Russia-Ukraine war: Kherson car bomb kills pro-Russian official; Ukraine troops will have to quit Sievierodonetsk, says governor – live | World news


Car bomb in occupied Kherson kills official from Russian-imposed administration – reports

An official in the Russian-installed administration of Ukraine’s occupied Kherson region was killed in an apparent assassination, the deputy head of the administration has told Reuters.

Dmitry Savluchenko, head of the families, youth, and sports department of the Kherson military-civilian administration, was killed in a bomb blast.

Russia’s Tass news agency said there were two burnt-out cars in a courtyard of Kherson, the regional capital where the blast took place, and that the windows of one four-storey house had been shattered.

RIA Novosti are reporting that the car was blown up when Savluchenko got into it.

Kherson sits just north-west of the Russian-annexed Crimean peninsula and was occupied during the first week of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began in February.

Savluchenko’s reported death has been hailed by some on social media, who described him as “local traitor”. He had, it is claimed, run pro-Russian youth groups in the region, before being appointed to the new administration. There are some unverified images of the scene of the explosion on social media.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has been at his regular briefing, where he said the decision by the European Union to grant Ukraine official EU candidate status was a “domestic” matter.

Speaking to reporters, Peskov said Russia’s relations with the European bloc would be “very difficult to spoil further”.

Peskov said:

It is very important for us that all these processes do not bring more problems to us and more problems in the relations of these countries with us.

Turning to Moldova, which was also granted EU candidate status this week, the Kremlin’s spokesperson said the ex-Soviet country “wants to become European more than the Europeans themselves”. He added:

It seems to them that the more anti-Russian they seem, the more Europeans should like them.

Hello everyone. It’s Léonie Chao-Fong here again, taking over the live blog from Martin Belam. Feel free to get in touch on Twitter or via email.

Today so far …

  • The battle for two key cities in eastern Ukraine is edging towards “a fearsome climax” as Russian forces attempt to encircle Ukrainian troops defending Lysychansk, officials say. Russia’s efforts to capture Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk – the two remaining cities under Ukrainian control in Luhansk – have turned into a bloody war of attrition, with both sides inflicting heavy casualties. Moscow, over the last two weeks, has managed to make steady gains.
  • Ukrainian troops defending Sievierodonetsk will “have to be withdrawn”, the regional governor confirmed this morning. “Remaining in positions smashed to pieces over many months just for the sake of staying there does not make sense,” Sergey Haidai told Ukrainian television. Ukrainian troops have, however, repelled an attack on the southern outskirts of Lysychansk, according to Haidai.
  • No town is safe for residents in Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk as fighting intensifies, local officials claim. “There is no place, no town in Donetsk region where it would be safe,” Pavlo Kyrylenko told Agence France-Presse, citing latest intelligence data. “It is extremely dangerous for residents to stay in any places of the region.”
  • An official in the Russian-installed administration of Ukraine’s occupied Kherson region was killed in an apparent assassination when his car exploded as he got into it. Dmitry Savluchenko was head of the families, youth, and sports department of the Kherson Military-Civilian Administration. The Kremlin has described the attack as “nothing but an act of terrorism”.
  • European leaders granted Ukraine candidate status late on Thursday, in a historic decision that opens the door to EU membership for the war-torn country and deals a blow to Vladimir Putin. EU leaders meeting in Brussels approved Ukraine’s candidate status nearly four months after the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, launched his country’s bid to join the bloc in the early days of the Russian invasion. The European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, declared it was “a good day for Europe”. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, said it was historic decision that sent “a strong signal towards Russia in the current geopolitical context”.
  • Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, immediately welcomed the move, saying: “Ukraine’s future is in the EU.” “It’s a victory … we have been waiting for 120 days and 30 years,” he added, referring to the duration of the war and the decades since Ukraine became independent on the breakup of the Soviet Union. “And now we will defeat the enemy.”
  • Moscow’s foreign ministry blamed the United States for a Lithuanian ban on sanctioned goods crossing from the Russian mainland to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. Lithuania has prevented goods that are banned by EU sanctions from transiting its territory by rail. Russia has threatened repercussions.
  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said Europe needs to ramp up efforts to cut its dependency from Russian fossil fuel imports.
  • The US will send another $450m in military aid to Ukraine, including some additional medium-range rocket systems. The latest package includes four high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) and tens of thousands of rounds of artillery ammunition as well as patrol boats, Pentagon officials announced on Thursday. With the latest shipments, the US contribution to Ukraine’s military will amount to $6.1bn so far, White House spokesperson, John Kirby, added.
  • More than 150 cultural sites in Ukraine have been partially or totally destroyed, according to a Unesco report. The damage includes 70 religious buildings, 30 historical buildings, 18 cultural centres, 15 monuments, 12 museums and seven libraries.
  • Ukraine is recording 200 to 300 war crimes committed by Russian forces on its territory every day, the prosecutor general has claimed. “War crimes are our trouble. Every day we have 200 to 300 of them … We have a duty: when there is a crime, we have to start an investigation,” Iryna Venediktova told Ukrainian television.

Kremlin: occupied Kherson car bomb attack ‘nothing but act of terrorism’

The Kremlin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov has responded to the news of that car bomb attack in occupied Kherson which appears to have claimed the life of Dmitry Savluchenko, a member of the Russian-imposed administration there. Peskov is quoted by Tass as saying:

I can only say: our military is there, and, of course, this terrorist activity requires special attention. These are nothing but acts of terrorism. And, accordingly, they can only be treated that way

Car bomb in occupied Kherson kills official from Russian-imposed administration – reports

An official in the Russian-installed administration of Ukraine’s occupied Kherson region was killed in an apparent assassination, the deputy head of the administration has told Reuters.

Dmitry Savluchenko, head of the families, youth, and sports department of the Kherson military-civilian administration, was killed in a bomb blast.

Russia’s Tass news agency said there were two burnt-out cars in a courtyard of Kherson, the regional capital where the blast took place, and that the windows of one four-storey house had been shattered.

RIA Novosti are reporting that the car was blown up when Savluchenko got into it.

Kherson sits just north-west of the Russian-annexed Crimean peninsula and was occupied during the first week of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began in February.

Savluchenko’s reported death has been hailed by some on social media, who described him as “local traitor”. He had, it is claimed, run pro-Russian youth groups in the region, before being appointed to the new administration. There are some unverified images of the scene of the explosion on social media.

Olaf Scholz has said Europe needs to ramp up efforts to cut its dependency from Russian fossil fuel imports.

Reuters quotes the German chancellor telling reporters in Brussels: “All together, we are very, very well prepared for the difficult challenge linked to Russian fossil fuel imports. This is an effort that we need to speed up further now – and of course this is linked to big challenges but we will support each other.”

He said the bloc had imposed sanctions on Russian coal and oil at an early stage, and had as well worked on adjusting its infrastructure so that European countries can import gas from other countries, too.

Moscow’s foreign ministry on Friday blamed the US for a Lithuanian ban on sanctioned goods crossing from the Russian mainland to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

Lithuania has prevented goods that are banned by EU sanctions from transiting its territory by rail. Russia has threatened repercussions.

A map of the Baltic region showing Kaliningrad

The foreign ministry also said in a statement that it was “impossible” to hold expert level consultations with Washington on a number of bilateral issues that had been due to take place in the near future. Reuters notes it did not specify which issues it was referring to, or when talks were supposed to take place.

Here are some of the latest pictures sent to us this morning from Ukraine over the news wires.

A woman speaks on a mobile phone on a roadside while smoke rises behind in the village Sviato-Pokrovske, Donetsk region yesterday.
A woman speaks on a mobile phone on a roadside while smoke rises behind in the village Sviato-Pokrovske, Donetsk region yesterday. Photograph: Anatolii Stepanov/AFP/Getty Images
Smoke billows over the oil refinery outside the town of Lysychansk yesterday.
Smoke billows over the oil refinery outside the town of Lysychansk yesterday. Photograph: Anatolii Stepanov/AFP/Getty Images
Ukrainian soldiers ride on an armoured personnel carrier on a road of the eastern Luhansk region yesterday.
Ukrainian soldiers ride on an armoured personnel carrier on a road of the eastern Luhansk region yesterday. Photograph: Anatolii Stepanov/AFP/Getty Images
A woman reads from The War Is Not Over exhibition stands in Taras Shevchenko Park in Kyiv. The exhibition showcases the work of journalists who have been killed, injured, come under fire, captured or persecuted since the beginning of Russia’s latest invasion of Ukraine.
A woman reads from The War Is Not Over exhibition stands in Taras Shevchenko Park in Kyiv. The exhibition showcases the work of journalists who have been killed, injured, come under fire, captured or persecuted since the beginning of Russia’s latest invasion of Ukraine. Photograph: Alexey Furman/Getty Images
An aerial view of destroyed houses in Irpin.
An aerial view of destroyed houses in Irpin. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Patrick Wintour

Patrick Wintour

The Guardian’s diplomatic editor Patrick Wintour writes for us this morning:

Speaking at a private dinner in London recently, a senior serving British military officer argued the west had no choice but to see Ukraine as just one phase in a decade-long battle with Russia. “If Ukraine wins, Russia will never accept that. If Russia wins, it will go further,” he warned.

Yet in Whitehall they fear the “F word” – fatigue – and worry that the west with its TikTok-attention span and bias towards instant gratification does not have the resolve for the years-long sacrifice required to defeat Russia, or even stem the military tide in the villages of eastern Ukraine.

That anxiety is shared by Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian president, who in a speech to marketing professionals in Cannes this week pleaded with them to use their creative ingenuity to keep the world focused on his country’s struggle: “Don’t let the world switch to something else,” he said.

Read more of Patrick Wintour’s analysis: Why the west risks condemning Ukraine to slow strangulation

The military channel of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has posted to Telegram to to say that the Russian Federation has opened up criminal cases against large numbers of commanders of brigades of the Ukrainian armed forces. It then goes on to say:

As a result of the shelling of the cities of Donetsk, Dokuchaevsk, Makeevka, Gorlovka and Svetlodarsk, as well as the settlements of Vladimirovka, Zaitsevo, Yasinovka and Ivanovka of the DPR, two civilians were killed, five civilians were injured, 30 houses and civilian infrastructure were damaged, including a school building

As a result of artillery attacks in the cities of Popasnaya and Stakhanov, a civilian was injured in the LPR [the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic], and the equipment of a water pumping station was damaged.

The messages says that “according to the investigation, in the period from 22 June to 23 June, 2022, [the named] servicemen gave and executed criminal orders for targeted artillery attacks from heavy weapons on civilian infrastructure.”

The claims have not been independently verified.

There are accusations and counter-accusations flying across Telegram this morning. The official Ukrainian account for the occupied city of Mariupol is accusing Russian forces there of building fortifications “under the guise of residential buildings”. It quotes mayor Vadym Boychenko saying:

The occupiers begin to build alleged residential buildings. The works are underway in the north-western part, almost on the outskirts of the city. That is, from the approximate direction of a counter-offensive. There is information from Mariupol residents that the occupiers are immediately digging trenches and deploying equipment behind these new buildings.

At the same time, Rodion Miroshnik, the ambassador to Russia of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic, has claimed of a missile shot down overnight that “based on the flight path and calculated data, the target was the administration of the head of the Luhansk People’s Republic.”

Neither of the sets of claims have been independently verified. Russia is the only UN member state to recognise the Luhansk People’s Republic as a legitimate authority.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has just posted another comment on the decision of the EU to grant Ukraine candidate country status to Telegram. He writes:

It is officially recognized that Ukraine is not a bridge, not a pillow between the West and Russia, not a buffer between Europe and Asia, not a sphere of influence, not a “grey” zone, not a transit territory. Not the border between orcs and elves. Ukraine is a future equal partner for at least 27 EU countries. Ukraine is a candidate for accession to the European Union!

Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, has given an interview to state television in Belarus, and the Russian foreign ministry has put out what they regard as the key lines on social media, with Lavrov talking about “cancel culture” again. It quotes Lavrov saying:

The West fears honest competition. Hence, a desire to cancel the culture of any country that stands on its own, nationally-oriented positions.

When at last the Ukrainians have the grace to suggest resuming the diplomatic process, we will see what situation has emerged on the ground.

Ukraine tried to build its sovereignty by cancelling its own history. The West encouraged that approach and that conceptual vision of the Ukrainian state just to harm Russia.

Ukrainian troops will be forced to leave Sievierodonetsk – official

Ukrainian troops defending the key eastern city of Sievierodonetsk will “have to be withdrawn”, the regional governor confirmed this morning.

“Remaining in positions smashed to pieces over many months just for the sake of staying there does not make sense,” Sergey Haidai told Ukrainian television.

Haidai earlier released a morning report to Telegram, writing:

Unfortunately, we will have to remove our military from Sievierodonetsk, because staying in broken positions makes no sense – the number of dead is growing.”

The governor added that 90% of homes in Sievierodonetsk had been damaged or destroyed.

Ukraine repels attack on outskirts of Lysychansk – officials

Ukrainian troops have repelled an attack on the southern outskirts of Lysychansk, according to the region’s governor.

The city of Lysychansk is the last fully Ukrainian-controlled city in the region of Luhansk and has been a target for Russian forces in recent weeks.

Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Luhansk region, one of two in the eastern Donbas, took to his Telegram account early this morning, saying:

The attack on Lysychansk was repulsed … the bodies of two victims were found.”

Locals look at destroyed buildings in Lysychansk after heavy fighting in the Luhansk area, Ukraine.
Locals look at destroyed buildings in Lysychansk after heavy fighting in the Luhansk area, Ukraine. Photograph: Oleksandr Ratushniak/EPA

Haidai said Lysychansk and the neighbouring village of Borivske were hit by Russian air strikes overnight resulting in multiples houses being destroyed.

He added that a Russian offensive in the Borivskyi area was also successfully stopped.

Russia had, however, taken control of the village of Mykolaivka, located near a key highway to Lysychansk, which has been the focus of heavy fighting, he added.

Russian forces trying to encircle troops in Lysychansk

The battle for two key cities in eastern Ukraine is edging towards “a fearsome climax” as Russian forces attempt to encircle Ukrainian troops defending Lysychansk, officials say.

Russia’s efforts to capture Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk – the two remaining cities under Ukrainian control in Luhansk – have turned into a bloody war of attrition, with both sides inflicting heavy casualties. Moscow, over the last two weeks, has managed to make steady gains.

“The fighting is entering a sort of fearsome climax”, Oleksiy Arestovych said.

Russian forces are trying to encircle Ukrainian troops defending Lysychansk, senior Ukrainian defence official Oleksiy Gromov said in a briefing on Thursday.

Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Luhansk region, one of two in the eastern Donbas, added that Russian forces had been successful in their advances.

He said that enemy forces had captured Loskutivka, a settlement to the south of Lysychansk, which threatened to isolate Ukrainian troops.

The official also said that all Lysychansk was within reach of Russian fire and that Ukrainian troops there might retreat to new positions to avoid being trapped.

“In order to avoid encirclement, our command could order that the troops retreat to new positions,” Haidai said in a post on Telegram.

The Russian state news agency, Tass, cited Russian-backed separatists saying Lysychansk was surrounded and cut off from supplies after Russia captured a road linking the city to Ukrainian-held territories.

‘Ukraine’s future is in the EU’: Zelenskiy

Zelenskiy immediately welcomed the move to grant Ukraine EU candidate status, calling it “a unique and historic moment” in relations with the 27-nation bloc.

“Ukraine’s future is in the EU,” he tweeted.

“It’s a victory,” he later added on Instagram. “We have been waiting for 120 days and 30 years,” he said, referring to the duration of the war and the decades since Ukraine became independent on the breakup of the Soviet Union. “And now we will defeat the enemy.”

In a televised address shortly after the announcement from Brussels, Zelenskiy said:

I believe this is what will always be the starting point of Europe’s new history. Europe without division. Europe without ‘grey’ zones. Europe that is truly united and that knows how to defend itself, its values, its future.

Today you have adopted one of the most important decisions for Ukraine in all 30 years of independence of our state.

However, I believe this decision is not only for Ukraine. This is the biggest step towards strengthening Europe that could be taken right now, in our time and in such difficult conditions, when the Russian war is testing our ability to preserve freedom and unity.”

Volodymyr Zelenskiy hails decision to give Ukraine EU candidacy status – video

EU approves Ukraine for candidacy

European leaders granted Ukraine candidate status late on Thursday, in a historic decision that opens the door to EU membership for the war-torn country and deals a blow to Vladimir Putin.

EU leaders meeting in Brussels approved Ukraine’s candidate status nearly four months after the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, launched his country’s bid to join the bloc in the early days of the Russian invasion. Moldova was also given candidate status.

The European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, declared it was “a good day for Europe”. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, said it was historic decision that sent “a strong signal towards Russia in the current geopolitical context”.

The move from applicant to candidate usually takes years, but the EU has dramatically accelerated the process, amid outrage over the brutality of the unprovoked Russian attack, and to show solidarity with Ukraine’s defenders.

“Ukraine is going through hell for a simple reason: its desire to join the EU,” von der Leyen had tweeted on the eve of the summit. The commission last week called on EU leaders to grant Ukraine’s candidate status.

Earlier, Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said candidate status would “draw a line under decades of ambiguity and set it in stone: Ukraine is Europe, not part of the ‘Russian world’”.

Ukraine’s ambassador to the EU, Vsevolod Chentsov, said earlier this week that the EU had moved at “lightning speed” by its standards.

Summary and welcome

Hello it’s Samantha Lock back with you as we continue to report all the latest news from Ukraine.

Here are all the major developments as of 8am in Kyiv.

  • The European Union has approved the application of Ukraine to become a candidate country for admission to the 27-strong bloc in a step Kyiv and Brussels hailed as an “historic moment”. EU leaders meeting in Brussels followed the recommendation of the European Commission, which was made on 17 June.
  • Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, immediately welcomed the move, saying: “Ukraine’s future is in the EU.” “It’s a victory … we have been waiting for 120 days and 30 years,” he added, referring to the duration of the war and the decades since Ukraine became independent on the breakup of the Soviet Union. “And now we will defeat the enemy.”
  • The US will send another $450m in military aid to Ukraine, including some additional medium-range rocket systems. The latest package includes four high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) and tens of thousands of rounds of artillery ammunition as well as patrol boats, Pentagon officials announced on Thursday. With the latest shipments, the US contribution to Ukraine’s military will amount to $6.1bn so far, White House spokesperson, John Kirby, added.
  • Russian forces captured two villages in eastern Ukraine and are fighting for control of a key highway in a campaign to cut supply lines and encircle frontline Ukrainian forces, according to British and Ukrainian military officials.
  • The battle for two key cities in eastern Ukraine is edging towards “a fearsome climax, Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, has said. Russia is now believed to control all of Sievierodonetsk with the exception of the Azot chemical plant.
  • No town is safe for residents in Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk as fighting intensifies, local officials claim. “There is no place, no town in Donetsk region where it would be safe,” Pavlo Kyrylenko told Agence France-Presse, citing latest intelligence data. “It is extremely dangerous for residents to stay in any places of the region.”
  • The UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, said Britain was willing to assist with de-mining operations off Ukraine’s southern coast. Asked if Britain was ready to help Ukraine de-mine the area, Johnson said: “Yes, I don’t want to get into the technical or military details, but you can take it from what we have already done in supplying equipment to the Ukrainians to help themselves protect that we are certainly talking to them at a technical level to help de-mine Odesa.”
  • The UK is also offering its expertise to help escort Ukraine’s grain from its ports, the UK foreign secretary, Liz Truss, said. Boris Johnson added Britain was considering offering insurance to ships to move millions of tonnes of grain stuck in the country, telling Reuters: “What the UK possibly has to offer, most of all, is expertise when it comes to maritime insurance, and a lot of expertise in moving goods through should we say contested areas of the sea.”
  • More than 150 cultural sites in Ukraine have been partially or totally destroyed, according to a Unesco report. The damage includes 70 religious buildings, 30 historical buildings, 18 cultural centres, 15 monuments, 12 museums and seven libraries.
  • Ukraine is recording 200 to 300 war crimes committed by Russian forces on its territory every day, the prosecutor general has claimed. “War crimes are our trouble. Every day we have 200 to 300 of them … We have a duty: when there is a crime, we have to start an investigation,” Iryna Venediktova told Ukrainian television.
  • Ukraine has held a preliminary hearing in its first trial of a Russian soldier charged with raping a Ukrainian woman during Moscow’s invasion – the first of what could be dozens of such cases. The suspect, Mikhail Romanov, 32, who will be tried in absentia, is accused of breaking into a house in March in a village in the Brovarsky region outside Kyiv, murdering a man and then repeatedly raping his wife while threatening her and her child.
  • The US embassy in Russia has been pressing the Kremlin this week to reveal the whereabouts of two Alabama men captured in Ukraine, according to the mother of one of the taken Americans. Lois “Bunny” Drueke also said that her son, Alexander Drueke, and the other captured US military veteran, Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, were not mercenaries but volunteers, pushing back on statements from a Kremlin spokesperson who said the American pair were facing execution.





Source link

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.