Latest Developments:

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calls on Black Sea Grain Initiative parties to “accelerate operations” after slowdown in ship inspections.
British defense ministry says Russia has expended “significant effort” in recent weeks to build defensive lines, particularly on the approaches to Russian-occupied Crimea.

Russia’s defense ministry said Wednesday its air defenses shot down three drones in the Moscow area.

Russia said the drones were part of a Ukrainian attack, and that two of the drones were intercepted as they approached military warehouses.

Ukraine rarely comments on attacks within Russia.

Ukraine’s military said it downed six Iranian-made Shahed drones over the Khmelnytskyi region in western Ukraine.

Russia has used frequent drone attacks as part of its aerial assault on targets in Ukraine since invading the country in February 2022.

Ukraine said it shot down 32 of 35 drones in a Russian attack on Tuesday.

NATO expansion

With three weeks until NATO leaders gather for a summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, Sweden is expressing hope that it will be able to join the alliance.

Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom told Reuters on Wednesday Turkey’s parliament should begin the process of ratifying Sweden’s NATO bid.

Sweden and Finland applied for membership in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Finland officially joined in April, but Sweden’s accession has been held up by Turkey’s objections to what it said was a lack of action by Sweden against groups that Turkey considers terrorists.

Sweden has carried out a number of reforms, including a new anti-terror law, as part of an agreement struck with Turkey last year to address security concerns.

“Our judgment is that we have done what was expected of us, now it is time for the Turkish parliament to start the ratification process,” Billstrom told Reuters on the sidelines of a meeting in parliament.

Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.