A Russian withdrawal from Snake Island is intended to facilitate grain exports from Ukraine – as a “sign of good will,” says Moscow. But the heavy fighting continues. And there is also a new open letter. The developments at a glance.

Russia says it wants to withdraw its troops from conquered Snake Island in the Black Sea. This is to show that Russia does not impede the export of grain and agricultural products from Ukraine, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in Moscow.

“On June 30, as a show of goodwill, Russian forces completed their assigned tasks on Snake Island.” Previously, Ukraine had reported an attack on the island. The information could not be independently verified.

The island was captured by the Russian Navy shortly after the Russian invasion of the neighboring country at the end of February. Since then, the Ukrainian armed forces have carried out repeated attacks with combat drones and aircraft. The cruiser “Moskva” (Moscow) was sunk with rockets according to the Ukrainian account. Russia is accused of obstructing grain exports by blocking ports. In some regions of the world there is therefore a risk of the hunger crisis escalating further. The Ukraine and Russia are the most important suppliers of grain and fertilizers for a number of poor countries, especially in Africa.

According to the authorities, 40 tons of grain have just been destroyed in an attack in eastern Ukraine. A fire broke out in the affected warehouse in the city of Zelenodolsk, the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, Valentyn Resnichenko, wrote in the Telegram news service. He blamed Russia for it. Information from the war zone is difficult or impossible to independently verify.

Putin complains about the obstruction of Russian fertilizer and food exports

The Kremlin has once again blamed Western countries for rising food prices around the world and pointed to problems with the export of fertilizers and food. Although the West has not formally imposed any trade restrictions on Russian fertilizers and food, “the owners of the companies that produce fertilizers and even their family members have come under the sanctions,” Russian President Vladimir Putin complained at a meeting with his president, according to the Interfax agency Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo in Moscow.

In addition, the US and the EU have imposed sanctions on Russian ports and created difficulties for insuring cargo ships. All this “creates certain problems in the food and fertilizer markets,” Putin said. He also accused the United States of increasingly importing and hoarding food and thus fueling the crisis. “The developing countries are in the worst position in that sense,” he said. He hopes Widodo will raise the issue at the G20 summit in Indonesia in November.

At the same time, Putin again relativized the importance of Ukrainian grain deliveries for the world market. These accounted for only a fraction of global exports.

Widodo conveys message from Zelenskyj

Indonesia’s President, who met Zelenskyy in Kyiv before his visit to the Kremlin, brought a message from the Ukrainian head of state to Putin. It is very important to restart the dialogue between Russia and Ukraine in order to reach a peaceful solution, said Widodo – and he is ready to mediate. A reaction from Putin to the mediation offer was not initially known. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov merely stated that he did not yet know the content of the Zelenskyi message transmitted by Widodo.

Kyiv: Russian troops want to blockade Lysychansk

Meanwhile, the heavy fighting in the east of the country continues unabated. Russia is still trying to blockade the strategically important city of Lysychansk with the help of artillery, the Ukrainian general staff said. There are attacks around the city’s oil refinery. The representative of the Luhansk separatists in Moscow, Rodion Miroshnik, said that the area around the plant was under control. The military in Kyiv accused Russia of also shelling civilian infrastructure. In the Luhansk region, Ukrainian troops now only control Lysychansk.

Russia: More than 6,000 Ukrainian POWs

According to the Defense Ministry, Russia has now taken more than 6,000 Ukrainian soldiers prisoner of war. This information cannot be independently verified. Ukraine no longer publishes POW figures. Russian passports are to be issued in the small town of Enerhodar in south-eastern Ukraine, which is occupied by Russian troops, Mayor Dmytro Orlov wrote in the Telegram news service. Orlov left the city at the end of April. Russian occupying forces had installed their own mayor. He was seriously injured in a bomb attack on Sunday.

Member of Parliament in Ukraine survives attack

In the Cherson region, the Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Kovalyov apparently survived an attack. The 33-year-old is suspected of treason and collaboration with Russia in Ukraine. The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence service said last week that Kovalev’s car had been blown up. “I’m alive and healthy,” said the deputy in a video released by the Russian state agency Ria Novosti. Kovalyov was seen in a hospital bed with his arm bandaged.

Scholz: We orient ourselves to the USA when it comes to arms deliveries

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) wants to orient himself primarily to the USA when it comes to further arms deliveries to Ukraine. “We always base what we do on the supplies from the allies, especially the United States. And we will continue to do that, »said Scholz after the NATO summit in Madrid.

The US has already supplied Ukraine with heavy weapons on a large scale. A few days ago, the first heavy weapons from Germany arrived in the Ukraine in the form of seven self-propelled howitzers. So far, however, NATO countries have not supplied certain weapon systems at all, such as combat aircraft and battle tanks. However, there are talks between Germany and Spain about a possible delivery of German-made Leopard 2 main battle tanks, which now belong to the Spanish armed forces.

Macron: Europe must be able to dialogue with Russia

Against the background of the Ukraine war, French President Emmanuel Macron emphasized a united stance in Europe and the USA, but at the same time underlined the need for contact with Kremlin chief Putin. Macron said in Madrid that Europe and the United States agree on the necessary attitude towards Russia.

“In addition, and this is normal, we have not always had the same intensity of discussion with the Russian President.” He has always communicated clearly with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and European partners about his talks with Putin. He is also ready for further talks with Putin. “Any time it will justify the situation, I do not rule out that I will do it because I believe that is France’s responsibility.” If the discussion can be useful in the case of short-term, urgent or humanitarian issues, it must be conducted. In addition, Europeans should be able to re-engage in dialogue with Russia the moment Ukraine wants it.

Commenting on reports that the Caesar guns supplied by France to Ukraine helped push back Russian troops from Snake Island in the Black Sea, Macron said: “I take note of what the Ukrainian army is reporting.” In addition to the twelve guns already delivered, Ukraine will receive six more of the howitzers from France in the coming weeks. In addition, France will deliver a significant number of armored vehicles to Ukraine, Macron wrote on Twitter.

Erdogan calls for a vision of peace to end the war

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for increased diplomatic efforts to end Russia’s war in Ukraine. A vision of peace for the country is necessary, said Erdogan. The goal must be a ceasefire to end the humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine. He made it clear that the alliance’s support for the country under attack from Russia was 100 percent.

Open letter: Celebrities call for a ceasefire

In a new open letter, German celebrities called for a “ceasefire now!”. In the appeal published by “Zeit”, the philosopher Richard David Precht and the writer Juli Zeh, for example, called for a “concerted push” for negotiations. They also questioned whether arms deliveries were the right way to go. Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, replied that the authors should go to hell with their “defeatist “advice.”