Russia-Ukraine war live: Bakhmut remains ‘epicentre’ of combat, Ukraine says; Brazil’s Lula ‘upset’ not to meet Zelenskiy at G7

Bakhmut remains ‘epicentre’ of combat, Ukraine’s armed forces say

Fighting is continuing in Bakhmut, Ukraine’s armed forces have said in their morning update after Russia claimed to have completed the “liberation” of the eastern city over the weekend. Confusion has reigned as Ukrainian officials rejected the claims.

“[In Bakhmut] the enemy continues to lead offensive actions. Fighting for the city of Bakhmut continues,” the armed forces said, adding that over the past day Russian forces had “unsuccessfully tried to recover lost positions south of the [nearby] settlement of Ivanivske”. Russia had also carried out air strikes on Bakhmut.

It has been impossible to verify the conflicting statements over the devastated city, which has assumed symbolic importance as a measure of which side has the resilience to prevail in the war overall.

Here’s our full report on the back-and-forth by Peter Beaumont and Julian Borger:

Key events

Volodymyr Zelenskiy stole the show at the G7 summit, Patrick Wintour writes in his analysis of the weekend, his whirlwind round of diplomacy the culmination of a Ukrainian realisation that for months they have been talking to wrong people.

Yes, it is essential to keep lines constantly open to Ukraine’s invested allies in the west, reaping the rewards such as Joe Biden’s decision finally to lift his veto on Ukrainian pilots training to fly US-made F-16 fighter aircraft, but the identification of the west with Ukraine’s cause is almost complete. Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, ended her remarks by saying “Slava Ukrajni – Glory to Europe”.

But Ukraine for months has known it is not telling its story clearly enough to the phalanx of 40 or so nonaligned states that have abstained at successive UN general assembly votes on the war. India, Brazil, China and as many as 20 African states have sat on the sidelines in the key votes.

Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant put on emergency power supply generators

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been switched to standby and emergency power supply generators, a Russia-installed local official in the Moscow-controlled part of the region says..

Vladimir Rogov said the plant was “completely” disconnected from external power supply after Ukraine disconnected a power line it controls, Reuters reports.

There was no immediate comment from Ukraine, but Anatoliy Kurtev, Zaporizhzhia city council’s secretary in Ukraine, said that work was ongoing since early Monday to restore power to the city.

“(The power) partially disappeared in Zaporizhzhia due to an emergency situation at one of the energy facilities,” Kurtev said on the Telegram messaging app.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

Explosions were heard in the city of Dnipro overnight as well as in Zaporizhzhia and Kharkiv, with a nationwide air raid alert activated at 3.48am, according to the Kyiv Independent. The city of Odesa was also reportedly hit by Russian combat drones late on Sunday.

In a Telegram post, the governor of Dnipro, Serhiy Lysak, said: “Thanks to the defence forces, we withstood the attack.”

He later said 15 drones and four cruise missiles had been shot down over the region, while eight people had been injured, including three taken to hospital. Dozens of vehicles were destroyed or damaged as well as nine apartment buildings, several private homes, shops, a kindergarten and administrative buildings, he said.

Ukraine’s armed forces have sent a series of photos from Bakhmut, which show some of the extent of the city’s destruction.

At the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, “I’ll tell you openly: photographs of ruined Hiroshima absolutely remind me of Bakhmut and other similar settlements. Nothing left alive, all the buildings ruined.”

A multi-storey building on fire in Bakhmut.
Photograph: Ukrainian armed forces/Reuters
Smoke rises over Bakhmut.
Photograph: Ukrainian armed forces/Reuters
A ruined multi-storey building on fire in Bakhmut.
Photograph: Ukrainian armed forces/Reuters
Ruined multi-storey buildings in Bakhmut.
Photograph: Ukrainian armed forces/Reuters
Smoke rises over Bakhmut.
Photograph: Ukrainian armed forces/Reuters

Bakhmut remains ‘epicentre’ of combat, Ukraine’s armed forces say

Fighting is continuing in Bakhmut, Ukraine’s armed forces have said in their morning update after Russia claimed to have completed the “liberation” of the eastern city over the weekend. Confusion has reigned as Ukrainian officials rejected the claims.

“[In Bakhmut] the enemy continues to lead offensive actions. Fighting for the city of Bakhmut continues,” the armed forces said, adding that over the past day Russian forces had “unsuccessfully tried to recover lost positions south of the [nearby] settlement of Ivanivske”. Russia had also carried out air strikes on Bakhmut.

It has been impossible to verify the conflicting statements over the devastated city, which has assumed symbolic importance as a measure of which side has the resilience to prevail in the war overall.

Here’s our full report on the back-and-forth by Peter Beaumont and Julian Borger:

Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has said he is “upset” that he and Volodymyr Zelenskiy did not meet at the G7 summit, adding his Ukrainian counterpart seemed uninterested in negotiating peace with Russia.

AFP reports:

Zelenskiy, who emerged from the summit in Hiroshima with fresh diplomatic support and pledges of more military aid, had sought a one-on-one meeting with Lula, who has faced accusations of being soft on Russia over its invasion.

Both leaders said scheduling conflicts had prevented them from meeting – which Zelenskiy quipped had likely left his Brazilian counterpart “disappointed”.

“I wasn’t disappointed. I was upset, because I’d like to meet him and discuss the matter,” Lula told a news conference before heading home from Japan.

But “Zelenskiy is a grown-up. He knows what he’s doing,” he added.

Lula said his team had scheduled a meeting with Zelenskiy for Sunday afternoon. But the Ukrainian leader ran late, and his own agenda was full after that, he said.

Lula said he did not see a point in meeting Zelenskiy now, saying neither he nor Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to want peace.

“For now, they’re both convinced they’re going to win the war,” he said.

Lula is pushing for peace talks and has proposed Brazil as a mediator, along with other “neutral” countries, including China and Indonesia.

But the veteran leftist faced criticism last month when he accused the United States of “encouraging” the war.

After the White House accused him of “parroting Russian and Chinese propaganda”, Lula toned down his rhetoric, saying Brazil condemned Russia’s invasion.

But he renewed his criticism Monday.

US president Joe Biden, he said, is sending the message that “Putin has to surrender and pay for everything he wrecked”.

“That message isn’t helping,” he said.

Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (centre in grey) with other G7 attendees at a wreath-laying ceremony in the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.
Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (centre in grey) with other G7 attendees at a wreath-laying ceremony in the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima. Photograph: Takashi Aoyama/EPA

Welcome summary

Hello, welcome to our live coverage of the war in Ukraine. I’m Helen Livingstone and I’ll be bringing you the latest.

Bakhmut and the nearby Donetsk city of Marinka remain the “epicentre” of the conflict, Ukraine’s armed forces have said in their morning update, a day after Russia claimed it had completed its “liberation” of the ruined city.

“[In Bakhmut] the enemy continues to lead offensive actions. Fighting for the city of Bakhmut continues,” the armed forces said, adding that over the past day Russia had “unsuccessfully tried to recover lost positions south of the [nearby] settlement of Ivanivske”.

Confusion has reigned over the situation in Bakhmut after the Russian claim, which cannot be verified independently. Ukrainian officials said they still had a foothold in the city and were encircling it, while Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said at a G7 summit in Hiroshima on Sunday: “Bakhmut is not occupied by Russian Federation as of today. There are no two or three interpretations of this.”

Here are other recent developments:

  • Zelenskiy secured fresh military aid from the US during a day of frantic diplomatic activity at the G7 summit. US president Joe Biden announced military assistance worth up to $375m (£300m) to Kyiv, telling Zelenskiy the US was doing everything possible to strengthen Ukraine’s defence. The package includes ammunition, artillery, armoured vehicles and training.

  • Biden told a press conference that he had received a “flat assurance” from Zelenskiy that he would not use western-provided F-16 fighter jets to go into Russian territory. Biden said F-16 warplanes could, however, be used “wherever Russian troops are within Ukraine and the area”. Biden told G7 leaders that Washington supports joint allied training programs for Ukrainian pilots on F-16s warplanes, although Kyiv has not won specific, public commitments for delivery of the fighter jets.

  • In a G7 speech, Zelenskiy said Kyiv’s plan to end Russia’s war in Ukraine was “an obvious expression of rationality”, and sought support for his “peace formula”. He thanked western leaders for achieving “a level of cooperation which ensures that democracy, international law, and freedom are respected”, but questioned: “Is this enough?”

  • Zelenskiy played down the fact he did not meet Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on the sidelines of the summit, saying it was likely because of scheduling. Lula has said Zelenskiy and Putin bear equal responsibility for the war and accused western powers of encouraging the conflict.

  • Russia’s foreign ministry dismissed the G7 summit in Japan as a “politicised” event which it said had pumped out anti-Russian and anti-Chinese statements. In a statement posted on Telegram, the Russian foreign ministry said the G7 had “irreversibly deteriorated” and that the forum had become “an ‘incubator’ where, under the leadership of the Anglo-Saxons, destructive initiatives that undermine global stability are prepared”.

  • Berlin police have opened an investigation into the suspected poisoning of two Russian journalists visiting the city for a conference last month organised by the Russian Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The probe comes after Russian investigative media group Agentsvo wrote that the two women had reported symptoms that pointed to possible poisoning around the time of the event at the end of April.

  • The head of Russia’s Security Council Nikolai Patrushev will hold talks on Monday with Chen Wenqing, member of the Chinese Communist party’s politburo who oversees police, legal affairs and intelligence, the Russian RIA state news reported. Patrushev, a former chief of the FSB internal security service, is widely seen as one of the most hawkish members of Putin’s inner circle.

source: theguardian.com