Ukraine live briefing: Kyiv says peace talks in Jeddah were ‘productive.’ Moscow called them ‘futile.’

Ukraine live briefing: Kyiv says peace talks in Jeddah were ‘productive.’ Moscow called them ‘futile.’

August 7, 2023 at 3:17 a.m. EDT

Representatives from China, the United States and Saudi Arabia attend talks that were intended to make headway toward a peaceful resolution to Russia’s war in Ukraine. The gathering, held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, ended Sunday. (Saudi Press Agency/Reuters)

Diplomats and security policy advisers from more than 40 countries had “an extremely honest, open conversation” on key principles that Kyiv wants to be the basis for peace, Ukrainian presidential adviser Andriy Yermak said of talks in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, that ended Sunday. Yermak said different viewpoints emerged but the talks were “very productive.”

Russia was not invited to the meeting, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called it part of the West’s “futile, doomed efforts” to swing the Global South to Ukraine’s side, according to state media. Ryabkov said Russia planned to discuss the results of the Jeddah consultations with economic partners who attended the meeting.

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

Key developments

In Jeddah, Yermak and U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan discussed Ukraine’s defense needs, especially air defense to protect the port infrastructure of southern Ukraine, Yermak said on Telegram. Sullivan “positively assessed” the start of negotiations on a bilateral agreement on security guarantees for Ukraine, according to the post.

Ukraine’s discussion with European countries focused on economic and security support, Yermak said, particularly on finding ways to continue the export of Ukrainian grains after Russia withdrew from the Black Sea grain deal.

China sent a peace envoy to the Jeddah talks after failing to show up for a gathering in Copenhagen in late June. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba hailed Beijing’s participation as a “breakthrough,” according to Interfax-Ukraine. The summit had been seen as a diplomatic push by Kyiv to grow partnerships beyond its established circle of Western supporters.

Russian shelling on Ukraine killed at least six people over the weekend and destroyed a blood transfusion center. Two people were killed in Donetsk and three in Kharkiv, the regional governors there reported on Telegram. One person was killed in Sumy, the head of the settlement told local media. Moscow had earlier vowed retaliation for Ukrainian strikes against a Russian oil tanker. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned Russia’s aerial bomb strike on the medical facility as a war crime by “beasts.”

Battleground updates

Serhiy Slabenko, a former member of Ukraine’s parliament, was killed Friday on the front line in Zaporizhzhia, the legislature announced Sunday. Slabenko, 57, is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

Zelensky applauded “significant results” from U.S. and German air defense systems in his evening address, as Ukraine faces waves of Russian airstrikes that Kyiv says targeted civilians and residential buildings.

Ukraine confirmed that its missiles hit two bridges in the Kherson region that connect to Crimea. Ukraine’s attacks on the strategically important Chonhar and Henichesk bridges will “pose significant disruptions to logistics,” the Institute for the Study of War said in its analysis.

Russian air defenses shot down a “hostile drone” that was heading toward Moscow on Sunday morning, Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said on Telegram. After the drone incident, Moscow imposed temporary restrictions on aircraft at Vnukovo International Airport “for reasons beyond the airport’s control,” the Russian state-owned news agency Tass reported.

From our correspondents

In war against its Soviet past, Ukraine refaces towering Kyiv monument: The Motherland Monument, a 335-foot statue of a woman holding a sword and shield, is a symbol in Kyiv of the U.S.S.R.’s triumphs during World War II. Workers dismantled the part of the shield featuring the Soviet hammer-and-sickle and wheat beginning in late July. On Sunday, they replaced it with the Ukrainian emblem, Shera Avi-Yonah reports.

The Motherland statue’s new shield is yet another sign of Ukrainians’ “de-Russification” efforts since the invasion. The trident is featured on Ukraine’s coat of arms, a symbol it says dates to the 10th century, when it was associated with Volodymyr the Great, the grand prince of Kyiv.

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