Ukraine news – live: Zelensky’s troops can retake territory lost to Russia, UK says

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Boris Johnson has told Volodymyr Zelensky that he believes Ukrainian forces can retake territory recently captured by Russian forces, a Downing Street spokesperson said.

Russia has made gains in eastern Ukraine and the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) concluded Vladimir Putin’s army made “substantive progress” with the rapid capture of Lysychansk on Sunday, giving Moscow full control over Luhansk Oblast.

In a call with Mr Zelensky today, Mr Johnson also updated the president on the latest British military equipment, including 10 self-propelled artillery systems and loitering munitions, which would be arriving in the coming days and weeks.

The MoD predicts Mr Putin‘s forces will continue “levelling towns and cities” in Donetsk Oblast, which neighbours Luhansk in the Donbas region targeted by Russia.

In an intelligence update, the MoD said the battle for the Donbas was characterised by “slow rates of advance” and involved Russia’s mass “employment of artillery, levelling towns and cities in the process”.

It added that the fighting in Donetsk will “almost certainly continue in this manner”.

Key Points

  • Boris Johnson: ‘Ukraine can retake territory from Moscow’

  • Lavrov touring Asia to drum up support for Russia

  • Hundreds of civilians detained without reason in Russian-held areas – UN

  • Russia plans railway link with Donbas – Tass

  • Finland and Sweden sign Nato accession protocol

Russia’s Lavrov and US’s Blinken to be at Bali G20 meetings

08:30 , Lamiat Sabin

Foreign ministers of countries in the G20 are set to talk about the war in Ukraine and its impact on global energy and food security when they meet in Indonesia this week.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is one of the ones expected to attend the meetings in Bali.

Also to attend are US secretary of state Antony Blinken and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi.

It will be the first time that Lavrov and Blinken will be in the same place since January, the month before Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.

The US state department said there would not be a formal meeting between the two.

“We would like to see the Russians be serious about diplomacy,” US spokesman Ned Price said.

“We have not seen that yet. We would like to have the Russians give us a reason to meet on a bilateral basis with them, with foreign minister Lavrov, but the only thing we have seen emanating from Moscow is more brutality and aggression against the people and country of Ukraine.”

Sergei Lavrov seeks support for Russia on trip to Vietnam

08:00 , Lamiat Sabin

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has arrived in Vietnam to seek support amid his country’s invasion of Ukraine.

 (AP)
(AP)

In pictures, he walks with a Vietnamese army official to lay wreath at Ho Chi Minh mausoleum in Hanoi.

He then met Vietnamese foreign minister Bui Thanh Son.

 (AP)
(AP)

Yesterday, Lavrov was in Mongolia where he met his Mongolian counterpart Battsetseg Batmunkh and president Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh. They discussed a partnership including on trade, investments, and environmental protection.

Ireland’s premier arrives in Kyiv for solidarity meetings

07:23 , Lamiat Sabin

Irish premier Micheal Martin arrived in Kyiv today for a series of meetings in which he will reiterate Ireland’s solidarity with Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.

He will discuss how Ireland and the EU can support the country and will also witness first-hand the damage caused by Vladimir Putin’s forces.

Mr Martin will restate Ireland’s full backing for continuing sanctions against the Russian president’s regime, for Ukraine’s path to full EU membership, and Ireland’s commitment to work with the EU on rebuilding Ukraine.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin (Brian Lawless/PA)
Taoiseach Micheal Martin (Brian Lawless/PA)

He said: “The people of Ireland stand with Ukraine and its people in the face of Russia’s immoral and unprovoked war of terror.

“The bombardment and attacks on civilians are nothing short of war crimes and I will use my visit to express Ireland’s support for moves to hold those behind these attacks fully accountable.

“The spirit and resolve of the Ukrainian people has inspired us all and Ireland will provide every support for Ukraine’s path to full EU membership, and continue to welcome and support civilians fleeing this war.”

Battle for Sloviansk in Donetsk will be next key contest in Ukraine, claims UK

06:16 , Arpan Rai

The British defence ministry has said that Russian troops are advancing in various pockets of eastern Ukraine like Izium, building up battle like situation in Donetsk’s Sloviansk.

“Over the last week, Russian forces have likely advanced up to another 5 km down the E40 main road from Izium, in the face of extremely determined Ukrainian resistance,” the ministry said in its latest intelligence update on Wednesday.

It added that the Russian forces from the Eastern and Western Groups of Forces are likely now around 16 km north from the town of Sloviansk.

“With the town also under threat from the Central and Southern Groups of Forces, there is a realistic possibility that the battle for Sloviansk will be the next key contest in the struggle for the Donbas,” the British MoD said.

It added: “Russia likely continues to consolidate its control over Lysychansk and Luhansk Oblast. To the north, it has committed most of the remaining available units from the Eastern and Western Groups of Forces to the Izium axis”.

Who will last longer in power, Johnson or Zelensky?

05:38 , Arpan Rai

When Boris Johnson dialled Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday, it served a little surprise.

It showed how Mr Johnson resorted to his traditional playbook of once again trying to portray himself as a world leader, a serious man for serious times, deflecting from events as Westminster burned around him, set alight by his own lies and inadequacies, writes International Affairs Editor David Harding in this editorial letter.

He also points to a recent pub discussion about the permanency or the lack of it, of world leaders.

Who of these would be in power longer: Johnson, Zelensky or Putin? How about Johnson, Zelensky, Putin or Biden? What about which of these would be in power in three years’ time: Johnson, Zelensky, Putin, Biden or Trump? All were agreed that whatever happened, Xi, Orban and Modi would definitely be there longer than any of them.

It was also a game not just of what-ifs, but also what might be. There seems little reason, from the viewpoint of Putin’s logic, to end the war. If somehow the conflict can stretch out to the next US presidency, who knows what might happen?

Read the full editorial here:

Editor’s letter: Who will last longer in power, Johnson or Zelensky?

Air alert sounded over entire Ukraine after days, says Zelensky

04:57 , Arpan Rai

Volodymyr Zelensky has said that Russian army is tasked with just one duty which is to take people’s lives as the war in Ukraine marked its 133rd day.

“The Russian army does not take any breaks. It has one task - to take people’s lives, to intimidate people - so that even a few days without an air alarm already feel like part of the terror,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly address to Ukrainians.

He added that on Tuesday night, an air alert was announced over almost the entire territory of our country.

“...This evening, Kyiv and again almost the whole of Ukraine heard the air alarm. As of now, there are reports of strikes at the Khmelnytskyi region - victims, wounded are now being specified,” he said.

“Before that, there has been no air alert in the capital and in some regions for some time, and some people even felt particularly anxious because of such unusual silence,” the Ukrainian president said.

Mr Zelensky added: “They were overthinking, dreading, looking for some kind of explanation - as if the occupiers were preparing for something... Actually, you shouldn’t overthink. You should not look for logic in the actions of terrorists.”

Heavy shelling as battle for Donetsk rages: ‘Shelling everything in path'

04:33 , Arpan Rai

Russia has launched heavy fighting in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, officials in the region confirmed, as they reported widespread artillery fire, within 48 hours of Moscow confirming their victory in Luhansk.

Regional governor Sehiy Haidai said that the edge of Luhansk region witnessed heavy fighting as he claimed that the Russia’s regular troops and reserve forces have been deployed there to cross the Siverskiy Donets River, considered as a strategic defence line in Ukraine.

Mr Haidai said: “They are sustaining quite heavy losses.”

“Some battalions have been moved there to make up the numbers they need....They are not taking all their wounded with them. The hospitals are full to bursting as are the morgues,” he said.

“There is still a great deal of shelling in both Luhansk and Donetsk regions. They are shelling everything in their path.”

Officials in Kyiv have said that they now expect Mr Putin’s fighters to focus their efforts especially on the cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk in Donetsk, just a day after they took control of Lysychansk, the last bastion of Ukrainian resistance in Luhansk, Ukrainian.

04:17 , Arpan Rai

Good morning! Hello, Arpan Rai here, I’m taking over our rolling Ukraine coverage now.

Stay tuned as we bring you the latest updates.

Tuesday 5 July 2022 23:14 , Liam James

That will be all for The Independent’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine until tomorrow morning. Thanks for following, we will be back in a few hours.

Russian strikes hit Mykolaiv

Tuesday 5 July 2022 21:20 , Liam James

Russian rocket strikes hit the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych said.

The southern city on the main highway between Kherson and Odesa has been a target for Russian forces throughout the war. A report in The Economist said Ukrainian troops were preparing for a counter-offensive launched from Mykolaiv to take back Kherson from Russia.

After the strikes this morning, Mr Senkevych said on Telegram: “Residential buildings were again damaged by shelling.

“More than 200 windows were blown out by the blast wave and debris in seven high-rise buildings, entrance doors were damaged in entrances, and people had to cut locks in some apartments in order to get out.”

Mykolaiv mayor said this photo shows damage from today’s strikess (State Emergency Service of Ukraine)
Mykolaiv mayor said this photo shows damage from today’s strikess (State Emergency Service of Ukraine)

Finland and Sweden one step closer to Nato membership after accession protocol signed

Tuesday 5 July 2022 20:20 , Liam James

The Nato membership bids of Sweden and Finland have been sent for approval after the 30 member countries of the alliance signed accession protocols for the two Nordic countries (Holly Bancroft writes).

The protocol means that Finland and Sweden can now join in on Nato meetings and have greater access to intelligence. However they will not be protected by Nato’s defence clause, that an attack on one ally is an attack on all, until ratification.

“This is truly an historic moment,” Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said alongside the foreign ministers of the two countries. “With 32 nations around the table, we will be even stronger.”

The inclusion of Finland and Sweden is the most significant expansion of the defensive alliance since the 1990s.

Finland and Sweden one step closer to Nato membership after protocol signed

UK adds two more Russians to sanctions list

Tuesday 5 July 2022 19:40 , Liam James

Britain added two more Russians to its sanctions list today, subjecting them to an asset freeze and travel ban.

The sanctions list was updated to add Denis Gafner and Valeriya Kalabayeva – both of whom Britain said were involved in spreading disinformation and promoting Russian actions in Ukraine.

More than 1,000 Russian and Russian-linked individuals have been sanctioned by the UK since Vladimir Putin ordered his forces to invade Ukraine on 24 February.

Slovyansk under fire as Russian troops press forward

Tuesday 5 July 2022 19:10 , Liam James

The city of Slovyansk has come under heavy fire days after Russia took hold of territory nearby, the local mayor said.

Russia on Sunday declared victory over Lysychansk, a city some 30 miles west of Slovyansk that was the last Ukrainian stronghold in Luhansk region.

On Tuesday, Slovyansk mayor Vadim Lyakh said “massive shelling” pummeled his city and urged residents to evacuate or take cover in shelters. The city had a population of about 107,000 before Russia invaded Ukraine more than four months ago.

At least one person was killed and another seven wounded in shelling, Mr Lyakh said. He said the city’s central market and several districts came under attack, adding that authorities were assessing the extent of the damage.

The barrage targeting Slovyansk indicated that Russian forces were positioned to advance farther into Ukraine’s Donbas region, a mostly Russian-speaking industrial area where Moscow’s forces are concentrated.

Security forces halt motorists as smoke rises from the central market of Slovyansk after a strike on Tuesday (AFP/Getty)
Security forces halt motorists as smoke rises from the central market of Slovyansk after a strike on Tuesday (AFP/Getty)
Firefighters tackle a fire at the Slovyansk central market after shelling on Tuesday (Reuters)
Firefighters tackle a fire at the Slovyansk central market after shelling on Tuesday (Reuters)

Dozens of countries call for Russia and Belarus sports ban

Tuesday 5 July 2022 18:40 , Liam James

Dozens of international allies have called for Russia and Belarus to be suspended from international sport federations due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Sports organisations should also consider suspending the broadcasting of competitions in Russia and Belarus, a joint statement by sports ministers from 35 countries said.

Signatories included the US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and South Korea. China, India and states in Latin America and Africa were notably not listed as signatories.

The joint statement said that in cases where athletes from Russia and Belarus are permitted to compete, it should be made clear that they are not representing the Russian or Belarusian states. The use of official Russian and Belarusian flags, emblems and anthems should be prohibited.

In March, the US and its partners had said Russia and Belarus should not be permitted to host, bid for or be awarded any international sporting events.

Since the invasion of Ukraine in Februart, a number of sporting bodies have banned athletes representing Russia and Belarus, Moscow’s close ally. Fifa and Uefa suspended Russian teams and clubs from international football days after the invasion, while Belarus is not allowed to play home matches within its borders.

The below tweet shows the statement as released by the US State Department:

Irish prime minister to visit Ukraine tomorrow

Tuesday 5 July 2022 18:11 , Liam James

Irish prime minister Micheal Martin is due to travel to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv tomorrow for a number of engagements in the city.

The trip is on invitation from Volodymyr Zelensky and will be the first Irish state visit to Ukraine.

Simon Coveney, Irish foreign affairs minister, visited Kyiv in April and met with his counterparts, Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba and defence minister Oleksii Reznikov.

Ireland has taken in more than 36,000 Ukrainian refugees since the Russian invasion in February and has given millions of euros in humanitarian support and assistance to Ukraine, as well as health equipment and medical donations worth over €4.5m.

Mr Martin has also been a vocal advocate for Ukraine’s fast-tracked membership of the EU.

Russian Duma backs lengthy jail terms for foreign cooperation

Tuesday 5 July 2022 17:49 , Liam James

Russia’s parliament has backed a bill providing for jail terms of up to eight years on those found to cooperate in secret with international organisations, part of a package of new “crimes against state security”.

The Kremlin had already branded political opponents of Vladimir Putin “extremists” and shut them down and jailed their leaders. Many dissidents have fled into exile during the crackdown, which has intensified over the past two years. Russia’s most prominent human rights group was shut down this year for failing to properly register as a foreign agent.

Since sending troops into Ukraine in February, Moscow has further restricted dissent, including imposing jail terms of up to 15 years for reporting that diverges from official accounts of its “special military operation”. Virtually all independent media have since been shut.

The new package amendments to the criminal code, which passed its second of three readings in the State Duma lower house today, would impose a sentence of up to eight years for “confidential cooperation” with foreign organisations, or sharing information that could be used against Russia.

It introduces a maximum four-year term for “repeated public demonstration of symbols of Nazism and extremist organisations”.

Russians who take part in military action “contrary to the interests of the Russian Federation” could be jailed for up to 20 years.

Britain mulls bigger military after Russian invasion of Ukraine

Tuesday 5 July 2022 17:31 , Liam James

The UK defence secretary said he was considering increasing the number of Britain’s armed forces personnel in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Appearing before a parliamentary Defence Committee, Ben Wallace faced questions on the defence budget after Boris Johnson said it was likely to be raised to 2.5 per cent of GDP by the end of this decade.

Britain has consistently met Nato’s target of spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence, though the figure has dropped in the past decade and troop numbers have sharply declined in that period.

Mr Wallace last year announced that Britain’s army would be cut to 72,500 personnel by 2025, reversing a target of more than 80,000 set in 2015, and compared with more than 100,000 in 2010.

Before the committee today the defence secretary said: “I have made it perfectly clear that we took, before Russia invaded Ukraine, we took a decision that there would be a dip, sort of a sunset and sunrise, in capabilities.

He said “the threat has changed” so the capabilities the government needs to fund have changed.

“If the decision was to be made to increase the size of the army ... do not be surprised if it is not in the cavalry or the infantry. It is quite interesting how attached people are to platforms,” he told the committee.

He said the lesson of Ukraine was that more investment was needed in the areas of electronic warfare and air defence, which he described as “deeply inadequate”.

Hundreds of civilians detained for no reason in Russian-held areas – UN

Tuesday 5 July 2022 16:46 , Liam James

Hundreds of civilians have been detained without reason in parts of Ukraine held by Russian forces, the UN human rights chief said.

Arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances have become "widespread" in such areas, leading to several deaths, Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said.

“Despite restrictions on access, we have documented 270 cases of arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance. Eight of the victims were found dead,” Ms Bachelet told the Human Rights Council in Geneva in an update on the situation in Ukraine in the observed period from 24 February to 15 May.

In a speech at the same session, Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister Emine Dzhaparova accused Russia of kidnappings on a “massive” scale, including of Kherson’s mayor Ihor Kolykhayev, and called for the immediate and unconditional release of detainees.

Russia’s envoy to the council said Ms Bachelet’s report was part of a disinformation campaign against his country designed “to cover up the crimes of the Kyiv regime”. Moscow has denied deliberately attacking civilians since invading Ukraine.

‘I was born in war, I will die in war’: Trying to survive on Ukraine’s new front line

Tuesday 5 July 2022 16:10 , Holly Bancroft

Russia’s war has now arrived in the Donetsk city of Kramatorsk, as Moscow vows to push further into Ukrainian territory. Bel Trew meets some of those living there, for whom every day is a battle for survival

“Olena and her husband Nikolai were trying to bury an elderly neighbour when the sky cracked open, spitting shards of shrapnel that split open their teenage daughter’s head.

Nikolai, 52, was a little further up the hill in the Ukrainian frontline village, and still holding the neighbour’s body, which he used to shield himself from the worst of the blast. Cowering under a corpse, he could only watch powerless with horror as his wife and his child Anastasia, 15, were shredded by the Russian strike in their own back garden.

Their village in Donetsk is quite literally on the front line of the ferocious war that started with Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February. Located just a few metres into patchily held Ukrainian territory, it may soon be engulfed by Russian troops, who have pressed on with an advance into Donetsk after capturing the whole of the adjacent Luhansk region.

And so it is a hellish no man’s land, where villagers cower in their basements as the tug of war rages above them.

“I was screaming Anastasia’s name, I was screaming Anastasia’s dead,” Olena, 51, says in tears from her hospital bed in Kramatorsk, a city that is itself under attack, around 18 miles south of the village. Medics tending to her say she received severe wounds to her head, arms and legs in the bombing, which took place the day before the interview.”

Read the full story here:

Greece PM: The war in Ukraine should not embolden aggression by other nations

Tuesday 5 July 2022 15:45 , Associated Press

Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said Russia’s war in Ukraine is a “turning point” in the course of Europe, stressing that any type of outcome that could embolden aggression by other nations on the continent must be avoided.

Greece, whose disputes with far larger neighbour Turkey have brought the countries to the brink of war three times in the last half-century, has voiced strong support for Ukraine in its war against the Russian invasion.

“The battle of Ukraine is not just another event on the international scene. It is a turning point in the course of Europe,” Mr Mitsotakis said in a speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

“We owe it today to Ukraine to avert any type of fait accompli which could be imitated tomorrow by new potential trouble-makers.”

Mr Mitsotakis noted he was referring to “the constant aggressive behaviour of Turkey”, amid increasing strain between the two countries in the past two years.

Speaker in Russia’s parliament asks if they can scrap the maritime border with Norway

Tuesday 5 July 2022 15:10 , Holly Bancroft

The speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament asked a senior lawmaker on Tuesday to look into scrapping a treaty that establishes the country’s maritime border with NATO member Norway.

The treaty, which was signed in 2010, aimed to put an end to disputes between Russia and Norway in the Barents Sea, the part of the Arctic Ocean adjoining the northern coasts of Norway and Russia.

Responding to comments in parliament accusing Norway of blocking food deliveries destined for Russian-populated settlements on the Svalbard archipelago, State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin asked the head of the chamber’s international affairs committee to look into “denouncing” the treaty.

“Let’s ask Leonid Eduardovich Slutsky to look into this issue and then inform deputies,” he said.

Svalbard, located between Norway’s north coast and the North Pole, is part of Norway, but Russia has the right to exploit its natural resources under a 1920 treaty, and some of its settlements are populated mainly by Russians.

Norway denies that it is blocking access to Svalbard, arguing that it is only applying international sanctions in response to Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine, and that Russia has other ways to supply the settlements.

Reporting by Reuters

Finland and Sweden one step closer to Nato membership after accession protocol signed

Tuesday 5 July 2022 14:48 , Holly Bancroft

The Nato membership bids of Sweden and Finland have been sent for approval after the 30 member countries of the alliance signed accession protocols for the two Nordic countries.

The protocol means that Finland and Sweden can now join in on Nato meetings and have greater access to intelligence. However they will not be protected by Nato’s defence clause, that an attack on one ally is an attack on all, until ratification.

“This is truly an historic moment,” Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said alongside the foreign ministers of the two countries. “With 32 nations around the table, we will be even stronger.”

Read the full story here:

Finland and Sweden one step closer to Nato membership after protocol signed

Russian-backed parts of southern Ukraine to sell grain to Middle East countries

Tuesday 5 July 2022 14:35 , Holly Bancroft

Russia-backed authorities in parts of southern Ukraine have said they are going to start selling grain abroad, mainly to the Middle East, as part of a new trade agreement.

The planned deals include sales to Iraq, Iran and Saudia Arabia. The head of the Russian-installed administration in the region, Yevgeny Balitsky, reportedly said that there was a contract to supply 150,000 tonnes of grain to Iran.

Authorities in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine, which is partially under Russian control, said that they have now reached an agreement to ship grain abroad, Moscow’s state news agency Tass reported.

Ukraine has accused Russia of stealing its grain.

Read the full story here:

Russian-backed parts of southern Ukraine to sell grain to Middle East countries

Religion is ‘collateral damage’ in Russia’s war on Ukraine, Liz Truss says

Tuesday 5 July 2022 14:15 , Press Association

Liz Truss has said religion is “collateral damage” in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as she also called out the persecution of religious minorities in China and Afghanistan.

The Foreign Secretary addressed a UK Government-hosted international conference on freedom of religion or belief in London on Tuesday, at which faith leaders including the Archbishop of Canterbury called for the protection of people’s right to follow a religion.

Ms Truss said: “(Russian President) Vladimir Putin and his enablers claim that Russia is waging a holy war, but in truth they believe nothing is sacred.

“We are seeing growing evidence of heinous war crimes committed by Russian troops.

“Innocent civilians are having to shelter from Russia’s indiscriminate bombardment in places of worship. Churches, synagogues and mosques have been reduced to rubble.

“Religion is proving to be collateral damage from Putin’s aggression.”

Ms Truss told a Ukrainian delegation in the audience that “the UK will not rest until you prevail and until your people are free to live, believe and thrive”.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

UK PM Johnson: Ukraine can retake territory from Russia

Tuesday 5 July 2022 14:08 , Holly Bancroft

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told President Volodymyr Zelenskiy during a call on Tuesday he believed Ukraine‘s military could retake territory recently captured by Russian forces, a spokesperson for Mr Johnson’s office said.

Mr Johnson also updated Mr Zelensky on the latest British military equipment, including 10 self-propelled artillery systems and loitering munitions, which would be arriving in the coming days and weeks, the spokeswoman said.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Lavrov meets with leaders in Mongolia

Tuesday 5 July 2022 13:41 , Holly Bancroft

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov met with leaders in Mongolia on Tuesday during a trip to Asia to seek support amid his country’s diplomatic isolation by the West and punishing sanctions leveled over its invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Lavrov met with Mongolian foreign minister Battsetseg Batmunkh and paid a courtesy call on president Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh, Mongolian state media reported.

Mongolia is a landlocked nation sandwiched between Russia and China, and has sought to maintain friendly relations with both neighbors while also cultivating close ties with the U.S., whose relations with Moscow and Beijing have become increasingly fraught.

Mongolian and Russian state media gave no details of any specific discussions about the Ukraine conflict, while emphasizing strong bilateral relations.

The two sides have signed a series of trade agreements, and a pipeline carrying Russian natural gas to China is being built through Mongolian territory.

 (EPA)
(EPA)

Restrict Russia’s access to maritime transport - Ukraine’s foreign minister

Tuesday 5 July 2022 13:12 , Holly Bancroft

Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba has urged the international community to restrict Russia’s access to maritime transport in order to “deplete Putin’s war machine”.

In a statement on Twitter, Mr Kuleba said: “Russia’s export-oriented economy relies heavily on maritime transportation provided by foreign fleets.

“I urge partners: restrict Russia’s access to their services and deplete Putin’s war machine. After all, what Russia really exports to the world today is death, crisis, and lies.”

‘Ukraine is determined to fight back’ despite recent losses, Ukrainian MP says

Tuesday 5 July 2022 12:46 , Holly Bancroft

Leisa Vasylenko, a Ukrainian MP for the Holos party, has conceeded that Russia was making military gains in the war, telling Sky News: “They will continue making them until and unless they are stopped.”

Ms Vasylenko added: “But the fight is ongoing, definitely, and the fight will be ongoing for as long as Ukraine gets the military support and, of course, the financial support necessary to fight back Russia.”

She said that “there have been losses in the Ukrainian army,” adding: “These losses have been big, and there are huge numbers of prisoners of war at the moment.”

She said that the losses would give the Ukrainian military “resolve” so they can “fight back harder”.

She continued: “To avenge the lives that have been lost. And to get back to their comrades.”

Mayor of Sloviansk urges residents to evacuate

Tuesday 5 July 2022 12:31 , Holly Bancroft

The mayor of Sloviansk, a city in the Donetsk Oblast in eastern Ukraine, has urged his residents to evacuate.

“Sloviansk has already become a frontline, the nearest Russian positions are 7-10 km from the city,” Vadym Liakh said.

A shop worker carries away some goods from a destroyed store in a local market in Sloviansk (AFP via Getty Images)
A shop worker carries away some goods from a destroyed store in a local market in Sloviansk (AFP via Getty Images)
A resident walks among debris next to a destroyed house in Sloviansk (AFP via Getty Images)
A resident walks among debris next to a destroyed house in Sloviansk (AFP via Getty Images)

Zelensky has call with Boris Johnson

Tuesday 5 July 2022 12:17 , Holly Bancroft

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky has had another call with UK PM Boris Johnson, in which Mr Zelensky thanked the UK for its recent decision to provide £1billion in security aid.

In a statement on Twitter, Mr Zelensky said: “Held talks with Boris Johnson. Thanked for the unwavering support of Ukraine - the recent decision to provide £1 billion in security aid and today’s - £100 million.

“Talked about food security for the world and security guarantees for Ukraine. Grateful for UK’s willingness to host URC2023.”

Watch: Putin declares victory in Luhansk region after fall of Lysychansk

Tuesday 5 July 2022 12:00 , Holly Bancroft

Finland and Sweden sign Nato accession protocol

Tuesday 5 July 2022 11:49 , Holly Bancroft

The Nato membership bids of Sweden and Finland have been sent for approval after the 30 member countries signed accession protocols for the two Nordic countries.

The protocol means that Finland and Sweden can now join in on Nato meetings and have greater access to intelligence. However they will not be protected by Nato’s defence clause, that an attack on one ally is an attack on all, until ratification.

“This is truly an historic moment,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said alongside the foreign ministers of the two countries. “With 32 nations around the table, we will be even stronger.”

 (EPA)
(EPA)

Pictures show the aftermath of fighting in Lysychansk

Tuesday 5 July 2022 11:15 , Holly Bancroft

Russian forces have captured Lysychansk allowing the army to claim “substantive progress” in its invasion, the UK MoD said this morning.

Here are some photos which show the aftermath of fighting in Lysychansk:

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Russia plans to launch a railway link with Donbas, Russian media reports

Tuesday 5 July 2022 11:03 , Holly Bancroft

Russia plans to launch a railway link between its southern Rostov region and the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine, state news agency TASS reported on Tuesday, citing the Rostov region government.

Russia established full control of Luhansk region on Sunday and is fighting to drive Ukrainian government forces out of Donetsk.

FSB spy takes over the government of Moscow-occupied Kherson region - reports

Tuesday 5 July 2022 10:43 , Holly Bancroft

An FSB spy has taken over the government of the Moscow-occupied Kherson region in southern Ukraine, Kremlin-installed authorities have said.

Sergei Yeliseyev “became head of the government in the Kherson region”, head of the Russian occupational administration Vladimir Saldo said.

His government reportedly took office on Tuesday.

A former Ukrainian lawmaker who switched sides to Russia in the conflict, Alexei Kovalev, was appointed as Mr Yeliseyev’s deputy, according to the reports.

It comes after the Russian authorities in Kherson said that “Russia is here forever”.

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