Russia-Ukraine crisis updates | PM Modi speaks with Putin; reiterates India’s position on Ukraine

Rescue workers work at the scene of a missile strike at a location given as Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, Odesa region, Ukraine

Rescue workers work at the scene of a missile strike at a location given as Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, Odesa region, Ukraine | Photo Credit: via Reuters

Russian missile attacks on residential buildings in the Ukrainian port city of Odesa early Friday killed at least 14 people, authorities reported. Video of the pre-dawn attack showed the charred remains of buildings in Odesa.

The assault comes after Russian forces withdrew from Snake Island, a key Black Sea island, on Thursday, potentially easing the threat to Odesa. But they kept up their push to encircle the last stronghold of resistance in the eastern province of Luhansk.

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The Kremlin portrayed the pullout from Snake Island as a “goodwill gesture.” But Ukraine’s military claimed it forced the Russians to flee in two small speedboats following a barrage of Ukrainian artillery and missile strikes. The exact number of troops was not disclosed.

In contrast, however, Ukrainian forces were desperately hanging on against Russia’s superior firepower in the city of Lysychansk. Russian artillery shelled from different directions while the Russian army approached from several sides, regional Governor Serhiy Gaidai said on Ukrainian television.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what the Kremlin called a “special military operation” to rid the country of far-right nationalists and ensure Russian security.

Here are the latest updates:

India

PM Modi speaks with Putin; reiterates India’s position on Ukraine, favouring dialogue, diplomacy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday during which he reiterated India’s longstanding position on the Ukraine situation, favouring dialogue and diplomacy.

During their telephonic conversation, the two leaders also discussed global issues, including the state of the international energy and food markets, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said.

The two leaders reviewed the implementation of the decisions taken during President Putin’s visit to India in December 2021, In particular, they exchanged ideas on how bilateral trade in agricultural goods, fertilizers and pharma products could be encouraged further, it said.

The two leaders also discussed global issues, including the state of the international energy and food markets.

“In the context of the ongoing situation in Ukraine, Prime Minister reiterated India’s long-standing position in favour of dialogue and diplomacy,” the PMO said.

The leaders agreed to maintain regular consultations on global and bilateral issues, it said.

The conversation with Putin come days after Modi, in an apparent reference to the Ukraine crisis, had noted that the G7 and those invited at its summit in Germany were meeting amid an atmosphere of global tension and asserted that India has always been in favour of peace. - PTI

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Prague

Ukraine protests Russian film screening at Czech film fest

An international film festival in the Czech spa town of Karlovy Vary kicked off Friday amid controversy following a protest by Ukraine over the screening of a Russian film alongside Ukrainian-made movies.

Prior to the start of the 56th edition of the festival, several leading Ukrainian filmmakers along with Ukraine's ambassador to Prague protested the scheduled screening of “Captain Volkonogov Escaped.” Ukrainian Ambassador Yevhen Perebyinis said in an open letter that it would be “inhuman" to screen Ukrainian films alongside a Russian movie made with support from Russia's Culture Ministry at a time when Russian troops had “committed atrocities" during their invasion of his country.

Organisers said they consider the Russian movie - whose world premiere was at last year's Venice Film Festival - as being indirectly critical of the current Russian leadership. - AP

KYIV

Russian missiles kill at least 19 in Ukraine’s Odesa region

Russian missile attacks on residential areas in a coastal town near the Ukrainian port city of Odesa early Friday killed at least 19 people, authorities reported, a day after Russian forces withdrew from a strategic Black Sea island.

Video of the pre-dawn attack showed the charred remains of buildings in the small town of Serhiivka, located about 50 kilometers (31 miles) southwest of Odesa. The Ukrainian president’s office said three X-22 missiles fired by Russian bombers struck an apartment building and two campsites.

“A terrorist country is killing our people. In response to defeats on the battlefield, they fight civilians,” Andriy Yermak, the chief of staff to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

Ukraine’s Security Service said 19 people died, including two children. It said another 38, including six children and a pregnant woman, were hospitalized with injuries. Most of the victims were in the apartment building, Ukrainian emergency officials said. - AP

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MOSCOW (RUSSIA)

Moscow denies striking apartments near Ukraine’s Odesa

The Kremlin dismissed allegations that Russian missiles had struck an apartment building near the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odesa early on July 1.

“I would like to remind you of the President’s words that the Russian Armed Forces do not work with civilian targets,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on a conference call with reporters. - Reuters

MOSCOW (RUSSIA)

Western political pressure speeding up Russia’s integration with Belarus

Russian President Vladimir Putin said political pressure from the West was pushing Russia to accelerate its integration with neighbouring Belarus.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu last week said the two countries must take urgent joint measures to improve their defence capabilities and troops’ combat-readiness. - Reuters

KYIV (UKRAINE)

Ukraine harvests 2,93,000 tonnes of grain from 1% area: Ministry

Farmers in southern and eastern Ukraine have started the 2022 harvest, threshing 2,93,800 tonnes of grain from around 1% of the sown area, the Agriculture Ministry said. The Ministry said farmers had threshed 1,31,500 hectares and the grain yield averaged 2.23 tonnes per hectare.

The harvested volume included 1,06,000 tonnes of barley and 21,800 tonnes of wheat, it said. Ukraine, a major global grain grower and exporter, harvested a record 86 million tonnes of grain in 2021. That included 42.1 million tonnes of corn and 32.2 million tonnes of wheat.

The government said this year the harvest could fall to about 65 million tonnes of grain and oilseeds from 106 million tonnes in 2021.

Farmers have reduced the sowing area by around 25% due to hostilities in some regions and grain production could fall to 48 to 50 million tonnes, with exports seen at 30 million tonnes in the 2022/23 season, which runs from July to June. - Reuters

BRUSSELS

With you on ‘long road’ to membership, EU tells Ukraine

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. File

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

Ukraine now has a “very clear European perspective” but the road to EU membership will take time and require hard work, the president of the EU executive told the country’s parliament on Friday.

In a speech by video-link to the Ukrainian assembly, Ursula von der Leyen underlined the progress made by the country in its path towards EU membership while it defends itself against Russia’s invasion.

“Ukraine now has a very clear European perspective. And Ukraine is a candidate country to join the European Union, something that seemed almost unimaginable just five months ago,” she told lawmakers and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“There is a long road ahead but Europe will be at your side every step of the way, for as long as it takes, from these dark days of war until the moment you cross the door that leads into our European Union,” she said, noting that many crucial reforms were needed as soon as possible. - Reuters

ODESA

Missile attack death toll rises to 14

AP reports that spokesman for the Odesa regional government, Serhiy Bratchuk, said on the Telegram messaging app that 14 people died and another 30 had been injured in the missile attacks on residential buildings in the Ukrainian port city of Odesa.

Another news agency put the number of deaths in the attack at 17.

Missiles were fired at an apartment building and recreation centre in the southern region of Odessa

WARSAW

Europe ready for Baltics emergency switch-off from Russian grid

European grid operators are ready to implement immediately a long-term plan to bring the Baltic states, which rely on the Russian grid, into the European Union system in the event Moscow cuts them off, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Concern about depending on Russia for any form of energy has mounted across Europe because of reductions in Russian gas supplies to some countries following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Baltic states are nervous because Lithuania has clashed with Russia for blocking goods to Moscow’s Kaliningrad enclave. - Reuters exclusive

TORONTO

Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov received assurances from Canadian Defence Minister Anita Anand

ODESA

Russian missile strike kills 10 in Odesa

A Russian missile struck a nine-story apartment building in Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odesa early on Friday, killing at least 10 people, a local official said.

“The number of dead as a result of a strike on a multi-story apartment building has now risen to 10,” Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesman for the Odesa regional administration said on his Telegram channel.

Bratchuk also told Ukrainian state television that seven people have been wounded, including three children. - Reuters

MOSCOW

Indonesia president addresses food crisis during peace mission

Indonesia’s president ended a trip to Ukraine and Russia saying he hoped for progress reintegrating global food and fertiliser supply lines disrupted by the conflict, and offered to be a diplomatic bridge between the two nations.

President Joko Widodo, who is the G20 president this year, was speaking at a news conference alongside his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin after a bilateral meeting in Moscow on Thursday.

His trip followed a visit to Kyiv on Wednesday where he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

“I really appreciate President Putin who said earlier that he will provide security guarantee for food and fertiliser supplies from both Russia and Ukraine. This is good news,” said the Indonesian president, who is widely known as Jokowi.

“For the sake of humanity, I also support the United Nations’ efforts to reintegrate Russian food and fertiliser commodities and Ukrainian food commodities to re-enter the world supply chain,” he said. - AP

KYIV

Zelensky celebrates retaking of Snake Island

A satellite image shows smoke rising from Snake Island, off the coast of Ukraine

A satellite image shows smoke rising from Snake Island, off the coast of Ukraine | Photo Credit: Reuters

Ukraine on Friday celebrated driving Russian forces from the strategic Black Sea outpost of Snake Island while struggling to hold off intense assaults in the eastern industrial city of Lysychansk.

Russia said on Thursday it had decided to withdraw from Snake Island as a “gesture of goodwill” to show Moscow was not obstructing U. N. attempts to open a humanitarian corridor allowing grains to be shipped from Ukraine.

Ukraine said it had driven Russian forces off the outcrop after an artillery and missile assault, with President Volodymyr Zelensky hailing the strategic win.

“It does not yet guarantee security. It does not yet ensure that the enemy will not come back,” he said in his nightly video address. “But this significantly limits the actions of the occupiers. Step by step, we will push them back from our sea, our land and our sky.” - Reuters

MADRID

Russia, China slam NATO

NATO faced rebukes from Moscow and Beijing on Thursday after it declared Russia a “direct threat” and said China posed “serious challenges ” to global stability.

During a summit in Madrid, the Western military alliance described a world plunged into a dangerous phase of big-power competition and facing myriad threats, from cyberattacks to climate change.

NATO said that China “strives to subvert the rules-based international order, including in the space, cyber and maritime domains” and warned of its close ties with Moscow.

China shot back that NATO was a source of instability and vowed to defend its interests. “Since NATO positions China as a systemic challenge,’ we have to pay close attention and respond in a coordinated way. When it comes to acts that undermine China’s interests, we will make firm and strong responses,” its statement said.  - AP

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KYIV

Russia leaves Snake Island

Russian troops have abandoned their positions on a captured Ukrainian island, a major setback to their invasion effort that weakens their blockade of Ukraine’s ports, defence officials said on Thursday.

The news from the Black Sea came as NATO leaders wrapped up their summit in Madrid, intent on demonstrating their unity and determination to back up Kyiv with advanced weapons in the face of Moscow’s assault. - AFP

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2022 8:25:56 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/russia-ukraine-crisis-live-updates-after-forced-exit-from-snake-island-russia-keeps-up-eastern-assault/article65588434.ece