In this photograph taken on August 15, 2022 Russia's President Vladimir Putin addresses attendees of the Tavrida.ART festival via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow. (Photo by Pavel Byrkin / Sputnik / AFP) / *Editor's note : this image is distributed by Russian state owned agency Sputnik.*

In July, Ukraine received fewer commitments for military and financial aid than in the previous months, according to the “Ukraine Support Tracker” of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW). Accordingly, between July 2nd and August 3rd, only commitments of around one and a half billion euros were made. Norway promised the country the lion’s share – around one billion euros. Since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, the tracker has recorded commitments of 84.2 billion euros.

“In July, the donor countries mainly delivered what they had promised and launched few initiatives for new aid,” agrees Christoph Trebesch, who is responsible for the tracker at the IfW. For example, Germany had not announced any further military support during the investigation period. However, the federal government has delivered many of the promised weapon systems to Ukraine.

“Financial and military support is still well below Ukraine’s needs. It also remains small in relation to what some of the donors are mobilizing in their own countries to avert the crisis,” says Trebesch. (tsp)

Russia rejects UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ proposal to demilitarize the area around the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which is occupied by Russian troops. This is unacceptable, says Moscow Foreign Ministry spokesman Ivan Nechaev. The nuclear power plant is located near the course of the front. Projectiles have repeatedly fallen on the site in recent days, fueling fears of a nuclear catastrophe. Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling the facility. (Reuters)

A number of Russian opponents of the war are in Limassol on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus and are being confronted with attempts at intimidation. However, they do not want to be intimidated by this. “Threats of this kind are common in Russia,” says activist Evgeny Elesin about posters with the faces of nine Russian opponents of the war, who were wearing black ribbons.

The posters were put up by unknown persons on Limassol’s seafront promenade and later removed by the police. Russian opponents of the war regularly protest in Limassol, and the nine people pictured take part. “These threats cannot stop us,” explains Elesin. (Reuters)

Russia has deployed three fighter jets armed with hypersonic missiles to its Kaliningrad exclave. The Mig-31i aircraft with Kinzhal missiles were stationed at the Shkalovsk base in Kaliningrad, the Defense Ministry in Moscow announced on Thursday. They formed a combat unit there that was “ready for action around the clock”.

Like the Zircon missiles, the Kinzhal missiles belong to a new type of weapon developed by Russia that President Vladimir Putin has described as “invincible”. According to Russia, it has already used the hypersonic missiles several times as part of its offensive in Ukraine, which began at the end of February.

The deployment of the Kinzhal missiles in Kaliningrad came amid tensions over the past few months over trade between Russia and its exclave. This traffic runs through the territory of the EU member state Lithuania.

In June, Lithuania banned the transit of certain goods from main Russian territory to Kaliningrad. The government in Vilnius referred to the sanctions imposed by the EU against Russia. In mid-July, however, the EU Commission made it clear that there was no general ban on the transport of goods to Kaliningrad by train, only the transit of sanctioned military equipment was prohibited. Lithuania then allowed the blocked movement of goods again.

Kaliningrad – the former East Prussian Königsberg – is located on the Baltic Sea between Lithuania and Poland and has no direct land connection to Russia. (AFP)

The Russian military leadership appears to be increasingly losing confidence in the peninsula’s security after the recent Ukrainian attacks on Russian military assets in Crimea. According to Russian media reports, the commander of the Black Sea Fleet currently stationed in Crimea has been replaced. The Institute for the Study of War suspects that the Russian armed forces have been put on high alert by the attacks and have undertaken a restructuring of troop composition, logistics and command accordingly. (tsp)