Kyiv prepares to resume grain exports in wake of Russian strike

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Ukraine pressed ahead on Sunday with efforts to restart grain exports from Odesa and other Black Sea ports, a day after a missile attack that cast doubt over whether Russia would honour a deal aimed at easing global food shortages caused by the war. Read about the day’s events as they unfolded on our live blog. All times are Paris time (GMT+2)

This live page is no longer being updated. For more of our coverage of the war in Ukraine, click here.

July 25, 4:34am: Lavrov offers reassurance over Russian grain supplies in Cairo visit

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov offered reassurances over Russian grain supplies to Egypt during a visit to Cairo on Sunday, amid uncertainty over a deal to resume Ukrainian exports from the Black Sea.

Egypt is one of the world’s top wheat importers and last year bought about 80% of those imports from Russia and Ukraine. Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine disrupted shipments and sped up a rise in global commodity prices, delivering a financial shock to Egypt.

In its response to the war, Egypt has been torn between long-standing ties to Russia and its close relationship to Western powers that have sanctioned and sought to isolate Moscow.

Western embassies had lobbied Egypt and the Arab League ahead of Lavrov’s visit, which included talks with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and representatives of the Arab League.

“We reaffirmed the commitment of Russian grain exporters to meet all their commitments,” Lavrov said in a press conference with Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry.

The Cairo visit was the the first leg of an Africa trip that will also include stops in Ethiopia, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to Russia’s state-run RT television network.

10:46pm: Putin is waging 'a war against the unity of Europe', says German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier

The war Russian President Vladimir Putin is waging against Ukraine is also "a war against the unity of Europe", German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Sunday.

"We must not let ourselves be divided, we must not let the great work of a united Europe that we have begun so promisingly be destroyed," he said in a speech in the western German city of Paderborn.

"This war is not just about the territory of Ukraine, it is about the double shared foundation of our values and our order of peace," he said.

But defending these values also means being prepared to "accept significant disadvantages", he warned, without giving further details.

"Are we ready for that? We are all facing this question -- today and in the days, weeks and months to come," he said.

"Russia is not only questioning the borders, it is not only occupying the territories of an independent and sovereign neighbouring state, it is even challenging the statehood of Ukraine," he added.

9:44pm: Zelensky says Ukraine unbowed, even Russians expect defeat

After five months of Russian attacks, Ukraine will continue to do all it can to inflict as much damage on its enemy as possible, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly video address on Sunday.

"Even the occupiers admit we will win," he said as he hailed the upcoming day of Ukrainian statehood, July 28, a new annual holiday that Zelensky announced in August last year. "We hear it in their conversations all the time. In what they are telling their relatives when they call them."

Like every day in the last months, Zelensky said that Ukraine was not letting up. "We do everything to inflict the highest possible damage on the enemy and to gather for Ukraine as much support as possible."

He said Ukraine had an important week ahead, with the holiday approaching in the midst of what he called a "cruel war."

"But we will celebrate against all odds. Because Ukrainians won't be cowed."

5:30pm: Canadian recently died in Ukraine, says Canada government

Canada said on Sunday that a Canadian citizen had died recently in Ukraine, with a media report suggesting the deceased Canadian had been with two US citizens who died in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region.

"Global Affairs Canada is aware of the death of a Canadian in Ukraine. Consular officials are in contact with the family and are providing consular assistance," a Canadian foreign ministry spokesperson said on Sunday, adding that further details would not be shared due to privacy considerations.

The US State Department confirmed the deaths of the two US citizens on Saturday. The statements from the State Department and the Canadian foreign ministry provided no details regarding how recent the deaths had taken place or their circumstances.

2:40pm: Ukraine's Kherson region to be 'liberated' from Russia by September, says Ukrainian official

A Ukrainian official said Sunday that the country's southern region of Kherson, which fell to Russian troops early in their February invasion, would be recaptured by Kyiv's forces by September.

"We can say that the Kherson region will definitely be liberated by September, and all the occupiers' plans will fail," Sergiy Khlan, an aide to the head of the Kherson region, said in an interview with Ukrainian television.

2:22pm: Russian strike on Odesa port hit Ukrainian 'military infrastructure', says Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman

Russian missiles destroyed Ukrainian "military infrastructure" in a strike on Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odesa, which is crucial for grain exports, Russia's foreign ministry spokeswoman said Sunday.

"Kalibr missiles destroyed military infrastructure in the port of Odesa, with a high-precision strike," Maria Zakharova said on Telegram in response to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s comment that dialogue with Moscow was becoming increasingly untenable after the attack.

7:08am: Ukraine prepares to resume grain exports

Ukraine continues to prepare for the reopening of its Black Sea ports to resume grain exports on Sunday, a day after a Russian strike on Odesa.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the "barbaric" attacks, which he said cast doubt on whether Friday's Turkey-UN-brokered agreement to resume Ukrainian grain exports would be respected.

6:54am: Pyongyang accuses Washington of waging biological warfare in Ukraine

North Korea accused the United States on Sunday of manufacturing biological weapons in Ukraine, echoing a Russian claim dismissed by the United Nations in March. Moscow ally Pyongyang in February said US policy was the "root cause of the Ukraine crisis", and this month formally recognised two self-proclaimed pro-Russian separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, prompting Kyiv to cut diplomatic ties with North Korea.

Washington "set up many biological labs in tens of countries and regions, including Ukraine, in disregard of the international treaties", the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Sunday, citing what it said had been "detected" by Russia. Moscow in March accused Washington of funding research into the development of biological weapons in Ukraine, which has invaded by Russia nearly five months ago.

Washington and Kyiv denied the existence of laboratories intended to produce biological weapons in Ukraine, with the United States saying the allegations were a sign that Moscow may use such tactics itself. Izumi Nakamitsu, the UN's Under-Secretary-General of Disarmament Affairs, also said in March that the UN "was not aware of any biological weapons program in Ukraine".

5:50am: Governor says several injured in strikes on Ukrainian port of Odesa

Russian missile strikes on Saturday on the port of the southern Ukrainian city of Odesa, widely condemned by Kyiv's Western allies, left several people injured, the region's governor said, without specifying how many.

"Unfortunately, some people are injured and the port infrastructure is damaged," Maksym Martchenko said in a video message posted on social media.

(FRANCE 24 with Reuters, AP and AFP)

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