1. In the Odessa region, as a result of Russian shelling, a recreation center was destroyed, and three people were injured, said Sergey Bratchuk, a representative of the Odessa military administration. Two rockets damaged the recreation center and nearby buildings. A fire broke out, and three people were injured. The rescue operation continues. Telegram channels affiliated with the administration of the President of Russia claim that the missile strike was carried out “on the base of militants of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.” (Source: BBC).
1. From August 18, Estonia officially stops issuing tourist Schengen visas to Russian citizens. Entry into the country will also be closed for those Russians who already have a valid Schengen visa issued by the Estonian consulate in their passport. There are about 50,000 such people among Russian citizens. Estonia will also stop accepting documents from Russian citizens for student, work, and business visas. An exception will be made for students from Russia, who will be able to extend their residence permit for a year if they must complete their studies during that year. (Source: Reuters).
2. On Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will hold talks in Lviv with Erdogan, as well as with UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who has already arrived in Ukraine. During his visit to Ukraine, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will discuss issues of food security and an agreement signed in July on unblocking the export of Ukrainian grain. “Of course, there are several important issues that Secretary-General Guterres, President Zelensky, and President Erdogan can discuss,” Price said during a briefing in Washington on Wednesday afternoon. “The fact that the meeting is taking place in this place indicates that significant attention will be devoted to food security and Turkey’s efforts to ensure the unhindered shipment of grain from the Ukrainian Black Sea ports.” After the lifting of the Russian blockade, more than 20 ships with food have already left the ports of Ukraine, and “this is definitely good.” (Source: BBC).
1. The Armed Forces of Ukraine destroyed the base of Russian troops in the Nova Kakhovka, Kherson region. A video showing the aftermath of the missile attack has surfaced online. The footage shows the Russian military. Presumably, the shooting was carried out by one of them. “This is what is left of our hut, and over there, in the distance, is all that is left of the signalmen,” says the author of the video, pointing the camera at the wreckage of the building. “According to preliminary information, this is a video confirmation” of “smoking in an unidentified place,” which is located in Nova Kakhovka,” the Armed Forces of Ukraine said. The Ukrainian side estimates the losses of the Russian military at 10-15 people. (Source: Twitter).
2. Based in the annexed Crimea, the Russian Black Sea Fleet has received a new commander – Vice Admiral Viktor Sokolov. There has been no reliable information about the fate of his predecessor Igor Osipov since the spring when Russia lost the fleet’s flagship cruiser Moskva. If Osipov’s resignation is confirmed, it will be the most noticeable in almost six months of the invasion of Ukraine, during which Russia suffered heavy losses in workforce and equipment. The appointment came after Russian military bases on the peninsula were rocked by explosions twice in the past nine days. As a new commander, Sokolov was introduced to the military council members of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol. Now, he is taking over. “The order was from the commander-in-chief about his appointment. The members of the military council were presented. There was no public event, and probably there won’t be one due to the yellow level of terrorist threat introduced in the city,” one of the agency’s interlocutors said. (Source: BBC).
1. Nearly two dozen American foreign policy experts, including former senior diplomats and retired military officials, called in an open letter, “The United States must arm Ukraine before it’s too late” for President Joe Biden’s administration to provide Ukraine with everything necessary for a military victory over Russia, in particular, missiles with a range of 300 km for HIMARS systems. The current US authorities are providing Ukraine with enough weapons to create a stalemate but not enough to return Russian territorial gains. Thus, the White House may be “wresting defeat from the clutches of victory.” The White House is afraid to transfer certain weapons to Kyiv because it does not want to provoke a direct military conflict between Russia and NATO countries. This overcautiousness is essentially giving the initiative to Russian President Vladimir Putin and easing pressure on Moscow to end the aggression and take negotiations more seriously. With the necessary weapons and economic assistance, Ukraine can defeat Russia. They include HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems, which, according to the signatories of the appeal, should be sent in large quantities to maximize their impact on the battlefield. Ukraine needs long-range weapons to halt Russia’s advance and prevent its resources, fuel, and ammunition resupply. This means that the US must send ATACMS missiles for the HIMARS system with a range of 300 km, which is necessary to strike Russian military targets throughout Ukraine, including in occupied Crimea. The letter was signed by former NATO Force Commanders in Europe Philip Breedlove and Wesley Clark, among others; senior State Department officials Kurt Volker, Paula Dobriansky, and Steven Sestanovich; former NATO Deputy Secretary General and former US Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow; and former US ambassadors to Ukraine John Herbst and Mary Yovanovitch. In response to the publication, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said that the United States is already providing Ukraine with everything necessary for victory based on the principle of self-defense. “At the same time, we also clearly stated that the transformation of Russian aggression into a larger conflict and the spread of this war beyond the borders of Ukraine to the whole of Europe or the possible start of a conflict between NATO and the United States with Russia is contrary to the interests of Ukraine, NATO, and Europe. It is not beneficial to anyone,” Price said. (Source: The Hill).
1. Due to Kharkiv’s evening and morning shelling, at least nine people were killed, 35 were injured, two more people were killed, and two were wounded in Krasnograd. The head of the Kharkiv OVA, Oleg Sinegubov, said: “Last night was one of the most tragic for Kharkiv Oblast during the entire war. During the night, the Russians launched massive rocket attacks on Kharkiv. Peaceful sleeping areas with civilians once again came under the attack of Russian terrorists.” Around 9:30 p.m., a Russian missile, presumably “Iskander,” hit a three-story residential building in the Saltiv district. The house was almost destroyed. There was a large-scale fire. According to the latest data, seven people died under the rubble, and 17 were injured, including an 11-year-old child. Around 04:30 in the morning, the enemy launched eight more rockets from the Russian city of Belgorod in the direction of the Kharkiv region. Missile hits were recorded in the Kholodnohirskyi and Slobidskyi districts of Kharkiv. Buildings and infrastructure were damaged, and fires started. In the Slobidskiy district of Kharkiv, one of the rockets hit a 4-story dormitory. The building is partially destroyed. As of now, two people have died, and 18 have been injured, including two children. The final consequences of these hits are still being determined. All special services work on the ground. Also, around 4 a.m. on Thursday, the Russians launched a rocket attack on Krasnograd. Residential buildings were destroyed, and more than ten buildings were damaged. 2 civilians were killed, and two were injured, including a 12-year-old child. (Source: UP).
1. More than 20 non-governmental organizations in Georgia signed a joint statement demanding the introduction of a visa regime for Russians. The report’s authors believe that control over the entry of Russian citizens and enterprises into Georgia is a matter of the country’s national security. They refer to the latest data, according to which from March to July, about 350,000 Russians came to Georgia not only as tourists but also intending to settle in the country. They bought about four thousand apartments and houses in Tbilisi and Batumi and opened more than six and a half thousand enterprises. About 14,000 Russians received residence permits in Georgia. NPO representatives are convinced that Moscow can take advantage of the many Russians who have settled in the country to send troops under the pretext of protecting compatriots and taking control of part of Georgian territory. Georgia is one of the countries where Belarusians and Russians most often flee since they do not need a visa here. Citizens of most countries can stay in Georgia without a break for a whole year. In early August, the parliamentary oppositional liberal party “Lelo for Georgia” came up with the initiative to introduce a visa regime for Russians. Other opposition forces in the country supported her. The government is not yet considering the introduction of visas. (Source: CT).