Thought for the day

"Rights aren’t rights if someone can take them away. They’re privileges." -- George Carlin

Russia's defence ministry said on Monday that its forces had shot down 19 U.S.-made HIMARS missiles across eastern and southern Ukraine, and destroyed HIMARS vehicles near the Ukrainian town of Kramatorsk.

Reuters was unable to verify the reports.

The Kremlin said on Monday there was no basis for a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents at the moment.

In response to a question about Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's offers to broker peace talks, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call that Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelenskiy could meet only after negotiators from both sides had "done their homework".

Negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv have been stalled for months, with each side blaming the other for a lack of progress.

The White House on Monday called on Russia to “return full control” of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant near Energodar to the Kiev authorities. Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry accused Ukrainian forces of “nuclear terrorism” for bombarding the Russian-held facility twice since Friday.

“Fighting near a nuclear plant is dangerous,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One on Monday, flying with President Joe Biden to Kentucky to tour areas damaged by flooding.

The Lebanon-based buyer of the first grain shipment to depart Ukraine since Russia’s invasion has refused to purchase the cargo, according to Ukraine’s embassy in Beirut.

The buyer has raised concerns over the quality of the grain, due to the five-month delay in its shipment. The charterer is now looking for a new buyer inside Lebanon or the Middle East, an Istanbul-based ship agent with knowledge of the matter told Middle East Eye.

Canada's top soldier is declining to confirm media reports that Canadian military members are on the ground in Ukraine to train locals in fighting invading Russian forces.

Gen. Wayne Eyre, Canada's chief of the defence staff, appeared on Power & Politics on Monday following reports from Global News and the New York Times that Canadian Forces special operations members are training Ukrainians during Russian's ongoing invasion.