Russia attacks Odessa port a day after signing grain deal, Ukraine says
Russian missiles hit the Black Sea port of Odessa on Saturday, Ukrainian officials said, imperiling a deal Moscow and Kyiv reached a day earlier to allow shipment of millions of tons of trapped grain and ease a global food crisis.
The military command in southern Ukraine said two Kalibr cruise missiles hit the port’s infrastructure but not the grain silos in Odessa —
one of the country’s largest and most important seaside trading cities.
Air raid warnings rang at about 11 a.m. with the sounds of explosions echoing across the city.
The military’s southern command reported no casualties.
It said air defense systems shot down two other missiles in the attack, which the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine described as “outrageous.”
The strike threatens an agreement that diplomats had hailed less than 24 hours earlier as a breakthrough after months of negotiations.
Friday’s deal, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, would help lift a Black Sea blockade that exacerbated global hunger, especially in Africa and the Middle East.
A keystone of the deal is Russia’s promise not to attack Odessa and two other ports involved in the shipments.
The deal includes security assurances for both Ukraine and Russia, which agreed not to
“undertake any attacks against merchant vessels and other civilian vessels and port facilities” tied to the initiative. - The Washington Post
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the monkeypox outbreak in more than 70 countries an “emergency of international concern”.
The WHO label – a “public health emergency of international concern” – is designed to sound an alarm that a coordinated international response is needed and could unlock funding and global efforts to collaborate on sharing vaccines and treatments.
Governments are advised to raise awareness among doctors and hospitals,
take protective measures in suspected cases and educate members of the population on how to protect themselves from infection.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the decision to issue the declaration despite a lack of consensus among experts serving on the UN health agency’s emergency committee.
It was the first time the chief of the UN health agency has taken such an action.
Announcing his decision to declare the health emergency during a media briefing in Geneva,
Tedros confirmed that the committee had failed to reach a consensus, with nine members against and six in favour of the declaration. - Aljazeera
As the US urged Russia to allow Ukrainian grain out quickly into the international market, officials signalled China to provide more grain to poor countries.
"We would like to see it act like the great power that it is and provide more grain to the poor people around the world," James O'Brien,
head of the US State Department's Office of Sanctions Coordination, said.
James O'Brien said: "China has been a very active buyer of grain and it is stockpiling grain at a time when hundreds of millions of people are entering the catastrophic phase of food insecurity."
The US official asserted that the Biden administration wants China to provide its grain stockpile to the World Food Programme (WFP) and other agencies. - Wio News
In a new diktat that seeks to stifle criticism of its regime, the Taliban have warned to punish those who criticise the
“Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” scholars and public servants with a gesture, word or anything else, Voice of America (VOA) reports.
The spokesperson of the Taliban, Zabiullah Mujahid, issued these new “instructions” citing their leader Mullah Hebatullah Akhundzada.
It said that the implementation of these so-called guidelines was the “Sharia responsibility” of the people and the media.
The “instructions” also prohibit the public from making unnecessary accusations against Taliban workers and officials.
The so-called instructions come in the backdrop of a spate of arrests and torture of the dissidents who criticised the Taliban for preventing girls’ education and women’s and human rights.
These new directives were published weeks after an Islamic religious scholar from Herat, Mujibur Rahman Ansari,
asked the participants at the “Great Meeting of Scholars” in Kabul to issue a fatwa, calling for the beheading of the opponents of the Taliban government.
The guidelines of the Taliban leader mention that such actions amount to “negative propaganda” which “unconsciously helps the enemies”, reported VOA. Though they have not explained who are these “enemies”. - Wio News
Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur (DDG-73) was approached Sunday morning in the South China Sea by a Chinese warship in what Navy officials are calling an unsafe and unprofessional maneuver.
At about 8:30 a.m. local time, Decatur was conducting freedom of navigation operations (FONOps) in the vicinity of Gaven Reef in the South China Sea.
China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Luyang-class destroyer approached Decatur, which was operating within 12 nautical miles of the Gaven and Johnson Reefs in the Spratly Islands, Cmdr.
Nathan Christensen, a U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman, told USNI News in an email.
“The (People’s Republic of China) PRC destroyer conducted a series of increasingly aggressive maneuvers accompanied by warnings for Decatur to depart the area.
The PRC destroyer approached within 45 yards of Decatur’s bow, after which Decatur maneuvered to prevent a collision,” Christensen said.
Decatur’s route passed rocks and reefs that China has turned into artificial islands in a bid to extend its South China Sea territorial claims.
These islands are not recognized by international law as meeting the requirements to qualify as sovereign territory.
Decatur has previously crossed paths with Chinese destroyers in the South China Sea.
Two years ago, a Luyang-class destroyer observed Decatur operating near Chinese holdings near Triton and Woody Islands in the Paracel Islands, which China calls Xisha.
At the time, a Chinese Ministry of Defense release complained Decatur violated China’s sovereignty, though Vietnam and Taiwan also claim the small sand spits. - USNI news