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One person killed after Ukraine appears to hit major Russian airbase in Crimea – as it happened

Summary

The time in Kyiv is 9pm. Here is a summary of the day’s top news stories:

  • The head of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, said one person had died as a result of the explosion earlier on Tuesday. Blasts rocked a Russian airbase near seaside resorts in the annexed Crimean peninsula, injuring five people according to local authorities. Witnesses told Reuters they heard at least 12 explosions at about 3.20pm local time from the Saky airbase near Novofedorivka on Crimea’s western coast. They described a final blast around 30 minutes later as the loudest.

  • The head of Ukraine’s state nuclear power firm warned of the “very high” risks from shelling at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in the Russian-occupied south and said it was vital Kyiv regains control over the facility in time for winter. Energoatom’s chief, Petro Kotin, told Reuters in an interview that last week’s Russian shelling had damaged three lines that connect the Zaporizhzhia plant to the Ukrainian grid and that Russia wanted to connect the facility to its grid.

  • The leaders of Estonia and Finland want fellow European countries to stop issuing tourist visas to Russian citizens, saying they should not be able to take holidays in Europe while the Russian government carries out a war in Ukraine. The Estonian prime minister, Kaja Kallas, wrote on Tuesday on Twitter that “visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right” and that it was “time to end tourism from Russia now”, the Associated Press reported.

  • Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad has been struggling with quotas imposed by the EU for sanctioned goods that it can import across Lithuania from mainland Russia or Belarus, the region’s governor admitted. Lithuania infuriated Moscow in June by banning the land transit of goods such as concrete and steel to Kaliningrad after EU sanctions on them came into force, Reuters reported.

  • Russia has launched an Iranian satellite from Kazakhstan amid concerns that it could be used for battlefield surveillance in Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Iran has denied that the Khayyam satellite, which was delivered into orbit aboard a Soyuz rocket launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, would ever be under Russian control.

  • Russia has suspended an arrangement that allowed US and Russian inspectors to visit each other’s nuclear weapons sites under the 2010 New Start treaty, in a fresh blow to arms control. Mutual inspections had been suspended as a health precaution since the start of the Covid pandemic, but a foreign ministry statement on Monday added another reason Russia is unwilling to restart them. It argued that US sanctions imposed because of the invasion of Ukraine stopped Russian inspectors travelling to the US.

  • The global health aid agency Unitaid is donating 220 specialised portable breathing devices to Ukraine that can help save lives of premature babies even in frontline hospitals where there is no electrical power. During Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, hundreds of hospitals have been damaged or destroyed, disrupting supply lines and placing newborn babies at risk of death or disability from a lack of access to equipment and oxygen, Reuters reported.

  • More than 10.5 million people have crossed the border from Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said on its website on Tuesday. Ukrainians have been fleeing their homes since the Russian invasion began on 24 February.

  • In an interview, the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Denis Pushilin, said the advance of pro-Russian forces in the Donbas was developing in a northern direction, with fighting on the outskirts of Bakhmut and Soledar. He said that the DPR was in negotiations with Pyongyang to bring builders from North Korea in to help rebuild the occupied territory. Pushilin also stated that there would be an “open tribunal over the war criminals of Ukraine”, with the first to be held in Mariupol, which would feature the testimony of the “Azovites”, in reference to Ukraine’s Azov battalion.

  • Russia’s assault towards the town of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine has been its most successful axis in the Donbas region in the past month, the UK Ministry of Defence has said in its latest intelligence update. Despite this, it had only gained 10km in that time, while elsewhere in Donbas it had gained only 3km over 30 days – “almost certainly significantly less than planned”.

That’s it for the Ukraine live blog for today. Thanks for following along. I’ll be back tomorrow, see you then.

Updated

A Russian airbase deep behind the frontline in Crimea was damaged by several large explosions on Tuesday afternoon, killing at least one person, although it was not immediately clear whether it had been targeted by a long range Ukrainian missile strike.

Multiple social media videos showed explosions and clouds emerging from the Saky military base in Novofedorivka on the western coast of Crimea, prompting questions about how a location more than 100 miles from the frontline could have been attacked. Later a senior Ukrainian official appeared to claim responsibility, without giving details.

Russia’s defence ministry told the RIA Novosti news agency that the explosions took place at about 3.20pm local time, and that “several aviation munitions detonated” in a storage area. It said it was trying to discern the cause of the incident.

Updated

The head of Ukraine’s state nuclear power firm warned of the “very high” risks of shelling at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in the Russian-occupied south and said it was vital Kyiv regains control over the facility in time for winter.

Energoatom’s chief, Petro Kotin, told Reuters in an interview that last week’s Russian shelling had damaged three lines that connect the Zaporizhzhia plant to the Ukrainian grid and that Russia wanted to connect the facility to its grid.

Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of shelling the site of the vast nuclear power station – Europe’s biggest – that lies in Russian-controlled territory, in recent days.

Some of the shelling landed near storage facilities for spent fuel, an area that has 174 containers of highly radioactive material, Kotin said, warning of the dangers of them being hit.

“This is … the most radioactive material in all the nuclear power plant. This would [mean] the distribution [of it] around this place and then we will have like a radiation cloud and then the weather will decide … which direction the cloud goes,” he said.

“The risk is very high,” he said.

Kotin said Russia wanted to connect the plant to its grid, a technically difficult process that requires the facility to be severed from the Ukrainian system before it can be gradually connected to the Russian one.

Updated

The leaders of Estonia and Finland want fellow European countries to stop issuing tourist visas to Russian citizens, saying they should not be able to take holidays in Europe while the Russian government carries out a war in Ukraine.

Estonian prime minister, Kaja Kallas, wrote on Tuesday on Twitter that “visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right” and that it is “time to end tourism from Russia now”, the Associated Press reported.

A day earlier, her counterpart in Finland, Sanna Marin, told Finnish broadcaster YLE that “it is not right that while Russia is waging an aggressive, brutal war of aggression in Europe, Russians can live a normal life, travel in Europe, be tourists”.

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, went further in a Washington Post interview on Monday, saying all western countries should ban Russian tourists.

Estonia and Finland both border Russia and are members of the European Union, which banned air travel from Russia after it invaded Ukraine. But Russians can still travel by land to both countries and apparently are then taking flights to other European destinations.

Updated

The Ukrainian military claims to have struck a major airbase deep inside the occupied Crimean peninsula.

At least 12 explosions hit the Saky naval airbase, causing a huge plume of smoke.

Russia has disputed the claims and says it was not an attack but a detonation of ammunition.

One person dead in Crimea blast, says head of region

The head of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, said one person has died as a result of the explosion earlier on Tuesday.

Blasts rocked a Russian airbase near seaside resorts in the annexed Crimean peninsula, injuring five people according to local authorities.

Witnesses told Reuters they heard at least 12 explosions at about 3.20pm local time from the Saky airbase near Novofedorivka on Crimea’s western coast. They described a final blast around 30 minutes later as the loudest.

Russia’s defence ministry claimed the “detonation of several aviation ammunition stores” had caused an explosion, Russian news agencies reported, but that there had been no injuries.

Updated

Russia has launched an Iranian satellite from Kazakhstan amid concerns that it could be used for battlefield surveillance in Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Iran has denied that the Khayyam satellite, which was delivered into orbit aboard a Soyuz rocket launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, would ever be under Russian control.

But the Washington Post had previously reported that Moscow told Tehran it “plans to use the satellite for several months, or longer, to enhance its surveillance of military targets” in Ukraine, according to two US officials.

The satellite, named after the Persian poet and mathematician Omar Khayyam, was built by Russia and will include a high-resolution camera that would give Tehran new capabilities to monitor sensitive facilities in Israel and the Persian Gulf, the paper reported.

Crimea’s emergency services said three people were injured as a result of the blast. The ministry of defence said earlier there were no casualties and no aircraft was damaged.

The head of occupied Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, said it was “too early” to talk about casualties, adding that medics were working on the ground. He said:

Ambulance crews and medics are working on the spot, there are enough of them. It is too early to talk about casualties.

Among the civilian population, no one has yet applied for medical assistance.

Updated

Ukraine appears to have struck major Russian airbase in Crimea

Ukraine appears to have struck a major Russian airbase deep inside the occupied Crimean peninsula in what is being seen as a significant strike in a region regarded by Moscow as largely safe from attack.

Video footage posted on Tuesday afternoon showed a series of large explosions at the Saky air force base located 200km behind the Russian front lines in Ukraine’s south.

The Saky naval air station is located in Novofedorivka, and is the airbase associated with operations of Russian Black Sea fleet.

What is significant about the attack is the distance of the location targeted behind Russian lines, suggesting both the use of ballistic missiles and that recent Ukrainian strikes on Russian air defences allowed the missiles to hit their target.

Underlining the importance of the attack, Phillips O’Brien, professor of strategic studies at St Andrews University, tweeted: “What the Ukrainians are doing is extremely important. By showing they can hit Crimea, they will further stretch Russia defensive capabilities. The Russians are going to have to protect a huge area behind the front lines.”

Updated

Reuters is carrying a little more details from the witness it has spoken to concerning the reports of explosions in Crimea.

At least 12 explosions of varying intensity were heard in the course of a minute around 3.30pm local time, two witnesses said. Three were particularly loud, triggering sparks and smoke.

(It is worth noting that the social media posts shared by Rodion Miroshnik placed the explosions slightly earlier, at 3pm local time – see post from 22 minutes ago)

Around 30 minutes later, one more blast, described by witnesses as the loudest of all, triggered two more plumes of smoke and dust. In the nearby town of Saky, sirens blared.

Reuters has distributed this image of the scene, which was taken from a third party.

Smoke rises after explosions were heard near Novofedorivka.
Smoke rises after explosions were heard near Novofedorivka. Photograph: Obtained By Reuters/Reuters

The Russian governor of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, said in a post on his Telegram channel that he had gone to the area and that the “circumstances are being clarified”.

An adviser to Aksyonov confirmed that explosions had occurred but declined to comment on the possible cause, Russian news agencies reported.

Emergency services were deployed, the Tass news agency reported, citing the regional health ministry.

Russia for decades leased the naval port of Sevastopol, home of its Black Sea Fleet, from Kyiv, but in 2014 annexed the entire peninsula from Ukraine in a move not recognised by most other countries.

Updated

On Telegram, the Russian Tass news agency has posted that “the Association of Tour Operators of Russia said that the explosion in the Crimea occurred far from the resort area. There were no casualties or injuries among the tourists.”

Updated

Authorities in Crimea appear to confirm reports of explosions in region

Authorities in Crimea appear to have been confirming reports of explosions in the region, although details are still scant.

Oleg Kryuchkov, a Kremlin-appointed adviser to the authorities in Crimea, has posted to Telegram to say: “So far, I can only confirm the very fact of several explosions in the Novofedorivka area. I ask everyone to wait for official reports.”

The BBC reports that pro-Russian military commander Yuri Kotenok said on his Telegram channel that there were about 10 explosions. “20km from Novofedorivka windows tremble and alarms go off in cars,” he wrote.

It quotes another local authority figure as saying: “Our airfield is exploding. Explosions are at the airfield. All the windows here have been shattered.”

Updated

The video clips which purport to show explosions in Crimea are being shared by pro-Russian social media as well as Ukrainian social media

Rodion Miroshnik, who goes under the title of the ambassador to Russia for the self-proclaimed and chiefly unrecognised Luhansk People’s Republic, has forwarded a message on Telegram featuring two videos and a still image of the apparent explosions, accompanied by the message:

Residents of Crimea report explosions near the village of Novofedorivka. The first explosion occurred at about 15:00 local time. There were a few more after it. Whether there are victims is unknown.

Three local witnesses have told Reuters they heard several loud explosions and seen black smoke rising from the direction of a Russian military airbase at Novofedorivka in western Crimea on Tuesday.

Videos shared on social media also showed a plume of smoke in the area. Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.

More details soon …

Updated

Global health aid agency Unitaid is donating 220 specialised portable breathing devices to Ukraine that can help save lives of premature babies even in frontline hospitals where there is no electrical power.

During Russia’s invasion of Ukraine hundreds of hospitals have been damaged or destroyed, disrupting supply lines and placing newborn babies at risk of death or disability from a lack of access to equipment and oxygen, Reuters reported.

Herve Verhoosel, a spokesperson for Unitaid, told a media briefing that the war was causing extra stress on pregnant women, leading to an increase in the number of premature births, which had tripled in some areas.

The new bubble nasal continuous positive airway pressure (bCPAP) devices are available in 25 facilities across Ukraine, Verhoosel said. Unitaid funds medical innovation programmes mainly in poor countries, and is hosted by the World Health Organization.

WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris said that on a recent visit to a paediatric hospital close to the frontline in Ukraine she had seen medical staff who sleep in the basement every night, and constantly have to move children on ventilation machines.

“So having very portable devices that can function offline is absolutely critical,” she told the briefing.

Unitaid partnered with Vayu Global Health, a non-profit that specialises in low-cost healthcare equipment for developing countries, to provide the Kenya-made bCPAP machines, which cost about $500 each, as well as 125 oxygen blender systems.

Updated

Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad has been struggling with quotas imposed by the European Union for sanctioned goods that it can import across Lithuania from mainland Russia or Belarus, the region’s governor admitted.

Lithuania infuriated Moscow in June by banning the land transit of goods such as concrete and steel to Kaliningrad after EU sanctions on them came into force, Reuters reported.

As part of a deal reached in July, the EU imposed limits on the volume of such goods crossing by land between Kaliningrad and mainland Russia or Belarus, based on average volumes over the last three years, to prevent Kaliningrad being used to dodge sanctions.

Kaliningrad governor Anton Alikhanov estimated that the limits permit Russia to ship around 500,000 tonnes of sanctioned goods in total in both directions each year. But he said some quotas had already been reached, making it impossible, for instance, for Kaliningrad to import cement from Belarus – which used to account for around 200,000 tonnes a year. Moscow says trade with its outlying territory should not be subject to limits.

“Today, we have already exhausted the limits set by Europeans for the transportation of goods by rail: for instance, certain kinds of iron, steel, oil products, fertilisers, antifreeze and timber,” Russian news agencies quoted Alikhanov as saying at a meeting of the Valdai discussion club on Tuesday.

Russia’s former ambassador to Lithuania said that, while the transit deal had helped avoid the “worst case scenario”, the situation was “far from normal”.

Updated

More than 10.5m people have crossed border from Ukraine

More than 10.5 million people have crossed the border from Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said on its website on Tuesday.

Ukrainians have been fleeing their homes since the Russian invasion began on 24 February.

Updated

Russia’s defence ministry said on Tuesday that Russian forces had destroyed an ammunition depot near Uman in Ukraine storing US-made Himars missiles and M777 howitzers, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

The Reuters news agency was unable to verify the battlefield reports.

In its daily briefing, the ministry said it had destroyed more than 300 rockets in the strike.

Kyiv has hailed the arrival of the advanced, long-range Himars from the United States as a possible game-changer, while Moscow has accused the West of “dragging out” the conflict by arming Ukraine.

Updated

Summary of the day so far …

  • Ukraine has reported intense Russian shelling across the frontlines on Tuesday as both sides traded blame for the weekend strike on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex that triggered international concern about a potential atomic disaster. Heavy fighting was reported in frontline towns near the eastern city of Donetsk, where Ukrainian officials said Russian troops were launching waves of attacks.
  • In an interview, the self-appointed leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, said the advance of pro-Russian forces in the Donbas is developing in a northern direction, with fighting going on on the outskirts of Bakhmut and Soledar. He said that the DPR was in negotiations with Pyongyang to bring builders from North Korea in to help rebuild the occupied territory. Pushilin also stated that there would be an “open tribunal over the war criminals of Ukraine”, with the first to be held in Mariupol, which would feature the testimony of the “Azovites”, in reference to Ukraine’s Azov battalion.
  • Russia’s assault towards the town of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine has been its most successful axis in the Donbas region in the past month, the UK Ministry of Defence has said in its latest intelligence update. Despite this, it had gained only 10km in that time, while elsewhere in Donbas it had gained only 3km over 30 days – “almost certainly significantly less than planned”.
  • Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-imposed military-civilian administration in the occupied Kherson region of Ukraine, has said: “Kherson region is ready to repel the attempts of the offensive by Ukrainian militants, if such a criminal order is given. Reliable protection of the borders of the region is provided by the Russian ministry of defence.”
  • Two further grain-carrying ships have sailed from Ukraine’s Chornomorsk port on Tuesday, as part of the deal to unblock Ukrainian sea exports. The Ocean Lion, which departed for South Korea, is carrying 64,720 tonnes of corn, it said, while the Rahmi Yağcı is carrying 5,300 tonnes of sunflower meal to Istanbul. Four ships that left Ukraine earlier are anchored near Istanbul and will be inspected on Tuesday, the Turkish defence ministry said.
  • Belarus, where Russian troops were positioned to hold joint exercises before they invaded Ukraine from the north in February, has announced it is to hold live fire military training exercises both in Belarus and in Russia during August.
  • Russia launched an Iranian satellite into orbit on Tuesday on morning, but Tehran has sought to deflect suspicions that Moscow could use Khayyam to improve its surveillance of military targets in Ukraine.
  • The US believes Russia has suffered between 70,000 and 80,000 casualties, either killed or wounded, since its latest invasion of Ukraine began on 24 February. Colin Kahl, the Pentagon’s top policy official, said: “The Russians are taking a tremendous number of casualties on the other side of the equation. I think it’s safe to suggest that the Russians are probably taking 70-80,000 casualties in less than six months.”

Updated

Zelenskiy accuses Russia of terrorism

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has again accused the Russian Federation of terrorism. He posted to Telegram a selection of images showing damage to buildings and wheat fields in Ukraine with the message:

The only difference between terrorists and Russia is that the first ones take responsibility for what they have done, while Russia does not have the courage to do so and has the audacity to blame others for its crimes – individual countries and the whole world. And now this world faces a choice. Determination, and therefore – an end to the crimes and atrocities of Russia, or another explosion of another bomb from these terrorists.

Updated

The Telegram channel of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) is carrying a summary of an interview conducted with self-appointed leader Denis Pushilin.

In it, he claims that the advance of pro-Russian forces in the Donbas is developing in a northern direction, with fighting going on on the outskirts of Bakhmut and Soledar. In Pisky, he said, “the cleanup is being completed”.

Pushilin repeated the allegation that the deaths of Ukrainian prisoners of war at a Russian-controlled prison in Olenivka were caused by Ukrainian forces, saying: “Its implementation was controlled from the decision-making centres in Ukraine”. Ukraine has claimed the opposite, with satellite images suggesting that the building was destroyed not by a Himars strike from outside but either by a precision strike or by a detonation inside.

He said the DPR was in negotiations with Pyongyang to bring in builders from North Korea to help rebuild the occupied territory.

Pushilin also stated that there would be an “open tribunal over the war criminals of Ukraine”, with the first to be held in Mariupol, which would feature the testimony of the “Azovites”, in reference to Ukraine’s Azov battalion.

The comments were made during a 20-minute section of Vladimir Solovyov’s live show. Only Russia, Syria and North Korea recognise the DPR as a legitimate authority, or Pushilin as a legitimate leader.

Updated

Belarus, where Russian troops were positioned to hold joint exercises before they invaded Ukraine from the north in February, has announced it is to hold military training exercises during August.

Reuters reports the defence ministry said the exercises will involve live firing and be held in two stages, firstly from 9-11 August in Belarus, and then at the Ashuluk training base in Russia from 22-25 August. The Ashuluk testing range is in the Astrakhan region of southern Russia, which borders Kazakhstan and the Caspian Sea.

Updated

On Telegram, Ukraine’s emergency services have detailed some of the evacuation work it carried out in the last 24 hours. It said:

Over the past day, emergency workers evacuated six people from Kramatorsk and Bakhmut districts. Rescuers from Donetsk region also helped 102 people during the evacuation in the city of Toretsk, including 10 children and 10 people with disabilities. During the evacuation at the railway station in Pokrovsk, assistance was provided to 735 people, including 69 children and nine people with physical disabilities.

Also updating the public on evacuation numbers, Maksym Kozytskyi, the governor of Lviv, said 161 people arrived in his region from the east of the country on two evacuation trains in the last 24 hours. He stated that 747 people departed from the Lviv region to Przemyśl in Poland.

Updated

The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has issued its military briefing for the day. It says that Ukrainian forces shelled 10 of the 266 settlements that it claims to have “liberated” from Ukraine alongside Russia and the similarly self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic.

The DPR is recognised as a legitimate authority by only three UN member states including Russia, and its claims have not been independently verified.

Updated

Here is an image sent to us over the newswires of the Liberian-flagged ship Ocean Lion, which departed from Ukraine’s Chornomorsk earlier today carrying 64,720 tonnes of corn.

The carrier Ocean Lion leaves port.
The carrier Ocean Lion leaves port. Photograph: Reuters

Oleksandr Stryuk, Ukraine’s mayor of the occupied city of Sievierodonetsk, has been speaking on Ukrainian television about what he knows of the the conditions there.

He described the situation, saying that occupation authorities are trying to create a picture of the restoration of normal life, and teams are being formed in the city to clean the streets, with the offer of food as payment for labour.

He claimed there is no running water and the sewage system does not work either. He said the city lacks the specialists to restore communications.

He also claimed that almost all the people who tried to return to the city, stayed there for several days, then realised that it would be impossible to overwinter in these conditions, and they left again.

A clip of Stryuk’s interveiw was posted to Telegram by Ukraine’s governor of Luhansk, Serhai Haidai. The claims have not been independently verified.

NewsGuard, a New York-based firm that studies and tracks online misinformation, has identified 250 websites actively spreading Russian disinformation about the war, with dozens of new sites added in recent months.

They appear to be part of a concerted effort to circumvent the European Union’s efforts to block Russian propaganda and misinformation about the war.

Claims on these sites include allegations that Ukraine’s army has staged some deadly Russian attacks to generate global support, that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy is faking public appearances, or that Ukrainian refugees are committing crimes in Germany and Poland.

Some of the sites pose as independent thinktanks or news outlets. About half are English-language, while others are in French, German or Italian. Many were set up long before the war and were not obviously tied to the Russian government until they suddenly began echoing Kremlin talking points.

“They may be establishing sleeper sites,” said NewsGuard co-CEO Gordon Crovitz. Sleeper sites are websites created for a disinformation campaign that lay largely dormant, slowly building an audience through innocuous or unrelated posts, and then switching to propaganda or disinformation at an appointed time.

While NewsGuard’s analysis found that much of the disinformation about the war in Ukraine is coming from Russia, it did find instances of false claims with a pro-Ukrainian slant.

YouTube, TikTok and Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, all pledged to remove RT and Sputnik from their platforms within the European Union. But the Associated Press reports that researchers have found that in some cases all Russia had to do to evade the ban was to post the same content from a different account.

Updated

Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-imposed military-civilian administration in the occupied Kherson region of Ukraine, has spoken to the RIA Novosti news agency. He said that the forces in occupied Kherson are ready to defend themselves against any attempt by the Ukrainians to retake the region. It quotes him saying:

The Kherson region is ready to repel the attempts of the offensive by Ukrainian militants, if such a criminal order is given to them by the regime of Zelenskiy, who is ready to wage war to the last Ukrainian for the sake of destroying the country. Reliable protection of the borders of the region is provided by the Russian ministry of defence.

Here are some of the latest images to be distributed from Ukraine on the newswires.

An old woman stands in front of her house in the eastern Ukrainian Donbas region.
An old woman stands in front of her house in the eastern Ukrainian Donbas region. Photograph: Bülent Kılıç/AFP/Getty Images
olice officers work next to a destroyed car after a Russian military strike in Kharkiv.
Police officers work next to a destroyed car after a Russian military strike in Kharkiv. Photograph: Nacho Doce/Reuters
In this handout photo taken from video and released by the Russian defence ministry press service, a rocket fragment is seen near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in occupied Ukraine. Both sides have accused the other of attacking and endangering the power station.
In this handout photo taken from video and released by the Russian defence ministry press service, a rocket fragment is seen near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in occupied Ukraine. Both sides have accused the other of attacking and endangering the power station. Photograph: AP
Emergency workers pick up a wounded man after shelling in Chasiv Yar yesterday.
Emergency workers pick up a wounded man after shelling in Chasiv Yar yesterday. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
A shattered icon lies in the debris of a church which was destroyed after a Russian attack in Mykolaiv region.
A shattered icon lies in the debris of a church destroyed after a Russian attack in Mykolaiv region. Photograph: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP

Updated

Reuters reports that the Turkish defence ministry has said two further grain-carrying ships have sailed from Ukraine’s Chornomorsk port on Tuesday, as part of the deal to unblock Ukrainian sea exports.

The Ocean Lion, which departed for South Korea, is carrying 64,720 tonnes of corn, it said, while the Rahmi Yağcı is carrying 5,300 tonnes of sunflower meal to Istanbul.

The four ships that left Ukraine earlier are anchored near Istanbul and will be inspected on Tuesday, the defence ministry statement said.

Rodion Miroshnik, who is styled as the ambassador to Russia for the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic, has claimed on Telegram that four people were killed yesterday in the territory occupied by the similarly self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in occupied Ukraine. He also states that 17 more were injured “of which one was blown up by a PFM-1 ‘petal’ mine”.

The claims have not been independently verified. Ukraine is a signatory to the 1997 Ottawa convention, which aims to prohibit the stockpiling and use of anti-personnel mines such as the Soviet-designed PFM-1. Russia is not.

Updated

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has urged western nations to ban entry of all Russian citizens.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Zelenskiy said the most important sanctions against Russia would be to close borders, “because the Russians are taking away someone else’s land”. He said Russians should “live in their own world until they change their philosophy”.

Russia’s assault towards the town of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine has been its most successful axis in the Donbas region in the past month, the UK Ministry of Defence has said in its latest intelligence update.

Despite this, it had only gained 10km in that time, while elsewhere in Donbas it had gained only 3km over 30 days – “almost certainly significantly less than planned”.

Updated

With Russia and Ukraine trading accusations over endangering the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, and the head of the UN saying that attacks on the station were “suicidal”, we prepared this explainer on what’s at stake.

Russia is scheduled to launch an Iranian satellite into orbit on Tuesday, but Tehran has brushed off fears that Moscow might use it in the war against Ukraine.

Iran’s Khayyam satellite is scheduled to take off from the Moscow-operated Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 05:52 GMT, three weeks after Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, met Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran.

Iran has sought to deflect suspicions that Moscow could use Khayyam to improve its surveillance of military targets in Ukraine.

Last week, the Washington Post quoted anonymous western intelligence officials as saying that Russia “plans to use the satellite for several months or longer” to assist its war efforts before allowing Iran to take control.

But the Iranian Space Agency said on Sunday that the Islamic republic would control the Khayyam satellite “from day one”.

Updated

The US believes Russia has suffered between 70,000 and 80,000 casualties, either killed or wounded, since its invasion of Ukraine began on 24 February.

Colin Kahl, the Pentagon’s top policy official said: “The Russians are taking a tremendous number of casualties on the other side of the equation. I think it’s safe to suggest that the Russians are probably taking 70 or 80,000 casualties in less than six months.”

Kahl admitted that the Ukraine side also had significant losses of manpower on the battlefield, but gave no figures. “Both sides are taking casualties. The war is the most intense conventional conflict in Europe since the second world war,” he said.

Ukraine has reported intense Russian shelling across the frontlines on Tuesday as both sides traded blame for the weekend strike on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex that triggered international concern about a potential atomic disaster.

Heavy fighting was reported in frontline towns near the eastern city of Donetsk, where Ukrainian officials said Russian troops were launching waves of attacks.

“The situation in the region is tense - shelling is constant throughout the front line ... The enemy is also using air strikes a great deal,” Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told Ukrainian television. “The enemy is having no success. Donetsk region is holding.”

In the south-east, the key Antonovsky bridge over the Dnieper River in Kherson region was targeted again by Ukrainian forces trying to disrupt Russian supply lines.

Yuri Sobolevsky, deputy head of Kherson regional council ousted by Russian occupation forces, said on Telegram the bridge had been seriously damaged after “overnight actions”.

Summary and welcome

Good morning, and welcome back to our live coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. These are the latest developments

  • Ukraine has arrested two people working for Russian intelligence services who planned to kill the Ukrainian defence minister and the head of the country’s military intelligence agency, Ukraine’s domestic security service said on Monday. The security service of Ukraine foiled the plot by the Russian GRU military intelligence agency to use a sabotage group to carry out three murders including that of a prominent Ukrainian activist, the agency said.
  • The US will provide an additional $4.5bn (£3.7bn) to Ukraine’s government, bringing its total budgetary support since Russia’s February invasion to $8.5bn (£7bn), the US Agency for International Development has announced. The funding, coordinated with the US Treasury Department through the World Bank, will go to Ukraine’s government in tranches, beginning with a $3bn (£2.5bn) disbursement in August, USAid, the Agency for International Development, said.
  • Russia has suspended an arrangement that allowed US and Russian inspectors to visit each other’s nuclear weapons sites under the 2010 New Start treaty, in a fresh blow to arms control. Mutual inspections had been suspended as a health precaution since the start of the Covid pandemic, but a foreign ministry statement on Monday added another reason Russia is unwilling to restart them. It argued that US sanctions imposed because of the invasion of Ukraine stopped Russian inspectors travelling to the US.
  • It is highly likely Russia is deploying anti-personnel mines to protect and deter freedom of movement along its defensive lines in Donetsk and Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region, according to the UK Ministry of Defence.
    The ministry called the PFM-1 and PFM-1S mines – also known as “butterfly mines” – “deeply controversial and indiscriminate weapons” with the potential to inflict widespread casualties among both the military and the local civilian population.
  • Two more ships, carrying corn and soybeans, departed Ukrainian ports, taking the total to 10 ships carrying Ukrainian grain exports since the UN deal to unblock Ukraine’s grain exports was struck, Reuters reported. Future ships exporting Ukraine grain through the Black Sea will now be protected by a 10 nautical mile buffer zone, according to long-awaited procedures agreed by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations.
  • The first grain carrying ship to depart Ukrainian ports after the UN-brokered deal is looking for another port to unload its cargo after the initial Lebanese buyer refused delivery due to its five-month delay, Reuters reported.
  • The head of Ukraine’s state nuclear power company Energoatom has called for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to be made a military-free zone, warning of the risk of a Chornobyl-style nuclear disaster after shelling of the site caused a reactor to shut down on Saturday. Russia and Ukraine continue to trade accusations over is responsible for the shelling, with the UN calling for international inspectors to be given access. According to reports from the head of the Russian-installed administration of the occupied Zaporizhzhia region, the nuclear power station is currently operating normally.
  • The Russian-installed head of the occupied part of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region signed a decree on Monday providing for a referendum on joining Russia, in the latest sign that Moscow is moving ahead with its plans to annex seized Ukrainian territory. The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has ruled out any peace talks with Russia if the country proceeds with referendums in the occupied areas.
  • The Kremlin said on Monday there was no basis for a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents at the moment. Negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv have been stalled for months, with each side blaming the other for a lack of progress, Reuters reports.

Updated

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