Live Updates Turkey plans for Russian tourists despite war | world news

ISTANBUL — Turkey’s president said the war in Ukraine should not negatively affect the tourist season.

After prayers marking the start of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Russian President Vladimir Putin is “very sensitive” to Turkey’s needs for tourism revenue and has already committed to providing support.

Turkey suffers from galloping inflation and needs foreign currencies from tourists. Erdogan added that Saudi tourists would also arrive after his visit to Saudi Arabia last week.

In an interview with Greek state broadcaster ERT, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian tourism brings revenue to neighboring Greece and Turkey and called it “blood money”. Zelenskyy pointed to a double standard where Turkey acted as a mediator between Ukraine and Russia while preparing destinations for Russian tourists.

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Erdogan said he would meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week to discuss accelerating evacuations from the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol and finding a way to export grain from Ukraine and Russia.

KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR:

— Beginning of the evacuation of civilians from the Ukrainian steel plant

— Pelosi, on surprise trip to Kyiv, pledges unwavering US support

— Jill Biden will meet with Ukrainian refugees in Romania and Slovakia

Follow all AP stories on Russia’s war on Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

LVIV, Ukraine – The British military estimates that more than a quarter of all troops Russia deploys to its war in Ukraine are now “combat ineffective”.

Monday’s comment came as part of a daily Twitter briefing the UK Ministry of Defense offered on the ongoing war in Ukraine. The British military believes Russia has committed more than 120 so-called “battalion battle groups” to the war since February, representing 65% of Moscow’s entire combat strength.

The ministry said: “It is likely that more than a quarter of these units have now been rendered combat ineffective.”

Ineffective combat is a term that refers to an army’s ability to wage war. Losing soldiers to injury and death, as well as damaged or destroyed equipment, affects this.

The British military said some of Russia’s elite forces, such as VDV Airborne, “suffered the highest levels of attrition”.

He added: “It will probably take years for Russia to rebuild these forces.”

KYIV, Ukraine — Svyatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of the Azov regiment that helps defend the last section of Mariupol not occupied by the Russians, said he was glad evacuations had begun.

Palamar hoped that evacuations from the Azovstal steelworks would continue until everyone in the plant, civilians and military, had come out. It was even difficult to reach some of the injured inside the plant, he told The Associated Press on Sunday in an interview from Mariupol.

“There is rubble. We don’t have any special equipment. It is difficult for soldiers to pick up slabs weighing tons with just their arms,” he said.

The Azovstal factory is littered with mines, rockets, artillery shells and unexploded cluster munitions, he said.

He said the presence of children and civilians makes the fighting more difficult and there are many injured in the factory. There is not enough water, he says, and the air smells of rotting bodies.

The factory fighters will continue to resist until they are ordered not to, Palamar said.

An explosive device damaged a railway bridge in Russia’s Kursk region, which borders Ukraine, on Sunday and a criminal investigation has been opened. The region’s government reported the explosion in a message on Telegram.

Recent weeks have seen a number of fires and explosions in Russian regions near the border, including Kursk. An ammunition depot in the Belgorod region burned after explosions were heard, and authorities in the Voronezh region said an air defense system shot down a drone. An oil storage facility in Bryansk was engulfed in fire a week ago.

Sunday’s explosion caused a partial collapse of the bridge near the village of Konopelka on the Sudzha-Sosnovy Bor railway line, according to the Kursk report.

“It was sabotage, a criminal case was opened,” regional governor Roman Starovoit said, according to Russian news agency TASS. He said there were no casualties and no effect on the movement of the trains.

KYIV, Ukraine – Four civilians were reportedly killed and 11 others injured by Russian shelling in the Donetsk region on Sunday, Ukraine’s regional governor said in the evening.

The dead and seven of the injured occurred in the northern town of Lyman, Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko wrote in a Telegram post. One person also died in the town of Bakhmut from injuries received in the Luhansk region, he said.

In the same message, Kyrylenko said it was impossible to determine the number of casualties in the bombed port city of Mariupol and in the city of Volnovakha, which is controlled by pro-Kremlin separatists.

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