Ukraine has withdrawn its forces from the city of Lysychansk in the Luhansk region, but President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says fighting remains on the city’s outskirts.
Russia has claimed full control of the Luhansk region.
At least six people have been killed and 20 wounded in Sloviansk after the eastern town was hit by Russian shelling from multiple rocket launchers, Zelenskyy estimates.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has visited Kyiv and and said Canberra would send Ukraine 14 more armoured personnel carriers and 20 Bushmaster vehicles.
A Ukrainian delegation with representatives of other countries, international organisations and civil society are gathering in Lugano, Switzerland for the Ukraine Recovery Conference (URC2022), which starts Monday, where discussions will focus on how to rebuild Ukraine.
Here are the latest updates:
4 mins ago (02:45 GMT)
Donetsk town of Sloviansk prepares for battle: AP
As the front line moves closer to the eastern town of Sloviansk, residents and soldiers are preparing for an imminent Russian invasion, the Associated Press reports.
“Everyone knows that there will be a huge battle in Slovyansk,” a soldier who could not be named for security reasons told the AP.
Another soldier, a 23-year-old accountant who joined up when the invasion began, said Ukrainian forces simply do not have the weapons to fight off the superior arsenal of the approaching Russian army. “We know what’s coming” he said with a sad smile.
Pro-Russian separatists captured and held the town for three months in 2014. The brief occupation terrorised Sloviansk, where dozens of officials and journalists were taken hostage, and several killings took place. Attacks on the city are intensifying. The mayor told AP that shelling now occurs at least four or five times a day, and the use of cluster munitions increased in the last week.
Yekaterina Len, 61, cries outside her ruined house following a shelling in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, May 20, 2014 [Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP]
31 mins ago (02:18 GMT)
UK’s Truss supports seizing frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine: Guardian
The United Kingdom wants to follow the example of Canada and seize the assets of Russians in the UK in order to give them to Ukraine, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has said, the Guardian reports.
Truss told MPs last week she was supportive of the idea that the government could seize frozen Russian assets in the UK and redistribute them to victims of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
She said: “I am supportive of the concept. We are looking at it very closely. The Canadians have in fact just passed legislation This is an issue that we are working on jointly with the Home Office and the Treasury, but I certainly agree with the concept. We just need to get the specifics of it right.”
53 mins ago (01:56 GMT)
Zelenskyy praises Israel’s decision to scrap quota on Ukrainian refugees
Zelenskyy has praised Israel’s High Court after it rejected a government cap on the number of Ukrainian refugees allowed to enter the country.
Under existing regulations, Ukrainians do not need a visa for a visit of up to three months in Israel. The interior minister in March said Israel would grant visas to a further 5,000 refugees who do not automatically qualify for immigration to Israel under the Law of Return, which allows anyone who has a Jewish parent or grandparent to receive Israeli citizenship. Israel’s High Court on Sunday ruled in favour of a petition against the 5,000 quota, the Times of Israel reports.
Zelenskyy said he “commends” the court’s decision “which obliges the government of Israel to abolish any additional restrictions on the entry of citizens of Ukraine.”
“The rule of law and respect for human rights is exactly what distinguishes a true, developed democracy!,” he wrote on Twitter.
I commend the decision of the Supreme Court of the State of Israel, which obliges the government of 🇮🇱 to abolish any additional restrictions on the entry of citizens of 🇺🇦. The rule of law and respect for human rights is exactly what distinguishes a true, developed democracy!
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) July 3, 2022
1 hour ago (01:24 GMT)
Ukraine will be helped but not as if a NATO member: Germany’s Scholz
Germany is discussing security guarantees for Ukraine with its allies in preparation for a time after the war, but these will not be the same as for a member of the transatlantic alliance, the German chancellor has said.
“We are discussing with close allies the question of the security guarantees we can give. This is an ongoing process. It is clear that it will not be the same as if someone were a member of NATO,” Olaf Scholz told the broadcaster ARD on Sunday.
2 hours ago (01:01 GMT)
UK to host 2023 Ukraine recovery conference
The United Kingdom will host a conference next year focused on helping Ukraine recover from the damage caused by Russia’s invasion, the foreign office said, as nations gather in Switzerland for this year’s event.
The Ukraine Recovery Conference (URC2022) beginning on Monday in Lugano will discuss how to rebuild Ukraine, bringing together a Ukrainian delegation with representatives of other countries, international organisations and civil society.
The UK said it was working with Ukraine and others to host next year’s conference, and it would sit on a supervisory board to help coordinate between Ukraine and its allies on recovery measures. An office will be set up in London.
“We have led on support for Ukraine during the war and will continue to lead in supporting the Ukrainian Government’s Reconstruction and Development Plan,” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement.
2 hours ago (00:42 GMT)
Belarus leader stands with Russia in Ukraine campaign
The president of Belarus – Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin’s closest ally – has said his ex-Soviet state stands fully behind Russia in its military drive in Ukraine.
Addressing a ceremony marking the anniversary of the World War Two liberation of Minsk by Soviet troops on Sunday, Alexander Lukashenko, in power since1994, said he had thrown his weight behind Putin’s campaign against Ukraine “from the very first day” in late February.
“Today, we are being criticised for being the only country in the world to support Russia in its fight against Nazism. We support and will continue to support Russia,” a video on the state BelTA news agency showed Lukashenko telling the gathering on Sunday. “And those who criticise us, do they not know that we have such a close union with the Russian Federation?…That we have practically a unified army. But you knew all this. We will remain together with fraternal Russia.”
Zelenskyy has said the Belarusian leader’s statement amounted to a “signal”, with his actions to be watched carefully. Some Ukrainian officials suggest Belarus could soon become directly involved in the conflict.
3 hours ago (23:50 GMT)
Turkish customs detain Russian ship carrying Ukrainian grain: Kyiv ambassador
Turkish customs authorities have detained a Russian cargo ship carrying grain that Ukraine says is stolen, Ukraine’s ambassador to Turkey has said.
“We have full co-operation. The ship is currently standing at the entrance to the port, it has been detained by the customs authorities of Turkey,” Ambassador Vasyl Bodnar said on Ukrainian national television on Sunday.
Bodnar said the ship’s fate would be decided by a meeting of investigators on Monday.
Ukraine has accused Russia of stealing grain from the territories that Russian forces have seized since its invasion began in late February. The Kremlin has denied that Russia has stolen any Ukrainian grain.
3 hours ago (23:49 GMT)
With brooms, nail guns, and shovels, Kharkiv residents clean up after attack: Reuters
Armed with brooms, nail guns and shovels, residents in Kharkiv gathered to clean up after multiple Russian rockets hit at 4am (01:00 GMT), the head of the Kharkiv regional military administration, Oleh Synyehubov, said on Sunday.
One of the rockets hit the yard between a school and some private houses. Residents were seen shovelling earth back into a large crater created by the attack, while others were sweeping broken window glass from the floors inside the school and surrounding houses. On Sunday morning, locals were busy fixing roofs and sweeping soot off the façade of the district’s school.
“It (missile blast) happened very early in the morning and in 15 minutes everyone was here.” Vita Kuzub, a school principal, told the Reuters news agency.
The raids that began on Tuesday, June 21, were the worst for weeks in an area where normal life had been returning since Ukraine pushed Moscow’s forces back in May.
A residential area destroyed by a Russian bombing in Kharkiv, Ukraine, May 15, 2022 [Ricardo Moraes/Reuters]
3 hours ago (23:39 GMT)
Russia shelled Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, Kharkiv Sunday: Zelenskyy
The Russian army shelled the eastern towns of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk on Sunday, as well as the city of Kharkiv, with multiple launch rocket systems as well as Soviet Smerch rockets, Zelenskyy has said, adding that Russia has enough weapons to destroy every city in Ukraine.
“In Sloviansk alone, six people are on the list of dead, and about 20 are wounded. A girl died, her name was Yeva. She would have turned 10 in August this year,” Zelenskyy said in his nighttime address.
“Russia has enough Smerch, Uragan and Grad systems to destroy city after city in Ukraine. They have now accumulated their largest firepower in Donbas,” he added.
3 hours ago (23:36 GMT)
Fighting remains on Lysychansk outskirts: Zelenskyy
Kyiv’s forces are still battling Russian soldiers on the outskirts of the city Lysychansk “in a very difficult and dangerous situation,” Zelenskyy has said after Ukraine withdrew its forces from Lysychansk and the Russian defence ministry claimed its army had captured the Luhansk region.
“We cannot give you the final judgment. Lysychansk is still being fought for,” Zelenskyy told a news conference in Kyiv given alongside Australia’s visiting prime minister. He noted that territory can move quickly from one side to the other.
Russian forces maintain an advantage in the area, he acknowledged, calling it a Ukrainian military “weak spot”.
The capture of Lysychansk would give the Russians more territory from which to intensify attacks on the neighbouring Donetsk region. In recent weeks, Russian forces were thought to hold about half of Donetsk, but it is not clear where things stand now.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Read all the updates from Sunday, July 3, here.
Source : Al Jazeera English