Ukraine news – live: Punishing Russia could ‘threaten humanity,’ says Putin’s predecessor

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Vladimir Putin’s predecessor has warned the US that any attempt by the West to punish Russia over its invasion of Ukraine risks endangering humanity.

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said attempts to use courts or tribunals to investigate Russia’s actions in would be futile and catastrophic.

Mr Medvedev, now deputy chair of the Russian security council, said on Telegram: “The idea of punishing a country that has one of the largest nuclear potentials is absurd. And potentially poses a threat to the existence of humanity.”

Russia and the US control about 90 per cent of the world’s nuclear warheads, with around 4,000 warheads each, according to the Federation of American Scientists. Relations between Russia and the West have not been so low since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Meanwhile, Mr Putin’s troops are moving towards Donetsk amid his plan to seize the entire Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, days after he declared a “major victory” in neighbouring region Luhansk.

Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai said the Russians are “shelling everything in their path”.

Key Points

  • Punishing Russia could risk nuclear war, Medvedev says

  • Heavy shelling as battle for Donetsk rages

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

  • Russia blocks oil pipeline to Europe citing ‘environmental concerns’

  • Lavrov touring Asia to drum up support for Russia

Ukrainians cling to life at front line: 'We are patriots'

08:39 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Viktor Lazar shares his war-side balcony with a pair of opera glasses and a tiny orange snake, his only companion in an apartment that seems to sit at the edge of the world.

The opera glasses, more of a joke, are hardly needed — the front line is visible without them. The rumbling of Russian and Ukrainian shelling is audible even now, although Lazar claims not to notice. Below his balcony is a crater, one of many. On the nearby street, a Grad rocket launcher rolls by.

Lazar estimates the Russians are just 10 kilometers (6 miles) away.

Ukrainians cling to life at front line: 'We are patriots'

Ukrainian MP calls on Boris Johnson successor to ‘do more’ for Kyiv in war against Russia

08:15 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A prominent Ukrainian opposition MP has called on the next UK prime minister to “do more” for Kyiv than Boris Johnson, as the British leader’s premiership looked close to ending in disgrace and the appointment of a new PM imminent.

Mr Johnson has been a vocal ally of Ukraine since its invasion by Russia in February and has visited President Zelensky in Kyiv on two occasions. His last visit came in June when he pledged British training for Ukrainian forces.

Ukrainian MP calls on Boris Johnson successor to ‘do more’ for Kyiv

Russia attends G20 meeting set to be dominated by Ukraine conflict

07:55 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has flown into Indonesia’s resort island of Bali for a meeting of G20 foreign ministers, which is set to be overshadowed by tensions triggered by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The G20 gathering runs until Friday in host country Indonesia, which this year has grappled with the balancing act of running a global summit buffeted by geopolitical pressures and a global food crisis blamed on the war.

There was tight security on Thursday in Bali’s Nusa Dua area, where the summit is being held, as foreign diplomats descended on the tropical island for the meeting.

Speaking ahead of her arrival in Bali, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Russia must not be allowed to use the G20 meeting as a platform given its war in Ukraine.

“It is in the interest of us all to ensure that international law is respected and adhered to. That is the common denominator,” Baerbock said in a statement.

The summit will see the first face-to-face meeting between President Vladimir Putin’s long-serving foreign minister Lavrov and some of Russia‘s biggest critics since the invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow has called a “special military operation”.

Lavrov had arrived in Bali and planned to meet some G20 counterparts on the sidelines of the summit, Russian news agency TASS reported, but ministers including Baerbock and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken have ruled out meeting Lavrov.

Russian grain ship leaves Turkish port -data

07:41 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A Russian-flagged cargo ship, the Zhibek Zholy, which was suspected of carrying stolen Ukrainian grain, left the Turkish northwest port of Karasu late on Wednesday, Refinitiv ship tracking data showed.

On Sunday, Ukraine‘s ambassador to Turkey said Turkish authorities had detained the ship. Reuters previously reported that Ukraine had asked Turkey to arrest the ship.

On Wednesday, Russia‘s foreign ministry dismissed as false reports of the ship’s detention by authorities.

Kyiv has accused Moscow of stealing grain from territories seized by Russian forces since their invasion began in late February.

The Kremlin, which calls the action a “special military operation” has previously denied that Russia has stolen any Ukrainian grain.

G20 meeting can't be business as usual due to Russia situation - senior U.S. official

07:24 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The G20 and the agenda of this week’s meeting of its foreign ministers in Bali is important but it cannot be business as usual due to the situation with Russia, a senior U.S. State Department official said on Thursday.

The United States wants to make sure that nothing from the G20 lends legitimacy to what Russia is doing in Ukraine, the official said, adding the meeting would be a good opportunity to drive the food security agenda forward.

The official said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken would hold a trilateral meeting with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts and that his meeting with China’s foreign minister was about managing their relationship responsibly.

Russia could back its invasion financially in Ukraine with new law, claims UK

07:04 , Arpan Rai

The Kremlin could use its latest law on special economic measures proposed on Tuesday to financially aid its invasion in Ukraine, the British defence ministry said on Thursday.

“On 5 July, a law proposed by the Russian government on 'special economic measures' passed its first reading in the Duma. The legislation is likely to be adopted and will give the authorities special powers over labour relations; the reactivation of mobilisation facilities; and to release assets from state reserves,” the MoD said in its latest intelligence update.

It added that the legislation is “likely an attempt by the Kremlin to put in place economic measures to support the 'special military operation' with a formal declaration of state mobilisation, which remains politically sensitive”.

It also allows Russia to avoid acknowleding it is engaged in a war or its failure to overcome Ukraine's military that was outnumbered and outgunned, the ministry said.

On the front line, the defence ministry confirmed heavy shelling along the Donetsk boundary on Wednesday, “but with few advances being made by Russia”.

Russian units involved in the last week’s gains are now likely re-constituting, it added.

71 million pushed into poverty since Ukraine war began, says UN

06:41 , Arpan Rai

At least 71 million more people across the globe have been pushed into poverty due to rising food and energy prices stirred by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the United Nations Development Programme said on Thursday.

Releasing the report, the UNDP said that its estimates show 51.6 million more people slipped into extreme poverty in the first three months after the war — March-May, and were forced to live off $1.90 (£1.50) a day or less.

Another 20 million touched the poverty line of $3.20 (£2.60) a day, the UNDP said.

Top UNDP official Achim Steiner said that the “cost of living impact is almost without precedent in a generation... and that is why it is so serious”.

Inflation pushed 71M people into poverty since Ukraine war

Russia to attend G20 meet today as war rages in Ukraine’s east

05:39 , Arpan Rai

Russia is set to participate in the two-day long G20 meeting starting today with ministers in Indonesia as the war plays out in Europe, intensifying in Ukraine’s east.

Moscow’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov will be participating alongside other G20 ministers and tensions from the Russian invasion are likely to overshadow the summit.

Russia’s presence has been objected to at the summit due to its role in Ukraine’s invasion.

The country “must not be allowed to use the G20 meeting as a platform given its war in Ukraine”, said German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock ahead of her arrival in Bali.

"It is in the interest of us all to ensure that international law is respected and adhered to. That is the common denominator," Ms Baerbock said in a statement.

Zelensky says fighting for entire south, Donbas: ‘Most brutal confrontation'

04:48 , Arpan Rai

Volodymyr Zelensky said his troops are fighting the ‘most brutal confrontation’ in the entire Ukrainian Donbas region as he shared the ground situation from the besieged country late on Wednesday.

“Ukrainian forces are currently advancing in several tactical directions, in particular in the south - in the Kherson region, in the Zaporizhzhia region. We will not give up our land - the entire sovereign territory of Ukraine will be Ukrainian. People should know it,” Mr Zelensky said.

He added: “Therefore, if you have an opportunity to speak with people in the south of our country - with Kherson, Henichesk, Berdyansk, Melitopol and other cities and villages - please spread the truth there. Use every opportunity to tell the people in the occupied areas that we remember them and we are fighting for them.”

Mr Zelensky said “we are fighting for our entire south, for the entire Ukrainian Donbas - the most brutal confrontation is currently there, near Slovyansk and Bakhmut”.

“We are fighting for the Kharkiv region. The occupiers should not think that their time on this land is long-lasting and that the superiority of their artillery is eternal,” he said.

Russia expands fleet in Black Sea: Ukrainian officials

04:35 , Arpan Rai

Russia has increased its presence by deploying additional units in the Black Sea, officials from the Ukrainian military said.

The amping up of naval presence by Moscow has been confirmed by Ukraine’s southern operational command, reported The Kyiv Independent.

Russia has deployed an additional five missile carriers, two submarines and one amphibious assault ship, the Ukrainian military said.

The general staff of Ukraine's armed forces, in its war update early on Thursday, said: "In the waters of the Black and Azov seas, the enemy keeps four ‘Calibre’ sea-based cruise missile carriers in readiness for launching missile strikes on infrastructure facilities on the territory of Ukraine".

Weapons from west ‘working powerfully’, says Zelensky

04:25 , Arpan Rai

The artillery received from western nations to aid Ukraine in the ongoing Russian invasion has “started working powerfully”, Volodymyr Zelensky said late on Wednesday.

“Finally it is felt that the western artillery - the weapons we received from our partners - started working very powerfully. Its accuracy is exactly as needed. Our defenders inflict very noticeable strikes on depots and other spots that are important for the logistics of the occupiers,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly address.

He added that the bonus military prowess has helped Ukrainian fighters “significantly reduces the offensive potential of the Russian army”.

The losses of the occupiers will only increase every week, as will the difficulty of supplying them, Mr Zelensky added.

He also detailed the losses in the besieged country in the past 24 hours.

“Today in Kharkiv, the Pedagogical University was destroyed by a Russian missile strike - the main building, lecture halls, university museum, scientific library. This characterises the Russian invasion with 100 per cent accuracy,” he said.

Mr Zelensky said that when it comes to the “definition of barbarism, this strike fits the bill the most”.

“Only an enemy of civilisation and humanity can do such things - strike missiles at a university, a pedagogical university,” he said.

Russia says Japan has ‘unfriendly’ stance toward Moscow

03:20 , Liam James

Japan has taken an “unfriendly” position toward Russia which does not help to develop ties in either trade and economy or the energy sector, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

The east asian island nation has joined its Western allies in slapping sweeping economic sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine. Moscow has also been annoyed by reports that Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida has proposed capping the price of Russian oil at around half its current level.

“Japan is taking a very unfriendly position towards Russia. In any case, such an unfriendly stance does not help to facilitate relations on trade and the economy, including the energy dialogue,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“We discussed Mr Kishida’s proposal yesterday and have said that this is only an initiative announced, there were no consolidated decisions taken,” Peskov said. “It is doubtful whether such decisions could be taken, frankly speaking.”

Commenting on Kishida’s reported comments, Russia‘s former president Dmitry Medvedev warned on Tuesday that global oil prices might exceed $300-$400 (£250-£335) per barrel if the price cap proposals were implemented.

Scholz says Germany must speed up green transition due to Ukraine war

02:20 , Liam James

Germany must implement the transition to green energy faster because of Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday, adding that Russia was using energy as a political weapon.

“Energy policy is not just a question of price. Energy policy is also security policy,” Mr Scholz said at an event hosted by the Renewable Energy Association.

“That’s why we now have to turbo charge the expansion of renewable energy,” he said.

Germany has agreed with other EU countries to ban imports of Russian oil from December, with a ban on petroleum following on 5 February 2023. Last month Russia closed the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline to Germany for scheduled maintenance works but Berlin fears Moscow will not turn the pump back on.

Russia blocks oil pipeline to Europe citing ‘environmental concerns’

Thursday 7 July 2022 00:20 , Liam James

A court in Russia ordered a pipeline bringing oil from Kazakhstan to Europe halted for 30 days for what it said were environmental violations, Russian media reported.

The ruling by a court in Russia’s southern city of Novorossiysk cited the results of a recent inspection of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium.

Kazakh leader Kassym-Jomart Tokayev told EU Council President Charles Michel on Tuesday that Kazakhstan “is ready to use its hydrocarbon potential in order to stabilise the situation on the world and European markets”.

European Union countries are moving away from Russian gas in response to the war in Ukraine but officials fear that Moscow will cut off supplies before replacement sources are found.

Russia has already cut supplies on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline serving Germany and France and has reduced the flow of gas to other countries including Italy and Poland.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday called for emergency plans to prepare for a complete cut-off by Moscow.

Ukraine thwarting Russian advance into Donetsk, officials claim

Wednesday 6 July 2022 23:20 , Liam James

Ukraine has so far thwarted an attempted Russian advance into the north of its Donetsk region, but the city of Slovyansk and other populated areas there were being pounded by artillery and missiles, Ukrainian officials said on Wednesday.

Russia and separatist proxies were already in control of the southern part of Donetsk province when they largely completed the seizure of the neighbouring Luhansk region on Sunday with the capture of Lysychansk, much of which now lies in ruins.

Moscow says fully pushing the Ukrainian military out of both regions is central to what it calls its “special military operation” to ensure its own security, a more than four-month-long offensive that the West calls an unprovoked war.

Donetsk and Luhansk provinces comprise the Donbas, the eastern, heavily industrial region of Ukraine that has become the biggest battlefield in Europe for generations and over which Russia wants to wrest control for separatists it supports.

Ukrainian officials reported heavy fighting as Russian forces tried to push southwards into Donetsk from Luhansk and towards Sloviansk.

“We are holding back the enemy on the [Luhansk/Donetsk[ border,” Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai told Ukrainian TV.

He said Russian regular and reserve forces had been sent there in an apparent effort to cross the Siverskiy Donets river and that two small settlements just inside Luhansk’s boundary witnessed fierce fighting.

Reuters

Biden speaks with American sports star detained in Russia

Wednesday 6 July 2022 22:20 , Liam James

Joe Biden spoke today with the wife of a US basketball player who is detained in Russia, the White House said.

Brittney Griner, the 31-year-old WNBA star who was arrested in Moscow four months ago, is facing a 10 year prison term in Russia on charges including intentionally transporting narcotics.

After a call today to her wife from the president and Vice President Kamala Harris, the White House said: “The president called Cherelle [Griner] to reassure her that he is working to secure Brittney’s release as soon as possible, as well as the release of Paul Whelan and other US nationals who are wrongfully detained or held hostage in Russia and around the world.”

The White House earlier said that freeing the detained sports star was a priority for the president.

Enduring Russian campaign ‘challenging’ but West won’t change tack

Wednesday 6 July 2022 21:20 , Liam James

Western officials have said the sustainability of Russia’s attacks on Ukraine is “challenging” but described the impact on their munitions and morale as “remarkable”.

The capture of Lysychansk over the weekend meant Russia had made “genuine headway” on the objective it claimed was the rationale for the invasion – the supposed liberation of the Donbas, officials told the PA News Agency.

But one official said it “remains highly uncertain whether Russia will secure the limits of Donetsk Oblast this year”.

They also said there has been “better cooperation” amongst Russian forces in the south after General of the Army Sergey Surovikin took over command of the southern group of forces.

One official said: “Russia has made some significant command changes in recent weeks.

“Notably General of the Army Sergey Surovikin has taken over command of the southern group of forces, which is overseeing the occupation of southern Ukraine and the advances on the Donbas from the south.

“He’s a controversial figure even by the standards of Russian general officers.

“It is unclear whether it’s his influence which has led to the recent successes around Lysychansk, but certainly there’s been better cooperation amongst groups of forces on the Russian side than we saw in the earlier phases of the war.”

An official said Russia’s tactical success in the Donbas region “does not mean that we have changed our position”.

Mystery as fifth Russian Gazprom-linked executive found dead in his swimming pool #ICYMI

Wednesday 6 July 2022 20:40 , Liam James

Another top Russian executive linked to energy giant Gazprom has been found dead at his mansion, local media has reported.

Yury Voronov, the head of a logistics company that held lucrative contracts with Gazprom, was found dead in a swimming pool at his home in a luxury suburb near St Petersburg.

He reportedly died of a gunshot wound to the head. Mr Voronov was the founder and CEO of the transport and logistics company Astra-Shipping, which worked with Gazprom in the Arctic.

According to Russian media outlet 47news, a grand power pistol was found near the swimming pool and there were several shell casings at the bottom. He was found at around 2pm on Monday.

Mr Voronov’s widow allegedly told the police that her husband had been drinking heavily recently due to a falling out with his contractors and business partners.

His death is at least the sixth linked to the Russian gas industry in recent months.

Mystery as fifth Russian Gazprom-linked executive found dead in his swimming pool

UN report finds world hunger soared even before Ukraine war

Wednesday 6 July 2022 19:50 , Liam James

A new report from the UN found world hunger rose last year and is expected to rise further as the war in Ukraine cuts off vital grain supplies and sends food prices soaring.

Around 2.3 billion people faced moderate or severe difficulty obtaining enough to eat in 2021, with the number facing severe food insecurity rising to about 924 million, the UN report said.

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World paints a grim picture, saying the statistics “should dispel any lingering doubts that the world is moving backwards in its efforts to end hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms.”

“The most recent evidence available suggests that the number of people unable to afford a healthy diet around the world rose by 112 million to almost 3.1 billion, reflecting the impacts of rising consumer food prices during the pandemic,” the heads of five UN agencies that published the report said in the forward.

They warned that the war in Ukraine “is disrupting supply chains and further affecting prices of grain, fertiliser and energy” resulting in more price increases in the first half of 2022. At the same time, they said, more frequent and extreme climate events were also disrupting supply chains, especially in low-income countries.

Lavrov in Vietnam to strengthen ties during Asian trip

Wednesday 6 July 2022 19:10 , Liam James

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov visited Vietnam today as part of an effort to bolster ties with a country that has not openly condemned Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine or brought sanctions in response to it.

Mr Lavrov, on his way to the Indonesian island of Bali for a meeting of the G2, sought to strengthen ties with Vietnam, which also has a strong relationship with the United States.

“I expressed my appreciation for the very balanced objective position of Vietnam which is demonstrated by the refusal of this country to join the illegal sanctions,” he said at a news conference after meeting his Vietnamese counterpart, Bui Thanh Son.

Commenting on the situation in Ukraine, Mr Lavrov said the West should realise its responsibility for the deaths of civilians in the regions where Ukraine is using Western weapons.

The foreign minister is currently on a trip to Asia to seek support while his country continues to be shunned by the West. He visited Mongolia a day before arriving in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. Mongolia also retains ties with Moscow but has burgeoning relations with Washington.

Ukrainian MP calls on Boris Johnson successor to ‘do more' for Kyiv in war against Russia

Wednesday 6 July 2022 18:30 , Liam James

A prominent Ukrainian opposition MP has called on the next UK prime minister to “do more” for Kyiv than Boris Johnson, as the British leader’s premiership looked closed to ending in disgrace and the appointment of a new PM imminent (Bel Trew writes in Dnipro).

Mr Johnson has been a vocal ally of Ukraine since its invasion by Russia in February and has visited President Zelensky in Kyiv on two occasions. His last visit came in June where he pledged British training for Ukrainian forces.

The Ukrainian president has called Mr Johnson “our country’s great friend”, and there are fears in Kyiv that once he is gone, the next British leader will be less enthusiastic about the war in Ukraine at a time when the UK faces many of its own severe challenges from a faltering economy to a deepening cost of living crisis.

Ukrainian MP calls on Boris Johnson successor to “do more” for Kyiv

Mariupol port working ‘at full capacity’, Russia claims

Wednesday 6 July 2022 17:45 , Liam James

The port of Mariupol in Russian-controlled territory of Ukraine is operating at full capacity, Russia’s state-owned Tass news agency reports, citing port officials.

Russia captured Mariupol on Ukraine‘s southern coast in May after months of fierce fighting for control of the city.

Yesterday, Russian-backed separatists seized two foreign-flagged ships in Mariupol, saying they were now “state property”, in the first such moves against commercial shipping.

Liberia registered Smarta Shipping, the owner of the Liberia-flagged Smarta bulk vessel, one of the two vessels taken, said it was informed of the seizure by email on June 30, calling it unlawful and “against all norms of international law”.

“Such forced appropriation is in breach of fundamental human rights in so far as property rights are concerned,” the company said in a statement.

The company said the Smarta arrived in Mariupol on 21 February to load a steel cargo and was hit by shelling on 20 March that seriously damaged its bridge.

Over 80 foreign-flagged ships remain stuck in Ukrainian ports, IMO data showed. Some of those terminals remain under Russian control. The International Maritime Organisation said it was “aware of at least one ship departing from Mariupol, however little else has changed.”

EU chief urges emergency plans for Russian gas cut-off

Wednesday 6 July 2022 17:05 , Liam James

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the European Union needs to make emergency plans to prepare for a complete cut-off of Russian gas in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

The EU has already imposed sanctions on Russia, including on some energy supplies, and is trying to find other sources.

But Ms von der Leyen said the bloc needed to be ready for shock disruptions coming from Moscow.

Russia blocks oil pipeline to Europe citing ‘environmental concerns’

Wednesday 6 July 2022 16:33 , Liam James

A court in Russia ordered a pipeline bringing oil from Kazakhstan to Europe halted for 30 days for what it said were environmental violations, Russian media reported.

The ruling by a court in Russia’s southern city of Novorossiysk cited the results of a recent inspection of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium.

Kazakh leader Kassym-Jomart Tokayev told EU Council President Charles Michel on Tuesday that Kazakhstan “is ready to use its hydrocarbon potential in order to stabilise the situation on the world and European markets”.

European Union countries are moving away from Russian gas in response to the war in Ukraine but officials fear that Moscow will cut off supplies before replacement sources are found.

Russia has already cut supplies on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline serving Germany and France and has reduced the flow of gas to other countries including Italy and Poland.

Russia ‘kills eight civilians in Ukraine over past 24 hours'

Wednesday 6 July 2022 16:00 , Associated Press

Russian shelling has killed at least eight civilians in Ukraine over the past 24 hours and wounded 25 more, Ukrainian officials said.

Meanwhile, Pro-Russia separatists said attacks by Ukrainian forces have killed four civilians.

The Ukrainian presidential office said Russian forces targeted cities and villages in the country’s south-east, with most civilian casualties occurring in Donetsk province, where Russia has stepped up its offensive in recent days.

Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said in a Telegram post that two people died in the city of Avdiivka, which is located in the centre of the province, and the Donetsk cities of Sloviansk, Krasnohorivka and Kurakhove each reported one civilian killed.

“Every crime will be punished,” he wrote.

Mr Kyrylenko urged the province’s more than 350,000 remaining residents to flee late on Tuesday, saying that evacuating Donetsk is necessary to save lives and allow the Ukrainian army to put up a better defence against the Russian advance.

Reporting by Associated Press

Russia 'should not be allowed to use G20 meeting as platform’

Wednesday 6 July 2022 15:30 , Lamiat Sabin

Russia must not be allowed to use the G20 meeting this week as a platform given its war in Ukraine, German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said.

Annalena Baerbock (AP)
Annalena Baerbock (AP)

“It is in the interest of us all to ensure that international law is respected and adhered to. That is the common denominator,” said Ms Baerbock in a statement ahead of her trip to Indonesia – where the G20 meeting will be held.

“And it is also the reason why we will not simply stand aside and allow Russia to use the meeting as a platform.”

EU considering using frozen Russian assets to rebuild Ukraine

Wednesday 6 July 2022 15:05 , Lamiat Sabin

The European Commission is looking into the possibility of using frozen Russian assets – including those of oligarchs – to rebuild Ukraine.

The Commission’s president Ursula von der Leyen said at a press conference in Strasbourg: “I think it is a matter of justice to consider this issue.

“We are working on the legal framework so that the assets of Russia and partly the assets of oligarchs can be used to restore Ukraine.”

Punishing Russia could risk nuclear war, Medvedev says

Wednesday 6 July 2022 14:30 , Lamiat Sabin

Vladimir Putin’s predecessor has warned the US that any attempt by the West to punish Russia risked endangering humanity.

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said attempts to use courts or tribunals to investigate Russia’s actions in Ukraine would be futile.

File photo of Dmitry Medvedev [R] shaking hands with Vladimir Putin (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
File photo of Dmitry Medvedev [R] shaking hands with Vladimir Putin (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Medvedev, the deputy chairman of the Russian security council, said on Telegram: “The idea of punishing a country that has one of the largest nuclear potentials is absurd. And potentially poses a threat to the existence of humanity.”

Russia and the US control about 90 per cent of the world’s nuclear warheads, with around 4,000 warheads each in their military stockpiles, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has triggered the most serious nuclear fears in relations between Russia and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Austria to dispute EU gas ‘greenwashing’ amid Ukraine war

Wednesday 6 July 2022 14:00 , Reuters

Austria will bring a legal complaint against the European Union’s decision to classify gas and nuclear energy as green and sustainable transitional energy sources, its climate protection minister said.

Leonore Gewessler said in a statement: “Especially with the war waging in Ukraine, we can’t have a greenwashing programme for investment in nuclear power and fossil gas.

“Nuclear energy and natural gas do not contribute to climate protection.”

On Tuesday, the European Parliament declined to block the European Commission’s so-called energy taxonomy decision.

“As soon as this greenwashing programme comes into force, Austria will lodge its already-prepared complaint against it with the European Court,” she said, adding that Austria would seek to recruit other member states as allies in its legal action.

Reporting by Reuters

Ukraine says its grain harvest ‘not bad given the difficulties’

Wednesday 6 July 2022 13:30 , Lamiat Sabin

Ukraine expects a grain harvest of at least 50 million tonnes this year.

Ukrainian farmers mix barley and wheat after harvest in the Odesa area of Ukraine (EPA)
Ukrainian farmers mix barley and wheat after harvest in the Odesa area of Ukraine (EPA)

This amount is “not bad given all the difficulties,” Ukrainian deputy agriculture minister Taras Vysotskiy said.

Ukraine, a major global grain exporter, harvested a record 86m tonnes of grain in 2021.

Russia says Japan has ‘unfriendly’ stance toward Moscow

Wednesday 6 July 2022 13:00 , Lamiat Sabin

Japan has taken an “unfriendly” position toward Russia which does not help to develop ties in either trade and economy or the energy sector, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Asked about comments by Japanese PM Fumio Kishida on capping the price of Russian oil at around half its current level, Peskov said Tokyo was taking a “very unfriendly” position toward Moscow.

Russia says Griner can appeal any drug charge sentence

Wednesday 6 July 2022 12:30 , Lamiat Sabin

Russia’s foreign ministry said that detained US basketball player Brittney Griner may appeal her sentence or apply for clemency once a verdict has been delivered.

Two-time Olympic gold medallist Ms Griner was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on 17 February – just days before Russia invaded Ukraine – on drug charges.

Brittney Griner (AP)
Brittney Griner (AP)

She has been accused of having cannabis-infused vaping cartridges in her baggage. In May, the US State Department designated her as “wrongfully detained”.

Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Alexei Zaitsev said: “Attempts to present the case as though the American woman was illegally detained do not stand up to criticism.”

Russian cosmonauts pose with LPR flag while on ISS

Wednesday 6 July 2022 12:00 , Lamiat Sabin

Russian spacemen have displayed the flag of the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) while on the International Space Station (ISS).

Russia’s space agency Roscosmos has published photos showing Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveyev and Sergey Korsakov appear to be holding the flags of the two Moscow-backed separatist-controlled territories.

In response to the displaying of the LPR flag, Kyiv city council member Kseniia Semenova called on space authorities to “react” to the “outrageous act of neglecting international law.”

The occupiers of LPR and the neighbouring Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) are only recognised as legitimate by Russia and Syria among the UN member states.

The message accompanying the pictures published by Roscosmos says: “Liberation Day of the Luhansk People’s Republic! We celebrate both on Earth and in space.”

This recent move by the three cosmonauts sharply contrasts with them having previously worn blue and yellow spacesuits, in what was thought to be a show of support for Ukraine amid the Russian invasion – which Moscow dismissed as false.

Russia denies reports that Turkey seized ‘ship of stolen grain’

Wednesday 6 July 2022 11:34 , Lamiat Sabin

Moscow has rejected reports that a Russian-flagged cargo ship was detained in Turkey on suspicion of transporting stolen grain from Ukraine.

The Russian foreign ministry said that the reports about cargo ship Zhibek Zholy being seized in the Turkish port Karasu are false.

Foreign ministry spokesman Alexei Zaitsev said the vessel was “undergoing standard procedures”.

It comes after Ukraine‘s ambassador to Turkey said on Sunday that Turkish authorities had detained the ship.

At least five civilians killed in Donetsk over past 24 hours

Wednesday 6 July 2022 11:00 , Lamiat Sabin

Russian shelling has reportedly killed at least five civilians over the past 24 hours and wounded 21 in the eastern Donetsk province, where Russia has stepped up its assault over recent days.

Donetsk governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said in a Telegram post this morning that two people were killed in Avdiivka, one in Sloviansk, one in Krasnohorivka, and one in Kurakhove.

Fire burns at a shopping mall after it was struck by a missile on July 03, 2022 in Sloviansk (Getty Images)
Fire burns at a shopping mall after it was struck by a missile on July 03, 2022 in Sloviansk (Getty Images)

He wrote: “Every crime will be punished.”On Tuesday, Mr Kyrylenko urged 350,000 residents of the area to leave, saying that an evacuation of Donetsk is necessary.

Russian invasion ‘kills and injures 1,000 Ukrainian children’

Wednesday 6 July 2022 10:30 , Lamiat Sabin

About 1,000 Ukrainian children have reportedly died or been wounded amid the Russian invasion of their country.

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office said 346 children were killed and more than 645 have been injured.

It said: “As of the morning of July 6, 2022, over 991 children suffered in Ukraine as a result of the full-scale armed aggression of Russia.

“According to official information from juvenile prosecutors, some 346 children were killed and more than 645 were wounded.

“Children in Donetsk region suffered the most, namely 346 children, while 186 in Kharkiv; some 116 in Kyiv; some 68 in Chernihiv; some 61 in Luhansk; some 53 in Mykolaiv; some 52 in Kherson; some 31 in Zaporizhia.”

According to the figures, 2,108 schools have been damaged and 215 were completely destroyed by Russian troops.

EU ‘needs to make urgent preparations for Russian gas cut-off'

Wednesday 6 July 2022 10:00 , Lamiat Sabin

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen that the EU needs to make emergency plans to prepare for a complete cut-off of Russian gas.

Ursula von der Leyen delivering her speech in Strasbourg (AP)
Ursula von der Leyen delivering her speech in Strasbourg (AP)

The EU has already imposed sanctions on Russia, including on some energy supplies.

Ms von der Leyen told the European Parliament in Strasbourg: “We also need to prepare now for further disruption of gas supply and even a complete cut-off of Russian gas supply.”

Two people die in shelling of Sloviansk in Donetsk region

Wednesday 6 July 2022 09:30 , Lamiat Sabin

The death toll resulting from shelling in the Ukrainian city of Sloviansk has risen to two, according to mayor Vadym Liakh.

Seven people have been wounded by the attacks by Russian forces on Tuesday, he said.

Mr Liakh said on Facebook: “According to the results of yesterday’s shelling, we have two dead and seven wounded.

“In total, since the beginning of large-scale hostilities, some 17 people have died and 67 people have been wounded in the community.”

The city is in the Kramatorsk district of the Donetsk region of Ukraine.

The British Ministry of Defence has warned that “there is a realistic possibility that the battle for Sloviansk will be the next key contest in the struggle for the Donbas”.

Russia ‘loses 36,500 troops’ amid invasion of Ukraine

Wednesday 6 July 2022 09:00 , Lamiat Sabin

Russia has lost 36,500 military personnel, 1,600 tanks, and 3,789 armoured combat vehicles since February – according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

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

Wednesday 6 July 2022 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.”

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