Ukraine asked Turkey to seize a grain ship flying the Russian flag after it departed on Thursday from the port of Berdyansk in southeastern Ukraine, while the Russian Defense Ministry said that its forces had taken control of the Lyschansk refinery in the Lugansk region, the second largest oil refinery in Ukraine.

An official in the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said - quoting information received from the Maritime Administration in his country - that the ship "Zybek Zoli" was loaded with a Ukrainian shipment of grain from the port of Berdyansk on the Black Sea, a port controlled by Russian forces, located west of the port of Mariupol.

In a letter signed on June 30, addressed to the Turkish Ministry of Justice, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office requested the seizure of the ship, because it was related to an illegal export of grain from the port of Berdyansk to the port of Karasu in northern Turkey.

The Ukrainian official added that the shipment of grain is estimated at 4,500 tons, which is owned by Kiev.

Kyiv accuses Moscow of stealing grain from the Ukrainian lands it has occupied since the start of the war at the end of last February, which the Kremlin denies.


Turkish role

In a related context, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that his country can re-export grains such as wheat, oats and barley from the Black Sea to countries that need these shipments, after talks with Russia and Ukraine.

Erdogan added that 20 Turkish ships are ready to participate in the transfer of potential shipments.

Ukraine is one of the world's largest wheat exporters, but shipments have fallen dramatically due to the Russian war, causing global food shortages.

The United Nations has appealed to the Russian and Ukrainian parties and their naval neighbor Turkey to agree to open a safe corridor for the transit of Ukrainian grain shipments to world markets.

dead in Odessa

On the other hand, the Ukrainian news agency said today that the death toll from the Russian missile strikes this morning on the Odessa region has risen to 21.

Ukrainian authorities said that Russian missiles hit an apartment building in the village of Serhivka and a resort near the Black Sea port of Odessa early this morning, hours after Russian forces were expelled from Snake Island near the coast of Odessa.

The Russian bombing destroyed a section of a 9-storey residential building completely with a missile, and the walls and windows in an adjacent building, consisting of 14 floors, were damaged due to the shock of the nearby explosion. Residents are helping rescue teams remove the rubble.

The effects of destruction as a result of Russian missile strikes on a number of areas near the city of Odessa, southwestern Ukraine (Anatolia)

The Kremlin denied targeting civilians in the Odessa region, and its spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, "I would like to remind you of the president's words, that the Russian armed forces do not deal with civilian targets."

Today's explosions also rocked the city of Mykolaiv in southwestern Ukraine, not far from the Russian-controlled city of Kherson, and the Ukrainian army said it had shot down a Russian drone in the city.

"Today we submitted an official memorandum to the International Court of Justice on Russia's violation of the Genocide Convention," Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba said.

Donbass front

In the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine, Moscow announced its control of the oil refinery in the city of Lyschansk, the second largest in the country, and Russian state media broadcast pictures of Russian forces taking control of the refinery.

On the other hand, the Ukrainian Army Staff Command said that the Russian forces stormed the refinery without taking full control of it, and confirmed that they thwarted an attack by the Russian forces on a factory in Lyschansk.

Moscow is on the cusp of capturing Lugansk region, after capturing the city of Severodonetsk last week following some of the war's fiercest battles.

Ukraine's last stronghold in Lugansk is Lysichansk on the other side of the Seversky Donets, which is on the verge of being besieged by a relentless Russian artillery onslaught.

Sergei Gaidai, the governor of Lugansk region, told Ukrainian television that Russian artillery bombed the city from different directions, while the Russian army approached from several sides.

A spokesman for the Ukrainian Armed Forces Staff Oleksandr Shtabon said that their forces thwarted a Russian attempt to seize the highway in the Lyschansk region.

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