120 guns for every 100 Americans.
1. Russian forces have launched an all-out assault to encircle Ukrainian troops in twin cities straddling a river in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday, a battle which could determine the success or failure of Moscow’s main campaign in the east. Exactly three months after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, authorities in its second-largest city Kharkiv reopened the underground metro, where thousands of civilians had sheltered for months under relentless bombardment. The reopening was evidence of Ukraine’s biggest military success over the past few weeks: pushing Russian forces largely out of artillery range of Kharkiv, as they did from the capital Kyiv in March. (Source: independent.co.uk)
2. Newly declassified U.S. intelligence shows that a Russian naval blockade has halted maritime trade at Ukrainian ports, in what world leaders call a deliberate attack on the global food supply chain that has raised fears of political instability and shortages unless grain and other essential agricultural products are allowed to flow freely from Ukraine. Russia’s navy now effectively controls all traffic in the northern third of the Black Sea, making it unsafe for commercial shipping, according to a U.S. government document obtained by The Washington Post. The document, based on recently declassified intelligence, analyzed the density of Russian naval activity along portions of Ukraine’s southern coast and the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia occupied and annexed in 2014. The blockade that ensued following Russia’s invasion in February halted civil maritime traffic, “entrapping Ukrainian agricultural exports and jeopardizing global food supplies,” according to a U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the intelligence. (Source: washingtonpost.com)
3. Russia is ready to provide a humanitarian corridor for vessels carrying food to leave Ukraine, in return for the lifting of some sanctions, the Interfax news agency cited Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko as saying on Wednesday. Ukraine's Black Sea ports have been blocked since Russia sent thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 and more than 20 million tonnes of grain are stuck in silos in the country. Russia and Ukraine account for nearly a third of global wheat supplies and the lack of significant grain exports from Ukraine ports is contributing to a growing global food crisis. Ukraine is also a major exporter of corn and sunflower oil. (Source: reuters.com)