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European Commission extends Ukraine grain import restrictions

In this file photo dated Oct 11, 2022, a crew member prepares a grain analysis for a control made by members of the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) onboard the Barbados-flagged ship "Nord Vind" coming from Ukraine, loaded with grain and anchored in Istanbul. (PHOTO / AFP)

LADIVOSTOK/BRUSSELS/KYIV – The European Union has extended to Sept 15 restrictions on imports of Ukrainian grain demanded by five member states who sought to protect their agriculture sector, the European Commission said on Monday.

The commission said in a statement that the bloc will phase out the exceptional and temporary preventive measures affecting Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seed in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

Separately, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said that during the expected counteroffensive against Russian forces this summer, Ukraine will not use F-16 aircraft, but will use all ground weapons.

In an interview with NHK in Singapore, the minister explained that some Western countries are currently training or have offered to train Ukrainian pilots to pilot F-16 fighters.

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He said Ukraine will be ready to deploy F-16 in autumn or winter.

This photo taken from video released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on June 5, 2023 shows a Ukrainian military vehicle being targeted during combat in Ukraine. The Russian Defense Ministry said the Russian military fended off an attempt by Ukraine to launch an attack in the southern part of the Donetsk region on Sunday. (PHOTO / RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY PRESS SERVICE VIA AP)

Meanwhile, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced on Tuesday that their armed forces repelled a new attack by the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) on the southern Donetsk front, resulting in the destruction of over 1,500 Ukrainian soldiers and 28 tanks, including eight Leopards.

According to the ministry, Ukraine continued its offensive on Monday, focusing primarily on the Vremyevskaya bulge of the southern Donetsk front. However, the UAF experienced a significant defeat and were unable to accomplish their objectives.

On Sunday, the UAF launched a large-scale offensive on five fronts in the southern Donetsk direction, spokesperson of the Russian ministry, Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov, said.

READ MORE: Ukraine begins counteroffensive against Russia along frontline

He said Ukraine deployed the 23rd and 31st Mechanized Brigades from the strategic reserves of the UAF, with the support of other military units and formations.