Russia 'destroys' two US-made Himars rocket systems

·23 min read
Himars are reportedly responsible for several strikes on Russian ammo stores deep behind the frontline in recent days - Armed Forces of Ukraine/Cover Images
Himars are reportedly responsible for several strikes on Russian ammo stores deep behind the frontline in recent days - Armed Forces of Ukraine/Cover Images

Russia’s defence ministry has claimed that its armed forces have destroyed two advanced US-made Himars rocket systems and their ammo depots in eastern Ukraine.

The systems were not visible on an alleged video of the strike, released by the Russian defence ministry, and Moscow has not provided further proof of the claim, which Ukrainian officials immediately dismissed as a "lie".

The Kremlin claims to have destroyed two ammunition depots storing rockets for the Himars near the frontline in a village south of Kramatorsk in Ukraine's Donetsk region - the main focus for Russian troops following the capture of Luhansk over the weekend.

Himars are reportedly responsible for several strikes on Russian ammo stores deep behind the frontline in recent days. Moscow's claim to have destroyed some of the long-range rockets, which can fire around 80km with the ammunition provided, may reflect anxiety in the Kremlin.

Ukraine had received only four Himars systems as of early July, the European Council on Foreign Relations said in a report. The US has pledged to deliver eight by mid-July.

Western weapon supplies have been crucial to Ukraine's efforts to push back the tens of thousands of Russian troops that Moscow sent into its pro-Western neighbour on February 24 in what it calls a "special military operation".

For the latest updates see today's live blog.

07:01 PM

That's all for now

Thanks for following our live updates. That's it until the morning, so here's a summary of the latest developments:

  • Poland's prime minister accused Russian agencies of hacking into government systems and manipulating and leaking emails that allegedly expose his administration's links with the judiciary.

  • Volodymyr Zelensky has criticised his top general for imposing draconian travel restrictions on army recruitswrites James Kilner. Read the full piece here.

  • More than 8.79 million people have crossed the border from Ukraine since Russia's invasion in late February, the United Nations refugee agency said.

  • Moscow has admitted that Turkey is conducting checks on a Russian ship in the Black Sea that Ukraine says is carrying stolen Ukrainian wheat.

  • A top Ukrainian official told AFP news agency his country is committed to far-reaching reforms following a reconstruction conference in Switzerland for the war-ravaged country.

06:56 PM

Micheál Martin, the Irish Taoiseach, meets with Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Ireland's prime minister (Taoiseach), Micheal Martin, attend a meeting, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 6, 2022 - Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Reuters
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Ireland's prime minister (Taoiseach), Micheal Martin, attend a meeting, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 6, 2022 - Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Reuters

06:44 PM

France braces for halt in Russian oil and gas supplies

Elisabeth Borne, the French prime minister, said France will fully nationalise EDF in a move that would give the government more control over a restructuring of the debt-laden group, which the government is banking on to lessen the impact of soaring energy prices exacerbated by the prospect of an abrupt halt to Russian gas supplies.

"I confirm to you today that the state intends to control 100 per cent of EDF's capital", Borne said in her policy speech in the lower house of parliament as she set out her minority's government priorities.

It comes as TotalEnergies, a French oil and gas firm, said it had pulled out of a Russian oil project.

No information about the financial terms of the transaction were provided. The Russian firm said on its website the Kharyaga oil project has produced more than 20 million tonnes of oil since starting operations in 1999 and had generated more than $4 billion in revenue for the Russian government.

06:22 PM

Ukrainians express support for politically wounded Boris Johnson

As Boris Johnson's tenure as British Prime Minister hangs by a thread, Ukrainians are hoping the man who some have affectionately taken to calling "Borys Johnsoniuk" can cling on.

Mr Johnson is facing a growing rebellion within his own Conservative Party after a slew of ministerial resignations, but Ukrainians fete him as one of their most vocal supporters for overseeing vital supplies of arms and anti-tank weapons to fend off Russia's invasion.

A Cossack chapter in Chernihiv bestowed the title of a Cossack on Boris Johnson. Someone painted a picture of the British leader as a Cossack and it is now on display at the local museum - suspilne.media
A Cossack chapter in Chernihiv bestowed the title of a Cossack on Boris Johnson. Someone painted a picture of the British leader as a Cossack and it is now on display at the local museum - suspilne.media

In Kyiv, he has been depicted in street art and is the subject of a portrait exhibition, while a creamy cake with an ice cream topping that resembles his unruly blond hair bears his name as do several Ukrainian streets.

"It's a shame because we need as much support for (Ukraine) as possible," said 22-year-old actress Kateryna Chikina, one of several Kyiv residents who told Reuters they did not want him to go.

05:54 PM

Lithuania to transfer Turkish-made combat drone to Ukraine

The Lithuanian government is set to transfer a Bayraktar TB2 combat drone, which was originally paid for by Lithuanian citizens via crowdfunding, to Ukraine on Wednesday evening, Arvydas Anusauskas, Lithuanian defence minister said.

Lithuanians raised almost 6 million euros for the drone in May, largely in small donations, following which its Turkish maker, Baykar, decided to donate it instead.

The Turkish Bayraktar TB2 named 'Vanagas' (Hawk) being presented in Siauliai Air Base on July 6, 2022 in Siauliai, Lithuania - Paulius Peleckis/Getty Images Europe
The Turkish Bayraktar TB2 named 'Vanagas' (Hawk) being presented in Siauliai Air Base on July 6, 2022 in Siauliai, Lithuania - Paulius Peleckis/Getty Images Europe

Baykar and Lithuania agreed that 1.5 million euros would be spent to arm the drone with the rest of the crowdfunded money going toward humanitarian help for Ukraine. Baykar delivered the drone to Lithuania with more armaments, said Mr Anusauskas.

"This will not change the course of the war. It's a symbolic gesture from the Lithuanian nation to Ukrainians," Mr Anusauskas told Reuters.

05:37 PM

War takes toll on developing world by redirecting aid to Ukraine

More than two dozen children have died of hunger in the past two months in a single hospital in Somalia, as the consequences of Russia’s war with Ukraine continue to be felt across the developing world.

The war in Ukraine has abruptly drawn millions of dollars away from other crises, like food shortages in Somalia, which have been exacerbated by the war.

The aid flowing into the east African country is less than half of last year's level while overwhelmingly Western donors have sent more than $1.7 billion to respond to the war in Europe. Yemen, Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Congo and the Palestinian territories are similarly affected.

05:21 PM

Turkey renews pressure on Sweden and Finland for extradition of 'terror suspects'

Turkey has sent letters to Sweden and Finland renewing its request for the extradition of people it considers terror suspects, the Turkish justice minister, Bekir Bozdag told Haber Global television.

Turkey last week lifted its deal-breaking objections to Sweden and Finland's Nato accession.

But Ankara has warned that it could still block the process if the two Nordic countries fail to meet its demand to extradite people suspected of links to outlawed Kurdish groups, or to the network of an exiled cleric accused over a failed coup in 2016.

05:02 PM

Polish PM claims Russia hacked government emails

Poland's prime minister on Wednesday accused Russian agencies of hacking into government systems and manipulating and leaking emails that allegedly expose his administration's links with the judiciary.

Premier Mateusz Morawiecki labeled the leaks a "provocation" by Russian and Belarusian secret services aiming to sow discord in Poland in revenge for Warsaw's support for Ukraine amid Russia's invasion

04:52 PM

Mariupol port 'operating at full capacity'

The port of Mariupol in Russian-controlled territory of Ukraine is operating at full capacity, the TASS news agency reported on Wednesday, citing port officials.

Russia captured Mariupol on Ukraine's southern coast in May after months of fierce fighting for control of the city

04:36 PM

War in Ukraine in pictures

A little boy says goodbye to his mother before being evacuated from the city of Sloviansk to the city of Dnipro, on July 6, 2022 - Miguel Medina/ AFP
A little boy says goodbye to his mother before being evacuated from the city of Sloviansk to the city of Dnipro, on July 6, 2022 - Miguel Medina/ AFP
Police officers inspect a building of H.S. Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University damaged by a Russian missile strike, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine July 6, 2022 - Reuters
Police officers inspect a building of H.S. Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University damaged by a Russian missile strike, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine July 6, 2022 - Reuters
Statues protected by sandbags in the Main Square of Kyiv on Wednesday July 6, 2022, as Taoiseach Micheal Martin visits Ukraine to reiterate Irish solidarity with the war-torn country in the face of the Russian invasion - Niall Carson/PA
Statues protected by sandbags in the Main Square of Kyiv on Wednesday July 6, 2022, as Taoiseach Micheal Martin visits Ukraine to reiterate Irish solidarity with the war-torn country in the face of the Russian invasion - Niall Carson/PA

04:19 PM

Harsh new sentences introduced in Russia for cooperating with foreigners

Russia's parliament has introduced harsh prison terms for cooperating with foreigners and engaging in activities which the Kremlin deems to undermine national security.

In a bill harkening to the Soviet era, establishing and maintaining "confidential" cooperation with a foreigner or international organisation and helping them act against Russia's interests will be punishable by up to eight years in prison.

Public calls to act against Russia's security, as defined by the Kremlin, will be punished by up to seven years in prison.

03:59 PM

Kyiv committed to 'reforming' Ukraine after the war, says presidential advisor

A top Ukrainian official told AFP news agency his country is committed to far-reaching reforms following a reconstruction conference in Switzerland for the war-ravaged country.

"We're going to be very serious about rebuilding Ukraine, reforming Ukraine," said Alexander Rodnyansky, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"We're serious about showing the world that we have a roadmap and a plan that's manageable and that can be executed, and implemented at some stage," Rodnyansky told AFP on the sidelines of the conference in the southern Swiss city of Lugano drew.

03:48 PM

More than 8.79 million people have crossed Ukrainian border since invasion began - UN

More than 8.79 million people have crossed the border from Ukraine since Russia's invasion in late February, the United Nations refugee agency said.

On its website, the agency said 8.793 million people had made the crossing since February 24.

As of July 4, the UN estimate than 5.2 million refugees from Ukraine have been recorded across Europe, while more than 3.5 million have applied for temporary residence on the continent.

03:26 PM

Himars: Why are they important and how many does Ukraine have?

The US has promised Ukraine eight M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (Himars), writes Roland Oliphant.

At least four, including the one seen firing from Zaporizhzhya on Monday, arrived in the last week of June. The remainder are meant to arrive before the end of this month.

It is a small number, but the Himars outrange and are more accurate than anything either the Ukrainians or the Russians possess. Kyiv hopes that could help erode Russia’s most feared battlefield advantage.

Russia is currently firing an estimated 20,000 artillery rounds a day compared to Ukraine’s 6,000 rounds, according to Ukrainian officials cited in a recent report by the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi).

Ukraine cannot match the Russians gun for gun, even with Western weapons. But by targeting the ammunition supply chain where the Himars have been deployed to devastating effect  they hope to starve the enemy of shells.

Read the full piece here.

03:08 PM

Zelensky criticises top general for imposing restrictions on army recruits wanting to visit family

Volodymyr Zelensky has criticised his top general for imposing draconian travel restrictions on army recruits, writes James Kilner.

The Ukrainian president’s rare criticism of the Ukrainian military’s top commander was delivered on Tuesday at the end of his nightly televised briefing to Ukrainians on the war and may have betrayed frustration at recent battlefield losses.

“There have been a lot of disputes in society regarding the decision of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to approve a procedure for obtaining certain permits for those liable for military service, conscripts and reservists,” Mr Zelensky said.

Read the full piece here.

02:41 PM

Putin meets with director general of the United Grain Company

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, meets with Director General of the United Grain Company (UGC) Dmitry Sergeyev at the Kremlin in Moscow on July 6, 2022 -  MIKHAIL KLIMENTYE/AFP
Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, meets with Director General of the United Grain Company (UGC) Dmitry Sergeyev at the Kremlin in Moscow on July 6, 2022 - MIKHAIL KLIMENTYE/AFP

01:43 PM

Kyiv: At least seven civilians killed by Russian shelling in past 24 hours

Russian shelling killed at least seven civilians in Ukraine over the past 24 hours and wounded 25 more, Ukrainian officials said Wednesday. Pro-Russia separatists said attacks by Ukrainian forces killed four civilians.

The Ukrainian presidential office said Russian forces targeted cities and villages in the country's southeast, with most civilian casualties occurring in Donetsk province, where Russia ste pped up its offensive in recent days.

Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said in a Telegram post that two people died in the city of Avdiivka, which is located in the center of the province, and the Donetsk cities of Sloviansk, Krasnohorivka and Kurakhove each reported one civilian killed.

"Every crime will be punished," he wrote.

01:18 PM

Turkey conducting checks on Russian ship transporting stolen wheat

Moscow has admitted that Turkey is conducting checks on a Russian ship in the Black Sea that Ukraine says is carrying stolen Ukrainian wheat.

"The (Zhibek Zholy) ship is currently in the roadstead of the Karasu port and is going through standard procedures, including sanitary control," a spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry, Alexei Zaitsev, said at a briefing.

"Turkish authorities will make a decision on entry or refusal to entry into the port. There is no talk on the detention or arrest of the cargo," he said.

Ukraine asked Turkey to arrest the Russian-flagged ship on Friday, alleging that it had set off from the Moscow-occupied port of Berdyansk and that it is carrying confiscated wheat.

12:50 PM

Vienna to Moscow: Supply gas or lose contracts

Austria is following through on a "use it or lose it" threat to eject Russia's Gazprom from its large Haidach gas storage facility for systematically failing to fill its portion of the capacity there, the government said.

"If customers do not store (gas) then the capacity must be handed over to others," Leonore Gewessler, the Austrian energy minister, told a news conference.

Austria obtains around 80 per cent of its gas from Russia but since the war in Ukraine it has accused Moscow of weaponising that supply and has been seeking alternatives. Fearing that Russia will cut it off, it is racing to fill its gas storage facilities, which are at just under half their capacity.

Legislation making it possible to hand capacity over to other contractors came into force on July 1.

12:34 PM

Ukraine holts Russian advance in Donetsk, says Luhansk governor

Ukraine has so far thwarted an attempted Russian advance into the north of its Donetsk region but the city of Sloviansk and other civilian areas are being heavily shelled, Ukrainian officials said.

"We are holding back the enemy on the border of Luhansk region and Donetsk region," Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of Luhansk, told Ukrainian television.

He said Russian regular army and reserve forces had been sent there in an apparent effort to cross the Siverskiy Donets River and that two small settlements just inside Luhansk's borders were the scene of fierce fighting.

Ukrainian servicemen evacuate a wounded soldier from the battlefield into an ambulance during heavy shelling in Siversk, in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, on July 05, 2022 - Anadolu Agency
Ukrainian servicemen evacuate a wounded soldier from the battlefield into an ambulance during heavy shelling in Siversk, in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, on July 05, 2022 - Anadolu Agency

Russia has increased its focus on Donetsk, the southern part of which it and its proxies already control, after completing its seizure of the neighbouring Luhansk region on Sunday with the capture of Lysychansk, which now lies in ruins.

Donetsk and Luhansk comprise the Donbas, the industrialised eastern part of Ukraine that has seen the biggest battle in Europe for generations and which Russia wants to wrest control of on behalf of Moscow-backed separatists in two self-proclaimed people's republics.

12:12 PM

Pursuing Russia for war crimes could result in nuclear war, warns former president

Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian president, invoked the possibility of nuclear war if the International Criminal Court (ICC) moves to punish Moscow for alleged crimes in Ukraine.

"The idea to punish a country that has the largest nuclear arsenal is absurd in and of itself," Mr Medvedev, a close ally of Vladimir Putin, said on messaging app Telegram.

"And potentially creates a threat to the existence of mankind."

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, was once lauded as a liberal president but has since become one of the most hawkish supporters of Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine - Yekaterina Shtukina/ AFP
Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, was once lauded as a liberal president but has since become one of the most hawkish supporters of Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine - Yekaterina Shtukina/ AFP

Medvedev, who was Putin's stand-in president between 2008 and 2012, is now deputy head of the Security Council.

He accused the United States of wanting to put Moscow in front of international tribunals, while itself never facing punishment for its own wars which, according to him, caused 20 million deaths worldwide.

11:54 AM

US, Chinese and Russian foreign ministers to meet in Indonesia this week

Foreign ministers from the world's largest nations are looking to address Russia's war in Ukraine and its impact on global energy and food security when they meet in Indonesia this week.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi are set to attend the Group of 20 meeting in the Indonesian resort of Bali, which will set the stage for a summit of G-20 leaders at the same venue in November.

It will mark the first time Blinken and Lavrov have been in the same room, let alone the same city, since January. There's no indication the two will meet separately, but even without a one-on-one with Lavrov, Blinken could find himself in some difficult discussions.

11:34 AM

Ukraine to harvest at least 50 million tonnes of grain this year

Ukraine expects a grain harvest of at least 50 million tonnes this year, which is "not bad given all the difficulties," the country's first deputy agriculture minister said.

Ukraine, a major global grain grower and exporter, harvested a record 86 million tonnes of grain in 2021.

Farmers harvest grain in Odessa - where Ukraine's largest sea ports are located - on July 04, 2022 - Anadolu Agency
Farmers harvest grain in Odessa - where Ukraine's largest sea ports are located - on July 04, 2022 - Anadolu Agency

Taras Vysotskiy added in televised comments that most of Ukraine's 2022 wheat harvest would be of milling quality and that the country, which has been invaded by Russia, would have to export at least 30 million tonnes of the 2022 grain harvest in the 2022/23 season.

It comes amid reports that Russia is stealing grain from the occupied regions of Ukraine.

11:14 AM

Micheál Martin, the Irish Taoiseach, visits Kyiv

The Irish premier began a trip to the Ukrainian capital by viewing the conflict-scarred suburbs of Borodyanka, Bucha and Irpin.

The tour included a sombre visit to the site of a mass grave in the grounds of a church in Bucha.

Mr Martin is using the visit to Kyiv to reiterate Irish solidarity with the Ukrainian authorities in the face of the Russian invasion.

The Irish leader with local officials viewing the damage to buildings in the city of Irpin, Ukraine, on July 6, 2022 - Niall Carson/ PA
The Irish leader with local officials viewing the damage to buildings in the city of Irpin, Ukraine, on July 6, 2022 - Niall Carson/ PA

10:15 AM

Kyiv asks Turkey to probe three more Russian ships it alleges transported stolen grain

Ukraine has asked Turkey to help investigate three Russian-flagged ships as part of Kyiv’s efforts to probe what it alleges is the theft of grain from Russian-occupied territory, according to official documents.

In a June 13 letter, which hasn’t previously been reported, the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office asked Turkey’s justice ministry to investigate and provide evidence on the three named ships it suspects have been involved in transporting grain allegedly stolen from recently occupied Ukrainian territories, such as Kherson.

The letter, which Reuters reviewed, said the ships travelled from Crimea’s main grain terminal in Sevastopol in April and May and pressed Ankara to obtain documentation about their cargo and arrival at Turkish ports. Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

09:49 AM

Evacuation calls as Russians advance in Ukraine's Donbas

Ukrainian officials have called on civilians to urgently evacuate the city of Sloviansk as Russian troops press towards it in their campaign to secure the Donbas region.

Sloviansk has been subjected to "massive" Russian bombardment in recent days, with at least two people killed and seven others wounded in an attack on a marketplace Tuesday.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the Donetsk region, which includes Sloviansk, told Ukrainian media his "main advice is evacuate!"

"This week there hasn't been a day without shelling," he said Tuesday evening, adding that the city was now within range of Russian multiple-rocket launchers.

"The enemy is shelling chaotically, the attacks are aimed at destroying the local population," he said. "So, once again, the main advice is to evacuate."

09:45 AM

Lavrov says Putin-Macron call leak breached 'diplomatic etiquette'

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the publication of a call between President Emmanuel Macron and Russian leader Vladimir Putin was a breach of "diplomatic etiquette".

"Diplomatic etiquette does not provide for unilateral leaks of (such) recordings," Lavrov said on a trip to Vietnam.

The details of the confidential call days before Moscow's military operation in Ukraine were revealed by the broadcaster France 2 in a documentary on the French president's handling of the conflict.

Lavrov said Russia had nothing to be ashamed of from the content of the conversation between the two leaders.

"We in principle lead negotiations in such a way that we never have anything to be ashamed of. We always say what we think and are ready to answer for these words and explain our position," he said.

09:39 AM

Five civilians killed in Russian shelling

A Ukrainian official says Russian shelling has killed five civilians over the past 24 hours and wounded 21 more in the eastern Donetsk province, where Russia has stepped up its offensive in recent days.

Donetsk governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said in a Telegram post on Wednesday morning that two people were killed in Avdiivka, one in Sloviansk, one in Krasnohorivka, and one in Kurakhove.

"Every crime will be punished," he wrote.

Kyrylenko on Tuesday urged the province's more than 350,000 residents to flee, saying that getting people out of Donetsk is necessary to save lives and enable the Ukrainian army better to defend towns from the Russian advance.

Russian forces also hit Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city further to the north, with missile strikes overnight, the governor of Kharkiv region Oleh Syniehubov said on Telegram on Wednesday.

Three districts of the city were targeted, Syniehubov said, and a university building was destroyed, as well as one administrative building. Three people, including a toddler, sustained injuries, according to the governor.

07:02 AM

Russia calls for efforts to protect international laws

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged world leaders to make an effort to protect international laws as "the world is evolving in a complicated manner".

His comments, made at a meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart in Hanoi, come as Russia is accused by Western countries of breaching international law through its invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Lavrov is due to travel to Indonesia to attend a meeting of G20 foreign ministers this week.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Vietnamese counterpart Bui Thanh Son - AFP
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Vietnamese counterpart Bui Thanh Son - AFP

06:54 AM

US and allies call for suspension of Russia from sport federations

The United States and a number of allies on Tuesday called for Russian and Belarusian national governing bodies of sport to be suspended from international sport federations due to Russia's war on Ukraine.

In a Facebook post, the Russian embassy in the US described the move as "Russophobic", insisting "sports should stay out of politics".

"Using it as an instrument to exert pressure and settle scores directly violates the basic principles of the Olympic movement and is contrary to the spirit of competitiveness as well as healthy competition," it said in a Facebook post.

04:47 AM

Lysychansk lies in ruins after ferocious battle

The Ukrainian city of Lysychansk lies in ruins and under Russian control.

Buildings are scorched and destroyed by shelling, with cars up-ended and streets strewn with rubble.

The destruction is a testament to the ferocity of the battle it endured.

Local resident Tatiana Glushenko, 45, told Reuters people were still sheltering in basements and bomb shelters, including children and elderly.

Ms Glushenko said she decided to stay in Lysychansk with her family, as she did not think she would be safe in other parts of Ukraine.

"All of Ukraine is being shelled: western Ukraine, central Ukraine, Dnipro, Kyiv, everywhere. So we decided not to risk our lives and stay here, at home at least," she said.

A local resident walks near the ruins of a destroyed apartment building - Reuters
A local resident walks near the ruins of a destroyed apartment building - Reuters

03:55 AM

Watch: US-supplied Himars rocket launchers used in battle

02:58 AM

The West’s new weapon working to tilt war in Kyiv’s favour

The Ukrainian ministry of defence released footage on Monday of a rocket launcher firing from the middle of a highway somewhere in the Zaporizhzhya region, the rockets arching high into what looked like an early evening sky.

They did not say what they were firing at. But the same day, a massive strike was reported on the airbase at the occupied city of Melitopol, about 50 miles south of the Zaporizhzhya region front line.

It was the latest in a series of deep precision strikes by Western weapons that Kyiv hopes could turn the tide of the war.

Read the full story here

02:55 AM

Today's top stories

  • Russian troops are engaged in heavy fighting and making their way into Ukraine's Donetsk region

  • The cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk have been showered with shelling in the eastern Donetsk region, its governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told Ukrainian TV

  • The Ukrainian ministry of defence released footage of a rocket launcher firing from the middle of a highway somewhere in the Zaporizhzhya region

  • Fighting raged in and around Ukraine's eastern Donbas region on Tuesday as Russian troops tried to maintain a series of battlefield gains

  • Russian-backed separatists seized two foreign-flagged ships in the eastern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol

  • An official from Russia's powerful FSB security services has taken over the government of the Moscow-occupied Kherson region in southern Ukraine

  • Arbitrary detention of civilians has become "widespread" in parts of Ukraine held by Russia's military and affiliated armed groups, the UN human rights chief said

  • Sweden has left the door open to alleged terror suspects being extradited to Turkey in order to secure its support for a bid to join Nato

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