Latest on Ukraine: Russia strikes Chernihiv, as Kyiv welcomes F-16 pledges
Here's a look ahead and a roundup of key developments from the past week.
What to watch
Leaders of the BRICS countries will gather for an Aug. 22-Aug. 24 summit in South Africa — minus Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is sending his foreign minister instead. Putin is set to participate virtually. In addition to South Africa, the BRICS nations include Brazil, Russia, China and India.
Ukraine's Independence Day is on Thursday — which also marks 18 months since Russia's invasion began. On the same day, the U.N. Security Council will hold a briefing on Ukraine, with remarks by Under Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo and a civil society representative.
Russia's Flag Day is celebrated on Tuesday.
What happened last week
A Russian missile strike on Sunday killed seven people and injured at least 90 in Chernihiv, Ukraine. The missile hit just as many were leaving church, and damaged a theater building. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was on a visit to Sweden at the time, where the two countries announced an agreement on production and use of Swedish CV90 infantry fighting vehicles.
Denmark and the Netherlands confirmed they will send F-16s to Ukraine, after the U.S. agreed to allow it. The timeline for delivery is unclear. Ukrainian pilots will have to be trained to use the sophisticated fighter jets, which are not expected to be deployed until after this year. Earlier in the week, Germany's Finance Minister Christian Lindner held talks with Ukrainian officials in Kyiv and signed a joint declaration to boost cooperation.
China's Defense Minister Li Shangfu visited Russia and Belarus. It was his second visit to Russia this year, and he met with top officials and spoke at the Moscow Conference on International Security. "Whether it is on Afghanistan, Syria, the Korean Peninsula, Ukraine or the Iranian nuclear issue, China will promote peace talks and help reach an international consensus," Li said at the conference. Putin also addressed the gathering via a prerecorded video on Tuesday, as Russia launched missile strikes across Ukraine.
The first ship left Odesa's port since Russia terminated the United Nations-backed Black Sea Grain Initiative. According to Ukraine's infrastructure minister, the container ship, carrying cargo including food, left the port on Aug. 16, bound for the Bosporus along the temporary corridor established for civilian vessels. It had been moored at the Odesa port since Feb. 23, 2022.
The total number of Ukrainian and Russian troop deaths and injuries in the Ukraine war is estimated at nearly 500,000, the New York Times reported, citing U.S. officials.
Russia's central bank increased interest rates from 8.5% to 12%, in an attempt to stabilize the ruble after the Russian currency tumbled past 100 to the U.S. dollar due to the sanctions Western countries have imposed over the invasion of Ukraine. The ruble has shed more than a third of its value this year.
Gene Spector, a Russian-born U.S. citizen imprisoned for bribery in Russia, is also being charged with espionage, Russian news agencies reported. A State Department spokesperson said the U.S. is "aware of reports of charges against a U.S. citizen in Russia" and is monitoring the situation.
Russian Gen. Gennady Zhidko, a senior Russian military leader, died "after a long illness," Russian officials said. Zhidko was briefly in charge of the military campaign in Ukraine before a series of setbacks on the battlefield during the summer of 2022 led to his removal.
With a simple question, Ukrainians probe mental health at a time of war.
Remembering the Ukrainian musical duo the Similar Girls, killed by a Russian missile.
Russia is trying to recover from currency dip by hiking interest rates.
Women's professional soccer flourishes in Ukraine even as war touches some players.
Russia's war in Ukraine is changing the world: See our report on its ripple effects in all corners of the globe.
You can read past recaps here. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find more of NPR's coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR's State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.
Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.