Russia-Ukraine crisis updates | July 08, 2022

Here are the latest developments from the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict on July 8

July 08, 2022 10:07 am | Updated 08:36 pm IST

Ukrainian service members install a national flag on Snake (Zmiinyi) Island, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in the Odesa region, Ukraine, in this handout picture released July 7, 2022

Ukrainian service members install a national flag on Snake (Zmiinyi) Island, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in the Odesa region, Ukraine, in this handout picture released July 7, 2022 | Photo Credit: Reuters

With Russia’s military action in Ukraine in its fifth month, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday warned Kyiv that it should quickly accept Moscow’s terms or brace for the worst, adding ominously that Russia has barely started its action.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has flown into Indonesia’s resort island of Bali for a meeting of G20 foreign ministers, which is set to be overshadowed by tensions triggered by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The summit will see the first face-to-face meeting between President Vladimir Putin’s long-serving foreign minister Lavrov and some of Russia’s biggest critics since the invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow has called a “special military operation”.

Russian forces now occupy about 22 percent of Ukraine’s farmland since the February 24 invasion, impacting one of the major suppliers to global grain and edible oils markets, NASA said Thursday.

Russia redoubled its push for Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, with the Ukrainian military claiming to have repelled some advances as shelling killed at least eight civilians in the area over the past 24 hours and wounded 25. Pro-Russia separatists said Ukrainian attacks killed four civilians on their side of the front.

Here are the latest updates

Russia

Russia hands down first prison term for anti-war remarks

A court in Moscow sentenced a municipal council member to seven years in prison Friday for his remarks opposing the war in Ukraine. The unprecedented sentence raises the stakes for Kremlin critics in Russia who speak out against Moscow’s invasion of its ex-Soviet neighbor.

Alexei Gorinov was found guilty of spreading “knowingly false information” about the Russian military, an offense that carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison under a law the Russian parliament rubber-stamped a week after the Kremlin sent troops into Ukraine.

The 60-year-old member of Moscow’s Krasnoselsky municipal council is the first person sentenced to serve time behind bars for a conviction on that charge, according to Net Freedoms, a legal aid group focused on free speech cases.- AP

Ukraine

Ukrainian official warns of ‘catastrophe’ in captured city

 A Ukrainian regional official warned Friday of deteriorating living conditions in a city captured by Russian forces two weeks ago, saying Sievierodonetsk is without water, power or a working sewage system while the bodies of the dead decompose in hot apartment buildings.

Gov. Serhiy Haidai said the Russians were unleashing indiscriminate artillery barrages as they try to secure their gains in eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk province. Moscow this week claimed full control of Luhansk, but the governor and other Ukrainian officials said their troops retained a small part of the province.

“Luhansk hasn’t been fully captured even though the Russians have engaged all their arsenal to achieve that goal,” Haidai told The Associated Press. “Fierce battles are going on in several villages on the region’s border. The Russians are relying on tanks and artillery to advance, leaving scorched earth.”- AP

Russia

Russian forces unlikely to leave southern Ukraine - ambassador says

Russia will defeat Ukrainian forces in the whole of the eastern Donbas region and is unlikely to withdraw from a vast swathe of land across Ukraine’s southern coast, Russia’s ambassador to London told Reuters.

When asked how the conflict might end, Russian Ambassador Andrei Kelin said Ukraine forces would be pushed back from all of Donbas and that it was difficult to see Russian and Russian-backed forces withdrawing from the south of Ukraine.

“We are going to liberate all of the Donbas,” Kelin told Reuters in an interview in his London residence where Winston Churchill used to discuss World War Two strategy with Josef Stalin’s ambassador.

“Of course it is difficult to predict the withdrawal of our forces from the southern part of Ukraine because we have already experience that after withdrawal, provocations start and all the people are being shot and all that.”- Reuters

Russia

Putin to Ukraine: Russia has barely started its action

With Russia’s military action in Ukraine in its fifth month, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday warned Kyiv that it should quickly accept Moscow’s terms or brace for the worst, adding ominously that Russia has barely started its action.

Speaking at a meeting with leaders of the Kremlin-controlled parliament, Putin accused Western allies of fueling the hostilities, charging that “the West wants to fight us until the last Ukrainian.”

“It’s a tragedy for the Ukrainian people, but it looks like it’s heading in that direction,” he added.

“Everybody should know that largely speaking, we haven’t even yet started anything in earnest,” Putin said in a menacing note.

He declared that Russia remains ready to sit down for talks to end the fighting, adding that “those who refuse to do so should know that the longer it lasts the more difficult it will be for them to make a deal with us.”

“We are hearing that they want to defeat us on the battlefield,” Putin said. “Let them try.”- AP

Russia

Russian parliament’s upper house bans British diplomats

The Federation Council, the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament, on Friday barred British diplomats, including the ambassador, from entering its building.

Speaking at a livestreamed session of the upper chamber’s rules committee on Friday, senator Grigory Karasin said that the ban was in response to a British decision to exclude Russian diplomats from its parliament.

Karasin said: “The decision is quite simple, although unpleasant, but it is required for this situation. Our country must be firm in upholding its own positions and in upholding its honour.”- Reuters

G20

Indonesia says Ukraine war discussed in almost all bilateral G20 meetings

The Ukraine war was discussed at almost all bilateral meetings at this week’s G20 event, where some participants condemned Russia’s invasion and urged an immediate end to hostilities through diplomacy and talks, Indonesia’s foreign minister said on Friday.

Retno Marsudi, in remarks as chair of the gathering in Bali, praised G20 counterparts for attending in person amid global tensions over the impacts of the Ukraine war, decisions she said should not be taken lightly.

She also said food and energy security and the reintegration of Ukraine and Russia’s grain and fertilizer into supply chains was critical.- Reuters

Ukraine at G20

Ukraine foreign minister at G20 accuses Russia of playing “hunger games”

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister on Friday accused Russia of playing “hunger games” and said it has “no place at any international fora”, during a virtual address to a G20 meeting of his counterparts in Bali.

Dmytro Kuleba said the international community had no right to allow Russia to blackmail the world with high energy prices, hunger and security threats, according to a statement from his office.- Reuters

Russia at G20

Lavrov walks out of G20 talks as West presses Moscow on Ukraine

Russia’s top diplomat stormed out of talks with G20 foreign ministers meeting in Indonesia on Friday as Western powers criticised Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

Washington and allies condemned Russia’s assault ahead of the meeting before Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov faced what US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called a barrage of Western criticism at the closed-door talks.

Blinken and Lavrov had joined colleagues for day-long talks in their first meeting since the outbreak of war, with the host immediately telling them the conflict must end through negotiations.

But Lavrov walked out of a morning session as German counterpart Annalena Baerbock criticised Moscow over its invasion, diplomats said.

He also left an afternoon session before Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba addressed the ministers virtually and was not present as Blinken condemned Russia.

“Our Western partners are trying to avoid talking about global economic issues,” Lavrov told reporters outside the Mulia hotel. “From the moment they speak, they launch into fevered criticism of Russia.”- AFP

Russia

Russia says it destroyed two British-supplied anti-ship missile systems

Russia’s defence ministry said in a briefing on Friday that Russian forces had destroyed two British-supplied Harpoon anti-ship missile systems in Ukraine’s Odesa region overnight.

The U.S.-designed missile systems are one of several weapons supplied to Ukraine by NATO countries since Russia sent its armed forces into the country on Feb. 24.- Reuters

Russia at G20

Russia says sanctions over Ukraine a declaration of economic war by the West

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday said attempts to isolate Moscow with sanctions was akin to a declaration of economic war by the West, dismissing what he said was “frenzied” criticism of the war in Ukraine.

Speaking at a G20 gathering in Indonesia, Lavrov said Russia would now turn to China and India and other nations outside the West. He scolded Russia’s rivals for scuppering a chance to tackle global economic issues by focusing on Ukraine.

He said the West’s discussion “strayed almost immediately, as soon as they took the floor, to the frenzied criticism of the Russian Federation in connection with the situation in Ukraine”.

“During the discussion, Western partners avoided following the mandate of the G20, from dealing with issues of the world economy,” Lavrov said.- Reuters

G20

Russia’s Lavrov absent as Ukraine FM addresses G20 talks: diplomatic sources

 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was absent as his Ukrainian counterpart addressed G20 talks in Indonesia virtually, two diplomatic sources told AFP.

Moscow’s top diplomat attended the morning sessions of the talks in Bali where the focus has been on Russia’s invasion of its neighbour but he was not present as Dmytro Kuleba spoke in the afternoon to the gathering of foreign ministers, the sources said. -AFP

International

U.S., Russian envoys gather for G20 with call to end Ukraine war

The top Russian and U.S. envoys gathered on Friday for a Group of 20 foreign ministers meeting in Indonesia, with the host immediately telling them the Ukraine war must end and differences be resolved through negotiations.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov joined their colleagues for the start of day-long talks, with Washington seeking to gain support from the world’s top economies to pressure Moscow over the invasion of its neighbour. -AFP

International

EU and UN hold first high-level dialogue and stress ties

The European Commission president and United Nations chief opened the first EU-U.N. high-level dialogue Thursday by saying the need to work together is critical, especially at a time when the war in Ukraine has created a global food and energy crisis.

Ursula von der Leyen, head of the EU’s executive arm, said before the start of the meeting at the Greentree Estate on New York’s Long Island that it comes “at a crucial time” because “the world is at a major inflection point” and the global system, “with the United Nations at its core, is at stake.” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said multilateralism is needed more than ever to tackle the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, “a dramatic climate emergency,” and multiplying conflicts. -AP

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