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Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky discussed the urgent allocation of the next round of aid to Ukraine and pressed for new sanctions on Russia in a phone call with EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday. This comes as Russian shelling hit the port city of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine, on the weekend, damaging a medical facility, the city’s mayor said. Read our blog to follow how the events of the day unfolded. All times are Paris time (GMT+2)


6:26pm: Ukraine PM visits Berlin, seeking more weapons

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmygal on Sunday voiced hopes that Germany would become a leading player helping Kyiv to build up its air defences, as he sought more heavy weapons for Kyiv from Berlin. 

Shmygal is the first high-level Ukrainian official to visit Germany in months, in a sign of eased tensions between Kyiv and Berlin after a rocky patch.

On Sunday, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev accused Germany of leading a “hybrid war” against Russia, justifying a stop in gas deliveries via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Europe. “Firstly, Germany is an unfriendly country. Secondly, it has imposed sanctions against all of the Russian economy… and it is delivering lethal arms to Ukraine,” Medvedev said in support of his statement in a message published on Telegram.

After Berlin, Shmygal will head to Brussels, where he is to join the EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell at a meeting of the EU-Ukraine Association Council.

4:48pm: Ukraine dispatches its biggest grain convoy of UN deal so far

Ukraine said it had dispatched its biggest convoy of grain vessels under a UN brokered deal so far after 13 ships set sail from its ports on Sunday carrying 282,500 tonnes of agricultural products to foreign markets.

The cargo bound for eight countries was loaded at the Black Sea ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi. The ports had been completely blockaded by Russia’s invasion until a July 22 deal that was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.

Eighty-six ships have since set sail from Ukrainian ports under the deal, carrying 2 million tonnes of agricultural products to 19 countries, the Ukrainian Infrastructure Ministry said in a statement on Facebook.

4:39pm: Russian diaspora in Germany holds rare rally against sanctions

Some 2,000 mostly Russian-speaking protesters marched in the western city of Cologne on Sunday to demand Germany stop supporting Ukraine and drop sanctions it imposed after Moscow invaded its neighbour earlier this year.

The rally, organised by Russian-speaking diaspora groups in the city, was met by a few dozen counter-protesters who had also gathered in the shadow of Cologne’s hulking Gothic cathedral to express support for Ukraine. Germany is home to some 3 million people of Russian ethnic background, many of them heavily exposed to Kremlin narratives about the world via state-controlled Russian television, which is widely available.

3:24pm: Zelensky discusses urgent aid, Russia sanctions with EU chief

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday he had called on the EU to urgently allocate its next round of aid to Ukraine and pressed for a new wave of sanctions on Russia in a phone call with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen.

“Discussed the allocation of the next tranche of #EU macro-(financial) aid ASAP. Emphasized the need to prepare the 8th package of (Western) sanctions (on Russia), including a ban on issuing visas to Russian citizens,” he said on Twitter.

3:05pm: Russia sanctions not working says Italy far-right leader

The leader of Italy’s far-right League party, Matteo Salvini, sparked debate on Sunday by saying that the unprecedented sanctions the West had imposed on Russia over the Ukraine invasion weren’t working.

“Several months have passed and people are paying two, three, even four times more for their bills,” he told RTL radio. “And after seven months, the war continues and Russian Federation coffers are filling with money.”

2:13pm: Ukrainian port city, Kharkiv, comes under Russian shelling

Russian shelling hit the southern Ukraine port city of Mykolaiv during the night, damaging a medical treatment facility, the city’s mayor said Sunday. Mykolaiv and its surrounding region have been hit daily for weeks in the conflict. On Saturday, a child was killed and five people were injured in rocket attacks in the region, governor Vitaliy Kim said. Mykolaiv city mayor Oleksandr Senkevych did not specify whether there were any injuries in the overnight attack, which he said also damaged some residences.

1:50pm: EU’s Michel to discuss energy on Qatar trip this week

European Council President Charles Michel will hold talks with major gas producer Qatar on Europe’s energy crisis during a visit to Doha this week, a Qatari government official said on Sunday. Michel is expected to visit Qatar on Tuesday, according to his official schedule.

1:10pm: EU to disburse 5 billion euro in aid to Kyiv this week, Ukrainian PM says

Ukraine expects to receive 5 billion euros ($4.98 billion) in macro-financial aid from the European Union this coming week to support the economy and army, and to prepare for the looming winter, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Sunday.

“This will help to ensure the stability of our economy, support of the army and the … heating season”, Shmyhal said in a statement on Telegram ahead of talks with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

(FRANCE 24 with Reuters, AP and AFP)