Russia-Ukraine war live: missiles launched at Kyiv overnight; Japan announces new sanctions against Moscow

Key events

The European Union agreed on Thursday to suspend restrictions on imports from Ukraine for a further year after warding off an import ban imposed by some EU nations amid farmer protests over low prices, Reuters reports.

Zelenskiy thanked the EU for the extension and pledged to work towards meeting the union’s standards required to secure membership of the 27-nation bloc.

The Council of the EU, the grouping of EU governments, said in a tweet that EU ministers responsible for trade had agreed to the extension at a meeting on Thursday.

The European Union lifted tariffs and other restrictions for an initial 12 months in June 2022.

German Chancellor plans to speak to Putin ‘in due course’

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says he plans to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin “in due course”, holding out the prospect of resuming contact after a near-total breakdown in relations since the Ukraine war.

“My last telephone call was some time ago,” Scholz told the Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper in an interview published Friday. “But I plan to speak to Putin again in due course.”

The leaders last spoke by telephone in early December, AFP reports.

Asked about the prospect of halting the conflict through negotiations, Scholz said that Putin had to understand that the war could not be ended by making “some kind of cold peace”.

“For instance, by turning the current front line into the new ‘border’ between Russia and Ukraine,” he said.

“Rather it is about a fair peace, and the prerequisite for that is the withdrawal of Russian troops,” he added.

Missiles launched at Kyiv overnight

Russia launched missiles at Ukraine’s capital Kyiv early on Friday, in the 13th attack so far in May. There were no casualties, but falling debris damaged the roof of a shopping centre.

The Kyiv Regional City Administration wrote on Telegram:

“Another air attack on Kyiv is the 13th in a row since the beginning of May! And, as always, at night. This time the attack was carried out by Tu-95MS strategic bombers, from the Caspian region, probably by X-101 cruise missiles.”

In a later post, it said that debris had damaged the roof of a shopping centre in Obolon district. There were no casualties.

Japan announces new sanctions against Moscow

Japan will place additional sanctions on Russia after the Group of Seven (G7) summit the country hosted last week agreed to step up measures to punish Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on Friday.

Via Reuters: Matsuno, Tokyo’s top government spokesperson, also condemned Russia’s move on Thursday to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, saying it would further intensify situations around the invasion of Ukraine.

“As the only country to have suffered atomic bombings during wartime, Japan never accepts Russia’s nuclear menace, let alone its use,” Matsuno told a regular press conference.

In a co-ordinated action with G7, Japan will freeze assets of 78 groups and 17 individuals including army officers in Russia and ban exports to 80 Russian entities such as military-affiliated research labs, according to a Friday foreign ministry statement.

Japan will also ban providing construction and engineering services to Russia, although the details of the measure will be announced at a later date, a trade ministry statement said.

Opening summary

Welcome back to our live coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Our top stories this morning: Russia launched missiles at Ukraine’s capital Kyiv early on Friday, in the 13th attack so far in May. There were no casualties, but falling debris damaged the roof of a shopping centre.

And Japan will place additional sanctions on Russia after the G7 summit the country hosted last week agreed to step up measures to punish Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on Friday.

More shortly. Here are the other key recent developments:

  • Russia has moved ahead with a plan to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarusian president, claimed on Thursday that the relocation of some of the weapons from Russia to Belarus had already started, according to reports.

  • Dutch prosecutors have seized a plot of land near Amsterdam that belongs to Vladimir Putin’s former son-in-law, a joint investigation by the Guardian and two other media organisations revealed. The plot of land in Duivendrecht is owned by Jorrit Faassen, a Dutch businessman who was married to Maria Vorontsova, the Russian president’s elder daughter.

  • Britain is likely to keep Russian state assets immobilised for some time after the war in Ukraine ends, and certainly until Moscow has agreed to pay compensation for the damage it has inflicted, British officials have confirmed. The Council of Europe summit last week established a digital register of damage for Ukraine as the first step towards an international compensation mechanism for victims of Russian aggression.

  • The US has long asked Ukraine not to use US-provided military equipment to carry out attacks inside Russian territory, the top US general said on Thursday, following accusations by Russia that pro-Ukrainian militia had used US armoured vehicles.

  • Russia has signalled that if demands to improve its grain and fertiliser exports are not met then it will not extend the Black Sea grain deal before 17 July. It made the same threat and demands in March, then agreed last week to renew the export pact for 60 days.

  • Unverified footage appears to show a drone speedboat attack on the Russian naval vessel the Ivan Khurs in the Black Sea on Wednesday. The video appears to show at least one of the drones getting extremely close to the ship, though it remains unclear whether or not any damage was done.

  • Russia’s Wagner mercenary group has begun withdrawing its forces from the devastated Ukrainian city of Bakhmut and transferring its positions there to regular Russian troops, according to its founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin.

  • The US has said the Wagner Group may be working through Mali and other countries to hide its efforts to acquire military equipment for use in Ukraine, and accused it of supplying a Sudanese paramilitary with surface-to-air missiles.

  • Ukraine secured the release of 106 captured soldiers in a prisoner exchange with Russia on Thursday, according to president Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s chief of staff. The soldiers, including eight officers, were reportedly said to have been captured fighting in Bakhmut.

  • Russia’s foreign ministry said it had summoned the ambassadors of Germany, Sweden and Denmark over what it described as the “complete lack of results” in the Nord Stream investigation. Several unexplained underwater explosions ruptured the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines that link Russia and Germany across the Baltic Sea in September 2022. The blasts occurred in the economic zones of Sweden and Denmark and both countries say they were deliberate, but have yet to determine who was responsible. Germany is also investigating.

  • Ukraine said on Thursday it had shot down all 36 Iranian-made drones launched by Russia in overnight attacks it claims likely targeted key infrastructure and military facilities.

  • Russia has denied a fire broke out at the ministry of defence in Moscow, after social media users and reports in the state-owned Tass news agency said emergency services had been called to the building. Tass initially reported on a fire at the ministry early on Thursday morning, but later reported the ministry saying there was none.