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Latest Developments in Ukraine: July 30

Protesters attend a rally in support of Ukrainian soldiers from the Azov Regiment who were captured by Russia in May after the fall of Mariupol, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, July 30, 2022.
Protesters attend a rally in support of Ukrainian soldiers from the Azov Regiment who were captured by Russia in May after the fall of Mariupol, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, July 30, 2022.

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

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

10:09 p.m.:

8:20 p.m.: Russian gas producer Gazprom said on Saturday it had stopped sending gas to Latvia after accusing it of violating supply conditions, a move the Baltic country said would have little impact on its gas supplies, Reuters reported.

Russia has cut off gas supplies to Poland, Bulgaria, Finland, Netherlands and Denmark, which refused to pay for gas in line with an order by President Vladimir Putin requiring ruble accounts to be set up in a Russian bank.

Gazprom did not specify which gas supply conditions Latvia, a European Union and NATO military alliance member bordering Russia, had allegedly violated.

Edijs Saicans, deputy state secretary on energy policy at the Latvian Economy Ministry, said Gazprom's move would have little effect given that Latvia has decided to ban Russian gas imports from Jan. 1, 2023.

7:33 p.m.: Russia has invited experts from the United Nations and the Red Cross to investigate the deaths of dozens of Ukrainian prisoners in a prison held by Moscow-backed separatists, the defense ministry said on Sunday.

In a statement, the ministry said it was acting "in the interests of conducting an objective investigation" into what it called an attack on the prison earlier in the week, according to Reuters.

The separatists put the death toll at 53 and accused Kyiv of hitting the prison with rockets. Ukraine's armed forces denied responsibility, saying Russian artillery had targeted the prison to hide the mistreatment of those held there.

6:27 p.m.: More than 100 Russian soldiers were killed and seven tanks destroyed in fighting Friday in the south, Ukraine's military said Saturday, including in the Kherson region that is the focus of Kyiv's counteroffensive in the south and a key link in Moscow's supply lines, Reuters reported

Rail traffic to Kherson over the Dnipro River had been cut, the military's southern command said, potentially further isolating Russian forces west of the river from supplies in occupied Crimea and the east.

Ukraine has used Western-supplied long-range missile systems to badly damage three bridges across the Dnipro in recent weeks, cutting off Kherson city and — in the assessment of British defense officials — leaving Russia's 49th Army highly vulnerable on the river's west bank.

Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield reports.

5:25 p.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has ordered the mandatory evacuation of people in the eastern Donetsk region, Reuters reported.

In a late-night television address on Saturday, Zelenskyy also said the hundreds of thousands of people still in combat zones in the larger Donbas region, which contains Donetsk as well as the neighboring Luhansk region, needed to leave.

"The more people leave (the) Donetsk region now, the fewer people the Russian army will have time to kill," he said. He said those who left would be given compensation.

Separately, domestic Ukrainian media outlets quoted Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk as saying the evacuation needed to take place before winter begins because the region's natural gas supplies had been destroyed.

Zelenskyy said hundreds of thousands of people were still living in areas of Donbas where fighting was fierce.

"Many refuse to leave but it still needs to be done," the president said. "If you have the opportunity, please talk to those who still remain in the combat zones in Donbas. Please convince them that it is necessary to leave."

4:30 p.m.:

3:20 p.m.: Russia's Rosatom has awarded TSM Enerji the contract to undertake the remaining construction work at the $20 billion nuclear power plant it is building in Akkuyu in southern Turkey, the company said on Saturday, according to Reuters.

Akkuyu Nukleer, a Rosatom subsidiary that is building four reactors at the site on the Mediterranean, said it had signed the engineering, procurement and construction contract with TSM after terminating its agreement with Turkish firm IC Ictas.

TSM is owned by three Russia-based companies, according to the Turkish trade registry.

President Tayyip Erdogan has previously suggested that Turkey could work with Russia on the construction of two further plants.

2:15 p.m.: Richard Moore, the chief of Britain's MI6 foreign intelligence agency, made a brief comment on social media on Saturday, above an earlier post on Twitter by Britain's defense ministry.

1:20 pm: Ukrainian officials on Saturday denounced a call by Russia's embassy in Britain for fighters from the Azov regiment to face a "humiliating" execution, reports Agence France-Presse.

The Russian tweet came as Moscow and Kyiv traded blame over a strike on a jail holding Ukrainian prisoners of war in Russian-controlled territory that killed around 50 people, reportedly including members of the Azov regiment.

“Azov militants deserve execution, but death not by firing squad but by hanging, because they’re not real soldiers. They deserve a humiliating death,” Moscow's diplomatic mission wrote in a Tweet.

12:30 pm: Russia colluded with Sudan's military leadership, enabling billions of dollars in gold to bypass the Sudanese state in a bid to fortify Russia against Western sanctions and to buttress Moscow's war effort in Ukraine, reports CNN.

A seven-month investigation of multiple interviews with high-level Sudanese, US officials and documents reviewed by CNN paints a picture of an elaborate Russian scheme that is depriving the poverty-stricken country of hundreds of millions in state revenue.

11:35 am: The Kyiv court of appeals reduces to 15 years a life sentence handed to a Russian soldier in May for pre-meditated murder in the country's first war crimes trial.

Vadim Shishimarin, 21 was found guilty of war crimes for killing an unarmed civilian and handed a life sentence, in the first verdict of its kind after Russia's invasion, reports Agence France-Presse.

The sergeant from Siberia had admitted to killing a 62-year-old civilian, Oleksandr Shelipov, as he was riding his bike in the village of Chupakhivka.

7:00 am: The United Nations pledged support Saturday to help officials in Ukraine investigate an attack on a prison in the eastern section of the country. Dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war were killed Friday when the prison was destroyed in a missile strike. Russia and Ukraine accused each other Friday of carrying out the attack. Neither claim could be independently verified.

Russia's Defense Ministry said 40 prisoners were killed and 75 were wounded in the strike on the prison in Olenivka, a part of Donetsk province held by separatists.

“In relation to the recent tragedy at the prison in Olenivka, we stand ready to send a group of experts able to conduct an investigation, requiring the consent of the parties, and we fully support the initiatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC),” said Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General in a statement.

6:45 am: Fresh Russian strikes hit towns and cities across Ukraine's sprawling front line, killing at least one person in the south and hitting a school in Kharkiv, officials said Saturday, reports Agence France-Presse.

The mayor of the southern city of Mykolaiv -- close to where Ukrainian troops are seeking to stage a counter-offensive -- said one person was killed when rockets pounded two residential districts overnight.

Six others were wounded in the strikes, which left "windows and doors broken, and balconies destroyed", mayor Oleksandr Sienkevych wrote on Telegram.

5:45 a.m.: The latest intelligence update from the U.K. defense ministry said it looks like Ukraine has beaten back Russian assaults from the front line near Donetsk city in the Donbas.

Russia, meanwhile, has likely established two pontoon bridges and a ferry system to compensate for the fact that nearby bridges have been damaged in recent strikes, the update said.

4:42 a.m.: The United Kingdom's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said on Friday it has been directed by the government to temporarily relax permitting conditions for coal-fired power stations in England during the winter period.

The measure, which will be effective Oct. 1-March 31, comes as countries across Europe make winter contingency plans after Russia reduced natural gas flows and said supplies could be cut further or even stop.

Gas-fired power plants were responsible for more than 40% of Britain's electricity production last year while the fuel is also used to heat around 80% of British homes.

3:32 a.m.: The indictment of Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov by the U.S. on Friday also lists several unindicted co-conspirators, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Ionov is among those targeted by the U.S. Treasury for sanctions involving elections interference.

2:20 a.m.: U.S. think tank the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest assessment of the Ukraine conflict that Ground fighting continued north of Kharkiv City with no significant change in control of terrain. Additionally, Russian forces attempted a limited ground assault in Kherson Oblast.

1:11 a.m.: The Associated Press reported the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said Russia intends to dismantle Ukraine "and dissolve it from the world map entirely."

Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the U.N. Security Council that the United States is seeing growing signs that Russia is laying the groundwork to attempt to annex all of the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and the southern Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, including by installing “illegitimate proxy officials in Russian-held areas, with the goal of holding sham referenda or decree to join Russia.”

12:02 a.m.: Russian strikes kill five people and wound seven more at a bus stop in the heavily bombed city of Mykolaiv, the regional governor Vitaliy Kim says on social media, Agence France-Presse reported.

Mykolaiv, near the Black Sea, has been shelled daily for weeks. It is the largest Ukrainian-controlled urban hub near the frontlines in the southern Kherson region, where Kyiv's army has launched a counter-offensive to regain control of the economically and strategically important coastal territory.

In the eastern Donetsk region, the current focus of Russia's fighting, governor Pavlo Kyrylenko says Moscow's forces have killed eight people and wounded 19 more in attacks in recent days.

Some information in this report came from Agence France-Presse and The Associated Press.

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