A Ukrainian soldier sits on an armoured vehicle moving towards the front line in the city of Lysychansk
Kyiv (Ukraine) (AFP) - Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:
- Ukraine to get word on EU hopes -
Ukraine’s bid to become a candidate to join the EU will get a clear signal next week, the bloc’s chief Ursula von der Leyen announces in a surprise visit to Kyiv.
Von der Leyen says talks she held with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “will enable us to finalise our assessment by the end of next week”.
It is the first time the EU has publicly given timing on when the commission will deliver its opinion. The bloc’s 27 member countries need to decide whether to allow Ukraine to start accession negotiations.
- Zelensky warns of food crisis -
Volodymyr Zelensky has urged international pressure to end a Russian naval blockade of Black Sea ports that has choked off his country’s grain exports, threatening a global food crisis.
“The world will face an acute and severe food crisis and famine, in many countries of Asia and Africa,” Zelensky says in a video addressed to the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore.
- Ukrainians get Russian passports -
Authorities in the Moscow-occupied city of Kherson in southern Ukraine have handed out Russian passports to local residents for the first time, news agencies reported.
Russia’s TASS agency says 23 Kherson residents received a Russian passport at a ceremony through a “simplified procedure” facilitated by a decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in May.
- ‘Very difficult battles’ -
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says his country’s forces are involved in “very difficult battles”, including in the eastern Donbas region where Russia has focused its firepower.
“Ukrainian troops are doing everything to stop the offensive of the occupiers,” Zelensky says.
He adds in his address that Ukraine must “not allow the world to divert its attention away from what is happening on the battlefield”.
- ‘Out of ammo’ -
In the Mykolaiv region near the frontline in the south, the regional governor calls for urgent international military assistance.
“Russia’s army is more powerful, they have a lot of artillery and ammo. For now, this is a war of artillery… and we are out of ammo,” Vitaliy Kim says.
“The help of Europe and America is very, very important.”
- ‘Imperial appetites’ -
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issues scathing criticism of Moscow and its goals in Ukraine.
“Let’s be clear: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is what happens when oppressors trample the rules that protect us all,” he tells the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore.
“It’s what happens when big powers decide that their imperial appetites matter more than the rights of their peaceful neighbours.”
“And it’s a preview of a possible world of chaos and turmoil that none of us would want to live in.”
- France offers Odessa port help -
France is ready to assist in an operation to allow safe access to Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odessa, an advisor to French President Emmanuel Macron says.
“We are at the disposal of the parties to put in place an operation which would allow access in complete safety to the port of Odessa, in other words for boats to pass through despite the fact that the sea is mined,” says the advisor, who asked not to be named.
The port has been subject to a de facto blockade by Russia, and grain is waiting to be exported with fears mounting of a global food crisis that would especially hurt developing countries.
- Ukraine strikes Kherson -
Ukraine says it has struck Russian military positions in the southern Kherson region where Kyiv’s army is fighting to reclaim territory captured by Moscow early in the invasion.
“Our aircraft carried out a series of strikes on enemy bases… equipment and personnel and field depots around five different settlements in the Kherson region,” the defence ministry says.