War in Ukraine: latest developments
Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:
Pro-Russian forces claim key eastern city
Moscow-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine say they have captured Lyman, a strategic town between the city of Severodonetsk and the eastern administrative center of Kramatorsk, which remain under Kyiv’s control.
Pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk region claim to have “liberated and taken full control of 220 settlements, including Krasny Liman”, using an old name for Lyman.
Ukrainian forces are also fighting to retain Severodonetsk as Russia wages an all-out war over the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which make up Donbass, Ukraine’s industrial heartland.
The Orthodox Church cuts its ties with Russia
The Moscow branch of the Kyiv Orthodox Church says it is cutting ties with Russia over the invasion, declaring “full independence” in a historic move against Russian spiritual authorities.
After holding a council focused on “aggression” of Russia, the church declares “full independence” from Russian Patriarch Kirill, the second Orthodox schism in Ukraine in recent years.
Ukraine has been under the spiritual leadership of Moscow since at least the 17th century.
10 killed in the city center
Ukraine’s national guard says around 10 people were killed in strikes on a military installation in the central town of Dnipro, which had so far been relatively spared from the fighting.
Zelensky warns of Donbass “genocide”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accuses Moscow of committing “genocide” in the Donbass, where Russian forces are closing in on the cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.
In his daily televised address, Zelensky warns that the Russian offensive could empty the Donbass of its population.
“All of this, including the deportation of our people and the massacres of civilians, is an overt policy of genocide carried out by Russia,” he said.
Ukrainian flag removed from Putin Peak
Kyrgyzstan’s climbing federation said it removed a Ukrainian flag from a mountain bearing the name of Russian President Vladimir Putin, following a police investigation into the stunt, and replaced it with the Kyrgyz flag.
Earlier this week, a climber posted a video of the flag on the mountain dubbed Poutine Peak, which rises 4,446 meters (14,587ft) above sea level.
Russian lawmakers call for ‘immediate withdrawal’
Two communist lawmakers in Russia’s Far East are urging Putin to end Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine in a rare public show of dissent.
Lawmaker Leonid Vasyukevich warns “there will be even more orphans in our country” if troops are not immediately withdrawn. He is supported by another legislator from the assembly of the Primorsky Krai region.
The local communist faction leader said the statement was not agreed with the party and vowed to take “the toughest action” against the pair.
Russia to boost grain exports
Russia says it plans to increase grain exports amid a looming global food crisis exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.
Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev said Russia will increase its grain exports from more than 37 million tonnes in the 2021-2022 season ending June 30 to 50 million tonnes in the new season. starting July 1.
Kyiv and the West accuse Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports of blocking grain exports from Europe’s breadbasket.
Putin told Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer in a phone call that the accusations were “baseless” and blamed Western sanctions on Russia for soaring food prices.
Reduction of Ukraine’s debt rating
S&P Global Ratings downgrades Ukraine’s debt rating and says the outlook is negative, due to continued fallout from the Russian invasion and the expectation that the conflict won’t end any time soon.
The agency downgrades Ukraine’s long-term and short-term foreign currency debt rating to “CCC+/C” from “B-/B” due to “an expectation of a prolonged period of macroeconomic instability in the country”.
Russia expects windfall of energy revenue
Russia expects to receive $14.4 billion in additional oil and gas revenue this year, the finance minister said, adding that part of the windfall will be spent on Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.
“We expect to receive up to a trillion rubles in additional oil and gas revenue, according to forecasts we have worked out together with the Ministry of Economic Development,” Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said in remarks broadcast to state television.