Wheat prices jump as Russia terminates Black Sea grain deal; two dead in Crimea bridge blast

This has been CNBC's live blog covering updates on the war in Ukraine. [Follow the latest updates here.]

Two people were killed and their daughter was wounded in what Russia says was an attack by Ukraine on the Crimean bridge.

The 12-mile road and rail bridge, which connects Russia to the Crimean Peninsula that Moscow annexed illegally from Ukraine in 2014, has been a key artery for Russian troops fighting in Ukraine and was personally opened by Vladimir Putin as point of national pride.

A road-and-rail bridge constructed to connect the Russian mainland with the Crimean peninsula, seen here in 2018.
REUTERS | Pavel Rebrov

Explosions were heard before dawn, Reuters reports. Traffic has been halted on the bridge, and unverified photos on social media show a large section of the road split off from the rest of the bridge and hanging to one side close to the water. Ukrainian authorities have not made any official comment.

Meanwhile, Russia's withdrawal from a critically important wartime deal that allowed the export of Ukrainian grain across the Black Sea has reignited fears about global food security. Wheat, corn and soybean prices all rose on the news.

China was the top recipient of Ukrainian agricultural products under Black Sea grain deal

A combine harvests wheat on a field near Novosofiivka village, Mykolaiv region on July 4, 2023. 
Anatolii Stepanov | AFP | Getty Images

The organization that oversaw agricultural exports under the Black Sea Grain Initiative said China was the top country to receive foodstuffs.

Since the inception of the deal in July 2022, more than 32 million metric tons of foodstuffs were exported to more than 40 global destinations. China accepted nearly 8 million metric tons of agricultural goods from Ukraine.

— Amanda Macias

Biden to meet with Pope Francis envoy to discuss support for Ukraine

Italian Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, Pope Francis' Ukraine peace envoy, leads a mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary in Moscow on June 29, 2023.
Olesya Kurpyayeva | Afp | Getty Images

The White House said President Joe Biden will meet with Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, who is in D.C. at the request of Pope Francis.

"President Biden and Cardinal Zuppi will discuss the widespread suffering caused by Russia's brutal war in Ukraine," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

"They will also discuss efforts by the United States and Holy See to provide humanitarian aid to those affected, and the Papal See's focus on repatriating Ukrainian children forcibly deported by Russian officials," the statement added.

Zuppi has previously met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.

— Amanda Macias

Russia is holding 'humanity hostage' by not renewing the Black Sea grain deal, U.S. ambassador to UN says

U.S. Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks during a joint press conference before a UN Security Council meeting at the United Nations headquarters on June 23, 2023 in New York City.
Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield slammed Russia for exiting the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

"Russia has dealt another blow to the world's most vulnerable," Thomas-Greenfield said in brief remarks ahead of a meeting of the U.N. Security Council. "This is really another act of cruelty."

Thomas-Greenfield said Russia was holding "humanity hostage" by not renewing the agricultural deal that has overseen the safe passage of nearly 33 million metric tons of foodstuffs to global destinations.

"According to the World Food Program, more than 345 million people are suffering from high levels of food insecurity. And we know without a shadow of doubt, that Russia's brutal war against Ukraine has pushed millions and millions more people to the brink, especially in the Middle East and Africa," Thomas-Greenfield said.

"The bottom line is this: the world needs the Black Sea Grain Initiative," she said, adding that all U.N. members should work to reverse Russia's decision.

— Amanda Macias

Ukraine ready to work with Turkey and UN to continue Black Sea grain deal

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy holds a press conference during a NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, on July 12, 2023.
Kacper Pempel | Reuters

Ukraine said it was ready to work with Turkey and the United Nations to continue the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

"Even without the Russian Federation, we must do everything so that we can use this Black Sea corridor," press secretary Serhiy Nykyforov quoted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as saying.

"We are not afraid. We were reached by companies that own ships. They said that they are ready, if Ukraine will let go, and Turkey will pass, then everyone is ready to continue supply of grain," Nykyforov added.

— Amanda Macias

Ukraine says it has retaken some 80 square miles of land since starting its counteroffensive

Ukrainian soldiers from Tank battalion of the 24th separate mechanized brigade named after king Danylo are seen with T-72 tank on positions near Konstantinivka in Donbas, Ukraine on June 26, 2023. 
Wojciech Grzedzinski | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukraine's army has succeeded in retaking some territory from occupying Russian forces over the course of its counteroffensive, defense officials say, and have reclaimed roughly 7 square miles of land in the country's south and east in the last week. Some of that is near the eastern city of Bakhmut, which Ukrainian forces lost to Russian forces in May after several months of bloody fighting.

That would bring the total land retaken since the start of the counteroffensive to roughly 80 square miles, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said.

In a part of the Kharkiv region, Russian forces had been "actively advancing since the end of last week," Maliar said in a Telegram post.

Ukraine's long-awaited counteroffensive is seen to have made slow and sporadic progress since it began in June.

— Natasha Turak

USAID chief Samantha Power to announce more than $500 million in Ukraine humanitarian aid

The head of USAID, Samantha Power, will announce more than half a billion dollars in additional humanitarian aid for Ukraine while visiting the country today, Reuters reports.

"The U.S. will continue to stand with the people affected by Russia's devastating full-scale war and remains committed to providing life-saving assistance to those who need it most," the wire service quoted her as saying in a statement.

USAID stands for the United States Agency for International Development.

— Natasha Turak

Russia attacks Kharkiv city center overnight, killing one and wounding four

Russia attacked Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, overnight as loud explosions were heard in the city center and air raid sirens sounded across the wider region.

The barrage was Russia's third attack on the city in less than 24 hours, and came a few hours after earlier missile strikes that killed one person and injured four, local authorities said. Kharkiv governor Oleh Synyehubov urged people to take shelter.

In the latest attack, Russia fired four S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, but no one was hurt as two of the missiles were intercepted and two landed in a courtyard, officials said.

— Natasha Turak

Norway to supply another 1,000 micro drones to Ukraine as part of larger package

An Ukrainian soldier controls flying drone at training camp amid Russia-Ukraine war in Donetsk, Ukraine on May 11, 2023. The country's most intense clashes continue in Donetsk.
Vincenzo Circosta | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Norway will supply another 1,000 "Black Hornet" micro drones to Ukraine as part of a larger defense package, through a deal with Oregon-based Teledyne FLIR Defense.

The drones, which are pocket-sized, are used "for operations in global positioning system-denied environments and are useful in transmitting live visible and thermal videos," Reuters reported.

Norway had already donated 300 of the drones to Ukraine in 2022. Drones and counter-drone technology have played a major role in the Russia-Ukraine war. In early July, Olso announced another $240 million of military aid to Ukraine, bringing Norway's total aid for the year to just under $1 billion.

— Natasha Turak

Kharkiv mayor rebukes Russian accusations of Ukrainian 'terrorism' in Crimea attack

5-year-old Rostislav plays in front of destroyed building in Kharkiv, Ukraine on July 06, 2023.
Gian Marco Benedetto | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov rejected Russian accusations that an early morning attack on the Kerch Bridge linking Russia to Crimea was "Ukrainian terrorism."

He pointed out all the death and destruction that Russia had brought to his city, the second-largest in Ukraine, after launching its full-scale invasion on the country in February 2022.

"How can they speak about terrorism after unleashing war on Ukraine?" Terekhov told the Guardian in an interview. "They are shooting and killing our people. They have destroyed thousands of buildings in Kharkiv, leaving 150,000 homeless."

"Half of our schools and kindergartens have been wrecked, not to mention our cultural heritage. Our children can't go to school. This weekend, the Russians attacked us again. They strike our parks and gardens. How dare they speak of terrorism?"

"They are trying to break us, to break Ukraine's spirit," he said. "They will not succeed."

Russia is facing a lack of counter-battery radars, UK's MoD says

Russia is suffering from a shortage of counter-battery radars, the U.K.'s Ministry of Defence reported in its daily intelligence update on Twitter.

Russian military forces in Ukraine rely heavily on counter-battery technology to intercept Ukrainian artillery fired at their positions. The recently-fired commander of Russia's 58th Combined Arms Army in Ukraine, General-Major Ivan Popov, complained after his dismissal about the lack of counter-battery equipment for his forces.

"Russia is suffering from a worsening shortage of counter-battery radars, especially its modern ZOOPARK-1M. Only a handful of the originally deployed ZOOPARK fleet are likely to remain operational in Ukraine," the MoD wrote in its post.

"The priority Popov apparently gave to this problem highlights the continued centrality of artillery in the war," it added.

— Natasha Turak

Wheat prices jump 3.5% on news of Russia axing grain deal

Wheat prices jumped 3.5% as the news broke of Russia's termination of the Black Sea grain initiative.

Moscow has officially notified Ankara, Kyiv, and the U.N. secretariat that it opposed extending the initiative, Tass cited Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying on a Google-translated Telegram post of the news organization.

The initiative was set up to abate a global food crisis after Moscow launched a full-scale invasion of fellow key grain exporter and neighbor Ukraine and blockaded its ports. Before the war, Russia and Ukraine together accounted for 25% of global grain supply.

The grain pact allowed the export of commercial food and fertilizer supplies, including ammonia, from three Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea – Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi, previously known as Yuzhny.

— Ruxandra Iordache, Natasha Turak

Moscow says it is terminating Black Sea grain deal, pivotal to global food supply, hours before deadline

Russia on Monday said it has suspended a humanitarian corridor to deliver key Ukrainian grain to global markets, hours before the agreement's expiry.

First inked in July 2022, the U.N.-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative has been repeatedly elongated in short increments, amid increasing discontent from Russia over perceived restrictions that limit the full dispatch of its own grain and fertilizer exports.

"The Black Sea agreements ceased to be valid today. As the President of the Russian Federation said earlier, the deadline is July 17. Unfortunately, the part relating to Russia in this Black Sea agreement has not been implemented so far. Therefore, its effect is terminated," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, in Google-translated comments reported by Russian state news agency Tass on Monday.

Read the full story here.

— Ruxandra Iordache

Russia accuses Ukraine of attack on Crimean bridge

Russia has accused Ukraine of carrying out an attack on the Crimean bridge that halted traffic and killed two people, according to reports.

According to the Transport Ministry of the Russian Federation, the bridge itself was not damaged and strikes occurred at an area leading to the bridge.

"Tonight, the terrorist regime in Kyiv committed a new crime — they attacked the Crimean bridge," Head of Crimea's parliament Vladimir Konstantinov said in his Telegram channel.

"In retaliation — we will follow the news. Our Secretary of Defense has promised strikes against criminal decision-making centers," Konstantinov said.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Monday also accused Ukraine of the attack on the bridge, a 12-mile crossing that is a key transportation and supply route for Russian forces in Ukraine.

Ukraine has not yet provided an official statement. CNBC has contacted Ukraine's foreign ministry for comment.

— Lee Ying Shan, Jenni Reid

Russia seizes control of Danone and Carlsberg operations in the country

Russia has seized control of French food producer Danone's Russian subsidiary, as well as Danish beermaker Carlsberg's stake in a brewer there.
Denis Charlet | Afp | Getty Images

Russia has seized control of French food producer Danone's Russian subsidiary, as well as Danish beermaker Carlsberg's stake in a brewer there, in retaliation for the shutting down of many Russian companies abroad.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree putting the units under the temporary management of a government property agency. In April, Moscow put Russian subsidiaries of Uniper and Fortum under state control, and warned that more Western assets were at risk, owing to the treatment of its companies abroad.

Carlsberg said it has not received any official information from Moscow, while Danone says it is investigating the situation and does not anticipate any impact on its financial guidance.

— Natasha Turak

Crucial Black Sea grain deal set to expire today

A vessel arrives under the Black Sea grain initiative, in Odesa, southern Ukraine.
Yulii Zozulia | Future Publishing | Getty Images

A landmark agricultural deal brokered between Ukraine and Russia is set to expire today. Brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, the Black Sea grain initiative allows the export of grain from Ukrainian ports, which have been blockaded by Russian naval forces since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened last week not to renew the deal for the fourth time since its inception. Moscow argues that the current agreement does not allow the export of Russian fertilizer products while Ukrainian agricultural products travel through the humanitarian sea corridor freely.

Before the war, Russia and Ukraine accounted for about 25% of the world's grain exports.

— Natasha Turak

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