Ukraine live briefing: Drone strikes skyscraper in Moscow, Russia says, after attacks on Ukraine’s Odessa region


Windows of a high-rise building were blown out in a drone attack Monday in downtown Moscow. (AP)

A drone struck a skyscraper in Moscow early Monday, shattering glass on the 17th and 18th floors, Russian officials reported. The wreckage of a second drone was found on Komsomolsky Prospect, a thoroughfare in central Moscow. Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said two nonresidential buildings were struck but there were no casualties. Moscow blamed Kyiv for the apparent attack.

In another night of attacks on Ukraine’s Odessa region, drones targeted port infrastructure along the Danube River, an important export route for Kyiv in light of Russia’s exit from a U.N.-backed grain export deal. The attack injured six people and destroyed a grain hangar, said Oleh Kiper, the regional governor. Grain prices rose steeply the morning after the attack.

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

Moscow downed the drones, Russia’s Defense Ministry said, blaming Ukraine for the attack. Drone strikes are a rarity for the Russian capital, and a similar attack earlier this year on two residential buildings there was widely considered a prelude to further escalation in the war. Though Ukraine denied responsibility for the drone attack in May, the event struck a chord among Russians, who for the first time witnessed wartime hostilities trickling into residential parts of the city.

The overnight drone attack in Odessa lasted four hours, Ukrainian officials said on Telegram. It was part of a string of attacks in the southern Ukrainian port city, killing at least one person and injuring 21, including four children.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that Russia’s bombardment of Odessa with missiles and drones has been “devastating.” She also reiterated the warning that the United States thinks Russia may attack civilian targets in the Black Sea and blame Ukraine in a false flag operation.

Ukraine attacked an ammunition depot in Crimea with drones overnight, the Russian-backed head of the peninsula said. Sergei Aksyonov said the depot was in the Dzhankoi area of Crimea, where Russia has an air base. He said debris from a Ukrainian drone also damaged a home in the Kirovsky district, southeast of Dzhankoi. The Russian Defense Ministry said Ukraine attacked Crimea with 17 drones but said most were disabled by air and electronic defenses. Three drones fell on Crimean territory, and there were no casualties, it said. The Washington Post could not independently verify the claims. Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014 and uses the peninsula as a base for its forces.

“The most vulnerable will pay the highest price” for the ending of the Black Sea grain deal, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said. Speaking at a summit on food systems, Guterres said that Russia’s decision last week to back out of the U.N.-brokered agreement has already caused wheat and corn prices to rise, “which hurts everyone.” He urged world leaders to come up with a solution and said he is still “committed to facilitating the unimpeded access to global markets for food products and fertilizers” from Ukraine and Russia.

Russia’s Danube drone attack drew international condemnation after strikes hit grain infrastructure overnight. The Foreign Ministry of Moldova called it a “brutal attack,” and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis called the strikes “a recent escalation” that was “very close to Romania.” Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, called the incident “food terrorism.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged European leaders to lift restrictions on the country’s grain exports over land amid Russia’s attacks on port infrastructure. The European Commission restricted land exports through Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia in May to protect the country’s economies from an influx of cheaper Ukrainian grain. Zelensky said on Monday during a news conference in Kyiv that blocking exports after the agreement expires on Sept. 15 would be “unacceptable in any form.”

An American video journalist for Agence France-Presse, Dylan Collins, 35, was wounded by shrapnel in a drone attack near Bakhmut on Monday. He is being treated at a hospital, and is conscious and speaking to his colleagues, the French international news outlet said in a tweet.

The U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on three officials from Mali for facilitating the Wagner mercenary group’s “malicious activities” and “entrenchment” in the West African nation. The individuals include Mali’s defense minister Sadio Camara — whom the department said organized the deployment of the Wagner Group in Mali — and two air force officials.

Unilever said it will allow Russian employees to be conscripted if they are called to fight. “We will always comply with all the laws of the countries we operate in,” Reginaldo Ecclissato, the company’s chief business operations and supply chain officer, said in a letter to the B4Ukraine Coalition this month. He added that Unilever, a British multinational packaged goods company that employs about 3,000 workers in Russia, “condemns the war in Ukraine as a brutal, senseless act by the Russian state.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Western partners of the grain deal of failing to address global food insecurity. In an article posted by the Kremlin, the Russian leader said high- and middle-income countries benefited from exports shipped under the deal instead of African nations. The United Nations has argued that it allows more grain to enter the global market, lowering food prices around the world. Data published by the U.N. shows that 43 percent of wheat exports under the deal went to countries classified as lower-middle- and low-income by the World Bank.

Russia is putting a “renewed emphasis on military induction for children,” Britain’s Defense Ministry said, citing the move by Russian authorities to add lessons on how to operate combat drones to a forthcoming mandatory school syllabus. The ministry said the policy is more about cultivating “a culture of militarised patriotism” in Russia and less about teaching children to operate drones. But the focus on the unmanned aerial vehicles “does highlight how Russia has identified the use of tactical UAVs in Ukraine as an enduring component of contemporary war,” it said.

Ukraine has taken back about half of the land that Russia initially seized in the invasion, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during an interview with CNN. However, he tempered Kyiv’s inroads with warnings of a tough path ahead: “These are still relatively early days of the counteroffensive,” he said.

Ukrainian pilots will begin training with F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft developed by the U.S. Air Force next month, Ukrainian Defense Minister ​​Oleksii Reznikov told CNN, adding that training sessions would take place across several European countries. As for supplying the aircraft, Blinken cautioned Sunday that it could take “months and months” before F-16s are delivered and operational. The White House agreed in May not to stop allied nations from sending Kyiv the advanced fighter jets.

Analysis from our correspondents

The moral dilemma of sending cluster munitions to Ukraine: For the past week, Ukraine has fired U.S.-provided cluster munitions at Russian targets. Their use comes with a moral dilemma — and at a particularly fraught moment in the course of the war, Ishaan Tharoor writes.

The weapons are banned in 123 countries, including the bulk of NATO member countries, but the United States, Russia and Ukraine aren’t signatories to a convention prohibiting their use. This month, the Biden administration agreed to dispatch them to Ukraine — a move that could give Kyiv an advantage on the battlefield, but not without a cost.


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