Ukrainian special forces 'could launch more attacks in coming days' on occupied Crimea

·27 min read

Ukraine could launch more attacks on occupied Crimea in the coming days, Volodymyr Zelensky’s military adviser said, as it emerged a special forces unit carried out the explosive raid on the Russian airbase in the area.

The unprecedented strike at the Novofedorivka airfield, 125 miles behind enemy lines, was the signal of the start of Kyiv’s major counteroffensive in the south of the country, according to an Ukrainian official.

Moscow rejected reports of missile strikes or sabotage at its base and blamed an accidental fire for the ammunition explosion, in a move analysts said was to cover up the ineffectiveness of Russian air defences.

But anonymous Ukrainian government officials said the country’s special forces, working with a team of partisan resistance fighters, were behind the daring attack.

Oleksiy Arestovych, a military adviser to Volodymyr Zelensky, said the attack was just the start of Ukrainian strikes on Russian targets in Crimea, which was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014.

He added the next round of strikes were likely to happen "in the coming days".

Follow the latest updates below.

06:51 PM

That's all for today

Today's top stories included:

  • Ukraine is likely to launch more strikes on a Russian airbase in Crimea 'in the coming days'

  • China calls US the 'main instigator' of the Ukraine crisis

  • At least six killed in Russian strikes on eastern city of Bakhmut

  • The UN expects to see a "big uptick" in applications for ships to export Ukraine grain, as the second commercial ship docked in Odesa since the war

  • Ukraine's overseas creditors agree to a two-year freeze on payments for £16bn bonds

  • Russian oil supplies to southern European countries has resumed via the Druzhba pipeline in Ukraine

06:28 PM

Pictures show demining, displaced people and artwork damaged by shrapnel

A deminer checks the site of a cluster munition fall after a rocket attack on a residential area in northern Kharkiv - SERGEY BOBOK/AFP
A deminer checks the site of a cluster munition fall after a rocket attack on a residential area in northern Kharkiv - SERGEY BOBOK/AFP
Vera Vasiukova, 71, left, sits on her bed at a center for displaced people near Mykolaiv - Evgeniy Maloletka/AP
Vera Vasiukova, 71, left, sits on her bed at a center for displaced people near Mykolaiv - Evgeniy Maloletka/AP
An icon damaged by shrapnel from a destroyed church is displayed in the 'Ukraine Crucifixion' exhibition in Kyiv - ROMAN PILIPEY/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
An icon damaged by shrapnel from a destroyed church is displayed in the 'Ukraine Crucifixion' exhibition in Kyiv - ROMAN PILIPEY/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

06:14 PM

UK 'pretty much dismissed' most of Kremlin's 'excuses' over Crimea blasts

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said the UK has "pretty much dismissed" most of the Russian "excuses" for explosions at an air base in Crimea, adding that he thinks the site would be a "legitimate target" for the Ukrainians.

He told the BBC: "I think when you just look at the footage of two simultaneous explosions not quite next to each other, and some of the reported damage even by the Russian authorities, I think it's clear that that's not something that happens by someone dropping a cigarette."

Asked if the base was a legitimate target for the Ukrainians to strike, he said: "First and foremost, Russia has illegally invaded, not just in 2014, but now Ukrainian territory.

"Ukraine, under United Nations articles, is perfectly entitled to defend its territory and take what action it needs to against an invading force.

"So, is it legitimate? It's absolutely legitimate for Ukraine to take lethal force, if necessary, but take force in order to regain not only its territory, but also to push back its invader.

"And that air force base has been used by Russian air forces to bomb Ukrainian targets. So I think in anybody's sort of manual of war it would be a legitimate target."

06:04 PM

Estonia summons Russian ambassador over 'extremely serious' violation of its airspace

Estonia has summoned the Russian ambassador and formally protested about the violation of its airspace by a Russian helicopter on Tuesday, the foreign ministry said.

"Estonia considers this an extremely serious and regrettable incident that is completely unacceptable," the ministry said in a release.

It said the helicopter had flown over a point in the southeast of the small Baltic nation without permission. Estonia made an identical complaint to Moscow in June.

06:01 PM

Firefighters put out house blazes after shelling in Bakhmut

Firefighters extinguish a small fire after a shelling in Bakhmut -  Anadolu Agency
Firefighters extinguish a small fire after a shelling in Bakhmut - Anadolu Agency
Firefighters extinguish a small fire after a shelling in Bakhmut - Anadolu Agency
Firefighters extinguish a small fire after a shelling in Bakhmut - Anadolu Agency
Ukrainian State Emergency Service workers stands atop of Russian missiles and rockets parts collected by his colleagues in Kharkiv - REUTERS
Ukrainian State Emergency Service workers stands atop of Russian missiles and rockets parts collected by his colleagues in Kharkiv - REUTERS

05:57 PM

At least six killed in Russian strikes on eastern city of Bakhmut

Russian strikes on the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut on Wednesday killed at least six people and left three others injured, the regional governor said.

"The Russians bombed the city with a multiple rocket launcher, hitting a residential area. According to initial information, 12 residential buildings have been damaged and four are on fire," Pavlo Kyrylenko wrote on Telegram.

05:40 PM

US artist painting shelled cars in Kyiv

Ukrainian serviceman watches Los Angeles artist Trek Kelly painting a car destroyed a Russian attack in the Kyiv region -  GLEB GARANICH/ REUTERS
Ukrainian serviceman watches Los Angeles artist Trek Kelly painting a car destroyed a Russian attack in the Kyiv region - GLEB GARANICH/ REUTERS
Los Angeles artist Trek Kelly paints a car destroyed a Russian attack - GLEB GARANICH/REUTERS
Los Angeles artist Trek Kelly paints a car destroyed a Russian attack - GLEB GARANICH/REUTERS

05:37 PM

UN expects 'big uptick' in Ukrainian grain export ships

The UN expects to see a "big uptick" in applications for ships to export Ukraine grain, a senior official said on Wednesday.

The number of inbound vessels is expected to "grow in the near future" as grain deals are made, said Frederick Kenney, interim U.N. Coordinator at the Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul, which oversees a deal between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations to resume Ukraine grain exports.

05:23 PM

Independent Russian news outlet fined for 'abusing media freedom'

The Russian independent news outlet Novaya Gazeta has said it has been fined 350,000 roubles (£4,658)  for "abusing media freedom".

The fine was for an eyewitness report from the Russian-occupied Ukrainian city of Kherson published in March, which Novaya Gazeta deleted from its website at the request of Russia's media watchdog, spokesperson Nadezhda Prusenkova said, adding that the outlet planned to appeal.

Novaya Gazeta has been one of the leading lights of Russia's beleaguered independent media since the 1990s, and its editor-in-chief, Dmitry Muratov, was jointly awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to safeguard freedom of expression.

It suspended operations inside Russia in March after repeated warnings by the media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, about its coverage of Moscow's military campaign in Ukraine.

Russia has made it a crime to publish reports about the conflict that differ from official accounts.

05:21 PM

Second ship docks in Ukrainian port, set to export 30,000 tons of corn

The second commercial ship to arrive in a Ukrainian port since Russia's invasion has docked in the port of Chornomorsk and is ready to load grain, Ukraine's infrastructure minister has said.

"OSPREY S is ready to export 30,000 tons of corn," Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov wrote on Twitter.

Chornomorsk is in the southern city of Odesa.

A warning sign is seen as the Liberian-flagged bulk carrier Osprey S arrives to the sea port in Chornomorsk - REUTERS
A warning sign is seen as the Liberian-flagged bulk carrier Osprey S arrives to the sea port in Chornomorsk - REUTERS

05:02 PM

Soldiers rest, girl peeks through a shrapnel hole

Ukranian soldiers take break from the frontline in Donbass region - BULENT KILIC/AFP
Ukranian soldiers take break from the frontline in Donbass region - BULENT KILIC/AFP
Anhelina looks through a shrapnel hole in a fence after a Russian military strike in Mykolaiv - STRINGER/REUTERS
Anhelina looks through a shrapnel hole in a fence after a Russian military strike in Mykolaiv - STRINGER/REUTERS
Ukrainian serviceman rides atop a tank near a front line in Mykolaiv region - REUTERS
Ukrainian serviceman rides atop a tank near a front line in Mykolaiv region - REUTERS

04:47 PM

Ukraine blasts another key bridge in Russian-held Kherson

Ukrainian forces say they have blasted another key bridge in Russian-held Kherson.

The crossing near the Kakhovka hydropower plant was left "unusable" after a "precise and efficient" strike, its Operational Command South said.

It comes days after the Russian Army was forced to install a pontoon to cross the Dnipro river after the Antonivskiy bridge was hit in the suburbs of occupied Kherson.

Kherson is the capital city of the agricultural and strategically important region of Kherson, which neighbours Crimea.

04:26 PM

Ukraine's overseas creditors agree to freeze payments on £16bn bonds

Ukraine will avoid a debt default after its overseas creditors backed its request for a two-year freeze on payments on some £16 billion in international bonds.

Bondholders have agreed to postpone sovereign interest and capital payments for 13 Ukrainian sovereign bonds maturing between 2022 and 2033.

Kyiv launched a formal request to agree with creditors on changes to sovereign debt contracts, known as a consent solicitation, on July 20.

With no sign of peace or a ceasefire on the horizon nearly six months after Russia's invasion began, a regulatory filing on Wednesday confirmed they had voted through its proposals.

04:20 PM

Pictures show fighting and loss of life in Ukraine

Ukrainian serviceman fires a ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft cannon near the Kharkiv frontline - VYACHESLAV MADIYEVSKYY/REUTERS
Ukrainian serviceman fires a ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft cannon near the Kharkiv frontline - VYACHESLAV MADIYEVSKYY/REUTERS
People look at boots that belonged to Russian soldiers as the 'Ukraine Crucifixion' exhibition opens in Kyiv - ROMAN PILIPEY/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
People look at boots that belonged to Russian soldiers as the 'Ukraine Crucifixion' exhibition opens in Kyiv - ROMAN PILIPEY/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
A mass burial of unidentified victims of the Bucha massacre - VALENTYN OGIRENKO/REUTERS
A mass burial of unidentified victims of the Bucha massacre - VALENTYN OGIRENKO/REUTERS

04:15 PM

Ukraine urges EU and G7 to ban Russian visitors

Ukraine has urged the EU and G7 to stop issuing visas to Russian citizens.

"Russians overwhelmingly support the war on Ukraine. They must be deprived of the right to cross international borders until they learn to respect them," Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

The tweet echoed earlier calls by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for a one-year travel ban and the apparent expulsion of Russians living in the West so they can live "in their own world until they change their philosophy".

04:09 PM

How life goes on in war

A dump track unloads grain in a granary in the village of Zghurivka, Ukraine - Efrem Lukatsky/AP
A dump track unloads grain in a granary in the village of Zghurivka, Ukraine - Efrem Lukatsky/AP
Civilians board a westbound train to avoid the fighting in Donbas - Anadolu Agency
Civilians board a westbound train to avoid the fighting in Donbas - Anadolu Agency
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy holds video meeting with former US President Bill Clinton - Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/ Zuma Press
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy holds video meeting with former US President Bill Clinton - Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/ Zuma Press

03:54 PM

China calls US the 'main instigator' of the Ukraine crisis

China has called the US the "main instigator" of the Ukrainian crisis, whose "ultimate goal is to exhaust and crush Russia with a protracted war and the cudgel of sanctions".

In an interview with the Russian state news agency TASS published on Wednesday, China's ambassador to Moscow, Zhang Hanhui, accused Washington of backing Russia into a corner with repeated expansions of the NATO defence alliance and support for forces seeking to align Ukraine with the European Union rather than Moscow.

"As the initiator and main instigator of the Ukrainian crisis, Washington, while imposing unprecedented comprehensive sanctions on Russia, continues to supply arms and military equipment to Ukraine," Zhang was quoted as saying.

"Their ultimate goal is to exhaust and crush Russia with a protracted war and the cudgel of sanctions."

03:10 PM

Russian oil flows to Slovakia restored

Russian oil flows via the Druzhba pipeline have been restored to Slovakia and will soon reach other southern European countries, Hungary's MOL energy group has said.

Russian state pipeline operator Transneft cited Western sanctions for it halting shipments through the pipeline which runs through Ukraine to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

Slovakia receives practically all its oil through the Druzhba pipeline. Earlier today the country's Economy Minister Richard Sulik has said an issue over payments for transit had been resolved.

MOL said the flows are expected to reach Hungary on Thursday.

02:32 PM

Putin's 'weakness' exposed by Crimean airbase blasts

Moscow's response to a fatal attack on a Russian airbase 125 miles into occupied Crimea has exposed Vladimir Putin's weakness, according to a Ukrainian military analyst.

The strong-man president has long insisted the annexed peninsula is Russian and threatened massive retaliation against any attempts to take it back.

Moscow has claimed that the blasts on the western coast of Crimea were not an attack and the result of an aviation ammunition exploding.

Swallowing the blame for the explosions suggests Putin fears admitting that Ukrainian forces were behind the attack, analyst Oleh Zhdanov said.

"He's expected to protect Crimea as Russia proper," he said.

"Now he's afraid to recognize that it was done by the Ukrainian armed forces."

A Ukrainian presidential adviser, Oleksiy Arestovych, has cryptically said that the blasts were caused either by a Ukrainian-made long-range weapon or were the work of guerrillas operating in Crimea.

The base on the Black Sea peninsula is out of the range of the missiles supplied by the US for use in the Himars systems.

01:56 PM

Oil shipments to southern Europe to resume 'in hours'

Oil shipments from Russia through a critical pipeline to several European countries should resume soon after a problem over payments for transit was resolved, Slovakia's Economy Minister Richard Sulik has said.

Russian state pipeline operator Transneft had said it halted shipments through the southern branch of the Druzhba, or Friendship, pipeline, which runs through Ukraine to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

It cited complications due to EU sanctions for its action on August 4, saying its payment to the company's Ukrainian counterpart was refused.

Mr Sulik said he expected the oil shipments to resume "in hours" after both the Russian and Ukrainian sides agreed to the solution.

The payments were to be made today by Slovak refiner Slovnaft. Its owner Hungary's MOL energy group  confirmed the money has been transferred.

Slovakia receives practically all its oil through the Druzhba pipeline.

01:09 PM

Russians have been 'training on Iranian drones for several weeks'

Russian officials have been training on drones in Iran for several weeks, the US believes.

"During the last several weeks, Russian officials conducted training in Iran as part of the agreement for UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle)  transfers from Iran to Russia," a US official told CNN.

The Kremlin has declined to comment on the matter.

12:44 PM

Co-founder of Amnesty International Sweden resigns over Ukraine report

The co-founder of Amnesty International Sweden has resigned over the human rights NGO's criticism of the Ukrainian army.

Per Wästberg told Swedish newspaper SvD: “I have been a member for over 60 years. It is with a heavy heart that, due to Amnesty's statements regarding the war in Ukraine, I am ending a long and fruitful engagement.”

Last week Amnesty International accused the Ukrainian army of endangering civilians and violating humanitarian law in its fight against Russian invaders.

It said Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv, Donbas and Mykolaiv had in some cases established bases and operated weapons systems in populated residential areas, including in schools and hospitals.

The group said such tactics violate international humanitarian law as they turn civilians into targets for Russian strikes.

12:34 PM

Woman killed after village struck by four Russian missiles

A woman was found dead in rubble after a village was struck by four Russian missiles early today .

The 52-year-old woman was found in the rubble in Kushuhumon the southern outskirts of Ukraine's city of Zaporizhzhia, the regional governor Oleksandr Starukh wrote on Telegram.

"Four private buildings have been totally destroyed. Several dozen houses have been left without windows and roofs," he said.

Rescue workers were still digging through the rubble hours later, the governor said. Electricity and gas supply to the village of Kushuhum were also disrupted, he added.

12:15 PM

Ukraine's foreign minister commends Amnesty workers who quit over 'misleading' report

Last week Amnesty International accused the Ukrainian army of endangering civilians and violating humanitarian law in its fight against Russian invaders.

The human rights NGO said Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv, Donbas and Mykolaiv had in some cases established bases and operated weapons systems in populated residential areas, including in schools and hospitals.

The group said such tactics violate international humanitarian law as they turn civilians into targets for Russian strikes.

“We have documented a pattern of Ukrainian forces putting civilians at risk and violating the laws of war when they operate in populated areas,” Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said.

While the group said the practices “do not in any way justify indiscriminate Russian attacks”, Dr Callamard added: “Being in a defensive position does not exempt the Ukrainian military from respecting international humanitarian law.”

12:13 PM

Nine Russian warplanes destroyed in Crimea airbase explosions - Ukraine's air force

Ukraine's air force has said nine Russian warplanes were destroyed in massive explosions at an air base in Crimea amid speculation they were the result of a Ukrainian attack.

Russia denied any aircraft were damaged in Tuesday's blasts or that any attack, which would represent a significant escalation in the war, took place.

Ukrainian officials have stopped short of publicly claiming responsibility for the explosions, while poking fun at Russia's explanation that munitions at the Saki air base caught fire and blew up and also underscoring the importance of the peninsula that Moscow annexed eight years ago.

In his nightly video address several hours after the blasts, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed to retake the peninsula, saying that "this Russian war against Ukraine and against all of free Europe began with Crimea and must end with Crimea - its liberation."

12:05 PM

US could send troops to the Baltic to prevent Russian attack

The US may bring in more troops from America to bolster the Baltic region against any possible threat from Russia, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has said.

Speaking at a press conference with Latvia's Defense Minister Artis Pabriks, he said the US will conduct more more military exercises with Baltic nations such as Latvia, and look to provide increased training.

In the first visit to Latvia by a US defense secretary in nearly three decades, he added plans to do continuous rotations of forces into the Baltics will likely use troops from US brigades in Romania and other parts of Europe, but "we can also bring in forces from the United States."

11:54 AM

Russian authorities raid home of war protest journalist

The home of a former state TV journalist who quit after making an on-air protest against Moscow's war in Ukraine has been raided by Russian authorities, her lawyer has said.

Marina Ovsyannikova has been accused of spreading false information about the Russian armed forces,  Dmitry Zakhvatov said.

She faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted of the charge under laws that penalised statements against the military brought in after the invasion of Ukraine.

Zakhvatov told the independent news site Meduza that the case is likely linked to a protest Ovsyannikova staged last month, holding a banner that said "(Russian President Vladimir) Putin is a killer, his soldiers are fascists."

He said on Telegram that after the raid the former producer with Russian state-funded Channel One is expected to be brought into the Investigative Committee for questioning.

11:44 AM

G7 says Russia's occupation of Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant 'endangers the region'

The G7 has condemned Russia's occupation of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant and called on Moscow to immediately hand back full control of the plant to Ukraine.

Ukrainian staff operating the plant "must be able to carry out their duties without threats or pressure. It is Russia's continued control of the plant that endangers the region," said foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US.

11:40 AM

Thirteen killed in strikes near Europe's biggest nuclear power plant

Thirteen civilians have died and five others are critically injured after rocket strikes near Europe's biggest nuclear power plant.

Ukraine accused Russia of the overnight strikes in the Dnipropetrovsk region in central Ukraine.

Most of the casualties were in the town of Marganets, just across the Dnieper River from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

"It was a terrible night, regional governor Valentin Reznichenko wrote on Telegram, urging residents to shelter when they hear air raid sirens.

"I am asking and begging you... Don't let the Russians kill you," he wrote, adding that Russia had fired a total of 80 rockets at the area.

11:20 AM

Ukraine's defence ministry issues tongue-in-cheek statement to Russian tourists in Crimea

One person died and at least four others were injured after blasts rocked an airbase in western Crimea yesterday.

The Kremlin said aviation ammunition caused the explosions in the region Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Footage showed beachgoers alarmed by a huge plume of smoke rising from the direction of the Russian airbase.

Crimea is popular with Russian tourists.

11:08 AM

Druzhba oil pipeline could resume supplies today

Ukraine has said oil flows will resume through the southern leg of the Druzhba pipeline later today if it receives a transit payment, Slovakia's Economy Minister Richard Sulik said.

Sulik told a live TV news conference that the interruption to flows last week occurred because a Western bank refused to process a transit payment made by Russia to Ukraine.

He said Ukraine had declared that the oil flows would resume if it receives payment for transit being made by Slovak refiner Slovnaft.

10:58 AM

Ukraine today, in pictures

Russia-Ukraine war: We will not stop until Crimea is liberated, says Volodymyr Zelensky - Anadolu Agency /Anadolu 
Russia-Ukraine war: We will not stop until Crimea is liberated, says Volodymyr Zelensky - Anadolu Agency /Anadolu
Russia-Ukraine war: We will not stop until Crimea is liberated, says Volodymyr Zelensky - Daniel Ceng Shou-Yi/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock 
Russia-Ukraine war: We will not stop until Crimea is liberated, says Volodymyr Zelensky - Daniel Ceng Shou-Yi/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock
Russia-Ukraine war: We will not stop until Crimea is liberated, says Volodymyr Zelensky - Anadolu Agency /Anadolu 
Russia-Ukraine war: We will not stop until Crimea is liberated, says Volodymyr Zelensky - Anadolu Agency /Anadolu
Russia-Ukraine war: We will not stop until Crimea is liberated, says Volodymyr Zelensky - VALENTYN OGIRENKO /REUTERS
Russia-Ukraine war: We will not stop until Crimea is liberated, says Volodymyr Zelensky - VALENTYN OGIRENKO /REUTERS

10:43 AM

Denmark to train Ukrainian soldiers in Britain

Denmark will send military instructors to Britain to train Ukrainian soldiers and also aims to train Ukrainian officers in Denmark, the Danish defence minister said in an interview with the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

The interview precedes a conference in Copenhagen on Thursday when British, Danish and Ukrainian defence ministers are expected to discuss long-term support for Ukraine, including military training, mine clearance and weapon supplies.

"Within a short time, Denmark is sending 130 military instructors to a British training project," Defence Minister Morten Bodskov told Jyllands-Posten.

The Danish defence ministry had no immediate comment.

Mr Bodskov told the newspaper the instructors would provide basic military training, including urban combat and tactical operations, of Ukrainian soldiers with zero to limited military experience.

Denmark will also train Ukrainian military personnel on Danish soil, Mr Bodskov added, saying the first step would be to educate military officers.

10:26 AM

Russia 'destroyed German-made anti-aircraft system in Mykolaiv'

Russia's Defence Ministry has said that Russian forces have destroyed a German-supplied Gepard anti-aircraft system in use by Ukrainian forces in the Mykolaiv region.

In its daily briefing, the defence ministry also said it had shot down three Ukrainian warplanes in the Mykolaiv region, as well as seven Himars missiles in the neighbouring Kherson region.

It was not possible to independently verify the reports.

09:59 AM

New buyer sought for first grain to leave Ukraine

A new buyer is being sought for the first grain shipment to leave Ukraine under a hard-won deal with Russia after the original Lebanese buyer cancelled its order, the Ukrainian embassy said.

The Sierra Leone-flagged vessel Razoni left the Ukrainian port of Odessa on August 1 carrying 26,000 tonnes of maize and had been expected to dock in the Lebanese port of Tripoli at the weekend.

But now the keenly anticipated shipment is looking for a buyer after the shipping agent agreed to a request to cancel the original order in the light of the long delay in delivery.

A five-month delay after Russia's invasion of Ukraine "prompted the buyer and the shipping agent to reach agreement on the cancellation of the order," the Ukraine embassy said in a statement late Tuesday.

The agent is now studying alternative bids for the maize before deciding on its destination, the embassy added.

The Razoni is currently anchored off the Turkish port of Mersin, according to the Marine Traffic website.

09:38 AM

'Vladimir Putin will be rattled by explosions in Crimea'

If the blasts are proven to be a Ukraininian attack, the Kremlin will constitute this as an assault on Russia itself, says James Kilner.

Just a few weeks ago, Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia's Security Council, promised to unleash "Judgement Day" if Ukraine ever attacked Crimea.

Now, Ukraine appears to have done just that - and the world is holding its breath for the Kremlin's response.

If it is proved to have been a Ukrainian attack, the Kremlin will constitute this as an attack on Russia itself.

So far, there have only been a handful of attacks on fuel and ammunition depots close to the border. This took place in sight of Russian holidaymakers in Crimea.

You can read James' analysis in full here.

09:17 AM

Ukraine war: Multiple explosions seen at Russian military airfield in Crimea

08:54 AM

Ukraine border crossings

08:27 AM

Ukraine's grain, oilseed, vegetable oil exports rise 22.7pc in July

Ukraine's grain, oilseed, vegetable oil exports rose 22.7 per cent in July versus June to 2.66 million tonnes thanks to higher wheat and barley shipments, the agriculture ministry has said.

The ministry said in a statement the July's volume included 412,000 tonnes of wheat, 183,000 tonnes of barley, 1.1 million tonnes of corn, 362,100 tonnes of sunseed and tonnages of other commodities.

08:02 AM

Crimea explosion

07:39 AM

British technology found in Russian weapons used in Ukraine

British technology has been found in Russian weapons used against Ukraine, a new report has revealed, reports our Defence and Security Editor Dominic Nicholls.

Oscillators and crystals produced by Somerset-based Golledge Electronics have been built into Russian radars and missile systems.

The highly sophisticated components show that Moscow’s war machine is reliant on highly sophisticated Western technology, according to the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi).

You can read Dominic's report in full here.

07:18 AM

Russian shelling kills 11 in Ukraine's Dnipropetrovsk region

Russian shelling killed 11 people in Ukraine's central Dnipropetrovsk region overnight, governor Valentyn Reznychenko said on Wednesday.

Reznychenko initially put the casualties at 21, with 11 killed in the district of Nikopol and 10 in the town of Marganets, but said in a subsequent message on the Telegram messaging app that 11 was the total number, without clarifying which initial details were incorrect.

06:36 AM

Ministry of Defence daily update

06:35 AM

MoD: Russia established new ground forces formation

Russia has "almost certainly" established a major new ground forces formation to support its operations in Ukraine, Britain said on Tuesday.

This unit, called the 3rd Army Corps, is based out of the city of Mulino, east of Russia's capital Moscow, the British Ministry of Defence said in its daily intelligence bulletin on Twitter.

The update also added that Russian commanders continued to face "competing operational priorities" of reinforcing its offensive in the eastern Donbas region, as well as strengthening its defence against Ukrainian counterattacks in south.

03:44 AM

Russia launches Iranian satellite in show of cooperation

An Iranian satellite launched by Russia blasted off from Kazakhstan on Tuesday and reached orbit amid fears that Moscow might use it to boost its surveillance of military targets in Ukraine.

As Russia's international isolation grows following Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin is seeking to pivot towards the Middle East, Asia and Africa and find new clients for its embattled space programme.

Speaking at the Moscow-controlled Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Kazakh steppe, Russian space chief Yury Borisov hailed "an important milestone in Russian-Iranian bilateral cooperation, opening the way to the implementation of new and even larger projects".

Iran's Telecommunications Minister Issa Zarepour, who also attended the launch of the Khayyam satellite, called the event "historic" and "a turning point for the start of a new interaction in the field of space between our two countries".

A Soyuz-2.1b rocket booster with the Iranian satellite "Khayyam" blasts off from the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome  - REUTERS
A Soyuz-2.1b rocket booster with the Iranian satellite "Khayyam" blasts off from the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome - REUTERS

03:20 AM

Cryptocurrency exchange based in London hit by suspected Russian cyber attack

GCHQ and the police have been alerted to a suspected Russian cyber attack on British soil, Charles Hymas writes.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which is part of GCHQ, and Scotland Yard have been assessing a series of attacks attempting to take down a cryptocurrency exchange based in London.

The “distributed denial of service” attack on Currency.com saw millions of computers around the world coerced to bombard the company’s website with multiple requests, in an attempt to crash its systems.

The cyber attack started in April after Viktor Prokopenya, founder of Currency.com, announced he was pulling his company out of Russia in protest against the invasion of Ukraine.

Read more: Suspected Russian cyber attack on British soil as firm subjected to ‘daily’ hacks

02:58 AM

Why the Crimea attack could be so significant

If it is confirmed that Ukraine is responsible for the attack on the air base in Crimea, the strike would represent a dramatic escalation in the five-month long conflict, Nataliya Vasilyeva, Joe Barnes and Dominic Nicholls write.

The peninsula, occupied by Moscow's forces since 2014, has so far been spared from the fighting.

It fuelled speculation that Ukraine’s armed forces had carried out the bombardment with undeclared heavy weapons donated by the United States, such as deadly Atacms rockets, which have a 300km range.

Witnesses to the blasts reported hearing at least 12 explosions, describing the final eruption, some 30 minutes after the first, as the loudest.

Read more: ‘Ukrainian missile strikes’ hit Russian air base in Crimea

02:33 AM

Russians ‘trying to connect nuclear plant to Crimea’

Russian forces occupying the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southeast Ukraine are preparing to connect to Crimea and are damaging the plant by reorienting its electricity production, Ukrainian operator Energoatom warned on Tuesday.

It is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and was occupied by Russia early in its invasion. Kyiv and Moscow blamed each other for attacks on the plant last week.

"The Russian military at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant are implementing the program of (Russian operator) Rosatom aimed at connecting the plant to the Crimean electricity grid," Energoatom president Petro Kotin told Ukrainian television on Tuesday.

"To do this, you must first damage the power lines of the plant connected to the Ukrainian energy system. From August 7 to 9, the Russians have already damaged three power lines. At the moment, the plant is operating with only one production line, which is an extremely dangerous way of working," he added.

"When the last production line is disconnected, the plant will be powered by generators running on diesel. Everything will then depend on their reliability and fuel stocks," Mr Kotin warned.

Zaporizhzhia power station seen from across the Dnipro in Nikopol - PAUL GROVER
Zaporizhzhia power station seen from across the Dnipro in Nikopol - PAUL GROVER

02:30 AM

Today's top stories

  • Explosions rocked a Russian airbase in Crimea on Tuesday, in what appeared to be an unprecedented Ukrainian attack

  • Russian forces occupying the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant are preparing to connect to Crimea and are damaging it by reorienting its electricity production, Ukrainian operator Energoatom warned on Tuesday

  • GCHQ and the police have been alerted to a suspected Russian cyber attack on British soil

  • Volodymyr Zelensky has told Europe to ban all Russian holidaymakers “until they change their philosophy”

  • European Commission officials are understood to be drawing up a fresh package of economic sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine