Russia claims control over the last Ukrainian stronghold in an eastern province that is key to achieving a major goal of Moscow's grinding offensive –– now in its 131st day.

News reports have suggested in recent weeks that talks over grain exports would soon be taking place in Türkiye.
News reports have suggested in recent weeks that talks over grain exports would soon be taking place in Türkiye. (AP Archive)

Monday, July 4, 2022

Ukraine, Türkiye, UN in talks over grain exports

Ukraine is holding talks with Türkiye and the United Nations to secure guarantees for grain exports from Ukrainian ports, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said.

"Talks are in fact going on now with Türkiye and the UN (and) our representatives who are responsible for the security of the grain that leaves our ports," Zelenskyy told a news conference alongside Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.

"This is a very important thing that someone guarantees the security of ships for this or that country - apart from Russia, which we do not trust. We, therefore, need security for those ships which will come here to load foodstuffs."

Ukraine reconstruction estimated to cost $750B

Reconstructing Ukraine is expected to cost $750 billion, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said, insisting that seized Russian assets should be used to pay for the recovery of his country.

Speaking to the Ukraine Recovery Conference in southern Switzerland, he said Ukraine's recovery "is already estimated at $750 billion. We believe that the key source of recovery should be the confiscated assets of Russia and Russian oligarchs."

Britons, Moroccan appeal against death sentence in separatist-held Ukraine

British citizen Aiden Aslin and Moroccan Brahim Saadun, sentenced to death by a court in separatist-controlled Ukraine, have submitted their appeals against the verdict.

In June, Aslin, Saadun and another British citizen, Shaun Pinner, were accused of acting as mercenaries for Ukraine and sentenced to death by separatist authorities in the so-called Donetsk People's Republic.

Britain has expressed fury over the death sentences handed to the two Britons in the case.

UK: Russians must be accountable for Ukraine conflict

Russia needs to help pay for the damage it has inflicted on Ukraine during its "appalling war" while Kiev also needed help to revive its battered economy, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.

"Russia needs to be held to account for this appalling war," Truss said on the sidelines of the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano. "We are looking at options for the deployment of Russian assets."

Britain is looking at legislation to seize assets from people responsible for the conflict, Truss said.

Putin orders Ukraine offensive to continue after capture of Luhansk

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu to press ahead with Moscow's offensive in Ukraine after troops took control of the entire Lugansk region.

"Military units, including the East group and the West group, must carry out their tasks according to previously approved plans," Putin told Shoigu.

"I hope that everything will continue in their direction as has happened in Luhansk so far."

Zelenskyy: Ukraine reconstruction 'common task' of democratic world

Rebuilding Ukraine is the "common task of the whole democratic world", Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said, insisting the recovery of his country would serve world peace.

"Reconstruction of Ukraine is the biggest contribution to the support of global peace," Zelensky said, speaking via video link to an international conference in southern Switzerland on rebuilding his nation.

Ukraine says it has raised its flag again on Snake Island

The Ukrainian flag has been raised again on Snake Island in the Black Sea, Ukraine's military said, after Russian forces withdrew from the strategic outpost last week.

"The military operation has been concluded, and ... the territory (Snake Island) has been returned to the jurisdiction of Ukraine," Natalia Humeniuk, spokesperson for Ukraine's southern military command, told a news conference.

Some analysts have said Russia's withdrawal from Snake Island off Ukraine's southwestern coast could loosen its blockade on Ukrainian ports. But a Kiev-based foreign diplomat said it was still not enough to allow for safe transit of Ukrainian grain.

Farmers in Ukraine, one of the largest grain producers in the world, have been struggling to sell their product due to the conflict.
Farmers in Ukraine, one of the largest grain producers in the world, have been struggling to sell their product due to the conflict. (AA)

Russia tries to press its offensive into Ukraine's east

Russian forces have tried to press their offensive deeper into eastern Ukraine after taking control of a key stronghold.

The General Staff of the Ukrainian military said the Russian forces were currently focusing their efforts on pushing toward the line of Siversk, Fedorivka and Bakhmut in the Donetsk region.

The Russian army also has intensified the shelling of key Ukrainian strongholds of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk deeper in the Donetsk region.

Luhansk governor says Russia will shift focus to Donetsk region

Russia will shift the main focus of its offensive in Ukraine to trying to seize all of the Donetsk region after capturing neighbouring Luhansk, the Luhansk region's governor has said.

Governor Serhiy Gaidai said in an interview that he expected the city of Sloviansk and the town of Bakhmut in particular to come under attack as Russia tries to take full control of what is known as the Donbass in eastern Ukraine. 

Zelenskyy vows Ukraine forces will return to Lysychansk

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has acknowledged that Ukrainian forces had withdrawn from Lysychansk in Donbass, but vowed to restore control over the area thanks to the army's tactics and the prospect of new, improved weaponry.

"If the commanders of our army withdraw people from certain points at the front, where the enemy has the greatest advantage in fire power, and this also applies to Lysychansk, it means only one thing," Zelenskyy said in his address.

"That we will return thanks to our tactics, thanks to the increase in the supply of modern weapons."

IOC boss Bach says Ukraine 'flag will fly high' at Olympics

Olympics chief Thomas Bach has said the organisation would ensure that Ukrainian athletes could compete at the 2024 Games despite the Russian assault.

Speaking during a visit to Kiev to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Bach pledged to increase the amount of IOC funding for athletes from the conflict-torn nation.

That will ensure that at the Olympic Games in Paris 2024 and at the Olympic Winter Games in 2026 in Cortina-Milano, "the Ukrainian flag will fly high", said Bach.

"The IOC will triple the fund we have been establishing at the very beginning of the Russian invasion in Ukraine from $2.5 million to $7.5 million," he added. Zelenskyy welcomed the additional support.

For live updates from Sunday (July 3), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies