World

Russia-Ukraine crisis live updates | Fierce shelling in eastern Ukraine as NATO heralds its ‘historic’ expansion

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Here are the latest developments from the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict on July 6

Here are the latest developments from the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict on July 6

Russian troops are engaged in heavy fighting supported by widespread artillery fire as they launch a major offensive for Ukraine’s Donetsk region, Ukrainian officials said, a day after Moscow declared victory in the neighbouring province of Luhansk. Donetsk and Luhansk comprise the Donbas, the industrialised eastern part of Ukraine that has seen the biggest battle in Europe for generations. Russia says it wants to wrest control of the entire Donbas from Ukraine on behalf of Moscow-backed separatists in two self-proclaimed people’s republics.

The governor of the last remaining eastern province partly under Ukraine’s control urged his more than 350,000 residents to flee as Russia escalated its offensive and air alerts were issued across nearly the entire country. Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said that getting people out of Donetsk province is necessary to save lives and enable the Ukrainian army better to defend towns from the Russian advance.

In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and the foreign ministers of Sweden and Finland hailed July 5 as “historic”, after they kicked off accession procedures for the two countries that will expand the military alliance to 32 members. “The membership of both Finland and Sweden will not only contribute to our own security but to the collective security of the alliance,” said Finland’s Pekka Haavisto, after protocols were signed launching the required ratification process. Sweden and Finland both announced their intention to drop decades of military non-alignment and become part of NATO in the wake of Russia invading Ukraine in February.

Explained | Is NATO stronger after Ukraine invasion?

Here are the lastest updates:

Washington

U.S., allies urge suspension of Russia from sport federations

The United States and a range of allies called on Tuesday for Russian and Belarusian national governing bodies of sports to be suspended from international sport federations, due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Russian embassy in the United States described the move as “Russophobic” and said “sports should stay out of politics.”

“Using it as an instrument to exert pressure and settle scores directly violates the basic principles of the Olympic movement and is contrary to the spirit of competitiveness as well as healthy competition,” it said in a Facebook post.

The Russian response came hours after the U.S. State Department issued the joint statement with allies, in which they also urged sports organisations to consider suspending the broadcasting of competitions into Russia and Belarus. – Reuters

Washington

G20 meeting may lead to wider divisions over war in Ukraine

Foreign ministers from the world’s largest nations are looking to address the war in Ukraine and its impact on global energy and food security when they meet in Indonesia this week. Yet instead of providing unity, the talks may well exacerbate existing divides over the Ukraine conflict.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi are set to attend the Group of 20 meeting in the Indonesian resort of Bali, which will set the stage for a summit of G20 leaders at the same venue in November.

It will mark the first time Mr. Blinken and Mr. Lavrov have been in the same room, let alone the same city, since January. There’s no indication the two will meet separately, but even without a one-on-one with Mr. Lavrov, Mr. Blinken could find himself in some difficult discussions. – AP

Ukraine

Ruined Lysychansk eerily silent, residents remain in bomb shelters, after fall to Russia

Local residents sit at the entrance to a glass factory bomb shelter during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the city of Lysychansk in the Luhansk Region, Ukraine on July 5, 2022.

Local residents sit at the entrance to a glass factory bomb shelter during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the city of Lysychansk in the Luhansk Region, Ukraine on July 5, 2022.
| Photo Credit: Reuters

Lysychansk was once a city of 100,000 people in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region, but it now lies in ruins after its fall to Russian forces with many residents still living in bomb shelters and basements. The city was eerily quiet on Tuesday with scorched buildings, overturned vehicles and rubble a testament to the ferocity of the battle it has endured.

Tatiana Glushenko, a 45-year-old Lysychansk resident, told Reuters there were people still in basements and bomb shelters, including children and the elderly. Ms. Glushenko said she and her family had decided to stay in Lysychansk on worries about safety in other parts of Ukraine.

“All of Ukraine is being shelled: western Ukraine, central Ukraine, Dnipro, Kyiv, everywhere. So we decided not to risk our lives and stay here, at home at least,” she said. – Reuters

Ukraine

Ukrainian governor urges evacuation of 350,000 residents

The governor of the last remaining eastern province partly under Ukraine’s control urged his more than 350,000 residents to flee as Russia escalated its offensive and air alerts were issued across nearly the entire country.

Ukraine

‘Massive’ Russian shelling on Ukraine’s Sloviansk: mayor

Russian forces are pounding Sloviansk with “massive” shelling, its mayor said on Tuesday, as the eastern Ukrainian city becomes Moscow’s next target in its campaign in the Donbas region.

New Delhi

India, Russia share a vision of how the world should develop: Ambassador Alipov

The proposal for expansion of BRICS received “principled support” at the 14th BRICS summit that was hosted by China during June 23-24, said Russia’s ambassador to India Denis Alipov.

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