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Latest on Ukraine: Russia and Ukraine trade drone strikes; Kyiv removes Soviet symbol

Workers install the Ukrainian coat of arms on the country's tallest statue, the Motherland Monument, after the Soviet coat of arms was removed, in Kyiv, Sunday. Ukraine is accelerating efforts to erase the vestiges of Soviet and Russian influence, pulling down monuments and renaming streets.
Efrem Lukatsky
/
AP
Workers install the Ukrainian coat of arms on the country's tallest statue, the Motherland Monument, after the Soviet coat of arms was removed, in Kyiv, Sunday. Ukraine is accelerating efforts to erase the vestiges of Soviet and Russian influence, pulling down monuments and renaming streets.

Here's a look ahead and a roundup of key developments from the past week.

What to watch

The trial of 22 members of the Azov Battalion — Ukrainian POWs captured following Russia's weeks-long siege of a steelworks plant in Mariupol in May 2022 — on terrorism charges continues Wednesday at a military court in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. Rights groups have denounced the proceedings as a violation of the Geneva Conventions.

On Friday, the global ratings agency Moody's will release its review of Ukraine's economy.

Russia will mark the founding of its air force on Saturday.

What happened last week

Ukraine and Russia traded drone strikes. Russia targeted Odesa and Kyiv, hitting a key Ukrainian port near Romaniaon Wednesday. Kyiv's military administration said that air defense forces destroyed almost a dozen Russian drones on the approach to the Ukrainian capital. Meanwhile, Russian air defenses shot down Ukrainian drones headed for Moscow, according to Russia's Defense Ministry and regional authorities, and a Moscow airport had to suspend flights Sunday after another drone was destroyed. Ukrainian sea drones also damaged a Russian tanker in an attack on a Black Sea naval base Friday.

Following peace talks that took place in Copenhagen in June, Saudi Arabia hosted a peace summitin Jeddah on Saturday and Sunday, attended by national security advisers and representatives from more than 40 countries including the U.S., China, Turkey, India and Brazil. Many of those attending represented governments that have taken a largely neutral stand on the war in Ukraine. Russia was not invited. The parties agreed to meet again — the third time — though a date wasn't set.

Ukrainian authorities removed the Soviet hammer and sicklefrom Kyiv's Motherland Monument, the country's tallest statue, and began replacing it with Ukraine's coat of arms featuring a trident, Ukraine's national symbol. Since the start of the war, Ukrainian authorities have ordered the removal of statues depicting Russian and Soviet writers and leaders, and de-Russified street names.

Ukrainian pilots will start training to fly F-16 fighter jets in August, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced. "The delivery and combat use of F-16s by our pilots should take place as soon as possible," he said.

A Russian court sentenced jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny to an additional 19 years in prison on extremism-related charges. The ruling comes amid a wider crackdown against domestic critics of the war in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a measure that raises the military conscription age cap from 27 to 30 years old.The move is part of a wider Kremlin effort to expand the pool of Russian recruits for the war in Ukraine.

The U.S. and Ukraine began negotiations on long-term security commitments.

The U.S. assumed the presidency of the United Nations Security Council for the month of August, with the Ukraine war and its impact on the world food supplyleading the agenda.

Yale's Conflict Observatoryreported that Russian authorities are forcing Ukrainians living in Russian-occupied land to take Russian citizenship or be deported or detained. Russia claims that it's given citizenship to some 3 million Ukrainians since 2014, when Russian proxies took over parts of eastern Ukraine as well as Crimea in the south.

Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie made a visit to Ukraineand met with Zelenskyy.

In-depth

The Cossacks' traditions live on near the front lines in Ukraine.

A Ukrainian fencer scorned a Russian's handshake, challenging the sport's traditions.

Ukraine struggles to export its grain — as Russia repeatedly strikes its ports.

U.S.-Russia tensions are playing out in Niger in the wake of its military coup.

U.N. Security Council talks global food supply as Russia attacks Ukraine agriculture.

Special report

Russia's war in Ukraine is changing the world: See our report on its ripple effects in all corners of the globe.

Earlier developments

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.

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NPR Staff