Russia dismisses Ukraine peace summit, as top official says 'enemy must crawl on his knees': Live updates
While Ukraine is promoting a peace plan that has virtually no chance of being implemented, a top Russian official says there's no need to negotiate and "the enemy must crawl on his knees, begging for mercy."
That captures the state of a war in its 18th month with no resolution remotely in sight.
A peace-seeking gathering of more than 40 nations this weekend, organized by Ukraine and hosted by Saudi Arabia, drew heavyweights like the U.S., China, the United Kingdom, and European Union members.
According to Andriy Yermak, chief of staff for Ukrainian President Volodymy Zelenskyy, "We had very productive consultations on the key principles on which a just and lasting peace should be built."
But they didn't include an essential participant in Russia, which has shown no interest in a peace accord that includes terms Zelenskyy considers non-negotiable, such as restoration of Ukrainian territory the Kremlin has illegally annexed, including Crimea, and the prosecution of Russian war crimes.
According to Russian state media, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov branded the gathering that ended Sunday as another one of the West's "futile, doomed efforts" to rally support for Zelenskyy's stance.
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy chairman of the country's Security Council, went considerably further. Medvedev wrote on his Telegram channel that the current peace proposal lacks what he considers three key elements − participation from the conflicting sides, historical perspective, and accounting for current conditions.
"However," he added in his usual bombastic style, "the negotiations themselves are not yet needed. The enemy must crawl on his knees, begging for mercy."
Grain deal exit blasted:World telling Russia to 'stop using food as a weapon of war,' Blinken says
◾ The Ukrainian trident has replaced the Soviet state emblem − the hammer and sickle − on the shield that's part of Ukraine's largest statue, the 300-foot-plus Motherland monument in Kyiv. The Soviet-era sculpture shows a woman holding a sword and shield aloft.
◾ At least half of the 30,000 paratroopers Russia sent to fight in Ukraine in 2022 have probably been killed or wounded, the British Defense Ministry said in its latest update on the war.
◾ Nearly 500 Ukrainian children have been reported killed and 1,100 wounded in the war, the Prosecutor General's Office said, acknowledging the actual numbers are higher.
◾ Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida decried Russia's nuclear threats in his statement Sunday commemorating the atomic bomb being drooped on Hiroshima 78 years ago.
Russia bombarded western Ukraine on Sunday with missiles and drones in an apparent response to a Ukrainian attack on a Russian tanker in the Black Sea near Crimea two days prior.
Moscow launched 70 attack drones and missiles, including cruise missiles from aircraft over the Caspian Sea and Iranian-made, Shahed-136/131 strike UAVs, according to Ukraine’s air force.
Three waves of missiles hit the Starokostiantyniv area, said Serhiy Tyurin, deputy head of Ukraine’s Khmelnytsky region military administration. Several buildings were damaged and a fire broke out at a warehouse, Tyurin said. But attempts at targeting the airfield in Starokostiantyniv were repelled, Air Force spokesperson Yurii Ihnat said.
Zelenskyy said aircraft engine manufacturer Motor Sich’s facilities in the Zaporizhzhia region were also hit.
The barrage appeared to be retaliation for Friday’s tanker attack. Ukraine also struck a major Russian port with drones earlier that day. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova blasted what she called a Ukrainian “terrorist attack” on a civilian vessel in the Kerch Strait.
“There can be no justification for such barbaric actions, they will not go unanswered and their authors and perpetrators will inevitably be punished,” Zakharova posted on the Telegram messaging app.
The drone cut a hole in the tanker’s engine room, but there were no casualties among the 11 crewmembers, Russia’s Federal Agency for Marine and River Transport posted on Telegram.
Ukraine is zeroing in again on the access routes to occupied Crimea, although the latest attempt at cutting them off appears to have failed.
A Ukrainian missile on Sunday hit the Chonhar Bridge connecting northern Crimea to the southern Kherson province, which is partially under Russian control. Vladimir Saldo, the Moscow-appointed regional leader, said the attack caused minor damage to the bridge’s roadway, adding that several more rockets were fended off by air defense. Both sides also confirmed Ukraine had struck a smaller bridge from northeast Crimea to the Ukrainian village of Henichesk.
The Chonhar Bridge, one of three key road spans connecting the Crimean peninsula to the mainland, was previously attacked on July 22 and 29.
Ukraine has also targeted the Kerch Bridge, frequently called the Crimean Bridge, which links Russia to the peninsula it illegally annexed in 2014. The 12-mile bridge opened in 2018 and is a major source of pride for Putin.
Zelenskyy said a guided bomb that hit a blood transfusion center in the Kupyan district in northeastern Kharkiv late Saturday left people dead and wounded.
The Ukrainian president condemned the attack. “This war crime alone says everything about Russian aggression,” he wrote on social media. “Defeating terrorists is a matter of honor for everyone who values life.”
Also in Kharkiv, at least three people were killed and six were injured after intense shelling overnight Saturday into Sunday, said the head of the local regional military administration, Oleh Syniehubov.
Moscow’s Vnukovo airport, one of the largest in Russia, briefly suspended flights early Sunday after a drone attack near the Russian capital. Air traffic at the facility about 9 miles southwest of Moscow was halted after a drone was shot down in the airspace around the city.
The drone was destroyed by air defense systems in the Podolsk region of the Moscow suburbs, the Russian defense ministry said.
Ukraine has stepped up drone attacks in the past month, and the airport strike was one of four targeting Moscow in recent weeks.
Contributing: The Associated Press