Saudi Arabia is preparing to host peace talks on behalf of Ukraine next weekend, the Associated Press reported. The summit, which Russia is not attending, is reportedly intended to give Ukraine’s backers and other countries a chance to align positions on how to end the war, ahead of a wider-ranging summit later this year.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
A barrage of Russian attacks on Ukrainian targets left civilians dead and buildings destroyed over the weekend, according to the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. It said Russia launched five missile strikes and 19 airstrikes and fired 30 times with multiple-launch rocket systems on cities and military forces Saturday. Ukraine’s military did not specify where the barrage of attacks occurred, but Russia has in recent days targeted populated areas in southern Ukraine as Kyiv ramps up its counteroffensive.
Russia said it thwarted an alleged Ukrainian drone attack on Moscow early Sunday. One drone was struck down over Odintsovo, southwest of the capital, and two more crashed within Moscow, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Telegram. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said that two office towers in the capital were “slightly damaged” but that nobody was hurt or killed. A spokesman for Ukraine’s air force, Yuriy Ignat, acknowledged the attack but did not say whether Ukraine played a role in it. “There is always something flying in Russia, and in Moscow in particular,” he said.
Saudi Arabia will host a Ukrainian-backed peace summit to be attended by delegations from the United States, India, Brazil and South Africa, among other countries, the Associated Press reported. According to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported plans for the talks in Jeddah on Aug. 5 and 6, the meeting is intended to pave the way for a summit later this year where global leaders hope to declare their support for shared principles for a lasting peace.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a law moving the date for Christmas from Jan. 7 to Dec. 25, as part of an effort to “renounce Russian heritage.” The government said that Christmas is a Christian holiday, integral to Ukraine, and that observing the Julian calendar, which celebrates Christmas on Jan. 7, had long been imposed on the Ukrainian people.
Several thousand Wagner mercenaries have probably established themselves at a military camp in central Belarus, according to Britain’s Defense Ministry. According to its daily update, imagery shows hundreds of vehicles arriving at the facility since mid-July in the Belarusian village of Tsel, which was previously mostly empty. It comes as fears grow in Ukraine that new attacks could be launched from Belarus, a close Russian ally, since Yevgeniy Prigozhin’s Wagner mercenaries relocated there after his short-lived mutiny against Russian defense officials last month.
Ukraine will be able to meet heating needs this winter, the country’s energy minister said. Speaking in a televised interview, German Galushchenko said Ukraine is using new ways to add power to its grid but did not specify how, according to Reuters. Russian attacks crippled Ukraine’s power grid last winter.
The International Olympic Committee invited Ukrainian fencer Olga Kharlan to compete at next year’s Paris Olympics after she was disqualified from the Fencing World Championships in Milan for refusing a mandatory handshake with Russian opponent Anna Smirnova. “As a fellow fencer, it is impossible for me to imagine how you feel at this moment,” IOC President Thomas Bach wrote in a letter, which Kharlan shared on Instagram.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Russia’s defense minister of visiting North Korea to secure weapons. “I strongly doubt he’s there on holiday,” Blinken told reporters, according to Agence France-Presse. “We’re seeing Russia desperately looking for support, for weapons, wherever it can find them,” Blinken was quoted as saying on a trip to Australia that ended Saturday. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Pyongyang this week as the city marked the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice.
In repeat bombings of Odessa, Putin deepens economic war on Ukraine: Since Russia terminated the U.N.-brokered grain deal that allowed Ukrainian exports from the Black Sea, Russia has intensified attacks on Odessa, one of Ukraine’s major port regions, John Hudson and Anastacia Galouchka report.
As a result of the strikes, Odessa’s grain industry suffered tens of millions of dollars in damage, they write. The attacks destroyed at least 60,000 tons of grain, enough to feed more than 270,000 people for a year, according to the U.N. World Food Program.
Serhiy Morgunov and Natalia Abbakumova contributed reporting.