Dispatches from Ukraine, provided by Forbes Ukraine’s editorial team.
As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues and the war rages on, reliable sources of information are critical. Forbes Ukraine’s reporters gather information and provide updates on the situation.
Saturday, July 23. Day 150. By Dmytro Aksyonov
Odesa. Following yesterday’s agreement on safe exports of grain from several Ukrainian Black Sea ports, including Odesa, a Russian rocket strike has damaged important infrastructure in the city’s port, which was preparing to open itself to sea trade, local authorities report.
While the exact number of casualties is yet to be specified, officials claim that some people have been injured as a result of the fire. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said in a briefing to reporters that he reached out to his Ukrainian and Russian colleagues for comments and that, according to the Ukrainian side, infrastructure crucial for the resumption of grain exports remains intact.
Kropyvnytskyi. A Russian rocket strike on infrastructure outside the city of Kropyvnytskyi, Kirovograd region, has killed three people and injured at least 19, according to Kirovograd governor Andriy Raikovych.
Mykolaiv. Russian shelling of the city of Mykolaiv has resulted in severe damage to one of the city’s residential districts, trapping many people under rubble. According to the head of the Mykolaiv regional council, Hanna Zamazeeva, at least one injured civilian has been confirmed, with more likely awaiting rescue beneath the ruins.
A bipartisan group of representatives from the U.S. House of Representatives has visited Ukraine in order to express support for the country’s war effort and to pledge further aid from the U.S. to Ukraine. The group was headed by U.S. representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chair of the House Committee on Armed Services. During the trip, the group met with the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Bridget A. Brink, and spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as well as visiting Irpin and Bucha, suburbs in the Kyiv region of Ukraine recognized as symbols of Russian war crimes in the country.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has called on the EU to reconsider its policy towards the war in Ukraine, slamming sanctions as ineffective and claiming that no amount of military aid will allow Ukraine to defeat Russia militarily. “A new strategy is needed which should focus on peace talks and drafting a good peace proposal…instead of winning the war,” Orban said in a speech in Romania. While Orban has long been one of the EU’s most Russia-friendly politicians, his recent comments signify that Hungary could oppose EU’s future sanctions packages, which require total unanimity to be approved.
Lithuania has lifted its ban on rail transport of sanctioned goods into the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad following the EU’s decision to allow sanctioned products meant exclusively for internal usage to be allowed into the territory. Russian officials said the ban, which affected a wide variety of products, from semiconductors to alcohol, could have affected up to half of all cargo shipments to Kaliningrad, though Lithuania said only around 15% would be affected.
The credit rating agency Fitch has downgraded Ukraine’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency (LTFC) Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘C’ from ‘CCC’, following the country’s declaration that it seeks to delay payments on its debt. While a formal default for Ukraine is unlikely— as Western creditors seem to, for the most part, be amenable to its proposals— the rating downgrade likely indicates that as the war continues to ravage Ukraine’s economy, the country will further struggle with servicing its external debt.