Russia-Ukraine battle information: Drones strike Odessa in the future earlier than Putin-Erdogan assembly

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A ship at the port in Odessa, Ukraine, last week. (Wojciech Grzedzinski for The Washington Post)

Russia launched a drone attack on the Odessa region, injuring two people and damaging infrastructure, officials said Sunday. The southern Ukrainian region has increasingly come under fire from Moscow since the Kremlin pulled out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative in July. The deal, which was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, enabled Kyiv to send exports through Russian-blockaded Ukrainian ports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are scheduled to meet in Russia on Monday for what could be an integral discussion for the grain initiative.

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects around the globe.

Air-defense systems downed 22 of 25 Iranian-made Shahed drones heading for Odessa, Ukraine’s air force said Sunday on Telegram, noting that the attack on the port city lasted more than three hours. The Washington Post could not immediately verify the assertions.

The Turkish government wants to resume the grain deal in an effort to lower global food prices, according to the state-owned Anadolu Agency. “We’re cautious, but we hope we’ll achieve success because this is necessary for the whole world,” Erdogan aide Akif Cagatay Kilic told a Turkish broadcaster. When Russia terminated its end of the agreement this summer, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the move “blackmail.”

Zelensky discussed Odessa and the grain corridor with French President Emmanuel Macron, the Ukrainian president said Sunday on social media. He did not give further details as to what France may do to help the grain initiative, though Macron’s government has supported it in statements and reiterated Zelensky’s characterization of “blackmail.”

Billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky, the onetime governor of Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region, is being held by Ukrainian authorities on roughly $13 million bail over charges of fraud and money laundering. Kolomoisky is accused of fraud and laundering criminally obtained property, according to Ukraine’s state security service. The United States imposed sanctions on him in 2021 “due to his involvement in significant corruption” while serving as governor. The security service, called the SBU, released photos appearing to show authorities surrounding the oligarch, who previously owned Ukraine’s PrivatBank and served as Dnipropetrovsk’s governor from 2014 to 2015.

At least two people were killed and two others injured during a strike on a residential building in the town of Vuhledar, in Ukraine’s southeastern Donetsk region, the regional prosecutor’s office said on Facebook late Saturday. The attack killed a couple in their 40s, and their 19-year-old daughter and another 53-year-old resident were injured, the prosecutor’s office said.

A Russian strike on houses in Kherson killed an undisclosed number of civilians and injured at least four, regional governor Oleksandr Prokudin said Saturday. Another attack injured four people in the Dnipropetrovsk region, local military administrator Serhiy Lysak said.

Zelensky said the country’s forces were continuing to make progress in their counteroffensive after weeks of a near stalemate. “Despite everything and no matter what anyone says, we are advancing, and that is the most important thing. We are on the move,” he said Saturday on social media. U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said this week that Ukraine achieved “notable progress” in retaking territory in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia.

Russia has been trying to recruit citizens of neighboring countries to fight in Ukraine, Britain’s Defense Ministry said Sunday. Online advertisements in Armenia and Kazakhstan are offering 495,000 rubles ($5,140) in initial payments, the ministry said, adding that “exploiting foreign nationals allows the Kremlin to acquire additional personnel for its war effort in the face of mounting casualties.”

Two more ships successfully passed through a temporary Black Sea grain corridor, Zelensky said Saturday, bringing the number of vessels that have done so to four, according to Reuters. Concerns over grain transportation and global food security have been exacerbated since Russia pulled out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

The Nobel Foundation reversed an earlier decision to invite Russia and its ally Belarus back to this year’s awards ceremony in Sweden amid backlash from Swedish and Ukrainian officials. Russia and Belarus were excluded from the event last year because of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine halted adoptions. Now some orphans are stuck in limbo: Wendy and Leo Van Asten first met “M and M” — a brother and sister from eastern Ukraine — when the children stayed at the couple’s home near Madison, Wis., for four weeks at the end of 2018, as part of a program connecting Ukrainian orphans and foster children with American families. The bond with the children was immediate, they said.

The couple instantly started the adoption process, maintaining contact with M and M — whom they call by the initials of their first names out of affection and to protect their identities. But nearly five years later, it is unclear whether the couple will ever get their wish, David L. Stern reports.

Ukrainian officials have halted international adoptions until the end of the war. And many Western officials and analysts say fighting could continue for years — a prospect that fills families such as the Van Astens with desperation.



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