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Latest Developments in Ukraine: July 6

A man looks at the damage caused to the central market in Sloviansk by a suspected missile attack.

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

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

9:58 p.m.:

8:04 p.m.: The evacuation of civilians from Sloviansk continued as Russian troops pressed towards the eastern Ukrainian city in their campaign to control the Donbas region, Agence France-Presse reported.

Sloviansk has been subjected to heavy bombardment in recent days as Russian forces push westwards on day 133 of the invasion.

"Twenty years of work; everything is lost. No more income, no more wealth," Yevgen Oleksandrovych, 66, told AFP as he surveyed the site of his car parts shop, destroyed in Tuesday's strikes.

6:45 p.m.: In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, “Today, the general public became aware that in the south of our country, in the occupied areas, access to social networks, messengers and YouTube was closed. Russian forces have blocked any possibility for people to know the truth about what is happening and about our potential, which we are gradually increasing.

“Ukrainian forces are currently advancing in several tactical directions, in particular in the south -- in the Kherson region, in the Zaporizhzhia region. We will not give up our land -- the entire sovereign territory of Ukraine will be Ukrainian. People should know it,” Zelenskyy said. “Therefore, if you have an opportunity to speak with people in the south of our country -- with Kherson, Henichesk, Berdyansk, Melitopol and other cities and villages -- please spread the truth there. Use every opportunity to tell the people in the occupied areas that we remember them and we are fighting for them. We are fighting for our entire south, for the entire Ukrainian Donbas -- the most brutal confrontation is currently there, near Slovyansk and Bakhmut. We are fighting for the Kharkiv region. The occupiers should not think that their time on this land is long-lasting and that the superiority of their artillery is eternal.”

5:57 p.m.:

5 p.m.: Two women are offering a lifeline for stray dogs and pets abandoned by their owners who were forced to flee war in eastern Ukraine.

After losing her home in the Luhansk region and barely escaping with her life, Alina Metyolkina says volunteering at an animal shelter has brought her "back to life." Watch this Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty story.

4:11 p.m.: Russian food supplies bound for an Arctic coal mining settlement have resumed transiting via mainland Norway after weeks of tension, a Russian representative said Wednesday, The Associated Press reported.

Sergey Gushchin, the Russian consul general based in the settlement of Barentsburg, said Oslo had allowed Norwegian carriers to pick up the disputed cargo and cross the Russian-Norwegian border with it.

According to Norwegian media, local authorities in May stopped two containers carrying 20 tons of Russian goods at the sole land border crossing between the two countries, citing European Union sanctions against Moscow.

3:15 p.m.: Ukraine has said it will need $750 billion to rebuild after the war.

2 p.m.: As Boris Johnson's tenure as British prime minister hangs by a thread, Ukrainians are hoping the man who some have affectionately taken to calling "Borys Johnsoniuk" can cling on.

Johnson is facing a growing rebellion within his own Conservative Party after a few ministerial resignations, but Ukrainians fete him as one of their most vocal supporters for overseeing vital supplies of arms and anti-tank weapons to fend off Russia's invasion.

In Kyiv, he has been depicted in street art and is the subject of a portrait exhibition, while a creamy cake with an ice cream topping that resembles his unruly blond hair bears his name, as do several Ukrainian streets.

"It's a shame because we need as much support for (Ukraine) as possible," said 22-year-old actress Kateryna Chikina, one of several Kyiv residents who told Reuters they did not want him to go.

12:10 p.m.: Ukraine is denying Russia's claim that its forces destroyed two U.S.-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems.

CNN reports that on Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said it destroyed the rocket launchers and two ammunition depots during an air strike in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine’s Joint Forces Task Force later said “Russian propagandists are actively spreading false information about the alleged destruction of the American HIMARS artillery system. It said the Russian claim “does not correspond to reality and is nothing but a fake.”

CNN says the U.S. has committed to giving Ukraine eight High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and that four are already in action.

11:15 a.m.: Russia’s former president suggested that nuclear war is possible if the International Criminal Court attempts to prosecute Russian officials for alleged war crimes in Ukraine, reports AFP.

Writing on the messaging app Telegram, Dmitry Medvedev said “the idea to punish a country that has the largest nuclear arsenal is absurd... And potentially creates a threat to the existence of mankind.”

Medvedev is a close ally of President Vladimir Putin and currently serves as deputy head of Russia’s security council.

10:15 a.m.: Russian shelling has killed at least eight civilians and wounded another 25 over the past 24 hours, Ukrainian officials said Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

The Ukrainian presidential office said Russian forces attacked locations in the country’s southeast, with most civilian casualties occurring in Donetsk province.

Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko urged more than 350,000 remaining residents to leave the province late Tuesday, saying it was necessary to save lives and allow Ukraine’s army to mount a better defense against Russian attacks.

9:05 a.m.: A Turkish-made military drone, purchased for Ukraine through a Lithuanian crowdfunding campaign, will soon be on its way to Kyiv, according to CNN.

Lithuania’s defense minister said the Bayraktar TB2 drone arrived in the country on Monday and will be shipped to Ukraine later Wednesday.

A campaign launched by a Lithuanian online broadcaster raised over $6 million to buy the drone. After learning of the campaign, the manufacturer reportedly donated the drone for free.

8:30 a.m.: Ukrainian officials say their forces have so far blocked an attempted Russian advance into the Donetsk region.

"We are holding back the enemy on the border of Luhansk region and Donetsk region," Luhansk governor Serhiy Gaidai told Ukrainian television Wednesday, according to Reuters.

Russia said it had taken full control over the Luhansk region earlier this week. The region is one of two that make up Ukraine’s industrial Donbas region, a prime target of Russian forces since the start of the invasion in February.

7:35 a.m.: Latvia’s defense minister says the country will reinstate compulsory military service for men between 18 and 27 in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Defense Minister Artis Pabriks said he expects the new rule to be implemented early next year, after parliamentary approval in the fall, according to Politico.

Latvia, a tiny country on the Baltic Sea, has a population of 2 million and about 7,000 active soldiers. Like Ukraine, the country was once part of the Russian empire and the Soviet Union.

6:30 a.m.: Russia’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday that detained U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner may appeal her sentence or apply for clemency once a verdict has been delivered, according to Reuters.

Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Alexei Zaitsev said: "attempts to present the case as though the American woman was illegally detained do not stand up to criticism."

Griner was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on February 17 on drugs charges, after cannabis-infused vaporiser cartridges were allegedly found in her baggage. In May, the U.S. State Department designated Griner as "wrongfully detained."

Griner sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking him to "do all you can" to bring home her and other Americans detained in Russia. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that Biden has read the letter.

6:15 a.m.: Ukraine expects a grain harvest of at least 50 million tons this year, which is "not bad given all the difficulties," Reuters reported Wednesday, citing the country’s first deputy agriculture minister.

Ukraine, a major global grain grower and exporter, harvested a record 86 million tons of grain in 2021.

In televised comments, Taras Vysotskiy said that in most of Ukraine’s 2022 wheat harvest would be of milling quality and that the country, which has been invaded by Russia, would have to export at least 30 million tons of the 2022 grain harvest in the 2022/23 season.

6 a.m.: Caspian Pipeline Consortium, which takes oil from Kazakhstan to the Black Sea via one of the world’s largest pipelines, has been told by a Russian court to suspend activity for 30 days, although sources told Reuters exports were still flowing.

CPC, which handles about 1% of global oil, said the ruling to suspend operations related to paperwork on oil spills and said the consortium, which includes U.S. firms Chevron and Exxon, had to abide by Tuesday’s court ruling.

Two trading sources familiar with the terminal operations told Reuters oil exports from the CPC terminal on the Black Sea were continuing on Wednesday morning. Three other industry sources said oil supplies from fields to the CPC pipeline were uninterrupted as of Wednesday morning.

CPC declined further comment on its activity and operations. Any major disruption to the CPC would put further strain on the global oil market which is facing one of its the worst supply crunches since the Arab oil embargo in the 1970s.

Oil prices climbed on Wednesday, up more than 1% at over $104 a barrel, helped higher by supply concerns. The CPC pipeline has been in the spotlight since what Russia calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine, which has restricted Russian exports amid Western sanctions and led to an oil price spike.

5:40 a.m.:

5:30 a.m.: Japan has taken an "unfriendly" position toward Russia which does not help to develop ties in either trade and economy or the energy sector, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

Asked about comments by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on capping the price of Russian oil at around half its current level, Peskov said Tokyo was taking a "very unfriendly" position towards Moscow.

5 a.m.: The governor of Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk province said Wednesday that Russian shelling had killed five civilians and wounded 21 others during the previous 24 hours.

Pavlo Kyrylenko posted on Telegram that the deaths occurred in Avdiivka, Sloviansk, Krasnohorivka and Kurakhove.

"Every crime will be punished," Kyrylenko said.

Russia launched what Sloviansk Mayor Vadim Lyakh called "massive shelling" on the city Tuesday.

In an interview on Ukrainian television, Lyakh first urged residents to flee. Hours later, he reversed course and advised them to take cover in shelters. Prior to Russia’s invasion more than four months ago, the city had a prewar population of about 107,000.

4:30 a.m.: European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday that the 27-nation European Union needs to make emergency plans to prepare for a complete cut-off of Russian gas in the wake of the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine.

The EU has already imposed sanctions on Russia, including on some energy supplies, and is gearing away from Kremlin-controlled deliveries. But the head of the EU’s executive branch said the bloc needed to be ready for shock disruptions coming from Moscow. The Associated Press has the story.

4 a.m.: Austria is following through on a "use it or lose it" threat to eject Russia’s state-owned multinational energy corporation, Gazprom, from its large Haidach gas storage facility for systematically failing to fill its portion of the capacity there, Reuters reported Wednesday citing the government.

"If customers do not store (gas) then the capacity must be handed over to others. It is critical infrastructure. We need it now in such a crisis. That is exactly what is happening now in the case of Gazprom and its storage at Haidach," energy minister Leonore Gewessler told a news conference, adding that gas regulator e-Control had started the process of ejecting Gazprom.

3:30 a.m.: Despite a massive government crackdown on protests over the invasion of Ukraine, some Russians persist in speaking out against the invasion.

Some have paid a heavy price. In the early, wintry days of the invasion in February, authorities moved quickly to quash demonstrations, arresting people who marched or even held blank signs or other oblique references to the conflict. Critical media outlets were shut down as the government sought to control the narrative. Political opponents were singled out by President Vladimir Putin or commentators on state-run TV. The Associated Press has the story.

3:20 a.m.: Sloviansk residents share accounts after shelling by Russian forces.

3 a.m.: China and India funneled $24 billion to Russia by buying energy from Moscow, with a surge in three months since the invasion of Ukraine, Bloomberg reported. Energy purchases offset sanctions and other efforts by Europe and the U.S. aimed at punishing Russia for starting the war, the report said.

2:30 a.m.: U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration plans to participate in this week’s foreign ministers’ meeting of the Group of 20 leading rich and developing nations, where Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will take center stage. VOA’s White House correspondent Anita Powell reports.

A Long War? Ukraine, Russia, US Negotiations Remain Far Off
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2 a.m.: The first rotation of Ukrainian soldiers has arrived in the U.K. as part of a program which aims to train up to 10,000 Ukrainian recruits, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement.

"Training will take place on military training areas across the North East, South West and South East regions. The training will be conducted by elements from 11 Security Force Assistance Brigade," the statement said.

"These Ukrainian soldiers will undertake courses based on the UK’s basic soldier training. This includes weapons training, battlefield first aid, fieldcraft, patrol tactics and training on the Law of Armed Conflict. Each course will last several weeks."

1:30 a.m.: Agence France-Presse shares photos of Ukrainian servicemen building a trench on a position near Kharkiv.

1:15 a.m.: The U.K. defense ministry said Wednesday that Russian troops will push forward in their efforts to consolidate control over Lysychansk and Luhansk Oblast.

Despite Ukrainian resistance, Russian troops have advanced in Izium over the past week and are now moving toward “a realistic possibility that the battle for Sloviansk will be the next key contest in the struggle for the Donbas,” the ministry said.

1 a.m.: Reuters reported that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday called on all parties in the world to make efforts to protect international laws as "the world is evolving in a complicated manner."

Lavrov was speaking through a translator at a meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart Bui Thanh Son in Hanoi.

His comments come as Russia has been accused by Western countries of breaching international law through its invasion of Ukraine. European Union leaders have urged Moscow to abide by an order by the international court of justice telling Russia to withdraw from Ukraine.

"Vietnam is a key partner (of Russia) in ASEAN...and the two countries’ relations are based on history and their common fight for justice," Lavrov said at the meeting, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Vietnam and Russia have close ties dating back to the Soviet era and Hanoi has not so far condemned Russia’s war in Ukraine, which Moscow calls a "special operation."

Lavrov’s visit to Hanoi comes as the two nations mark the 10th anniversary of their "comprehensive strategic partnership."

The Russian foreign minister is due to fly on to Indonesia to attend a meeting of G-20 foreign ministers this week.

12:30 a.m.: 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 neighboring province of Luhansk, according to Reuters.

Donetsk and Luhansk comprise the Donbas, the industrialized 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.

After Russian forces on Sunday took control of Lysychansk, the last bastion of Ukrainian resistance in Luhansk, Ukrainian officials said they now expect Moscow to focus its efforts especially on the cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk in Donetsk.

There was heavy fighting at the edge of the Luhansk region, its governor Serhiy Gaidai told Ukrainian television, saying Russian regular army and reserve forces had been sent there in an apparent effort to cross the Siverskiy Donets River.

12:15 a.m.:

12:01 a.m.: Shares of Japanese trading firms Mitsui & Co dropped more than 4% on Wednesday after former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made comments threatening the loss of oil and gas supply to Japan, Reuters reported.

Commenting on a reported proposal by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the weekend to cap the price of Russian oil at around half its current level, Medvedev said on social media that Japan "would have neither oil nor gas from Russia, as well as no participation in the Sakhalin-2 LNG project" as a result.

Mitsui and Mitsubishi hold stakes of 12.5% and 10%, respectively, in the Sakhalin-2 project, an oil and gas development in Sakhalin Island, Russia.

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