Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 555 of the invasion | Russia

Reviving the Black Sea grain deal is “critical” for food security, Turkey’s foreign minister Hakan Fidan said. During a joint media appearance with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, he said: “We underlined its critical role for global food security and stability in the Black Sea.”

Russian-installed authorities began holding regional elections on Thursday in parts of Ukraine Russia claimed as its own last year, seeking to cement Moscow’s authority in what it calls its “new territories” despite the ongoing conflict. Russia does not fully control any of the four regions where the votes are being held – Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. Along with Crimea – annexed by Moscow in 2014 – they make up almost a fifth of Ukraine.

The Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko criticised what he called “stupid demands” from Poland and the Baltic states for Wagner fighters sheltering in his country to leave, AFP reported. Wagner fighters took refuge in Belarus after their short-lived rebellion against Moscow’s military leadership in June, prompting concerns from neighbouring countries.

Ukrainian troops achieved some new “successes” in the south and east as they tried to advance their counteroffensive against Russian forces, the deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar said. Kyiv’s forces have been making slow progress against Russian minefields and trenches that have blocked a Ukrainian push in the south intended to reach the Sea of Azov and split Russian forces, the Associated Press reported.

The alleged co-founder and military commander of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, Dmitry Utkin, was buried near Moscow on Thursday.

British defence company BAE Systems said on Thursday it had set up a local entity in Ukraine and signed deals with the government there to help ramp up Kyiv’s supply of weapons and equipment.

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, has hit out at critics of Kyiv’s tactics in its counteroffensive against Russia’s invasion, saying they were spitting in the faces of Ukrainian soldiers and should “shut up”.

Royal Navy warships and RAF patrol aircraft have tracked a series of Russian warships as they travelled close to the UK including through the Channel.

Two Ukrainian “saboteurs” were killed and five captured during an incursion into the region of Bryansk, a Russian official reportedly said on Thursday. Separately, Russia reportedly said on Thursday it intended to develop ties with North Korea.

A newly released video of Yevgeny Prigozhin purports to show the Wagner group boss in Africa addressing rumours about his wellbeing and threats to his life, just days before his death.

The UK government has named ex-energy secretary Grant Shapps as the new defence secretary. A former chief of the general staff of the British army said Shapps knows “very little about defence” and it will take him “quite some time to get up to speed”.

A military spokesperson said Ukrainian armed forces are making progress in the direction of Novoprokopivka – the village beyond Robotyne, in the direction of Melitopol.

Russia’s air defences are struggling to detect and destroy Ukrainian drones launched on its territory, judging by how many have reached their targets, the UK’s Ministry of Defence said in its latest intelligence update.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has decried corrupt medical exemptions that have enabled people to avoid military service, saying the system was subject to bribes and mass departures abroad.

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