- Ukrainian officials say at least three children are among the 10 victims of a Russian attack in Kramatorsk.
- Following the attack, in which a busy restaurant was hit, the Kremlin says it only targets sites that are “linked” to the military.
- NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the Western military alliance is ready to defend itself against any threat posed by the move of Russia’s Wagner mercenary force to Belarus.
- Ukraine Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov says the liberation of a group of villages under Russian occupation in recent weeks was “not the main event” in Kyiv’s planned attack.
Switzerland steps up sanctions on Russia
Switzerland imposes more sanctions against Russian entities and individuals falling in line with the most recent economic restrictions imposed by the European Union on Moscow after the invasion of Ukraine.
Among those targeted are people, companies and organisations that support the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia, a statement said.
They also include members of the Russian armed forces, leading representatives of state-controlled Russian media and members of the Wagner mercenary group that staged an aborted mutiny last weekend. The sanctions include asset freezes and a ban to travel to and transit through Switzerland.
Switzerland rejects request for trade in Leopard 1 tanks for use in Ukraine
The Swiss Federal Council has said that it had rejected a request by Swiss defence firm Ruag for the trade of 96 Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks for use in Ukraine.
Such a sale would be contrary to the war material act and would entail an adjustment of Switzerland’s neutrality policy, the cabinet said
Kremlin confirms papal envoy in Moscow for talks on Ukraine
President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has confirmed the arrival in Moscow of Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, the papal envoy for peace, adding that the Kremlin appreciates the efforts of the Vatican to help resolve the Ukraine crisis.
“We highly value the efforts and initiatives of the Vatican and welcome the aspiration of the pope to contribution to ending the armed conflict (in Ukraine),” spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a regular briefing.
He said the Russian president’s foreign affairs adviser would hold talks with Zuppi, at Putin’s request.
Kremlin says only hits ‘military’ targets after Ukraine restaurant attack
The Kremlin has said that it only hits targets in Ukraine that are somehow “linked” to the military, after the attack on a restaurant in Kramatorsk.
“Strikes are only carried out on objects that are in one way or another linked to military infrastructure,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Russian shelling kills three in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region: Governor
The governor of Kharkiv says at least three people have been killed in Russian shelling.
“Unfortunately, as a result of this shelling, three civilians in the village of Vovchanski Khutory were killed near their homes,” Governor Oleh Synehubov wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
He said the victims were men aged 45, 48 and 57.
Death toll from Kramatorsk attack rises to 10
The death toll from the Kramatorsk attack has risen to 10, with two more bodies including a fourth child pulled out of the wreckage.
Police said at least 61 people were wounded in Tuesday’s missile attack, which turned a crowded restaurant into a pile of twisted beams.
“As of now, rescuers have recovered the bodies of 10 people from the rubble,” Veronika Bakhal, spokeswoman for the Donetsk region emergency services, told Ukrainian television.
Most Americans support US arming Ukraine: Survey
Most Americans support providing weaponry to Ukraine to defend itself against Russia and believe that such aid demonstrates to China and other US rivals a will to protect US interests and allies, according to a Reuters/Ipsos survey.
The two-day poll charted a sharp rise in backing for arming Ukraine, with 65 percent of the respondents approving of the shipments compared with 46 percent in a May poll.
Eighty-one percent of Democrats, 56 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of independents favour supplying US weapons to Ukraine, according to the latest poll.
The findings appeared to provide firmer backing for President Joe Biden’s policy of doing “whatever it takes” to assist Ukraine in recapturing territory that Russia seized in an initial assault in 2014 and its full-scale invasion 16 months ago.
UN documents summary execution of 77 Ukrainian civilians
A United Nations mission in Ukraine has expressed grave concern over the summary execution of more than 70 Ukrainian civilians by Russian forces while also documenting other breaches of international law by both warring sides.
The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) released its findings gathered between the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of its neighbouring country in February last year to May of this year.
Read the full account here.
Zelenskyy thanks Croatia for recognising Holodomor as ‘genocide’
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanks the Croatian parliament for recognising the Holodomor – the Ukrainian word for “death by starvation” – as “genocide”.
The 1932-33 event is regarded by Kyiv as a deliberate act of genocide by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s regime with the intention of wiping out the peasantry. Stalin’s campaign of forced “collectivisation” seized grain and other foodstuffs and left millions to starve.
“The world will never put up with the crimes of the Kremlin – neither past nor present,” Zelenskyy said on Twitter.In March, the French parliament also recognised the Soviet-era famine as “genocide“.
Russia’s Putin holds phone call with Bahrain’s king
Russian President Vladimir Putin held a phone call with the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the Kremlin has said in a statement.
The king expressed support for measures taken by Putin to end an armed mutiny by mercenary fighters on Saturday, it said.
Ukraine names new head of state weapons company to push reforms, increase supplies
The Ukrainian government has appointed a new head of the state-owned weapons producer Ukroboronprom as Kyiv seeks to boost domestic weapons production and increase transparency.
Herman Smetanin has been serving as head of the Kharkiv Malyshev Plant in northeastern Ukraine, which produces heavy equipment, including tanks. His appointment as general director of Ukroboronprom is part of a broader transformation of the defence industry, officials said.
“The newly appointed general director faces three main tasks: to increase the production of ammunition and military equipment, build an effective anti-corruption infrastructure in the company and transform Ukroboronprom,” said Oleksander Kamyshyn, minister for Ukraine’s strategic industries.
The government has been pushing for reforms in the domestic defence industry to modernise local producers and allow them to cooperate closer with their Western partners and increase supplies to the front.
Kramatorsk missile attack death toll rises to nine
The body of a boy was pulled out of the rubble of a building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, taking the death toll in a Russian missile attack to nine, the city mayor has said.
“Rescuers pulled a boy’s body from the rubble,” Oleksandr Goncharenko wrote on the Telegram messaging app on Wednesday morning as search and rescue operations continued. He did not give the boy’s age.
The prosecutor general said 60 people were wounded in the attack on Tuesday evening, when a missile slammed into a busy restaurant, and officials said two girls aged 14 and one aged 17 were among the dead.
Pope’s peace envoy to visit Moscow
Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, Pope Francis’s peace envoy, is set to start a two-day visit to Moscow “to find ways to reach a just peace”.
The visit comes after Zuppi went to Ukraine in early June where he spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the behest of the pontiff.
Francis has repeatedly offered himself as a broker between the two warring sides, saying he is willing to visit Kyiv and Moscow.
“I am willing to do everything that has to be done. There is a mission in course now but it is not yet public. When it is public, I will reveal it,” the pope told reporters in April after visiting Hungary.
Lithuania buys two NASAMS air defence systems for Ukraine
Lithuania has bought two NASAMS launchers that will be supplied to Ukraine, the country’s President Gitanas Nauseda has said.The Lithuanian defence ministry added that it paid 9.8 million euros ($10.7m) for the defence launcher systems and that they will be delivered within three months.
Wagner boss Prigozhin has arrived in Belarus, says Lukashenko
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has confirmed that the head of the Wagner paramilitary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has arrived in the country.
He said he offered the mercenary group an abandoned military site where they could “put their tents while thinking what to do next”.
Read the full story here.
Russia’s exit from grain deal remains high: RIA
The probability of Moscow’s withdrawal from the Black Sea grain deal in July remains high, although talks continue, Russia’s RIA news agency has reported, citing an anonymous source.
Moscow has repeatedly complained that it was not getting what it wanted from the deal which has allowed grain to be shipped out of Ukrainian ports and expires on July 18.
What next after Wagner mutiny?
The leader of the Wagner Group has left Russia and arrived in Belarus. Yevgeny Prigozhin was cheered by supporters as he left the southern city of Rostov-on-Don.
Lithuanian president to meet Zelenskyy to discuss NATO summit
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv to discuss NATO as Ukraine seeks to enter the alliance.
Zelenskyy stepped up calls for Ukraine to receive a “political invitation” to join NATO at a July 11-12 summit of alliance members in Lithuania.
NATO members are close to agreeing on incremental steps to strengthen ties with Ukraine by the Vilnius summit but have yet to resolve differences over how to address Ukraine’s desire for membership.
Lithuania has been one of the staunchest supporters of Ukraine in NATO and the European Union, and has been calling for accepting it into both.
NATO will defend members from threat of Wagner forces in Belarus
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said the Western military alliance is ready to defend itself against any threat posed by the move of Russia’s Wagner mercenary force to Belarus amid fears the relocation of the private army could create instability for NATO’s Eastern European members.
Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin was reported to have arrived in Belarus on Tuesday under a deal negotiated by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, which narrowly prevented the mercenaries from marching on Moscow on Saturday after the private army mutinied against Russia’s military leaders.
Read the full story here.
Ukraine defence minister says main troop reserves yet to be used
The liberation of a group of villages under Russian occupation in recent weeks was “not the main event” in Kyiv’s planned attack, Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s defence minister, told the Financial Times.
“When it happens, you will all see it … Everyone will see everything,” he said, brushing aside media coverage of slow progress against well-fortified Russian positions.
Ukraine’s main troop reserves, including most brigades recently trained in the West and equipped with modern NATO tanks and armoured vehicles, have yet to be used in the operation, Reznikov said.
Eight killed, 56 wounded in Russian attack
Eight people have been killed in a Russian attack on the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, Ukraine’s emergency services have said, adding that 56 people were injured.
Two Russian missiles struck Kramatorsk on Tuesday, hitting a crowded restaurant in the city centre.
Three people were pulled from the rubble, the emergency services added.