Ukraine’s armed forces using missiles struck the Chonhar bridge connecting occupied Crimea and the occupied part of the Kherson Oblast in southern Ukraine, while Russia pummeled western Ukraine with drones and missiles Sunday.
At least six people were killed from Russian and Ukrainian shelling overnight, while at least four others were injured.
The strikes on these ground lines of communication could create severe logistical challenges for Russian forces in southern Ukraine and facilitate the ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said a drone was shot down Sunday south of Moscow, while Moscow’s Vnukovo airport suspended flights the same day.
Meanwhile, Russia followed through on its promise to retaliate for Ukrainian drone attacks on the oil tanker.
Ukraine’s air force reported that Russia launched 70 drones and missiles, including cruise missiles from aircraft over the Caspian Sea and Iranian-made, Shahed-136/131 strike UAVs.
At least 10 Russian missiles appear to have broken through Ukraine’s air defenses in the overnight attack.
Russian airstrikes targeted a blood transfusion center in the town of Kupiansk in the eastern Kharkiv region late Saturday.
“There are dead and wounded,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on his Telegram channel. Kupiansk is a railway hub fewer than 16 kilometers from the front line. Zelenskyy said rescue workers were extinguishing a fire at the scene and described the strike as a “war crime.”
Zelenskyy did not specify how many casualties there were or whether they were military or civilian.
Reuters could not immediately verify the report.
Zelenskyy’s head of staff Andriy Yermak called talks held in Jeddah “very productive,” Sunday, while Moscow called the meeting a doomed attempt to sway the Global South behind Kyiv. Senior officials from 42 countries participated in the two-day Jeddah peace summit on Ukraine.
According to officials, no final declarations will be released. Instead, Saudi Arabia, hosting the summit in the Saudi port of Jeddah, would present a plan for further talks, with working groups to discuss issues such as global food security, nuclear safety and prisoner releases.
A European official described the talks as positive and said there was “agreement that respect of territorial integrity and [the] sovereignty of Ukraine needs to be at the heart of any peace settlement.”
The high-level talks included delegates from the world economies of the BRICS group, Brazil, India, China and South Africa but not Russia.
The head of Brazil’s delegation, foreign policy adviser Celso Amorim, stressed however, that “any real negotiation must include all parties,” including Russia, according to a copy of his statement shared with AFP.
“Although Ukraine is the biggest victim, if we really want peace, we have to involve Moscow in this process in some form,” he said.
U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan led Washington’s delegation at Jeddah, a senior White House official said.
Ukraine and Western diplomats expressed hope that the meeting in the port city of Jeddah will be an opportunity for officials to agree on key principles to inform any peace agreement that would end Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.
Western officials and analysts said Saudi diplomacy had been important in securing China’s presence at the talks.
Under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, the kingdom has kept ties with both sides presenting itself as a mediator and seeking a bigger role on the world stage.
In his nightly video address from Jeddah, Zelenskyy commented “the greater the consolidation of the world for the sake of restoring a just peace is, the sooner an end will be put to the bombs and missiles with which Moscow wants to replace the norms of international law.”
Russia said it will not be involved in this weekend’s talks or the summit planned for the fall.
Beyond its Western backers, Ukraine hopes to garner diplomatic support from more Global South countries, including Brazil, India, South Africa and Turkey.
Part of Ukraine’s strategy to gain support from such countries reportedly will be to emphasize how food prices have risen after Russia quit the U.N.-brokered Black Sea grain deal last month and began attacking Ukrainian port facilities.