Russian forces in the Kharkov region have not engaged in active combat, the Ukrainian General Staff said in its latest update on the conflict.
Their main efforts were instead “focused on withdrawing troops from the city of Kharkiv, maintaining occupied positions and supply routes”.
In the southern port city of MariupolRussia continued to block the last remaining Ukrainian forces in the Azovstal steelworks, she said, and used “mass artillery and airstrikes”.
In the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk Ukrainian forces repelled ten Russian attacks and destroyed equipment, including five tanks, five artillery systems and six units of armored combat equipment, the general staff said.
“Very difficult negotiations” are underway on the next stage of the evacuations of Mariupol and the Azovstal steelworks, where the last Ukrainian defenders of the city are entrenched, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his last night speech.
We keep trying to save all our people from Mariupol and Azovstal. Currently, very difficult negotiations are underway on the next stage of the evacuation mission – the rescue of seriously injured doctors.
That’s a lot of people. Of course, we do everything to evacuate all the others, each of our defenders. All those in the world who can be the most influential mediators have already been involved in the relevant negotiations.
Russian forces stepped up their bombardment of steel mills, where many fighters were reportedly injured. Recent evacuees have described hellish conditions in the network of underground bunkers there.
Zelenskiy also warned that the war and Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports ’caused large-scale food crisis’.
Russian officials also openly threaten the world that there will be famine in dozens of countries. And what could be the consequences of such a famine? What political instability and migratory flows will this lead to? How much will you have to spend then to overcome the consequences?
These are the questions that must be answered by those delaying sanctions against Russia or trying to postpone aid to Ukraine.
His warning came as G7 foreign and agriculture ministers met in Germany to discuss ways to break the Russian blockade of grain exports.
Zelenskiy also claimed that Russia had lost nearly 27,000 soldiers, “many of them young conscripts”, and that Ukraine had shot down a 200th Russian military aircraft.
Russia had also “lost more than three thousand tanks, armored fighting vehicles, a large number of conventional military vehicles, helicopters, drones and all its prospects as a state”.
And why all this? For a monument to Lenin to stay a little longer in the temporarily occupied Henichesk? There is no other result for Russia and there will be none.
The Guardian is unable to verify Ukraine’s claims of Russian losses and Moscow has provided very few details.
Ukraine ‘probably won the battle for Kharkiv’the country’s second-largest city, the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest assessment of the conflict.
Ukrainian forces prevented Russian troops from encircling, let alone seizing Kharkiv, then driving them out of the city, as they did Russian forces attempting to seize kyiv.
Russian units had “generally not attempted to resist counterattacks by Ukrainian forces over the past few days, with a few exceptions”.
Reports from Western officials and a video from a Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) officer indicate that Moscow is focused on conducting an orderly withdrawal and prioritizing the return of Russians home before allowing forces through proxy to enter Russia rather than trying to maintain positions near the city.
The US-based think tank said Ukraine “would now likely attempt to disrupt land lines of communication (GLOC) between Belgorod [in Russia] and the Russian forces concentrated around [the Russian-occupied city of] Izyum, although Russia uses several GLOCs, some of which are farther from current Ukrainian positions than any Ukrainian counteroffensive is likely to reach soon.
Russian troops had “made no progress” with an attempted ground offensive from Izyum, he continued, adding: “We had previously speculated that Russia might abandon attempts to advance from Izyum. , but the Russians have not made such a decision or have not yet fully engaged.
In the meantime, he added, the main Russian effort was aimed at encircling the towns of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk in Luhansk.
Russian troops attacking from Popasna to the north have made no significant progress in the past 24 hours. Russian forces coming from north to south failed to cross the Siverskyi Donets River and suffered devastating casualties in their attempts.
The Russians may not have enough additional combat power to offset these losses and continue the offensive on a large enough scale to complete the encirclement, although they will likely continue to try to do so.
Other key takeaways included:
- Russian forces have likely secured the highway near the western entrance to the Azovstal steelworks, but fighting for the facility continues.
- Russian forces in Zaporizhia Oblast are likely trying to reach the artillery firing range outside the city of Zaporizhia.
- Ukrainian forces would attempt to regain control of Snake Island off the Romanian coast or at least disrupt Russia’s ability to use it.
As 8 a.m. approaches in Kyiv, here’s a roundup of the latest developments.
- Ukraine ‘probably won the battle for Kharkiv’, the country’s second-largest city, the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest assessment of the conflict. “Ukrainian forces prevented Russian troops from encircling, let alone seizing Kharkiv, then evicting them from the city, as they did Russian forces trying to seize kyiv” , said the US think tank.
- The Ukrainians also repelled multiple Russian attempts to cross a strategically important river in the Donbass, inflicting heavy casualties in the process, according to local officials and British intelligence. British defense intelligence said Russia had lost “significant armored maneuver elements” of a battalion battle group – a formation of around 800 men at full strength – following the failure of the attack. effort to cross the Siversky Donets River, 20 km west of Severodonetsk.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said “very difficult negotiations are underway” on the evacuation of seriously injured and medics from Mariupol and the city’s Azovstal steel plant, which the Russian forces continue to bombard. “Of course, we are doing everything to evacuate all the others, each of our defenders,” added the president.
- Russia will suspend electricity supply to Finland from 1 a.m. Saturday, the supplier said, RAO Nordic, said, amid growing tensions over Helsinki’s bid for NATO membership.
- This news came as US President Joe Biden has voiced his support for Finland and Sweden’s right “to decide their own futureforeign policy and security agreements” during a call with his Finnish counterpart, Sauli Niinistö, and Swedish Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson.
- The White House also said it was “working to clarify Turkey’s position” after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey would not welcome Sweden or Finland joining NATO. The comments appeared directed against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey considers a terrorist organization. Sweden has a large Kurdish diaspora.
- Earlier, Ukraine’s president reiterated an offer to hold direct talks with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in the Ukrainian president’s fullest public comments on the prospect of peace talks within weeks. “I am ready to talk to Putin, but only to him. Without any of its intermediaries. And within the framework of dialogue, not ultimatums,” he told Italian television RAI 1.
- A Russian soldier appeared in court charged with the murder of an unarmed man on a bicycle, at the start of the first war crime trial in Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion. Vadim Shysimarin, commander of the Kantemirovskaya tank division, is accused of the premeditated murder of a 62-year-old man. The case is due to resume on Wednesday.
- Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia will hold a referendum on joining Russia on July 17, announced the head of the region, Anatoly Bibilov. South Ossetia was at the center of the Russo-Georgian war in 2008, after which the Kremlin recognized the territory – along with another breakaway region, Abkhazia – as an independent state and stationed military bases there.
- Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said kyiv hopes to arm a million people as the country prepares for a ‘new and long phase of war’. He warned that “extremely difficult weeks are ahead” and that Ukraine needed “unity, cohesion, will and patience” during this difficult period.
- The UK has imposed sanctions on a dozen members of Vladimir Putin’s family and inner circle, including his longtime girlfriend. The Foreign Ministry has argued that the Russian president officially owns only modest assets and has sanctioned people who help support his lavish lifestyle.
- the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu, for the first time since before the invasion began, the Pentagon said. Austin “called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and stressed the importance of maintaining lines of communication,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said.
- The EU could agree on a phased embargo on Russian oil next week, despite worries about supplies in Eastern Europe, according to diplomats and officials. A senior EU diplomat told Reuters a deal could be reached as early as Monday when EU foreign ministers meet in Brussels. A third diplomat said there was a chance of reaching an agreement later in the week.
- The lawyer of the American professional basketball player Brittney Griner has said her pretrial detention has been extended for a month. The two-time Olympic medalist was arrested in February at Moscow airport, allegedly in possession of vaping cartridges containing cannabis-derived oil. If found guilty, she could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Here Helen Livingstone brings you all the latest news on the war in Ukraine.