- Governor of Russia’s Belgorod region says two people killed and two injured when Ukrainian forces shelled a road in Maslova Pristan.
- China’s Ukraine envoy appealed to governments to “stop sending weapons to the battlefield”.
- Ukraine lifts air raid alerts on Friday morning after shooting down more than 36 missiles and drones fired by Russia overnight.
- A village in Russia’s western Bryansk region was shelled by Ukraine, setting a house on fire, but no one was injured, regional governor says.
- The United States says it will stop providing Russia some notifications required under the New START arms control treaty.
Europe is aware of the risks if Ukraine joins NATO: Kremlin
The Kremlin spokesperson says many European countries are aware of the problems that could arise if Ukraine joins NATO, but the United States “calls the tunes” for the alliance.
Dmitry Peskov was asked about Ukraine’s push to join the Western military alliance, which he said underscored Kyiv’s unwillingness to resolve problems at the negotiating table.
He added that Ukrainian membership in NATO would cause problems for many years and that Moscow would protect its security and interests.
Ukrainian forces begin training on Abrams tanks: US
US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley says training for Ukrainian forces on Abrams tanks has begun.
The training got under way as the US and its allies began to work out agreements to also train Ukrainians on F-16 fighter jets.
“Everyone recognizes Ukraine needs a modernized air force,” Milley said.
“It’s going to take a considerable amount of time.”
The US training schedule for the tanks is timed to get the troops up to speed before 31 of the 70-tonne Abrams tanks are scheduled to arrive in a few months.The tanks will make up part of a force of about 300 tanks pledged by Western allies, including Challenger tanks from the UK, Leopard 2 tanks from Spain and Germany, and light tanks from France.
Pro-Kyiv forces fighting in Belgorod
The Freedom of Russia Legion, a pro-Ukrainian force, says it is fighting Russian troops on the outskirts of a village in Russia’s Belgorod region just over the border with Ukraine.
“We have active fighting on the outskirts of the village of Novaya Tavolzhanka (in Belgorod region). Unfortunately, there are wounded legionnaires, but freedom is won through blood,” the Freedom of Russia Legion said in a statement.
The group describes itself as Russians fighting against Putin’s government to create a Russia that would be part of the “free world”.
Along with the Russian Volunteer Corps, a far-right Russian nationalist group, it said it is not working under the orders of Ukraine.
The Belgorod region has been the target of intensified attacks recently, including a cross-border incursion on May 22 to 23.
G7 countries must maintain Russian sanctions: Japan
G7 and like-minded countries must be united and maintain sanctions on Russia, Japan’s foreign minister, Yoshimasa Hayashi, says.
“Judging from the situation and especially what Russia is saying and doing, I think it’s important that the G7 and like-minded countries still remain united and continue severe sanctions against Russia,” Hayashi told a press conference.
Hayashi hopes sanctions will encourage Russia to “end its aggression as soon as possible so that we can reach the phase that we can use the dialogue and peace talks”.
Last month, G7 countries met in Hiroshima and renewed their commitment to Russian sanctions.
US seeking ‘just and lasting peace’ in Ukraine
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the United States is working with Ukraine and other allies to build consensus around the core elements of a “just and lasting peace”.
He said Washington would also encourage initiatives by other countries to end the conflict if they upheld the United Nations Charter and Ukraine’s sovereignty.
“We will support efforts – whether by Brazil, China or any other nation – if they help find a way to a just and lasting peace,” Blinken added.
Washington will continue to support Ukraine militarily as a prerequisite for meaningful diplomacy and so Kyiv is capable of deterring and defending against any future aggression, the top US diplomat said.
“Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine has been a strategic failure,” Blinken said.
‘Stop sending weapons to the battlefield,’ China says
China’s Ukraine envoy has appealed to governments to “stop sending weapons to the battlefield” and hold peace talks.
Li’s appeal comes as Washington and its European allies are ramping up supplies of missiles, tanks and other weapons to Ukrainian forces ahead of an expected counteroffensive. It followed his 12-day European tour in May
“China believes that if we really want to put an end to war, to save lives and realise peace, it is important for us to stop sending weapons to the battlefield, or else the tensions will only spiral up,” Li told reporters.
Ukraine hits hospital camp in Zaporizhia: Russian-installed official
A Russian-installed official says Ukrainian forces hit a “hospital camp” in the occupied part of Ukraine’s Zaporizhia region. He did not provide details.
“Information about casualties and damage is being clarified,” Vladimir Rogov said on Telegram.
Zaporizhia is one of four regions in Ukraine that Russia claims to have annexed.
China is considering sending another Ukraine delegation
China is considering sending another delegation to Europe for talks on resolving the Ukraine crisis, its special Ukraine envoy, Li Hui, says.
Li told a news conference that his European trip last month may not lead to any immediate outcome.
“We felt that there is a big gap between both sides’ positions,” he said of Russia and Ukraine.
In May, Li completed a 12-day tour of Kyiv, Warsaw, Paris, Berlin, Brussels and Moscow in a bid to find common ground for an eventual settlement in the Ukraine war.
Two people killed in Belgorod, governor says
The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region says two people were killed and two others injured when Ukrainian forces shelled a road in Maslova Pristan.
“The Armed Forces of Ukraine fired at a section of the road in the village of Maslova Pristan, Shebekinsky district. Shell fragments hit cars passing by. Two women were travelling in one of them; they died on the spot from their injuries. There are two victims in the second car,” said Vyacheslav Gladkov.
Due to its proximity to the Ukrainian border, Belgorod has previously reported incidents happening but has come under intensified attacks in the past few weeks.
Russia has sown crops in annexed regions: Ukrainian official
Ukraine’s deputy prime minister says Russia sowed winter crops for this year’s harvest in the four regions it claims to have annexed.
Viktoria Abramchenko said Russia had provided state support worth 3 billion roubles ($37.1m) to farmers in the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia regions.
Abramchenko said grain, beans and rapeseed had been harvested on 1.3 million hectares (3.2 million acres).
In 2023, Russia’s crop area will exceed 85 million hectares (210 million acres), the agriculture ministry has said.
Last September, Russian President Vladimir Putin moved to annex the regions following what Ukraine and the West said were sham referendums.
Risk of escalation is ‘still high’, says China envoy
China’s special Ukraine envoy, Li Hui, says the Russian side appreciated China’s desire and efforts to resolve the war.
“The risk of escalation of the Russia-Ukraine war is still high,” Li said at a news briefing on his European tour last month.
“All sides must ensure the safety of nuclear facilities and take concrete measures to cool down the temperature,” he said
Ukraine says it downed 36 Russian missiles and drones
Ukrainian forces in Kyiv have said they shot down 36 Russian missiles and drones in and around the capital overnight, with two people injured by falling debris before authorities lifted air raid alerts across most of the country.
Previously, Ukraine announced that there had been 30 Russian missile and drone strikes through the night.
Russia has launched about 20 missile and drone attacks on Kyiv since the beginning of May, a surge in raids that the government says appears aimed at derailing Ukraine’s preparations for a major counteroffensive.
Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 464
As the war enters its 464th day, here is a look at the main developments.
Ukraine says it downed more than 30 missiles and drones
Ukrainian forces in the capital, Kyiv, said they shot down more than 30 Russian missiles and drones overnight and two people were injured by falling debris, before authorities lifted air raid alerts across most of the country.
Kyiv military authorities, writing on Telegram, said Russia launched drones and cruise missiles at the same time.
Bryansk governor says border village shelled
A village in Russia’s western Bryansk region has been shelled by Ukrainian forces, setting a house on fire, but no one was injured, according to a Telegram post by regional governor Alexander Bogomaz.
Russian officials have reported intensified attacks from northern Ukraine and said on Thursday that Ukrainian troops attempted to cross the border into the Belgorod region, the first such incursion.
Naked man protests against Ukraine war on altar of St Peter’s
A man visiting St Peter’s Basilica stripped stood naked on the church’s main altar in what appeared to be a protest against the war in Ukraine.
The man had an inscription painted on his back calling for the children of Ukraine to be saved.
Vatican guards handed the unidentified man over to Italian police.
US to stop giving Russia some New START nuclear arms data
The US has said it will stop providing Russia with some notifications required under the New START arms control treaty, including updates on its missile and launcher locations, to retaliate for Moscow’s “ongoing violations” of the accord.
The US state department said it would also stop giving Russia telemetry information – remotely gathered data about a missile’s flight – on launches of US intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
Russia has not formally withdrawn from the treaty, which limits deployed strategic nuclear arsenals.