Here are the key events so far on Thursday, July 28.
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- Russian forces are undertaking a “massive redeployment” of troops to Ukraine’s occupied Kherson and partially occupied Zaporizhia regions, in what appears to be a change of tactics by Moscow, Kyiv adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said. Ukraine’s counteroffensive in Kherson is gathering momentum after Kyiv used long-range artillery to damage three key bridges Russia relies on to supply the area, the United Kingdom’s defence ministry said. Russian forces attacked the town of Chuhuiv in the Kharkiv region on Thursday morning, Mayor Halyna Minaeva said, adding there was an unconfirmed number of casualties. Russian missiles have reportedly struck infrastructure in the Kyiv region, according to Governor Oleksiy Kuleba, while the mayor of the port city of Mykolaiv, Aleksander Senkevich, has once again reported “powerful explosions” in a Telegram post.
- A United States prisoner swap offer to Russia to gain the release of US citizens Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, who are detained by Russian authorities, was made weeks ago and the White House was hoping Russia will react favourably. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he would press his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, to respond. Blinken said the war in Ukraine has “profoundly” weakened Russia despite Moscow’s insistence that it is thriving politically and economically. The United Nations 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 said. Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar unveiled a centre in Istanbul to oversee the unblocking of Ukrainian grain exports after a landmark UN deal last week, with the first shipment expected to depart from Black Sea ports within days.
- Russia delivered less gas to Europe on Wednesday in a further escalation of an energy standoff between Moscow and the European Union that will make it harder, and costlier, for the bloc to fill up storage in advance of the winter heating season. The UK’s National Grid said there could be periods when electricity supply is tight in the northern winter, given uncertainty over supplies of Russian gas to Europe, but that it expects to be able to meet demand. The Kremlin said the EU had understood how essential to Russia the issue of goods transit to the country’s Kaliningrad exclave is after Lithuania lifted the ban last Friday.