Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now
Vladimir Putin accused the West of decades of aggression towards Moscow and warned that if it wanted to attempt to beat Russia on the battlefield it was welcome to try, but this would bring tragedy for Ukraine.
* The Russian president said Russia had barely got started in Ukraine, but added Moscow was still open to the idea of peace talks although agreement would get harder the longer the conflict continued.
* Three people were killed and another five were wounded on in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, the regional governor said.
* Russian forces fired missiles at the center of the eastern city of Kramatorsk in an air strike, leaving at least one person killed and six wounded, the city’s mayor said. Ukraine expects the city to be among the main targets for Russian forces following their capture of the city of Lysychansk.
* Russia’s defense ministry said a Russian warplane struck and killed an unspecified number of Ukrainian troops on Snake Island in the Black Sea after they landed there to raise the Ukrainian flag.
* Russia’s armed forces have destroyed two advanced U.S.-made HIMARS rocket systems and their ammunition depots in eastern Ukraine, the Russian defense ministry said.
* Outgunned but defiant, Ukrainian twin cities’ defenders ready for Russian attack.
* Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will have his first close encounter with the fiercest critics of his country’s invasion of Ukraine at a G20 gathering in Indonesia, with the war all but certain to dominate discussions.
* Kyiv lost one of its main international supporters after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would step down. Moscow did not conceal its delight at the political demise of a leader whom it has long criticized for arming Kyiv so energetically.
* Ukraine’s grain exports plunged 68.5% year-on-year to 163,000 tonnes in the first six days of July, the first month of the 2022/23 season, the agriculture ministry said.
* The Netherlands has met a goal of ending its dependence on Russian gas, its energy minister told Reuters in an interview, but as a major storage and transport hub, it is exposed to any wider European gas crisis.
* More than 8.79 million people have crossed the border from Ukraine since the invasion on Feb. 24 the U.N. refugee agency said.
* Removed from a warzone, a Ukrainian circus troupe delights in France.
“We have heard many times that the West wants to fight us to the last Ukrainian. This is a tragedy for the Ukrainian people, but it seems that everything is heading towards this,” said Putin.
(Compiled by Grant McCool, Alexandra Hudson and Michael Perry)