Latest developments in Ukraine: August 13

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The latest developments in Russia’s war against Ukraine. All hours EDT.

5:50 a.m.: Exports of what looks like a record wheat crop this summer are unlikely to reach their potential as banks, shippers and insurers remain wary despite U.S. assurances of sanctions, traders told Reuters.

The West issued a series of sanctions against Russia following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and although food exports were excluded from these sanctions, lenders, freight and insurance companies are remained suspicious.

In July, amid a global food crisis, the United States issued clarifications reassuring banks, shipping companies and insurance companies that transactions for Russian food and fertilizer exports would not violate Washington’s sanctions against Moscow.

However, a sharp decline in world prices over the past two months has resulted in higher than normal financing costs and freight is starting to impact shipments.

5:12 a.m.: This latest intelligence update from the UK Ministry of Defense said the two main road bridges providing access to the pocket of Russian-occupied territory on the west bank of the Dnipro in Kherson Oblast are now likely out of service. use for substantial military resupply purposes.

In recent days, according to the update, Russia has only managed to make superficial repairs to the damaged Antonivsky road bridge, which likely remains structurally mined.

Even if Russia manages to make major repairs to the bridges, the update says, they will remain a key vulnerability. Land supply for the several thousand Russian troops on the west bank almost certainly depends on just two pontoon ferry crossings.

4:11 a.m.: Spain and Portugal on Friday backed Germany’s call for a gas pipeline linking the Iberian Peninsula to central Europe, and Madrid said its part of the project could be operational within months, the report reported. ‘France Media Agency.

The proposal came as Europe struggles to find ways to rapidly reduce its energy dependence on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, which disrupted the electricity market and caused prices skyrocket and nations rush to stock up.

Spain has six liquefied natural gas terminals for processing gas arriving by sea, which could help the EU boost imports.

But it has only two low-capacity links to the French gas network, which is connected to the rest of Europe.

Madrid is pushing to relaunch the pipeline project linking the Catalan Pyrenees to France, which could significantly increase its supply capacity.

3h18: In its latest assessment of the Ukrainian conflict, the US think tank Institute for the Study of War said Russian forces had carried out ground attacks east of Siversk, northeast and southeast of Bakhmut, and southwest and northwest of the city of Donetsk.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces destroyed the last functional bridge used by Russian forces to transport military equipment near the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station, according to the update. Additionally, Ukrainian officials have confirmed additional Ukrainian strikes on Russian ammunition depots and a logistics point in Kherson Oblast.

2h06: Russian oil flows to the Czech Republic will resume through the Druzhba pipeline after more than a week on Friday evening, Slovak pipeline operator Transpetrol said, as transit fee payments were released, reports Reuters.

Supply through the Druzhba gas pipeline had been suspended to the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia since August 4 because Western sanctions prevented paying transit fees to Ukrainian transport company Ukrtransnafta, the Russian monopoly said on Tuesday. of the Transneft gas pipeline.

A European bank has agreed to process payment for the transit of Russian oil through Ukraine, removing the cause of the shutdown.

1h07: Ukrainian security agencies issued a joint statement on Friday calling on the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross to send representatives to places where Russia is holding Ukrainian prisoners of war, Reuters reported.

The request follows earlier allegations from Kyiv that Moscow forces tortured and executed prisoners, including staging an explosion at a Ukrainian POW camp in Olenivka. Moscow claims Ukraine bombed the facility, killing more than 50 POWs.

00:02: Russia has told the United States that diplomatic relations would be severely damaged, if not severed, if Russia were declared a “state sponsor of terrorism,” Tass said, citing a senior official on Friday, according to Reuters.

Alexander Darchiyev, head of the North American department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that if the US Senate goes through with plans to target Russia, it would mean Washington has passed the point of no return. Tass said.

“The American side has been notified,” he added.

Latvia’s parliament on Thursday designated Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism in the war in Ukraine and called on Western allies to impose more comprehensive sanctions on Moscow.

Certain information contained in this report comes from Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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