(Bloomberg) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said talks in Lviv, western Ukraine, with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy focused on how to “ultimately end” the nearly six-month-old conflict. Erdogan said he would evaluate the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Ukraine’s president held separate talks with each man before a joint meeting. Major topics included the situation at the Zaporizhizhia nuclear power plant. Guterres said the UN was establishing a “fact finding mission” to investigate last month’s attack on the Olenivka prison which killed dozens of Ukrainian POWs. 

Shipments from Black Sea ports are picking up under last month’s deal brokered by Turkey and the UN, driving grain prices lower. Russia’s defense ministry said it deployed fighter jets equipped with hypersonic missiles to the exclave of Kaliningrad. Two are suspected of having violated Finnish airspace. 

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Key Developments

  • Erdogan Says Discussed Ending War in Latest Bid to Mediate
  • Russian Gas Shipments to Europe to Remain Stable on Thursday
  • A $379 Billion Hole Emerges in Developing Nations’ War Chests
  • Ukraine Crop-Export Corridor Successes Help Push Down Prices
  • Blinken Spoke to Ukraine’s Kuleba on US Security Assistance
  • Ukraine’s Rating Lifted From Default by Fitch on Debt Delay 

On the Ground

Russian forces conducted several unsuccessful assaults near Kramatorsk, Bakhmut and Avdiyivka in the eastern Donetsk region, Ukraine’s military staff reported on Facebook. Shelling continued in areas from the Sumy region in the northeastern Ukraine to Mykolaiv region in the south, according to the statement. Russia also fired missiles at Ukraine’s second largest city of Kharkiv, killing at least 9 people and wounding 35 as residential house and a dormitory were hit, Oleh Syniehubov, the regional governor said. One person was killed and two injured in Mykolaiv. 

(All times CET)

Erdogan Says Discussed Ending War in Latest Bid to Mediate (6:52 p.m.)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he discussed avenues to end the Russian-led war during talks with his Ukrainian counterpart, as well as conditions for a possible prisoners exchange. 

The comments came after the Turkish leader met in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday. Erdogan said he would follow up on the discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Erdogan Says Discussed Ending War in Latest Bid to Mediate

Ukraine Buys Imaging Satellite and Data Access for Military (6:24 p.m.)

A Ukrainian charity used $16.4 million spared by the Bayraktar drone donation to buy a satellite and access to high-resolution imaging for the country’s military. 

The money had been crowd-funded by Ukrainians via the Pritula Charity Foundation to purchase the Turkish drones, which were ultimately provided free of charge. 

The foundation used the funds to sign a contract with Helsinki-based ICEYE which operates a fleet of 21 spacecraft providing high-precision Earth images multiple times a day.

UN to Establish Fact-Finding Mission at Olenivka Prison, Guterres Says (6:10 p.m.) 

The United Nations will establish a fact-finding mission at the site of the Olenivka prison, where some 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war died in an attack last month, said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. General Carlos dos Santos Cruz of Brazil has been appointed to lead the effort. 

“We will now continue to work to obtain the necessary assurances to guarantee secure access to Olenivka,” Guterres said in Lviv. “That means safe, secure and unfettered access to people, places and evidence without any interference from anybody.” 

While Ukraine and Russia have traded blame for the incident, European intelligence has dismissed Moscow’s claims that ammunition provided by the US were used to hit the facility, following analysis of the damage captured by satellite images.

Zelenskiy, Erdogan Discuss Stolen Grain (5:30 p.m.)

Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed that trade in looted grain is “unacceptable,” Ukraine’s president said after his meeting with Turkey’s president in Lviv, western Ukraine. Kyiv estimates that Russia has stolen almost 500,000 tons of grain from occupied areas. 

The pair also discussed the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Ukraine’s presidential office said in a readout. 

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in Lviv that global food markets are “beginning to stabilize” -- a trend reflected in wheat prices, which have given up the year’s gains. 

Ukraine, Turkey to Cooperate on to Infrastructure (5:16 p.m.)

Ukraine and Turkey signed a memorandum on cooperation for the reconstruction of Ukrainian infrastructure after the war, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s office said.

The first potential project is the restoration of a bridge in the village of Romanivka in the Kyiv region, which connected Bucha and Irpin with Kyiv and was destroyed at the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion. 

Oleskandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister, noted that Turkish business has extensive experience in the construction of roads and bridges, in particular the Zaporizhzhia and Kremenchug bridges in Ukraine, and is a reliable partner.

Zelenskiy Says He Spoke With UN Chief About Nuclear Plant, Deportations (4:10 p.m.)

Commenting on Telegram after speaking with Antonio Guterres, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he discussed with the UN Secretary-General António Guterres the forced deportation of Ukrainians, the need to release Ukrainian soldiers and medics from Russian captivity, and continued exports of grain from the Black Sea. 

“Particular attention was paid to the topic of Russia’s nuclear blackmail” at the Zaporizhzhia plant, Zelenskiy said, adding that the UN “must ensure the security of this strategic object, its demilitarization and complete liberation from Russian troops.” 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a key architect of the Ukrainian grain export safe-transit agreement, met with Zelenskiy before the three men started tripartite talks. 

Russia Issuing Drivers’ Licenses in Occupied Zaporizhzhia (3:33 p.m.)

Russian occupation authorities began distributing drivers’ licenses and vehicle registration plates in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, according to state-run Tass. A planned replacement of licenses in the city of Melitopol began Aug. 16, the news service reported. 

The move is the latest sign of Kremlin efforts to consolidate control over areas of Ukraine seized by Russian forces even as the war continues. 

Officials in the occupied Kherson region of southern Ukraine also began issuing Russian licenses and registration plates this month, as the Kremlin prepares to organize referendums to annex territories into Russia as soon as in September.

Ukraine Foodstuffs Exports Hit 500,000 Tons Under Deal (2:20 p.m.)

More than 500,000 tons of foodstuffs has been exported from Ukraine aboard 21 ships since a safe-transit deal for three ports in the Odesa region was signed last month. 

More vessels are arriving by the day. A key challenge is whether larger vessels normally commonplace in Ukraine’s ports are willing to transit the corridor and boost flows, even as Moscow continues its wider assault. 

Wheat futures in Chicago tumbled on Thursday and have now erased all of the year’s gains.  

Russia Sends Jets With Hypersonic Missiles to Kaliningrad (1:02 p.m.)

Three MiG-31 planes with hypersonic Kinzhal missiles relocated to the Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave as part of strategic deterrence, Russian Defense Ministry says, according to Interfax. 

The deployments have been signaled by Moscow for some time in response to Finland and Sweden’s decision to join NATO. 

Two of the jets are suspected of having violated Finnish airspace near Porvoo on the Gulf of Finland, Finland’s defense ministry said, according to Reuters. 

New Aid Pledges Plummet in July (11:28 a.m.)

New pledges of support for Ukraine from international donors declined “drastically” to about 1.5 billion euros ($1.52 billion) last month, with two thirds, or 1 billion euros, of the total coming from Norway, according to the latest analysis by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

“In July, donor countries initiated almost no new aid, but they did deliver some of the already committed support such as weapon systems,” said Christoph Trebesch, who heads the team that compiles the institute’s Ukraine Support Tracker. “Both financial and military support has fallen further behind what Ukraine needs,” he added. “It also remains small in relation to what some donors are mobilizing in their own countries for crisis response.”

Wheat Extends Losses on New Shipments (9:03 a.m.)

Wheat extended declines on Thursday as grain cargoes from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports have continued to flow, weeks after a safe-transit deal was reached. The resumption of grain shipments from one of the world’s major suppliers has buoyed global supply prospects at a time of year when its sales typically peak.

Three more ships left Ukraine on Wednesday carrying corn and sunflower oil and meal. Another four inbound ships are cleared to sail to Ukrainian ports. On Thursday, four outbound vessels and four inbound ships will be inspected. 

Blinken Spoke to Kuleba on Security Assistance (9:03 a.m.)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on continued US support for Ukraine’s defense needs, according to a readout from the State Department. 

Blinken reaffirmed that the US will continue to call for an end to all military operations at or near Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, the return of full control of these facilities to Ukraine and for Russia to end the war, according to the readout. 

Separately, Kuleba on Thursday described a call with IAEA chief Rafael Grossi, who said “he is ready” to lead a delegation to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The facility has recently come under shelling that Ukraine and Russia have blamed on each other.

Estonia Faced Cyber Attacks After Removing Soviet Tank Monument (8:02 a.m.) 

Estonia was hit by a massive wave of cyber attacks on Wednesday after the removal of a Soviet tank monument on Tuesday, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said on Twitter.

In announcing the various monuments were being removed, Kallas said that “as symbols of repressions and Soviet occupation, they have become a source of increasing social tensions.” 

(Corrects amount of grain to 500,000 tons in item on discussion about stolen grain.)

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