Russian troops continue to storm the city of Siverodonetsk where heavy fighting is taking place, Ukraine’s military has said in its latest operational report.
According to Ukraine’s general staff of the armed forces, Ukrainian troops successfully countered and repulsed Russia’s offensive towards the towns of Nahirne, Berestov, Krynychne, and Rota.
Ukrainian helicopters also reportedly struck at clusters of enemy forces in the Kherson region, and planes – at ammunition depots in the Mykolayiv region.
“The enemy lost more than 20 people and up to 10 units of military equipment.,” the report added.
European Council president Charles Michel accused Russia of using food supplies as “a stealth missile against developing countries”, and blamed the Kremlin for the looming global food crisis, prompting Moscow’s UN ambassador to walk out of a security council meeting.
Michel addressed Russian ambassador Vassily Nebenzia directly at a council meeting on Monday, saying he saw millions of tons of grain and wheat stuck in containers and ships at the Ukrainian port of Odesa a few weeks ago “because of Russian warships in the Black Sea”.
He said Moscow’s attacks on Ukraine’s transport infrastructure and grain storage facilities, and its tanks, airstrikes and mines were preventing Ukraine from planting and harvesting.
“This is driving up food prices, pushing people into poverty and destabilising entire regions,” Michel said. “Russia is solely responsible for this looming food crisis. Russia alone.”
Michel accused Russian forces of stealing grain from areas in Ukraine that it has occupied “while shifting the blame of others,” calling this “cowardly” and “propaganda, pure and simple”.
Nebenzia walked out, giving Russia’s seat to another diplomat.
The Ukrainian government is working on legislation that would designate English as the language of business communication, Ukraine’s prime minister Denys Shmyhal has said.
“English is now used in business communication throughout the civilised world, so giving it such a status in Ukraine will promote business development, attract investment and accelerate Ukraine’s European integration,” Shmyhal wrote on the Telegram messaging app late on Monday, without detailing what the law would entail.
Ukrainian is the sole official language of the country. About a half of the population speaks mostly or only Ukrainian and some 30% speak mostly or only Russian, according to a 2019 survey by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology.
English proficiency has been improving in the country but Ukraine still trails some of its eastern European peers.
The United States and its allies will keep providing “significant” support to Ukraine out of respect for the legacy of D-Day soldiers, whose victory over the Nazis helped lead to a new world order and a “better peace,” Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said.
Milley, speaking on the 78th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Allied troops onto the beaches of France, said Russia’s war on Ukraine undermines the rules established by Allied countries after the end of World War II.
In an interview with the Associated Press, he said:
Countries cannot attack other countries with their military forces in acts of aggression unless it’s an act of pure self-defence.
But that’s not what’s happened here in Ukraine. What’s happened here is an open, unambiguous act of aggression.
It is widely considered to undermine the rules that these dead — here at Omaha Beach and at the cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer — have died for. They died for something. They died for that order to be put in place so that we would have a better peace.”
That’s why “the nations of Europe, the nations of Nato, are supporting Ukraine with lethal and nonlethal support in order to make sure that that rule set is underwritten and supported,” Milley added.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy also had kind words for the beleaguered Boris Johnson in his Monday night address, thanking the UK for providing precisely the weapons Kyiv says it needs to fight Russia.
Johnson, the Ukraine president said, had shown “complete understanding” of his country’s needs, a reaction to the British government’s decision Monday – made in coordination with the US – to supply Ukraine with multiple-launch rocket systems that can strike targets up to 80km (50 miles) away.
I am grateful to prime minister Boris Johnson for the complete understanding of our demands and preparedness to provide Ukraine with exactly the weapons that it so needs to protect the lives of our people.”
On Monday, the UK announced it would send a handful of tracked M270 multiple launch rocket systems, which can hit targets up to 50 miles away, in the hope they can disrupt the concentrated Russian artillery that has been pounding cities in eastern Ukraine.
Ben Wallace, the UK defence secretary, argued the decision to ship the rocket launchers was justified because “as Russia’s tactics change, so must our support to Ukraine”. The move risks further provoking an already irritated Kremlin.
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy says fighting has taken to the streets of the frontline eastern city of Sievierodonetsk while admitting that Russian forces have the numerical advantage.
In his latest national address, Zelenskiy insisted that Ukraine’s forces had “every chance” of fighting back and are “standing strong”.
Our heroes hold their positions in Severodonetsk. Fierce street fights continue in the city.
Lysychansk, Slovyansk, Bakhmut, Sviatohirya, Avdiivka, Kurakhove and other directions of Russian strikes are the hottest points of confrontation today.
The Russian army is trying to use additional forces in the Donbas direction, but it is the 103rd day – and the Ukrainian Donbas stands. It stands firmly.”
Speaking at a seperate briefing in Kyiv, Zelenskiy said Ukrainian forces defending Sievierodonetsk were “holding on” despite assaults by Russian troops, but that the situation on the eastern front was “difficult”.
The cities of Sievierodonetsk and its sister city of Lysychansk “are dead cities today”, he added.
Between 10,000 and 15,000 civilians are still in Sievierodonetsk, which has been shelled for weeks by Russian artillery, Zelenskiy said.
Zelenskiy said that peace talks with Russia stood at “level zero,” and in the meantime “the most threatening situation” has developed in the Zaporizhzhia region, parts of which have already been taken by Russia.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the war in Ukraine. I’m Samantha Lock and I will be bringing you all the latest news for the next few hours.
If you’re just waking up, or just dropping in to find the latest information, here’s a summary of the main points you might have missed:
- Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, admitted that Russian forces have the numerical advantage in the battle for the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, but insisted that Ukraine’s forces had “every chance” of fighting back. “Our heroes do not give up positions in Sievierodonetsk. In the city, fierce street fighting continues,” he said in his latest national address, adding “the Ukrainian Donbas stands strong.” Sievierodonetsk and its sister city of Lysychansk “are dead cities today,” Zelenskiy said.
- The Ukraine president also said he believed Russian troops intend to capture the city of Zaporizhzhia, a large industrial hub in the south-east of the country, which would allow its military to advance closer to central areas. “There are more of them, they are more powerful, but we have every chance to fight on this direction,” he said.
- Russia has begun handing over bodies of Ukrainian fighters killed at the Azovstal steelworks, the fortress-like plant in the destroyed city of Mariupol where their last-ditch stand became a symbol of resistance against Moscow’s invasion. Dozens of bodies have been transferred to Kyiv, where DNA testing is under way to identify the remains, according to both a military leader and a spokesperson for the Azov battalion.
- Russian officials in occupied Mariupol have shut down the southern port city for quarantine over a possible cholera outbreak, according to Ukrainian authorities. Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, said the Russian-occupied city is bracing itself for an epidemic as dead bodies and litter are piling up in the city.
- Sexual violence in Ukraine remains prevalent and underreported as Russia’s invasion is “turning into a human trafficking crisis” according to the UN. “Women and children fleeing the conflict are being targeted for trafficking and exploitation” Pramila Patten, the United Nations special representative on sexual violence, told a UN security council on Monday. “Sexual violence is the most consistently and massively under-reported violation.”
- The Ukrainian navy said it has pushed back a fleet of Russian warships more than 100km from its Black Sea coast. The group of Russian vessels were “forced to change tactics” after carrying out a naval blockade on Ukraine’s coast for weeks, the navy command of Ukraine’s armed forces said on Facebook. It has not been possible to independently verify this information.
- Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said Moscow would respond to western deliveries of long-range weapons to Ukraine by pushing back Kyiv’s forces further from Russia’s borders. Lavrov’s remarks come after Britain’s defence secretary, Ben Wallace, said the UK will send long-range rocket artillery to Ukraine, in the hope they can disrupt the concentrated Russian artillery that has been pounding cities in eastern Ukraine.
- Zelenskiy thanked the UK for providing precisely the weapons Kyiv says it needs to fight Russia. Boris Johnson, the Ukraine president said, had shown “complete understanding” of his country’s needs, a reaction to the British government’s decision Monday to supply Ukraine with multiple-launch rocket systems that can strike targets up to 80km (50 miles) away.
- Ukraine needs 60 multiple rocket launchers – many more than the handful promised so far by the UK and US – to have a chance of defeating Russia, according to an aide to the country’s presidency. Oleksiy Arestovych, a military adviser to the president’s chief of staff, told the Guardian that while he believed the rocket launchers were “a gamechanger weapon”, not enough had been committed to turn the tide in the war.
- The Kremlin has described a move by three eastern European countries to block Lavrov from flying to Serbia as a “hostile action”. Lavrov was due to hold talks in Belgrade on Monday with the Serbian president, Aleksandar Vučić, but was forced to cancel his visit after the countries around Serbia – Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro – closed their airspace to his aircraft.
- Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, said there were credible reports that Russia was “pilfering” Ukraine’s grain exports to sell for its own profit. Blinken said the alleged theft was part of broader Russian actions to export Ukraine’s wheat crop and worsen a global food security crisis. “Now, Russia is hoarding its food exports as well,” he said. Zelenskiy said there could be as many as 75m tonnes of grain stuck in Ukraine by autumn.
- European Council president Charles Michel accused Russia of using food supplies as “a stealth missile against developing countries” and blamed the Kremlin for the looming global food crisis. “This is driving up food prices, pushing people into poverty, and destabilising entire regions. Russia is solely responsible for this food crisis,” Michel told a council meeting on Monday, prompting Moscow’s UN ambassador to walk out.
- US authorities have charged the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich with exporting two planes of US origin to Russia without a licence. Prosecutors say both planes – a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner and a Gulfstream G650ER – were flown in March to Russia, in violation of US sanctions imposed on Moscow in response to its invasion of Ukraine.
- The families of Russian national guard members who have died in Ukraine and Syria will receive a one-time payment of 5m rubles (£65,000 or $80,000), according to a Kremlin decree.