All the latest developments from the Ukraine war.
Turkish Foreign MinisterHe meets Zelensky in Kyiv
The two countries announced that Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan met with the Ukrainian president on Friday in a rare visit.
Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed the meeting via Telegram, saying he had mentioned “the dangers posed by Russia’s blockade of the grain corridor in the Black Sea”.
Russia withdrew from a deal in July that allowed Ukraine to export millions of tonnes of grain by sea despite the fighting.
Moscow has in recent weeks carried out a series of strikes on Ukrainian port infrastructure in Odessa and on the Danube River, hampering Kiev’s ability to send crops abroad.
Ukraine is looking for partners to boost its exports, including across the Black Sea, despite Russia’s recently reimposed blockade.
Kiev recently challenged Moscow with the voyage of a Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship, which was not attacked by Russia despite its threats.
Several attacks by Ukraine on Russian ships, including an oil tanker, have been reported in the Black Sea recently.
Turkey has long acted as a mediator between the two warring parties, helping to broker the grain deal that Russia later abandoned.
Relations between Ankara and Moscow soured after Turkey handed over the leaders of the ultra-nationalist Azov Regiment to Ukraine.
However, last August, Russian President Vladimir Putin asked for Ankara’s support in exporting grain from Russia’s bountiful harvest, which is currently being hampered by Western sanctions.
Russia says it has shot down dozens of Ukrainian drones
Moscow announced early Friday that it had shot down 42 Ukrainian drones in Crimea, calling it a large-scale attack on the peninsula it illegally annexed.
This comes a day after Kiev announced that it had carried out a rare commando operation to land troops in Crimea, plant the Ukrainian flag, and inflict casualties among the Russian occupation forces.
The Russian Ministry of Defense said on Telegram: “Nine drones were destroyed after they came under fire over the territory of the Republic of Crimea. 33 drones were neutralized by electronic warfare and crashed without hitting their target.”
The ministry did not provide any information about possible damage or victims following the destruction of the explosives.
The governor of Sevastopol had earlier reported that several planes were shot down off the coast “in the area of Cape Chersonese” in the southwest of the peninsula, about 10 kilometers from Sevastopol, the main port of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
The governor said emergency services had not reported any damage to civilian infrastructure.
Since the start of the attack on Ukraine in February 2022, Crimea has become a regular target of air and sea drone attacks.
At the end of last July, Moscow shot down 25 of these drones that targeted the peninsula, without causing casualties. Twenty-eight others met the same fate in mid-July.
Ukrainian pilots in training
Ukrainian pilots will start training to fly the F-16s in the United States from September, according to Washington.
The White House said in a statement that US President Joe Biden and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, also spoke during a phone call about “ensuring prompt approval for other countries to transfer their F-16s to Ukraine upon completion of the training.”
Earlier on Thursday, Norway announced that it would become the third country to supply examples of these U.S.-designed aircraft to Ukraine, after Denmark and the Netherlands.