Russia-Ukraine war update: what we know on day 134 of the invasion

·6 min read
<span>Photograph: Sergey Kozlov/EPA</span>
Photograph: Sergey Kozlov/EPA
  • At least one person has been killed and six injured by a missile strike on Kramatorsk which hit a residential area, according to Ukraine’s regional governor of Donetsk, Pavlo Kyrylenko.

  • The evacuation of civilians from Sloviansk continued on Wednesday as Russian troops pressed towards the eastern Ukrainian city in their campaign to control the Donbas region. Mayor Vadym Lyakh said that about 23,000 people out of 110,000 were still in Sloviansk but claimed Russia had been unable to surround the city. The governor of Donetsk has also urged the region’s 350,000 people to flee.

  • The battle for Sloviansk is likely to be the next key contest in the struggle for Donbas as Russian forces approach to within 16km of the Donetsk town, British intelligence said. Russian forces from the eastern and western groups of forces are likely now around 16km north of Sloviansk as central and southern groups of forces also pose a threat to the town, the UK Ministry of Defence has said.

  • Russia’s defence ministry has said it killed Ukrainian servicemen who were trying to raise Ukraine’s flag on the recently retaken Snake Island. The daily operational briefing from Russia’s military states: “Around 5am several Ukrainian servicemen landed on the island from a motorboat and took pictures with the flag. The aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces immediately launched a strike with high-precision missiles on Zmiinyi Island, as a result of which part of the Ukrainian military personnel was destroyed.”

  • Authorities in Odesa appeared to confirm that missiles had struck the island, and that Russians had also destroyed tow grain hangars in the region which contained “about 35 tonnes of grain”.

  • Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has said heavy weapons from western allies have finally begun working at “full capacity” on frontlines. In his nightly video address, Zelenskiy said the Ukrainian military has been able to target Russian warehouses and locations that are “important for logistics”.

  • Resistance remains ongoing in villages around Lysychansk, where 15,000 civilians remain, according to Luhansk’s governor, Serhiy Haidai. On Telegram, Haidai said: “Today’s videos from Lysychansk are painful to watch.” He accused Putin’s troops of engaging in a scorched earth policy, “burning down and destroying everything on their way”.

  • Ukraine has rejected the claim that Russian forces destroyed two advanced US-made Himars rocket systems and their ammunition depots in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine’s general staff said the claims by Russia’s defence ministry were fake and that it was using the US-supplied Himars to inflict “devastating blows” on Russian forces.

  • A Russian missile has hit a tanker carrying 500 tonnes of diesel drifting in the Black Sea, according to the Ukrainian military. Two KH-31 missiles were fired and one hit the Moldovan-flagged Millennial Spirit, Ukraine’s operational command south said. The ship has now been struck twice since Russian troops entered Ukraine, and has been drifting without a crew and with the remnants of diesel fuel on board.

  • Zelenskiy posted images of him meeting two US senators in Kyiv – the Republican Lindsey Graham and Richard Blumenthal of the Democratic party. Ukraine’s president said “Bicameral and bipartisan support is very important to us.”

  • Ukraine’s foreign ministry said Thursday a Russian ship carrying Ukrainian grain had been allowed to leave the Turkish port of Karasu, calling it an “unacceptable situation and summoning Turkey’s ambassador. “We regret that Russia’s ship Zhibek Zholy, which was full of stolen Ukrainian grain, was allowed to leave Karasu port despite criminal evidence presented to the Turkish authorities,” foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko.

  • The British prime minister Boris Johnson has announced he is to resign, telling Ukraine “we in the UK will continue to back your fight for freedom for as long as it takes”. Defence secretary Ben Wallace had already said he would not be stepping down from office, due to national security issues, which include the UK’s contributions to Ukraine’s war effort. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said reports that Johnson would shortly resign as prime minister were of little concern for the Kremlin, saying “he doesn’t like us, we don’t like him either.”

  • Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency reports that the British embassy in Moscow has said it will not be using its new address of Lugansk People’s Republic. Moscow mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, signed a decree on 5 July to give an unnamed stretch of territory located along the Smolenskaya embankment the new name. The US embassy in Moscow now similarly finds itself located in Donetsk People’s Republic Square.

  • Finland’s parliament has voted in favour of legislation that would allow barriers on the country’s border with Russia. The bill on preparedness was passed by a supermajority that allows parliament to fast-track laws, amid fears Russia could retaliate over Finland’s plans to join the Nato military alliance. The law also has implications for asylum seekers to Finland as it will allow the government to build fences or other barriers near Finnish borders and direct all asylum applications to one or several border crossings, such as an airport.

  • Ireland’s taoiseach, Micheál Martin, visited the war-scarred suburbs of Borodianka, Bucha and Irpin on the outskirts of Kyiv on Wednesday. Martin said he and Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, discussed a joint response to the threat to food security, the energy crisis and the preparation of the seventh sanction package against Russia. Martin reiterated his country’s solidarity with Ukraine.

  • Russian forces have occupied about 22% of Ukraine’s arable land, according to Nasa’s Harvest mission. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Nasa has been focusing on the impact of the war on the global food system. Its findings have revealed that Ukrainian fields where 28% of winter and 18% of spring crops are sown are under Russian occupation.

  • Sri Lanka’s president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, said he asked his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin to help import fuel to his country as it faces its worst economic crisis in seven decades. Rajapaksa tweeted that he had a “productive” telephone call with Putin, while thanking him for “all the support extended by his [government] to overcome the challenges of the past”.

  • Zelenskiy called on the world’s largest independent oil trader to stop shipping Russian oil, accusing it of “brazen profiteering from blood oil”.

  • Ukraine’s military announced plans to introduce a system of permits that would prohibit men eligible for conscription from leaving the region where they are registered. The move, based on legislation from 1992, was intended to enable the country’s armed forces to locate potential conscripts more easily, but it prompted an immediate backlash.

  • Nearly 9 million people have left Ukraine since Russia invaded, the UN refugee agency has said. With Russia stepping up its offensive in the east of the country, there are increasingly loud calls from Ukrainian authorities for people to escape while they can from frontline areas.

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