Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:
Lavrov: The partnership between Russia and China guarantees the rule of law in the world
“The strategic partnership between Moscow and Beijing is one of the pillars of the movement for the rule of law in international relations, above all - the principles the UN Charter”, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said today at a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. It is within the framework of the meeting of the ministers of the ASEAN countries.
"I am convinced that our strategic partnership is one of the pillars of the movement for the victory of international law ... above all, the Charter of the United Nations, which proclaimed the basic principle of the sovereign equality of states. The US violates this principle every day and everywhere, and it understands that this requires a response. We and the PRC are participating in a newly formed Group of Friends in Defense of the UN Charter. I think this is a promising idea that deserves to be expanded, and we are sure that new members will join its work." he said.
Lavrov recalled that he is holding a third meeting with his Chinese counterpart within a month.
"We really meet regularly, we use every opportunity for this. And in less than a month we already held a third meeting. On July 7 in Bali, on July 28 in Tashkent and on August 5 here. And this is not an expression of some procedure. In fact, each time we discover more and more things that require constant attention and practical solutions on the part of our two countries," said the Russian diplomat.
He noted that he plans to discuss with Wang Yi the current state of bilateral relations and the implementation of agreements between the leaders of Russia and China.
Zelensky criticizes Amnesty International's report on Ukraine
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reacted sharply to a report by the human rights organization Amnesty International, which accused Ukraine of endangering civilians by deploying troops in residential areas.
According to the report, "the fact that it is in a defensive position does not release the Ukrainian army from its commitments to international humanitarian law."
President Zelensky condemned the allegations, pointing out that the report tries to shift the responsibility from the aggressor to the victim.
"There is no situation, even hypothetically, in which any Russian strike against Ukraine would be justified. If someone produces a report in which the victim and the aggressor are somehow put on the same level, if some data about the victim is analyzed, while at the same time the actions of the aggressor are ignored, this cannot be tolerated."
Zelensky criticized the withholding of macro-financial aid from the European Union for Ukraine, expressing hope that it was "just a mistake" that would be corrected. He did not specify which European country blocked the payment.
Last night, the Russian armed forces shelled the Ukrainian cities of Mykolaiv, Nikopol and Zaporizhzhia.
Three more ships carrying Ukrainian grain are expected to depart from Ukrainian ports after the first set sail on Monday under the UN-Turkey-brokered Black Sea Safe Corridor agreement.
Two ships are expected to depart from the port of Chornomorsk and one from Odessa. They will transport a total of more than 50 thousand tons of Ukrainian corn, the Ukrainian authorities announced.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said another empty ship would head to Ukraine after being inspected in Istanbul. It is expected to arrive in Chornomorsk.
The Bulgarian ship "Rojen" sailed from the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk today.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces destroyed 4 Russian S-300 complexes near Kherson
The Armed Forces of Ukraine (UAF) have destroyed four S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems of the enemy in the Kherson region over the past 24 hours, the Operational Command "South" of the Ukrainian Armed Forces announced. On the southern front, the Russians lost another 39 servicemen, an Imbyr (Ginger) radar station, an 82-caliber Vasylok automatic mortar, and nine units of armored and automobile equipment.
According to the reference from the command, yesterday, Ukrainian attack aircraft attacked two accumulations of armaments and equipment of the Russian army in the regions of Kherson and Kakhovka. The enemy's attempts to attack the Ukrainian positions in the Kherson region have been unsuccessful.
With the help of helicopters, the Ukrainian Armed Forces destroyed a stronghold of the Russian army in the occupied part of the Mykolaiv region. The missile and artillery units of the Ukrainians attacked the Russian air defense system and logistics points in the Kherson region - both in Kherson itself and in Pridnestrovsk and Tokarivka. There are three ammunition depots destroyed, the final losses of the Russians are being specified.
The Russian army was paralyzed on land, but activated artillery and air attacks, the Russians carried out 16 airstrikes with attack aircraft along the contact line against UAF positions and recently liberated settlements. Operational Command "South" claims that these attacks were without losses.
Estonia removes all Soviet monuments from the streets
Estonia's government has decided "as soon as possible" to remove all Soviet-era monuments from public space, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said. There are between 200 and 400 Soviet monuments in Estonia.
"The main thing has been decided - the Soviet monuments must be removed from the public space and we will do it as quickly as possible. The specific time and order depend on the readiness and logistical plan of the local authorities, this logistics requires the same attention, organization and participation on the part of the private sector," she said.
Kallas called the dismantling of the monument in the form of a T-34 tank in Narva a "separate matter", for the removal of which the Minister of the Interior of Lauri Laanemets called for. The city's mayor, Katri Raik, said city officials would not do so, and when word of the monument's impending demolition spread on August 2, more than 100 local residents came out to protest.
"This tank belongs to the city of Narva and as it is clear that Narva will not do this [dismantling] alone and there is tension there, it is clear that the Estonian state and government must decide for themselves the relocation of this and other monuments, which have symbolic value," Kallas said. "The tank is a murder weapon, it is not a memorial object, and the same tanks kill people on the streets of Ukraine," the prime minister added.
In late July, Kaja Kallas announced that the Estonian government would remove all monuments to Soviet soldiers who died in the country during World War II that are not in military cemeteries.
Talks on prisoner swap with Russia ongoing at various levels
The negotiations on a potential prisoner swap with Russia for Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner are being held at various levels, National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby said on Thursday.
"I'm not gonna negotiate in public. Conversations are ongoing at various levels. And I'll just leave it at that," Kirby told a briefing. Earlier in the day, a Russian court sentenced US basketball player Griner to nine years in jail on charges of smuggling and possessing cannabis oil in Russia.