02.08.2022, Türkei, Istanbul: Das Frachtschiff «Razoni» kommt an der Einfahrt zum Bosporus an. Dies ist die Fahrt des ersten Getreidefrachters aus der Ukraine seit Kriegsbeginn. Das mit rund 26 000 Tonnen Mais aus der Ukraine beladene Schiff wird nach türkischen Angaben erst in der Nacht zu Mittwoch, 03.08.2022 in Istanbul eintreffen. Foto: Khalil Hamra/AP/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

According to Turkish information, three more ships with grain deliveries will leave Ukraine on Friday. Thanks to the “intensive work” of the Grain Exports Coordination Center set up in Istanbul, the departure of three ships is planned for Friday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Thursday evening, according to the Anadolu Agency. On the basis of an agreement brokered by Turkey, a cargo ship carrying grain left Ukrainian-controlled territory on Monday for the first time since the start of the Russian war against Ukraine. (AFP)

In Latvia’s capital Riga, the dismantling of the Soviet victory monument is to begin in the coming weeks. The dismantling of the controversial monument should then be completed within the statutory period of November 15, Mayor Martins Stakis announced on Thursday. It is still unclear how the monument, which consists of a 79-meter-high obelisk and several huge bronze statues, will be dismantled.

According to a parliamentary decision in the Baltic EU and NATO country, all objects that glorify totalitarian regimes must be dismantled by November 15. The regulation specifically targets the demolition of the Soviet Victory Monument. Russia has protested sharply.

The monument was erected in 1985 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Hitler’s Germany in World War II – as a “monument to the liberators of Soviet Latvia and Riga from the German-fascist invaders”.

Latvia was alternately occupied by Germany and the Soviet Union during World War II. After the end of the war, the Baltic state was an involuntary part of the Soviet Union until 1991. Most Latvians therefore do not see the monument as a symbol of the victory over Hitler’s Germany, but of the renewed occupation of Latvia by the Soviet Union. (dpa)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan travels to Russia on Friday for talks with Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin. Putin receives Erdogan in Sochi on the Black Sea. It is the second meeting between the two heads of state since Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine began in February. Erdogan has repeatedly offered to mediate between Moscow and Kyiv.

Erdogan and Putin last met in Tehran in mid-July. Three days later Moscow, Kyiv, Ankara and the UN signed an agreement to allow Ukrainian grain exports across the Black Sea again. Last Monday, the first ship loaded with corn left the port of Odessa. Other ships are to follow. Because of the war, all Ukraine’s grain exports from its Black Sea ports have been blocked in recent months. (AFP)

The NATO countries are working closely with armaments companies to be able to supply Ukraine with more weapons and equipment in the long-term war against Russia. “We are providing a lot of support, but we have to do more and be prepared for the long term,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told Reuters on Thursday. “That’s why we are now also in close contact and working closely with the defense industry to produce and supply more different types of ammunition, weapons and equipment.” In recent months, the US and other Western countries have begun supplying Ukraine with more advanced conventional weapons. These include highly mobile HIMARS rocket launcher systems, which have greater range and precision. (Reuters)

At the same time, Ukraine’s violations in no way justify the many indiscriminate strikes by the Russian military with civilian casualties that we have documented in recent months