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Key events

Ukraine’s armed forces are reporting that nine missiles hit the Chernihiv region early this morning.

Regional governor Viacheslav Chaus said a number of missiles were fired from the territory of Belarus striking Honcharivska community around 5am. In a Telegram update issued this morning, he said:

Today we all woke up very early and this awakening was very disturbing, we could hear explosions.

Chaus declined to say where the explosions occurred, citing security reasons and added that information about victims is being clarified.

Russia redeploying troops to Ukraine’s south

Russian forces are undertaking a “massive redeployment” of troops to three southern regions of Ukraine in what appears to be a change of tactics by Moscow, a senior adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday.

Oleksiy Arestovych said Russia was sending troops to the Melitopol and Zaporizhzhia regions and Kherson, signalling a change in tactics to strategic defence from offence.

In an interview with Ukrainian television on Wednesday, he said:

(This would) place us in a position where we are unable to liberate all our territory and call for talks”

“Putin sent an army to Ukraine in order to recreate the Soviet Union,” Arestovych added.

UN Security Council unable to agree on a statement for grain deal

The UN Security Council has been unable to agree on a statement welcoming last week’s deal to get grain and fertiliser moving from Ukraine and Russia to millions of hungry people around the world, Norway’s UN ambassador has said.

The statement also would have commended secretary-general Antonio Guterres and Turkey’s government for their key roles in arranging the agreement.

“Norway and Mexico have been working for days to unify the council in one message welcoming the significant deal to resume exports of grains, foodstuffs and fertilisers through the Black Sea,” Norwegian Ambassador Mona Juul told The Associated Press. “We regret that this was not possible.”

Russia and Ukraine signed separate agreements Friday with Turkey and the UN clearing the way for Ukraine — one of the world’s key breadbaskets — to export 22m tons of grain and other agricultural goods that have been stuck in Black Sea ports because of Russia’s invasion.

The deal also aims to ensure that Russian food and fertiliser have unrestricted access to world markets.

Council diplomats said Russia objected to the last draft statement on the grain deal because it mentioned Guterres’ condemnation of Saturday’s airstrike.

The proposed statement from Norway and Mexico, obtained by AP, would have welcomed the progress at Friday’s signing of the deal “towards ensuring the safe and secure export of grains, foodstuffs and fertilisers from Ukraine and the Russian Federation.”

It would have commended Guterres and Turkey and called for swift implementation of commitments made in Istanbul.

“A unified statement from the council welcoming the deal and commending the secretary-general for his efforts would have been an important signal,” Juul said.

“Norway believes the personal efforts and engagement of the secretary-general has been essential in facilitating negotiations between the parties,” Juul said. “These efforts are more important than ever, as the effects of the war continue to be felt by the people of Ukraine and beyond.”

Russia strikes Kyiv region, governor says

Russia has reportedly struck infrastructure in the Kyiv region early this morning according to Ukrainian officials.

Kyiv regional governor, Oleksiy Kuleba, said a rocket attack was launched on the Vyshgorod district, just north of the capital.

In a Telegram update posted just after 6am, Kuleba said:

This morning, the enemy launched a rocket attack on one of the communities of the Vyshgorod district.

The object of the infrastructure was fired upon. Information about the victims is being clarified. All emergency services are already on site.”

The Kyiv city council also issued an air alert alarm around the same time, urging residents to seek shelter.

⚡️Governor: Russia strikes infrastructure in Kyiv Oblast early on July 28.

According to Kyiv Oblast Governor Oleksiy Kuleba, Russian forces struck an infrastructure object in one of the communities in Vyshhorodsky District north of the capital.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) July 28, 2022

Operation to liberate Kherson ‘has already begun’ Ukraine says

Ukraine has said its operation to liberate Kherson “has already begun” after striking the key Russian supply route through the Antonivskiy Bridge into the Russian-occupied southern city on Wednesday.

Presidental adviser, Oleksiy Arestovych, also confirmed Ukraine’s strategy to isolate Russian forces, maintaining that there is a “certain plan” of the armed forces of Ukraine to “isolate [Russia’s] military operations”.

No matter how much the enemy overtakes forces and resources on the western bank of the Dnieper, the Armed Forces of Ukraine will first leave them without ammunition depots, fuel, communications and command, and then they will clean up the remnants of their forces.”

Arestovych added that Russian forces had three options:

Retreat (if possible), surrender or be destroyed.”

Another senior presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, added:

Occupiers should learn how to swim across the Dnipro River. Or should leave Kherson while it is still possible. There may not be a third warning.”

Ukrainian officials also confirmed its troops used US-supplied precision rocket launchers to damage the Antonivskiy bridge.

Zelenskiy vowed Ukraine would rebuild the bridge and other crossings in the region.

We are doing everything to ensure that the occupying forces do not have any logistical opportunities in our country.”

Summary and welcome

Hello and welcome back to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine.

I’m Samantha Lock and I will be bringing you all the latest developments for the next short while.

Ukraine has said its operation to liberate Kherson “has already begun” after striking the key Russian supply route through the Antonivskiy Bridge into the Russian-occupied southern city on Wednesday.

Reports are coming in this morning suggesting Russia has struck infrastructure in the Kyiv region, according to Ukrainian officials.

It is 8am in Kyiv and here is where things stand.

  • Russian forces are undertaking a “massive redeployment” of troops to three southern regions of Ukraine in what appears to be a change of tactics by Moscow, a senior adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday. Oleksiy Arestovych said Russia was sending troops to the Melitopol and Zaporizhzhia regions and Kherson, signalling a change in tactics to strategic defence from offence.
  • Russian forces have reportedly taken over Ukraine’s second biggest power plant in eastern Ukraine, an adviser to President Zelenskiy said on Wednesday, after an earlier claim by Russian-backed forces to have captured it intact. “They achieved a tiny tactical advantage – they captured Vuhlehirsk,” Oleksiy Arestovych said. Unverified footage posted on social media appeared to show fighters from Russia’s Wagner private military company posing in front of the plant.
  • Ukraine confirms its strategy to isolate Russian forces after a strike on the key Russian-held Antonivskiy Bridge into the occupied southern city of Kherson and said the operation to liberate Kherson “has already begun”. Presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said there is a “certain plan” of the armed forces of Ukraine to “isolate [Russia’s] military operations”. “No matter how much the enemy overtakes forces and resources on the western bank of the Dnieper, the Armed Forces of Ukraine will first leave them without ammunition depots, fuel, communications and command, and then they will clean up the remnants of their forces,” he said adding that Russian forces had three options: “retreat (if possible), surrender or be destroyed.” Another adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, added: “Occupiers should learn how to swim across the Dnipro River. Or should leave Kherson while it is still possible. There may not be a third warning.”
  • Zelenskiy said Ukraine would rebuild the Antonivskiy Bridge and other crossings in the region after Ukrainian forces struck the strategic Russian supply route in southern Ukraine’s Kherson region. “We are doing everything to ensure that the occupying forces do not have any logistical opportunities in our country,” he added. Ukraine confirms strategy to isolate Russian forces:
  • Preparations are continuing for the first ships to leave Ukrainian ports as Turkey unveiled a centre in Istanbul to oversee the process. Ukraine’s navy also confirmed that work has started at three Ukrainian Black Sea ports to prepare for renewed grain exports. The first shipment is expected to depart within days, Turkish defence minister, Hulusi Akar, said.
  • US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said he will speak with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov by phone – the first between the two diplomats since before the start of the war. The call would not be “a negotiation about Ukraine,” he added.
  • Russia delivered less gas to Europe on Wednesday as physical flows via Nord Stream 1 tumbled to 14.4m kilowatt hours an hour (kWh/h) between noon and 1pm GMT from around 28m kWh/h a day earlier, already just 40% of normal capacity. Germany accused Moscow of engaging in “power play” over energy exports after network data from the gas transfer station in Lubmin, north-east Germany, showed only about 17m kilowatt hours of gas arrived between 8am and 9am, compared with more than 27m kWh between 6am and 7am.
  • The west risks the initiation of nuclear conflict with China or Russia because of a “breakdown of communication” with the two countries, the UK’s national security adviser has warned. Sir Stephen Lovegrove, 55, said that the erosion of backdoor channels had resulted in an increased chance of an accidental escalation into war.
  • Ukraine has approved the appointment of a new prosecutor general, Andriy Kostin. “The person is decent, professional, he knows how to work systematically,” Zelenskiy said.
A rescue worker walks among debris at a residential area destroyed by a Russian military strike in the town of Toretsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine on 27 July. Photograph: State Emergency Service Of Ukraine/Reuters



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