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

Boris Johnson told Zelensky that Kyiv’s recent losses can be reversed

Arpan Rai,Liam James
Wednesday 06 July 2022 05:38
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'Third World War has already started', Ukraine defence minister claims

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”.

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Who will last longer in power, Johnson or Zelensky?

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?

Despite leading a country under invasion and being destroyed by a relentless war machine, Zelensky doesn’t have to contend with backbench Tory MPs, says David Harding

Arpan Rai6 July 2022 05:38
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Air alert sounded over entire Ukraine after days, says Zelensky

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.”

Arpan Rai6 July 2022 04:57
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Heavy shelling as battle for Donetsk rages: ‘Shelling everything in path'

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.

Arpan Rai6 July 2022 04:33
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Good morning! Hello, Arpan Rai here, I’m taking over our rolling Ukraine coverage now.

Stay tuned as we bring you the latest updates.

Arpan Rai6 July 2022 04:17
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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.

Liam James5 July 2022 23:14
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Russian strikes hit Mykolaiv

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

Liam James5 July 2022 21:20
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Finland and Sweden one step closer to Nato membership after accession protocol signed

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

‘This is truly an historic moment’, Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said

Liam James5 July 2022 20:20
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UK adds two more Russians to sanctions list

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.

Liam James5 July 2022 19:40
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Slovyansk under fire as Russian troops press forward

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

Firefighters tackle a fire at the Slovyansk central market after shelling on Tuesday

Liam James5 July 2022 19:10
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Dozens of countries call for Russia and Belarus sports ban

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:

Liam James5 July 2022 18:40

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