- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday he asked the Chinese government to be very vigilant about Chinese firms providing Russia with technology that it can use in the war in Ukraine.
- The European Union is stepping up efforts to deliver arms and ammunition to Ukraine, EU industry chief Thierry Breton said Sunday in an interview with French daily Le Parisien. "We are preparing for the war to last several more months, or even longer," he said.
- Denmark's military support to Ukraine will be increased to 21.9 billion kroner ($3.21 billion) during 2023-2028, the Danish Defense Ministry said in a statement Monday.
There are no ongoing discussions about Ukraine joining NATO in the upcoming July summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, said NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg during a news conference Monday in Berlin.
Stoltenberg said there would not be a formal invite of Ukraine into the North Atlantic Alliance, but that there will be active discussions during July's summit on "how to move Ukraine closer to NATO." He said the focus of the summit will be on how to help Ukraine successfully defend itself against Russia and added, "Unless Ukraine prevails, there is no issue to be discussed at all related to the membership."
Stoltenberg affirmed that there is consensus among NATO members that one day Ukraine will join the alliance, remarking that Russia has no veto power over that decision.
Ukraine's ambition of joining NATO predates both Russia's invasion last year and its annexation of Crimea in 2014.
U.S. President Joe Biden said Saturday his administration would not "make it easy" for Ukraine to join NATO, noting the war-ravaged nation must fulfill the same criteria as other member states.
According to NATO's Membership Action Plan, candidate nations must make military and democratic reforms before they are considered for NATO membership.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has pressed NATO leadership and the European Union for a timeline on Ukraine's accession.
Ukraine military gains
In his nightly video address Monday, Zelenskyy touted Ukrainian advances against Russian forces. "We have no lost positions. Only liberated ones," he said.
"In some areas our warriors are moving forward, in some areas they are defending their positions and resisting the occupiers' assaults and intensified attacks," he added.
"We are on our own land, and this gives us the greatest strength," Zelenskyy said.
Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said earlier Monday that Ukraine's forces have retaken eight settlements during the past two weeks, including Piatykhatky in the Zaporizhzhia region.
Since the start of Ukraine's counteroffensive aimed at reclaiming control of areas seized by Russian forces, Maliar said Ukraine had freed 113 square kilometers of territory.
Ukrainian soldiers held up yellow and blue national flags in a video posted on social media, saying they were inside Piatykhatky. The settlement is close to one of the most heavily fortified Russian positions in the south.
Separately, the Russian-backed head of part of Ukraine's Donetsk region controlled by Moscow's forces, Denis Pushilin, said Monday that Ukrainian shelling killed a six-year-old girl and injured 20 civilians in the town of Volnovakha.
The Reuters news agency could not verify his assertions, and there was no immediate comment from Ukraine on Pushilin's allegations.
Ukraine is seeking $40 billion in funding for the first phase of a "Green Marshall Plan" to repair its economy. During a two-day meeting in London starting Wednesday, politicians and investors will discuss Ukraine's short-term and long-term economic reconstruction which includes developing a coal-free iron and steel industry.
The deputy head of Zelenskyy's office, Rostyslav Shurma, told Reuters, "If you have to rebuild, it is logical to rebuild green in line with new technologies. ... Our vision is to build a 50 million tons green steel industry in Ukraine," he said.
Doing so could allow the country to become the world's cheapest supplier of so-called "green" steel — made without the use of fossil fuels — and a major support to Europe's efforts to decarbonize, driven by an investment push in new wind, solar, nuclear and hydro power, Reuters reports.
According to the World Bank, Ukraine's reconstruction will cost upward of $400 billion, three times the country's gross domestic product. Since Russia's invasion in February 2022, external backers have poured $59 billion into Ukraine to support it during the war.
One of the issues expected to be discussed during the two-day Ukraine Recovery Conference is whether the estimated $300 billion of frozen Russian central bank reserves will go to Ukraine.
Britain on Monday introduced legislation that will allow it to keep sanctions against Russia in place until Moscow pays compensation for the cost of its invasion on Ukraine.
"Ukraine's reconstruction needs are – and will be – immense," British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said. "Through our new measures today, we're strengthening the U.K.'s sanctions approach, affirming that the U.K. is prepared to use sanctions to ensure Russia pays to repair the country it has so recklessly attacked."
U.S. lawmakers from both the Republican and the Democratic parties introduced a bill Thursday that would make it easier for Ukraine to fund its fight against Russia by using seized and frozen Russian assets.
The Kremlin said Monday that Russia's decision to decline U.N. help in areas of Russian-held Ukraine flooded by the Kakhovka dam breach was because of security concerns.
"There is constant shelling there, constant provocations, civilian objects and people are being shelled, people are dying," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
The United Nations confirmed Sunday that Moscow declined its requests to help residents of Russian-controlled areas of southern Ukraine affected by the Kakhovka dam collapse and pledged to continue seeking access.
"We urge the Russian authorities to act in accordance with their obligations under international humanitarian law," the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine, Denise Brown, said Sunday in a statement.
More than a dozen people have died while 31 are still missing after floods caused by the dam's destruction, according to Ukraine's interior ministry. Almost 900 homes remain underwater and more than 3,600 people have been evacuated.
Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.