Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has rubbished Ukraine’s 10-point peace plan and warned the conflict will be resolved on the battlefield if the West stuck to it.
Addressing the UN General Assembly on Saturday, Mr Lavrov dismissed the West as an “empire of lies” and said the plan promoted by Kyiv was “completely not feasible”.
In a letter to Mr Lavrov last month, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres outlined four measures the UN could facilitate to improve Russia’s grain and fertiliser exports in a bid to convince Moscow to return to the Black Sea deal, which allowed Ukraine to export grain through the corridor and helped address a global food shortage.
“We explained to the secretary general why his proposals won’t work,” Mr Lavrov said. “We don’t reject them. They’re simply not realistic. They cannot be implemented.”
Earlier on Saturday morning, Ukraine launched another missile attack on Sevastopol in occupied Crimea, a Russian-installed official said, a day after an attack on the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet left a serviceman missing and the main building smouldering.
Sevastopol was put on air raid alert for about an hour after debris from intercepted missiles fell near a pier, governor Mikhail Razvozhayev wrote on the messaging app Telegram. Ferry traffic in the area was also halted and later resumed.
Loud blasts were also heard near Vilne in northern Crimea, followed by rising clouds of smoke, according to a pro-Ukrainian Telegram news channel that reports on developments on the peninsula.
Crimea, illegally annexed by Russia in 2014, has been a frequent target for Ukrainian forces since Vladimir Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of the neighbouring country almost 19 months ago.
Ukraine’s intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov, told Voice of America on Saturday that at least nine people were killed and 16 injured as a result of Kyiv’s attack on the Black Sea Fleet on Friday.
He claimed that Alexander Romanchuk, a Russian general commanding forces along the key southeastern front line, was “in a very serious condition” following the attack.
Elsewhere, Ukraine said its heavy artillery was inflicting “hell” on Russian lines near Bakhmut.
Captured by Russian forces in May, heavy weapons supplied by the West are inflicting significant damage on enemy lines, with the 155mm howitzers supplied by the US and Nato allies said to be proving key in the long-awaited counteroffensive.
“They [the Russians] hate our hardware”, said 30-year-old unit commander Oleksandr. “That’s what we gather from our intercepts. We hear that we keep giving them hell and they keep wondering how much ammunition we have left.”
Oleksandr described Klishchiivka – a village close to the devastated town of Bakhmut – as “one of the places [the Russians] were clinging to. We will see what’s next. We will develop our success.”
Meanwhile, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has announced several support packages for Ukraine, including military, economic and humanitarian assistance. He has also pledged an extra show of diplomatic backing in steps intended to punish Russia over its war in Ukraine.
In a news conference held with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr Trudeau confirmed that Canada would continue to “impose costs on Russia” and ensure that “those responsible for this illegal, unjustifiable invasion do not benefit from it.”
“We stand here absolutely united in our defence of democracy and our condemnation of Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked, unjustified and unconscionable invasion of Ukraine,” Mr Trudeau added.
Canada and Ukraine have agreed to form a working group with G7 partners to analyse the seizure and forfeiture of Russian assets, including from the Russian Central Bank. It has also added 63 Russian individuals to its sanctions list, including those who are “complicit in the kidnapping of children and the spreading of disinformation”, Mr Trudeau said.