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Latest Developments in Ukraine: July 2

A view shows a damaged vehicle, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine in this still image obtained from a social media video released on July 2, 2022. National Police of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

The latest developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT:

10:21 p.m.: Five months into Russia's war on Ukraine, the Kremlin still hasn’t decreed a general mobilization to draft troops for its invasion, but there are growing reports that it is enticing and pressuring men of fighting age to join, as well as leaning on younger conscripts to sign contracts so they can deploy to the front.

In Bashkortostan — a Russian republic located some 1,300 kilometers east of Moscow — many parents of conscripts have launched appeals to the local military prosecutor's office over complaints that their sons were illegally detained at the conscription office and were told that they would be sent to Rostov, a Russian region that borders eastern Ukraine.

According to four different families who spoke to RFE/RL’s Tatar-Bashkir Service, conscription offices in the region have proceeded quickly and cut corners in the recruitment process and also taken the unexpected steps of sending the Bashkortostan conscripts to units in Rostov, instead of to areas nearer to home and away from the front lines, as had been previously stated.

8:55 p.m.: Since Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, the war has been an uneven fight of sweeping breakthroughs, tactical withdrawals, and grinding attrition that has made progress in the conflict difficult to gauge.

In a recent sign of this, Kyiv won a symbolic and strategic victory on June 30 when Russian forces withdrew from Snake Island in the Black Sea less than a week after its own forces pulled back from heavy shelling and a Russian advance on the city of Sievierodonetsk in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region.

Russian forces are continuing to press forward with their aims of capturing more of the Luhansk and Donetsk provinces and now have their sights on Lysychansk, the sister city of Sievierodonetsk, where Ukrainian troops once again find themselves under fire from a devastating Russian artillery barrage.

To find out more about how to measure the pace of the war and how Russian and Ukrainian forces compare, RFE/RL spoke with Dara Massicot, a senior researcher at the U.S.-based RAND think tank and a former senior analyst at the Pentagon, where she focused on the Russian military's capabilities.

8:25 p.m.: Oksana Markarova, Ukraine's ambassador to the United States, talked to VOA diplomatic correspondent Natalie Liu about the war, how long it might last and how the U.S. is helping.

7:33 p.m.: Ukrainian Defense Ministry officials say Mariupol, like much of Russian-occupied Ukraine, is running out of food and other essentials

6:22 p.m.: Petrykivka painters are continuing their craft as missiles hammer eastern Ukraine and the town's historic art collection is transported to safety, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports.

In the museum of Petrykivka in eastern Ukraine, one room stands empty.

Before Russia's February 24 invasion, the building held art treasures unique to the region, but now the museum’s curator says the paintings have been spirited away to a “secret” location for safekeeping.

Petrykivka is several hours’ drive from the frontline fighting in Ukraine, but on June 27, the same day RFE/RL visited the town, at least 20 people were killed when a 5.8-ton Russian missile obliterated a shopping center in Kremenchuk, less than 100 kilometers away. The next day, cruise missiles struck Dnipro, just 40 kilometers from Petrykivka.

5:25 p.m.: A second scientist has been detained this week in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk on suspicion of state treason, the TASS news agency reported on Saturday, citing a source close to the investigation.

Anatoly Maslov, a chief scientist at an institute of theoretical and applied mechanics in Novosibirsk, a city around 2,800 km east of Moscow, was detained and transferred to a prison in the Russian capital in an investigation by the FSB intelligence agency, TASS reported.

Maslov's arrest comes in the same week that Dmitry Kolker, a doctor of physics and mathematics at Novosibirsk State University, was detained.

A number of Russian scientists have been arrested and charged with treason in recent years for allegedly passing sensitive material to foreigners. Critics of the Kremlin say the arrests often stem from unfounded paranoia.

4:15 p.m.: While the war in Ukraine is still being fought, a Marshall Plan for Ukraine is being mapped out.

3:20 p.m.: The president of Belarus has claimed, without providing evidence, that Ukraine attempted to strike military facilities on Belarusian territory earlier this week, Reuters reports.

The state-run Belta news agency, reported that Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said Ukrainian armed forces tried to strike facilities in Belarus three days ago, but that the missiles were intercepted. Mr. Lukashenko claimed Ukraine was attempting to provoke Belarus, and that his country does not plan to intervene in the conflict.

Belarus, a close ally of Russia, has supported the war, allowing Moscow to use the territory to wage its war against Ukraine. Vladimir Putin recently pledged to send Belarus nuclear-capable missiles in “the coming months” and offered to provide upgraded warplanes.

1:45 p.m.: The Ukrainian army rejects claims that Russian-backed separatists and Russian forces have surrounded the key eastern city of Lysychansk.

“Fighting rages around Lysychansk. Luckily the city has not been encircled and is under control of the Ukrainian army,” said Ruslan Muzytchuk, a spokesman for the Ukrainian National Guard, said on Ukrainian television.

A spokesperson for the pro-Russian separatist forces earlier told Russian state media that Lysychansk was “completely encircled”.

10:55 a.m.: Railway infrastructure in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv was hit by multiple missile strikes Saturday but no casualties were reported.

The strike damaged railway tracks and knocked down high voltage power lines, reports Reuters.

“After Russian rockets hit at four in the morning, the power grid and three high voltage lines powering traffic lights and substation are damaged,“ Pavlo Svistelnikov, manager of the regional power grid, told Reuters.

Russian forces have been pounding the city for over a week killing civilians, and hitting apartment buildings and schools, regional authorities said.

9:15 a.m.: The United Nations says millions of Ukrainians are suffering from acute shortages of food, water, shelter and other basic needs.

U.N. agencies report problems getting relief supplies to some of the hardest hit places of the war such as Kherson and Mariupol, cities that have been pummeled into rubble by Russian airstrikes. Nearly 16 million people in Ukraine need humanitarian assistance and protection, said U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine, Osnat Lubrani.

8:40 a.m.: Ukrainian separatists backed by Russia Saturday said they had "completely" encircled the key city of Lysychansk in the eastern Lugansk region, reports Agence France-Presse.

“Today the Lugansk popular militia and Russian forces occupied the last strategic heights, which allows us to confirm that Lysychansk is completely encircled,” Andrei Marotchko, a spokesman for the separatist forces, told the TASS news agency.

Capturing the city would allow the Russians to push deeper into the wider eastern region of the Donbas, which has become the focus of their offensive since failing to capture Kyiv after launching their military operation in Ukraine in late February.

4:38 a.m.: The New York Times reported that the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia is once again in contact with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. watchdog. Russia had severed mobile services in the region, the Times said, interrupting communications.

3:54 a.m.: In its most recent assessment of the Ukraine conflict, U.S. think tank The Institute for the Study of War said Russian forces are focusing on encircling Lysychansk. Russia also continued shelling north of Kharkiv City and is regrouping north of Slovyansk.

Additionally, the assessment said, Russia is still trying to get more recruits for its military campaign in Ukraine, including using foreign combat reserves.

2:22 a.m.: Russia's ambassador to Bulgaria said on Friday she would ask Moscow to close its embassy in the Balkan country after her appeal for Sofia to reverse what she called an unprecedented hostile step to expel 70 Russian diplomatic staff was ignored.

In a statement addressed to the Bulgarian people, the ambassador, Eleonora Mitrofanova, said the closure of the Russian embassy would inevitably lead to the closure of Bulgaria's embassy in Moscow, too.

1:01 a.m.: Ukraine's nuclear power operator said on Friday it had re-established its connection to surveillance systems at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Europe's largest, which is occupied by Russian forces.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.'s atomic watchdog, has said it wants to inspect the plant in southern Ukraine urgently, but Ukrainian authorities oppose any such visit while Russian forces remain in control.

It was the second time communications had been lost with the plant, made up of six reactors.

Ukraine state Energoatom agency said on its Telegram channel that it had restored the connection, which, it said, have been lost "due to the cutting off by the occupiers in Enerhodar of all Ukrainian mobile operators, including Vodavone, with which the (IAEA) has a contract for data transmission."

12:02 a.m.: As Russia's military continues to pound Ukraine, Western nations have responded in part by targeting Russia's defense industry with sanctions. The latest round came on Tuesday, when the United States issued new sanctions on some arms makers and executives at the heart of what it dubbed Russian President Vladimir Putin's "war machine."

But a Reuters examination of companies, executives and investors underpinning Russia's defense sector shows a sizable number of players have yet to pay a price:

Nearly three dozen leaders of Russian weapons firms and at least 14 defense companies have not been sanctioned by the United States, the European Union or the United Kingdom.

In addition, sanctions on Russia's arms makers and tycoons have been applied inconsistently by these NATO allies, with some governments levying penalties and others not, the Reuters review showed.

Some information in this report came from Reuters.