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Ukraine news – live: Russia bombs Snake Island after Ukrainian troops raise flag

Moscow claims unspecified number of Ukrainian troops killed after symbol of defiance – but Ukraine reports no injuries

Arpan Rai,Liam James,Chiara Giordano
Thursday 07 July 2022 12:47
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Putin declares victory in Luhansk region after fall of Lysychansk

Russia claims a warplane struck Snake Island shortly after Ukrainian troops raised their national flag there in a symbol of defiance.

Russia’s defence ministry claimed missiles were fired on the island in the Black Sea early on Thursday and an unspecified number of Ukrainian troops were killed – but Ukraine said there had been no injuries.

It happened just after images emerged of the Armed Forces of Ukraine flying a Ukraine flag on the island.

Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said: “At about 5am, several Ukrainian servicemen landed on the island from a motor boat and took pictures with the flag.

“An aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces immediately launched a strike with high-precision missiles on Snake Island, as a result of which part of the Ukrainian military personnel was destroyed.”

Andriy Yermak, the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, earlier posted a video on Telegram of three soldiers raising a large Ukrainian flag on the island, from which Russian forces withdrew on 30 June after coming under heavy bombardment from Ukrainian artillery.

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Ukraine summons Turkish ambassador after Russian ship ‘full of stolen grain' leaves port

A Russian ship carrying “stolen Ukrainian grain” has been allowed to leave the Turkish port of Karasu, according to Ukraine’s foreign ministry which has summoned Turkey’s ambassador over the "unacceptable situation”.

"We regret that Russia's ship Zhibek Zholy, which was full of stolen Ukrainian grain, was allowed to leave Karasu port despite criminal evidence presented to the Turkish authorities," foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko wrote on Twitter.

"Türkiye’s Ambassador in Kyiv will be invited to Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to clarify this unacceptable situation."

Chiara Giordano7 July 2022 12:20
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Russia taking ‘operational pause’ ahead of renewed assault, say analysts

Russia may be temporarily easing its offensive in Ukraine as the country's military attempts to reassemble its forces for a renewed assault, analysts have said.

Russian forces made no claimed or assessed territorial gains in Ukraine on Wednesday "for the first time in 133 days of war", according to the Institute for the Study of War.

The think tank based in the US suggested Moscow may be taking an "operational pause" that did not entail "the complete cessation of active hostilities".

"Russian forces will likely confine themselves to relatively small-scale offensive actions as they attempt to set conditions for more significant offensive operations and rebuild the combat power needed to attempt those more ambitious undertakings," the institute said.

Shelling continued in the east of Ukraine, where at least nine civilians were killed and six wounded in 24 hours, Ukrainian officials said.

Ukraine's presidential office said in its Thursday morning update that cities and villages in seven Ukrainian regions had been shelled in the past day. Most of the civilian deaths occurred in Donetsk province, where fighting was ongoing. Seven civilians were killed there, including a child, the presidential office said.

Chiara Giordano7 July 2022 11:35
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Russia says missile strike hit and killed Ukrainian troops on Snake Island

Russia's defence ministry said a Russian warplane struck and killed an unspecified number of Ukrainian troops on Snake Island in the Black Sea this morning after they landed there to raise the Ukrainian flag.

"At about 5am, several Ukrainian servicemen landed on the island from a motor boat and took pictures with the flag,” Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

“An aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces immediately launched a strike with high-precision missiles on Snake Island, as a result of which part of the Ukrainian military personnel was destroyed.”

Andriy Yermak, the Ukrainian president's chief of staff, earlier posted a video on Telegram of three soldiers raising a large Ukrainian flag on the island, from which Russian forces withdrew on 30 June after coming under heavy bombardment from Ukrainian artillery.

Ukrainian service members install a national flag on Snake Island

The tiny island, captured by Russia from Ukraine at the start of the war in February, is strategically important because of its proximity to sea lanes close to Ukraine's port of Odesa.

Russia said it had pulled out from Snake Island last week as a "gesture of goodwill" to show it was not obstructing United Nations attempts to open a humanitarian corridor allowing grain to be shipped from Ukraine.

Ukraine said it had driven the Russian forces out after an artillery and missile assault.

Chiara Giordano7 July 2022 10:49
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Finland passes laws to strengthen security on Russian border

Finland’s parliament has voted in favour of legislation that would allow barriers on the country’s border with Russia and enable the closure of the 800-mile frontier from asylum seekers in case of “exceptional circumstances”.

Chiara Giordano7 July 2022 09:15
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Russia's war in Ukraine to overshadow G20 talks in Bali

Foreign ministers from the Group of 20 leading rich and developing nations are gathering in Indonesia’s resort island of Bali for talks bound to be dominated by the conflict in Ukraine despite an agenda focused on global cooperation and food and energy security.

The one-day gathering will take place on Friday on the mostly Hindu “island of the gods” in the majority Muslim archipelago nation.

Underscoring the backdrop of tensions hanging over the meeting, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Russia’s top diplomat Sergey Lavrov stopped in various Asian capitals on their way to Bali, drumming up support and fortifying their ties in the region ahead of the talks.

Russia's war in Ukraine to overshadow G20 talks in Bali

Foreign ministers from the Group of 20 leading rich and developing nations are gathering in Indonesia’s resort island of Bali for talks bound to be dominated by the conflict in Ukraine despite an agenda focused on global cooperation and food and energy security

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 July 2022 08:55
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Ukrainians cling to life at front line: 'We are patriots'

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'

As Russia's invasion of Ukraine grinds into its fifth month, some residents close to the front lines remain in shattered and nearly abandoned neighborhoods

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 July 2022 08:39
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Ukrainian MP calls on Boris Johnson successor to ‘do more’ for Kyiv in war against Russia

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

Lesia Vasylenko said the British PM had set a ‘high benchmark’ but support from London was more vital than ever for Ukraine’s war against Russia

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 July 2022 08:15
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Russia attends G20 meeting set to be dominated by Ukraine conflict

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.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 July 2022 07:55
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Russian grain ship leaves Turkish port -data

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.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 July 2022 07:41
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G20 meeting can't be business as usual due to Russia situation - senior U.S. official

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.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 July 2022 07:24

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