Each week we wrap up the must-reads for our Ukraine war coverage, from news and features to analysis, visual guides and opinions.
Russian soldiers accuse their superiors of imprisoning them for refusing to fight
this week Pyotr Sauer reported a rare display of tensions in the ranks of the Russian military after Russian soldiers accused their commanders of imprisoning them in eastern Ukraine for refusing to take part in the war.
Maxim Grebenyuk, a lawyer who represents the soldiers and heads the Moscow-based advocacy organization Military Ombudsman, said at least four Russian soldiers had submitted written complaints to the investigative committee, demanding punishment. for the superiors who supervised his arrest. Grebenyuk said he had a list of 70 soldiers out of the 140 who were held captive.
In written testimony sent to Russian prosecutors and reviewed by the Guardian, one soldier described how, after refusing to return to the battlefield, he was jailed along with other soldiers who had refused to fight. He spent more than a week in different cells in the Russian-controlled territory of Luhansk.
The soldier said: “As a result of what I believe were tactical and strategic errors made by my commanders…and their total disregard for human life…I made the decision not to continue in the military operation “.
A destroyed playground in Luhansk. Russian soldiers have said they have been imprisoned for refusing to fight in eastern Ukraine. Photograph: Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA
The Ukrainian offensive forces Russia to reinforce troops in the occupied south
Russia moved large numbers of troops into southern Ukraine for battles against the country’s forces across newly occupied territories and Crimea, he writes. Isobel Koshiw in Kyiv
“If Russia won, it would try to capture more territory,” said Vadym Skibitsky, the deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence. “He’s increasing his troop numbers, preparing for our counteroffensive [in Ukraine’s south] and perhaps preparing to launch an offensive of its own. The south is key for them, especially for Crimea.”
The Russian troop movements are in response to Ukraine’s declared counter-offensive to liberate the occupied southern regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
Russian troops guard the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine. Photograph: AP
A grain ship leaves a Ukrainian port for the first time since the blockade
A ship carrying Ukrainian grain left the port of Odesa on Monday for the first time since the start of the Russian invasion. Isobel Koshiw reports in Kyiv.
The Sierra Leone-flagged ship Razoni, carrying 26,000 tonnes of maize, is bound for Lebanon. It follows weeks of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, led by Turkey and the United Nations, to broker a deal to unblock Ukraine’s agricultural exports and ease the growing global food crisis.
Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister, said 16 cargo ships had been stuck in Ukrainian ports since the Russian invasion began and that officials planned for the ports to restore their carrying capacity in the coming weeks .
The Razon travels down the Bosphorus via Istanbul, Turkey after leaving Odesa. Photo: Tolga Bozoğlu/EPA
Muscovites put the war aside and enjoy the summer
As Russia’s war in Ukraine enters its fifth month, Moscow is a city doing its best to turn a blind eye to the conflict.
“Yes, we are having a party,” said Anna Mitrokhina Andrew Roth in Moscow at an outdoor dance party on the Moscow River. “We are out of politics, we want to dance, feel and have fun. I can’t worry anymore and this helps me forget.”
In a forthcoming article, Russian political analyst Andrei Kolesnikov and Levada Center pollster Denis Volkov write that many Russians have found it easier to join the “mainstream” of support or indifference to the war.
An Instagram lifestyle blogger who was opposed to the war said she had made a conscious decision to stop talking about the issue, due to official restrictions, but also because of the backlash she received from subscribers. “What hurts the most is that it really isn’t [because of the law]there’s just no desire to talk about it,” he said. “People are turning off.”
After a wave of repression, there are now fewer voices speaking out publicly against the war. But some remain, like Alexey Venediktov, the former head of a Russian radio station that was shut down after his public opposition to the war. At a table by the window of Moscow’s Pushkin Cafe, Venediktov loudly denounces the conflict as “catastrophic” as waiters look on worriedly.
‘People are turning off’ the war: a Moscow street this week. Photo: Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters
Russia claims the US is “directly involved” in the Ukraine war
The role of US intelligence in the Ukraine war has come under scrutiny after Russia accused the White House of providing targeting information used by Kyiv to launch long-range missile strikes. Luke Harding writes in Lviv.
Russia’s defense ministry claimed Washington was “directly involved” in the war and had passed on information that had led to “massive civilian deaths”.
The Kremlin’s comments came after Ukraine’s acting deputy chief of military intelligence, Vadym Skibitsky, told an interview given to the Telegraph that the US-made Himars long-range artillery systems had been extremely effective in eliminating Russian fuel and ammunition dumps. Skibitsky denied that U.S. officials provided direct information about the target, but acknowledged that there was consultation between U.S. and Ukrainian intelligence officials before the attacks.
The Biden administration has supplied Ukraine with weapons and financial security aid, however strongly denies is involved in the conflict or is at war with Russia.
Joe Biden outside the White House. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP
The UN will investigate the attack that killed dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war
In response to requests from Russia and Ukraine, the UN is setting up a fact-finding mission to investigate the killing of dozens of prisoners of war at a prison in the Russian-occupied Olenivka region, east of ‘Ukraine. Both Moscow and Kyiv accuse each other of having carried out the attack.
Thursday, Luke Harding reported in Kyiv that senior Ukrainian officials claimed the attack was a special operation planned by the Kremlin and carried out by Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group who worked closely with Vladimir Putin’s FSB spy agency.
The wife of a Ukrainian military man who defended Mariupol steel in a Kyiv demonstration after the Olenivka attack. Photo: Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters
However, Russia claimed that the Ukrainian military used US-supplied rocket launchers to attack the prison.