial integrity, and full sovereignty in the east and south of Ukraine," he told reporters, ruling out that Kyiv would cede territory to Russia as part of a peace deal.

Kuleba also accused Russia of attempting to annex key port cities like Mariupol and Kherson by imposing its own school curriculum, circulating the ruble, and offering Russian passports to civilians in those areas.

"I’m pretty confident that once these territories are liberated, the vast majority of people will burn their Russian passports quietly in their fireplaces," he said.

Unity with the US vital in face of Russia aggression, says Germany's Steinmeier

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said his country's unity and resolve with the United States has "never been more important than in the face of Russian aggression."

"We are united in our support for Ukraine," Steinmeier told US soldiers in Grafenwöhr, Bavaria, on Wednesday, according to the widely circulated text of his speech.

He said this applied to political, financial, humanitarian and military support.

Germany stands by its commitments to the NATO military alliance while also recognizing "that we have to do more," Steinmeier said.

Germany would "invest more, provide more troops on NATO's eastern flank and comprehensively modernize the German Bundeswehr," Steinmeier stressed. "Together with you and all our partners, we are ready to defend every square inch of NATO territory."

Anti-Russian sentiment predicted to rise in occupied Ukraine

Ukrainians living under Russian occupation have been pushing back, and their resistance is likely to increase, according to British intelligence.

"Anti-Russian sentiment in occupied Ukraine is leading to Russian and pro-Russian officials being targeted," the UK defense ministry said in its daily update on the war.

"The Russian-appointed administration in Velykyy Burluk [near Kharkiv] acknowledged that one of its mayors was killed on 11 July 2022 by a car bombing," the UK Defense Ministry said. "The targeting of officials is likely to escalate, exacerbating the already significant challenges facing the Russian occupiers and potentially increasing the pressure on already reduced military and security formations."

The ministry also pointed to the recent fast-track process for Ukrainians to become Russian citizens, and a new scheme to establish sister cities between Ukraine and Russia, as evidence of Russian administrators "[seeking] to undermine the legitimacy of the Ukrainian state."

Ukrainian forces target separatist stronghold with US weapons

Ukrainian forces shelled the pro-Russian separatist stronghold of Luhansk using US-supplied weapons, a separatist representative said.

The shelling with the high mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS) launcher was confirmed by separatist representative Andrey Marochko on the Telegram news channel and by the Ukrainian military.

The head of the Ukrainian military administration for the Luhansk region, Serhii Haidai, said the attack was concentrated on pro-Russian separatist military depots.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

German foreign minister: Negotiations with Russia not an option now

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said she does not currently see peace talks with Moscow as an option to end Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"What can you negotiate about with someone who is not even ready to agree with the International Committee of the Red Cross to let civilians flee?" she said in an interview with Stern magazine.

Baerbock rejected calls from a group of high-profile Germans in a recent open letter for an immediate ceasefire and talks.

"If I were a Ukrainian, I would find that letter naive, disturbing and arrogant," she said. "What right does the German foreign minister have to decide for Ukraine which part of their country they should please give up, how many millions of their citizens to submit to Russian rule?"

Baerbock added that she has not had direct contact with her Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, since Russia began its war against Ukraine.

Lavrov and Baerbock both attended the G20 foreign ministers' conference in Balilast week, but he left without listening to Baerbock's speech.

Ukrainian group to sue Canada over Nord Stream 1 turbine

A Ukrainian diaspora group said it was seeking a judicial review of Canada's decision to return a repaired turbine to Germany.

"This exemption to the sanctions regime against Russia is totally unacceptable," the Ukrainian World Congress said in a statement. "There are real alternatives to Germany’s gas needs, including buying through Ukraine’s pipeline."

The group said it was requesting "a declaration that the decision to provide a permit to Siemens was unreasonable and unauthorized and an order quashing the permit" from Canada's federal court.

The turbine, which was being repaired by German firm Siemens in Canada, is needed in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline which pumps Russian gas into Germany. The Canadian government said on Saturday that it was issuing a " time-limited and revocable permit"  to exempt the return of turbines from sanctions on Moscow.

'Europe has to stay strong in order to provide support'

Ukraine grain exports could be increased by 500,000 tons — Infrastructure Ministry

Ukraine's Infrastructure Ministry said that monthly grain exports could be increased by 500,000 tons if its backlog is cleared through the Bystre river mouth of the Danube-Black Sea waterway.

The ministry said that 16 ships passed through the newly reopened river mouth in the past 4 days. It added that passage of commercial ships became possible after Kyiv recaptured Snake Island from Russian forces and that this was an important step toward speeding up grain exports.

"In the last four days, 16 ships have passed through the Bystre rivermouth," Deputy Infrastructure Minister Yuriy Vaskov said. "We plan to maintain this pace."

The ministry said that the 16 ships were now waiting to be loaded with Ukrainian grain for export to foreign markets. Additionally, more than 90 vessels were waiting in Romania's Sulina canal.

Vaskov said that only four ships could be received per day along the Sulina route, while a rate of eight per day was needed. Kyiv was negotiating with Romanian authorities and European Commission representatives about increasing the rate of crossings, he said.

Russian and Ukrainian officials are set to meet later Wednesday in Turkey to discuss grain exports.

Ukrainian forces strike Russian depot in Kherson region

Kyiv launched artillery barragesthat destroyed a Russian arms depot in Ukraine's southern Kherson region, Ukrainian military officials said.

Officials said that Ukraine carried out a "special operation" to free military captives in the region, which is under Russian control.

The strikes destroyed artillery, armored vehicles and a "warehouse with ammunition in the town of Nova Kakhovka, the officials said.

Russian-backed authorities in the occupied Kherson region accused Ukrainian forces of damaging civilian infrastructure and killing at least seven people.

"Warehouses were hit, as were shops, a pharmacy, petrol stations and even a church," the head of Moscow's civilian-military administration in the Kherson region, Vladimir Leontiev, said on Telegram.

The deputy head of the Russian-backed administration in Kherson, Ekaterina Gubareva, said Kyiv had used US-supplied long-range, precision artillery systems in the strikes on Nova Kakhovka.

"The occupiers have already felt very well what modern artillery is and they will not have a safe rear anywhere on our land," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his evening address, referring to heavy weaponry supplied by the West.

What happened Tuesday in Russia's war against Ukraine

European Space Agency Director General Josef Aschbacher announced the official termination of cooperation with the Russian space agency Roscosmos on the ExoMars Rover and Surface Platform mission.

The death toll from a collapsed apartment block in the Donetsk region town of Chasiv Yar climbed to 45, Ukrainian emergency services said.

The United States Treasury announced it will send an additional $1.7 billion (€1.7 billion) in economic aid to Ukraine to help continue funding the country's "essential services." Earlier, the Council of the European Union said it would "provide €1 billion ($1 billion) of additional macro-financial assistance (MFA) to Ukraine."

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said that "there is still a way to go" in talks to try and resume Ukraine's Black Sea grain exports.

The United Nations said Tuesday that more than 5,000 civilians had been killed in Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24, adding that the actual figure was probably much higher.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko claimed that the West was developing "strategic plans for an attack against Russia."

Ukraine's military warned that Russian troops were likely planning to launch some of their heaviest attacks yet in the eastern Donetsk region, targeting the cities of Kramatorsk and Bakhmut.

Click here for more details on Tuesday's events in Russia's war against Ukraine.

jsi, sdi/kb (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)