Ukrainian forces have raised the country’s flag on Snake Island, a strategic and symbolic outpost in the Black Sea that Russian troops retreated from last week after months of heavy bombardment. “The military operation has been concluded, and … the territory, Snake Island, has been returned to the jurisdiction of Ukraine,” Natalia Humeniuk, spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern military command, told reporters. Ukraine has considered control of the island as a critical step in loosening Moscow’s blockade on its southern ports.
Leaders from dozens of countries, international organisations and the private sector gathered in Switzerland today to hash out a ‘Marshall plan’ to rebuild war-ravaged Ukraine. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who took part virtually, earlier warned that the work ahead in the areas that have been liberated alone was “really colossal”. “And we will have to free over 2,000 villages and towns in the east and south of Ukraine,” he said.
Ukraine’s prime minister Denys Shmygal has put a price tag on the recovery of his country at $750bn (£620bn). He said the Ukrainian government believed a key source of funding for the recovery plan should be assets confiscated from Russian oligarchs, and that there had been more than $100bn of direct damage to infrastructure from Russia’s invasion so far.
Ukrainian forces on Sunday retreated from Lysychansk as Russia claims it is now in control of Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region. The Russian defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, said Moscow’s forces had established “full control” over Lysychansk and several nearby settlements. Ukraine’s military command confirmed that its troops had been forced to pull back from the city, saying there would otherwise be “fatal consequences”. Lysychansk was the last Ukrainian-controlled city in the Luhansk region.
Zelenskiy vowed to regain Lysychansk with the help of long-range western weapons. “We will return thanks to our tactics, thanks to the increase in the supply of modern weapons. Ukraine does not give anything up,” he said in an evening address.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Russian troops on “liberating” the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk. In a televised meeting with defence minister Sergei Shoigu on Monday, Putin congratulated Russian forces on their “victories in the Luhansk direction”. Reuters reports he said those who participated in the combat should “absolutely rest and recover their military preparedness”, while other units continue fighting in other areas.
Russia will shift the main focus of its war in Ukraine to trying to seize all of the Donetsk region after capturing neighbouring Luhansk, the Luhansk region’s governor Serhai Haidai has said. He claimed about 8,000 civilians remain in occupied Sievierodonetsk and about 10,000 in newly occupied Lysychansk.
Russian forces hit a secondary school in the Kharkiv district at 4am Monday morning, according to a report from Oleh Synyehubov, governor of the region. There were no reported casualties. He also said three people were killed and six injured in an attack on the village of Bezruky in his region.
The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic has claimed that in the last 24 hours Ukrainian forces have shelled 15 of the 240 settlements they say they control. They claim that “five people were killed and another 20 civilians were injured.”
The eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk in the Donetsk region was hit by powerful shelling from multiple rocket launchers on Sunday, killing six people and injuring 20 others, the city’s mayor Vadim Lyakh said. In the post-2014 regional capital of Kramatorsk, a missile destroyed a hotel, according to its mayor Oleksandr Goncharenko. He said three rockets hit the town on Sunday and that there were no reported victims so far.
At least three people were killed and dozens of residential buildings damaged in the Russian city of Belgorod near the Ukrainian border on Sunday, the region’s governor said. Vyacheslav Gladkov said at least 11 apartment buildings and 39 private residential houses were damaged, including five houses destroyed.
Turkey has halted a Russian-flagged cargo ship off its Black Sea coast and is investigating a Ukrainian claim that it was carrying stolen grain, a senior Turkish official said.
Putin will not congratulate his US counterpart Joe Biden on Monday’s US independence day celebrations because of Washington’s “unfriendly” actions towards Moscow, the Kremlin has said.
Ukraine has renewed its invitation for Pope Francis to visit the country and urged the pontiff to continue praying for the Ukrainian people, a foreign ministry spokesperson said.
The Russian cosmonauts who were lauded at the outset of the war on Ukraine in February for appearing to show their support for their invaded neighbours with yellow and blue spacesuits, have been pictured on the International Space Station (ISS) holding the flags of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic, alongside a message celebrating what Russian space agancy Roscosmos termed the “liberation” of Luhansk.
Europe faces a rising risk of recession because of rising oil and gas prices amid concerns that Russia could turn off supplies completely, economists have said. Europe’s economy will be hit by a variety of factors including falling demand in the US – its biggest export market – the continued fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and related increases in food and energy prices, according to Nomura, a Japanese investment bank with significant operations in London.
Australia will send more than $100m in new aid to Ukraine including military equipment, as well as levelling sanctions on 16 new Russian officials, after prime minister Anthony Albanese’s secret trip to Kyiv. Albanese visited Bucha, Hostomel and Irpin, three towns in the Kyiv region where evidence of mass killings and torture was uncovered after the withdrawal of Russian forces.
Britain will host a 2023 recovery conference to help Ukraine rebuild from the damage caused by Russia’s invasion. The Ukraine Recovery Conference (URC2022) will begin on Monday in Lugano, Switzerland, to discuss how to rebuild Ukraine, bringing together a Ukrainian delegation with representatives of other countries, international organisations and civil society, the UK Foreign Office said.
The UK may follow the example of Canada and seize the assets of Russians in Britain in order to give them to Ukraine. Foreign secretary, Liz Truss, told MPs she was supportive of the idea that the government could seize frozen Russian assets in the UK and redistribute them to victims of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
A new New York Times investigation has revealed that nazism references spiked to record-high levels the day Russia invaded Ukraine. The outlet surveyed eight million articles about Ukraine collected from over 8,000 Russian websites since 2014, and found that since 2014, references to nazism were “relatively flat for eight years and then spiked to unprecedented levels on 24 February” of this year.
The president of Belarus and Vladimir Putin’s closest ally has said his ex-Soviet state stands fully behind Russia, adding that the country’s “have practically a unified army”. Alexander Lukashenko said he had thrown his weight behind Putin’s campaign against Ukraine “from the very first day” in late February. “We are being criticised for being the only country in the world to support Russia in its fight against nazism,” a video on the state BelTA news agency showed Lukashenko telling a gathering. “We will remain together with fraternal Russia.”
Turkish customs authorities have detained a Russian cargo ship carrying grain allegedly stolen from Ukraine, the Ukrainian ambassador to the country has said. “We have full cooperation. The ship is currently standing at the entrance to the port, it has been detained by the customs authorities of Turkey,” ambassador Vasyl Bodnar said on Ukrainian national television.