Ukraine-Russia war latest: Russia admits it is shipping grain from occupied territory

·25 min read

Russia has confirmed that it has begun shipping grain from occupied territory in Ukraine.

A vessel carrying 7,000 tonnes of cereal left the Russian-occupied port city of Berdyansk on Thursday to go to "friendly countries", a pro-Russian regional official said.

Evgeny Balitsky, the head of the pro-Russia administration, said on Telegram: “After numerous months of delay, the first merchant ship has left the Berdyansk commercial port, 7,000 tons of grain are heading toward friendly countries".

He said that Russia's ships in the Black Sea are "ensuring the security" of the vessel, though he did not specify its final destination.

It comes after weeks of accusations from Kyiv that Russian forces were stealing from the country's grain supplies and blocking key ports.

Follow the latest updates below.

05:53 PM

That's all for today.

Thanks for following along with Friday's live updates. Here are five key developments you may have missed:

  1. The number of people killed in overnight Russian missile strikes on a residential building and resorts in Odesa rose to at least 21, according to local authorities. The city's military spokesperson, Sergei Bratchuk, said that a 12-year-old boy was among the dead.

  2. In Mykolaiv, eight people have now been confirmed dead after a Russian missile strike hit a residential building.

  3. Vladimir Putin claimed that "unprecedented political and social pressure" from the West is pushing Russia to accelerate its integration with Belarus. The Russian President said the two nations are working together to minimise the damage from economic sanctions.

  4. Volodymyr Zelensky celebrated the dawn of a closer relationship between Ukraine and the EU after Brussels formally accepted Ukraine's bid to join the bloc. "Ukraine is fighting to choose its values, to be in the European family," the Ukrainian President said.

  5. Food - and not just grain - was dragged into the war after UNESCO said it would inscribe the culture of Ukrainian borshch on a list of "cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding". Russia mocked the decision, with the foreign ministry calling it an example of "modern Kyiv nationalism".

05:05 PM

Finland says war in Europe beyond Ukraine is a possibility

Finland’s foreign minister, Pekka Haavisto, has said war in Europe beyond Ukraine is “of course” a possibility and urged more countries to support Kyiv.

In an interview with CNN, Haavisto was asked if Ukraine can win the war against Russia.

He replied: "They can maintain the situation and in that sense, they can win this battle. I think they are of course morally on the high ground. They are very united."

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto addresses a joint press conference with his Polish counterpart in Helsinki, Finland, on July 1, 2022.  - Emmi Korhonen/AFP
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto addresses a joint press conference with his Polish counterpart in Helsinki, Finland, on July 1, 2022. - Emmi Korhonen/AFP

04:28 PM

Norway pledges €1bn to support Ukraine

Norway on Friday pledged 1 billion euros ($1.04 billion) to support Ukraine for the remainder of 2022 and 2023, Norway's prime minister announced.

Jonas Gahr Stoere, speaking at a news conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, said the money was to help Ukraine support people in need, defend itself and for reconstruction.

04:05 PM

Navalny says he spends days in jail 'sitting under a portrait of Putin'

Alexei Navalny said he has been forced to take part in "educational activities" as part of his jail sentence, such as being made to sit for hours under a picture of Vladimir Putin.

The outspoken Kremlin critic was transferred last month to a strict-regime penal colony near the town of Vladimir, east of Moscow, which was described by his allies as "one of Russia's scariest prisons".

He wrote on Facebook that he has to spend his days in prison sewing for seven hours a day, five days a week, while on Sundays he is made to sit on a wooden bench for 10 hours.

He said: "After work, you continue to sit. For several hours on a wooden bench under a portrait of Putin. This is called ‘educational activities’.

"I don’t know who such activities can ‘educate’, except for a crooked invalid with a bad back. But maybe that’s the purpose."

In a separate Twitter thread, he said he has to listen to a loudspeaker playing songs like 'Glory to the FSB' all day, but tries to remain an "optimist" by passing the time memorising Shakespeare.

03:23 PM

Russia slams Ukrainian 'nationalism' in borshch battle

Russia on Friday mocked UNESCO's decision to recognise borsch soup as part of Ukraine's national heritage.

"To give the world a culinary example of 'modern Kyiv nationalism,' I will cite a fact: hummus and pilaf are recognised as national dishes of several nations," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Telegram.

"But, as I understand, everything is subject to Ukrainisation."

The UN's cultural agency have said the culture of Ukrainian borshch cooking has been inscribed on a list of "cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding" due to the "negative impact" of the war.

02:56 PM

Ukraine's grain exports plunge 43pc as war wrecks sector

Ukraine's grain exports plunged 43 per cent year-on-year to 1.41 million tonnes in June, the agriculture ministry said on Friday.

The country's grain exports have slumped since the start of the war as its Black Sea ports - the key route for shipments - have been largely closed off, driving up global food prices and prompting fears of shortages in Africa and the Middle East.

The ministry data showed wheat exports rose to 18.7 million tonnes in the 2021/22 season from 16.6 million a year earlier.

Corn exports edged up to 23.5 million tonnes from 23.1 million, while barley sales increased to around 5.8 million tonnes from 4.2 million.

The government has said Ukraine could harvest up 65 million tonnes of grain and oil seeds this year, compared with 106 million in 2021, due to the loss of land to Russian forces and lower grain yields.

02:21 PM

Kyiv's schools to reopen in September

Kyiv's schools will reopen for in-person classes on 1 September, the city’s authorities said.

Schools in the Ukrainian capital are currently closed for their summer holidays. They had switched to online learning after Russia launched its invasion on 24 February.

The head of Kyiv’s education and science department, Olena Fidanyan, was cited by AFP as saying that the most important task for the new school year “is the safety of students and teachers”.

Territories adjacent to the schools will be checked for explosives and bomb shelters in schools will be restocked with water, medicine and other necessities, she said.

All schools will hold “the necessary training with teachers and children on actions during an air-raid alert”, while students who have been unable to return to Kyiv will be allowed to study remotely, she added.

01:47 PM

Death toll rises to eight in Russian strike on Mykolaiv apartment block

Eight people have now been confirmed dead after a Russian missile strike on a residential building in Ukraine’s southern city of Mykolaiv on Wednesday, according to local officials.

Ukraine’s state emergency service reported late last night that the body of a man was discovered under a collapsed staircase, bringing the total death toll to eight and six wounded.

Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych said on Wednesday that eight missiles had hit the city, adding that the residential building appeared to have been hit by a Russian X-55 cruise missile.

Firefighters search and clear an apartment block destroyed in a Russian missile attack in Mykolaiv on 29 June, 2022. - Julian Simmonds for The Telegraph/Julian Simmonds for The Telegraph
Firefighters search and clear an apartment block destroyed in a Russian missile attack in Mykolaiv on 29 June, 2022. - Julian Simmonds for The Telegraph/Julian Simmonds for The Telegraph

01:17 PM

Russian-basked separatists in Donetsk to use death penalty from 2025

Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine will begin using the death penalty in 2025, according to an updated criminal code of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).

The new criminal code, in effect from Friday, states that the death penalty should be carried out by firing squad and that the head of the DPR has the final say on issuing pardons to anybody sentenced to death.

It is unclear what the new rules mean for captured Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, who were sentenced to death in the DPR on charges of "terrorism". Britain has condemned the ruling as a "sham judgement".

On Thursday, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said it had issued an order to Russia to ensure that the men do not face the death penalty.

In response, the Kremlin said it was not bound by rulings from the ECHR, from which Russia pulled out after the start of the war in Ukraine in February.

12:44 PM

West has accelerated Russian integration with Belarus, says Putin

Vladimir Putin said on Friday that political pressure from the West is pushing Russia to accelerate its integration with Belarus.

"Unprecedented political and social pressure from the so-called collective West is pushing us to speed up the unification process: together to minimise the damage from the illegal sanctions, to make it simpler to master the output of required products, to develop new competencies, to expand cooperation with friendly countries," Putin said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the IX Forum of the Regions of Russia and Belarus via video link in Moscow, on July 1, 2022. - Mikhail Metzel/AFP
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the IX Forum of the Regions of Russia and Belarus via video link in Moscow, on July 1, 2022. - Mikhail Metzel/AFP

12:12 PM

UNESCO labels Ukrainian borshch soup as endangered heritage

UNESCO on Friday inscribed the culture of cooking borshch soup in Ukraine on its list of endangered cultural heritage, in a move which was welcomed by Kyiv but met with fierce opposition from Moscow.

The culture of Ukrainian borshch cooking "was today inscribed on UNESCO's list of intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding" by a UNESCO committee in a fast-track process prompted by Russia's war against Ukraine and the "negative impact on this tradition", the UN's cultural agency said.

12:05 PM

Modi and Putin discuss energy and food markets in phone call

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone on Friday and discussed the state of global energy and food markets, Modi's office said in a statement.

"They exchanged ideas on how bilateral trade in agricultural goods, fertilisers and pharma products could be encouraged further," the statement said.

"The leaders also discussed global issues, including the state of the international energy and food markets."

11:38 AM

Zelensky celebrates new era of close Ukraine-EU ties

Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that Ukraine and the EU were starting a new chapter of their history together, after Brussels formally accepted Ukraine's bid to join the bloc.

"A new [chapter] of history for the European Union and Ukraine has started. Now we're not close. Now we are together," the Ukrainian President said, while addressing his country's parliament.

Mr Zelensky said it was a "big honour and big responsibility" to work towards realising the "aspirations of our country".

"We made a journey of 115 days to candidate status and our journey to membership shouldn't take decades. We should make it down this road quickly.

"Ukraine is fighting to choose its values, to be in the European family," he added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a joint briefing with Indonesian President Joko Widodo at Mariinsky palace in Kyiv on 29 June, 2022.  - Sergey Dolzhenko/Shutterstock
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a joint briefing with Indonesian President Joko Widodo at Mariinsky palace in Kyiv on 29 June, 2022. - Sergey Dolzhenko/Shutterstock

11:12 AM

EU says Russia's threat to sever ties with Bulgaria over diplomat expulsion is unjustified

The European Union has said that Russia's threat to sever diplomatic ties with Bulgaria, in response to its decision to expel 70 Russian diplomats, is unjustified and the bloc will "follow the matter closely".

The EU said Bulgaria's decision was "fully in line with international law" because the diplomats of the Russian Embassy in Bulgaria were acting in violation of international treaties.

"The European Union stands in full support and solidarity with Bulgaria in these circumstances and will follow this matter closely,” the EU said in a statement.

On Thursday, Bulgaria's outgoing prime minister called on Russia to withdraw its diplomatic ultimatum, which had included a threat to close the Russian embassy in the country.

10:59 AM

Brittney Griner arrives for 'drug' trial

U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner has arrived at a courtroom on the outskirts of Moscow to face trial on drug charges that could see her face up to 10 years in prison.

Arriving at Khimki City Court in handcuffs, the 31-year-old athlete was seen wearing a Jimi Hendrix T-shirt. She was accompanied by three people, with U.S. embassy staff also in attendance.

One woman led her handcuffed down a corridor inside the building. Cameras were not permitted in the court.

The case, which coincides with fraught relations between Moscow and Washington over the conflict in Ukraine, was brought after Russian authorities said they found vape cartridges containing hashish oil in Griner's luggage at a Moscow airport in February.

The Kremlin has said the detention of Ms Griner was not politically motivated.

"I can only operate with known facts, and the facts indicate that the eminent athlete was detained with illegal drugs that contained narcotic substances. There are articles in Russian legislation that provide for punishment for such crimes," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. "Only the court can pass a verdict."

Ukraine war: 18 dead in Russian missile strikes on Odesa - EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA /REUTERS
Ukraine war: 18 dead in Russian missile strikes on Odesa - EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA /REUTERS

10:47 AM

Moscow denies striking apartments near Ukraine's Odesa

The Kremlin dismissed allegations that Russian missiles had struck an apartment building near the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odesa early on Friday.

Ukrainian authorities said Russian missiles had hit an apartment building and two holiday camps, killing at least 18 people and wounding dozens.

"I would like to remind you of the president's words that the Russian Armed Forces do not work with civilian targets," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on a conference call with reporters.

10:40 AM

New CCTV shows people shopping at Kremenchuk mall when Russian strike hits

10:20 AM

Erdogan raises possibly nixing Nato-Nordics deal

An accord signed with Finland and Sweden to lift Turkey's veto on their Nato membership bids is not the end of the matter and obliges the Nordic states to keep their promises, President Tayyip Erdogan has said.

After four hours of talks in Madrid on Tuesday, Mr Erdogan and his Finnish and Swedish counterparts agreed on a series of security measures in return for backing by Ankara, which had raised concerns about terrorism and arms embargoes.

Speaking to reporters on a flight back from the Nato summit in Madrid, the Turkish president said there was no need to rush ratifying the two bids in parliament. Ankara should first see if they keep promises made under the memorandum, including on extraditing suspects sought by Turkey, he said.

"This should be known: these signatures don't mean the issue is done... Without our parliament's approval, this does not go into effect. So there is no need to rush," broadcaster NTV cited Mr Erdogan as saying.

"The ball is in their court now. Sweden and Finland are not Nato members currently," he added.

Asked about the extradition of suspects, Mr Erdogan said if the Nordic countries did not send these individuals "then we will do what is necessary through our institutions and units."

09:58 AM

Joe Biden mistakenly says Switzerland is joining Nato

09:39 AM

Neighbourhood watch takes on a whole new meaning for Mykolaiv blast survivors

Residents of an apartment block destroyed by missile strike kept each other updated on who survived and who perished. Colin Freeman travelled to Mykolaiv to meet those dealing with the fall out...

As he watched rescue workers pick their way through his friend’s bomb-wrecked apartment block, Oleksandr Mararash braced himself for what he knew could be a long, grim wait.

Six bodies had already been pulled from the wreckage of the five-storey building, which had taken a direct hit from a Russian missile at dawn the previous morning.

But two more of its residents were still missing, including his pal Valentin Latyncev, who had lived with his parents on the top floor.

“We know his mother and father died, but we haven’t yet found Valentin,” Mr Mararash, 34, told The Telegraph. “He didn’t stand a chance, though. Look at the building, it’s smashed beyond recognition.”

Ukraine war: 18 dead in Russian missile strikes on Odesa - JULIAN SIMMONDS /JULIAN SIMMONDS 
Ukraine war: 18 dead in Russian missile strikes on Odesa - JULIAN SIMMONDS /JULIAN SIMMONDS

You can read Colin's harrowing dispatch in full here.

09:21 AM

EU flag raised in Ukrainian parliament

09:03 AM

Severedonetsk, in pictures

Ukraine war: 18 dead in Russian missile strikes on Odesa - ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO /REUTERS
Ukraine war: 18 dead in Russian missile strikes on Odesa - ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO /REUTERS
Ukraine war: 18 dead in Russian missile strikes on Odesa - ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO /REUTERS
Ukraine war: 18 dead in Russian missile strikes on Odesa - ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO /REUTERS
Ukraine war: 18 dead in Russian missile strikes on Odesa - ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO /REUTERS
Ukraine war: 18 dead in Russian missile strikes on Odesa - ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO /REUTERS

08:44 AM

EU chief urges Ukraine to speed anti-corruption reform

The president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen told Ukraine's parliament on Friday that EU membership was "within reach" but urged them to press forward with anti-corruption reforms.

"You have created an impressive anti-corruption machine," she told the lawmakers by video link. "But now these institutions need teeth, and the right people in senior posts."

Von der Leyen's warm address heaped praise on Ukraine's parliament and President Volodymyr Zelensky's government for their swift and successful push to become candidates for EU membership.

And she stressed that Brussels and the EU member states were firmly behind Ukraine in both its battle with the ongoing Russian invasion and the quest to be "reunited with our European family".

But she also insisted on the need to build on reforms already introduced since Ukraine's 2014 revolt against its previous government to battle corruption and the grip of oligarchs on its economy.

"The new head of the Specialised Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office and the new director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine should be appointed as soon as possible," she said.

08:25 AM

Ukraine 'now has clear European perspective' - Ursula von der Leyen

Ukraine now has a "very clear European perspective" following the European Union's decision to grant the country candidate status to join the bloc, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a speech to the Ukrainian parliament.

"Ukraine now has a very clear European perspective. And Ukraine is a candidate country to join the European Union something that seemed almost unimaginable just five months ago," Ms von der Leyen said in a speech by video-link to the assembly.

"So today is first and foremost. A moment to celebrate this historic milestone, a victory of determination and resolve and a victory for the whole movement that started eight years ago on the Maidan," she added.

08:06 AM

Putin signs order to seize Shell’s Russian gas project

Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to seize the rights to Shell’s gas project in Russia in a move that could force the British energy giant to abandon its investment.

A statement from the Kremlin ordered the rights to the Sakhalin-2 facility to be transferred to a new Russian company, citing threats to the country’s national interests and economic security.

Shareholders have one month to say whether they’ll take stakes in the new company and were warned they may not be fully compensated if they opt out.

You can read all the latest from my colleague James Warrington on our dedicated business live blog here.

07:51 AM

Odesa strike, in pictures

Ukraine war: 18 dead in Russian missile strikes on Odesa - STATE EMERGENCY SERVICES OF UKRAINE /via REUTERS 
Ukraine war: 18 dead in Russian missile strikes on Odesa - STATE EMERGENCY SERVICES OF UKRAINE /via REUTERS
Ukraine war: 18 dead in Russian missile strikes on Odesa - STATE EMERGENCY SERVICES OF UKRAINE /via REUTERS 
Ukraine war: 18 dead in Russian missile strikes on Odesa - STATE EMERGENCY SERVICES OF UKRAINE /via REUTERS

07:36 AM

Russia 'highly likely' to have abandoned Snake Island - MoD

07:14 AM

Hungary must radically increase its defence capabilities - Viktor Orban

Hungary will speed up its defence development programme, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told state radio on Friday.

"We must radically increase our defence capabilities," Mr Orban said. He reiterated that Hungary's interest was for the war in neighbouring Ukraine to end as soon as possible.

06:48 AM

Europe ready for Baltics emergency switch-off

European grid operators are ready to implement a long-term plan to bring the Baltic states, which rely on the Russian grid, into the EU system in the event Moscow cuts them off.

The Baltic states are nervous because Lithuania has clashed with Russia for blocking goods to Moscow's Kaliningrad enclave.

Thirty years after splitting from the former Soviet Union and 17 years since joining the EU, the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania depend on Russia to ensure stable power supplies.

The Baltic States have a long-standing plan to become part of the European decentralised network of power grids, known as ENTSO-E, by 2025.

Sources told Reuters that could be implemented immediately if necessary, under contingency plans drawn up by ENTSO-E for such an eventuality.

06:00 AM

Russia to open trial against US basketball star

US WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner arrives at a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow this week - KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP
US WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner arrives at a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow this week - KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP

American basketball player Brittney Griner goes on trial in Russia on Friday on drug charges that could see her face up to 10 years in prison, in a case caught up in the fraught relations between Moscow and Washington.

Griner, a star in the US-based Women's National Basketball Association, was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on Feb. 17, just days before Russia invaded Ukraine.

Russian authorities said the 31-year-old athlete was carrying vape cartridges containing hashish oil, a substance illegal in the country. She was charged with smuggling a large quantity of drugs, an offence that can carry up to 10 years in prison.

US officials and a score of athletes have called for the release of Griner, saying she has been wrongfully detained and should be immediately returned to her family.

Griner's detention also prompted concerns that Moscow could use the two-time Olympic gold medallist to negotiate the release of a high-profile Russian in US custody.

Her wife, Cherelle Griner, told CNN on Thursday evening that she was hoping for a meeting with President Joe Biden:"I would love for him to tell me he cares."

05:16 AM

35 Russian soldiers killed in operation

Ukrainian forces in the south district of the joint command of the Ukrainian armed forces killed 35 Russian servicemen and put out of action two tanks and four armoured vehicles, according to a Ukrainian military statement on Facebook on Friday.

"The Ukrainian armed forces are not only holding defence lines but also engaging in successful operations aimed at liberating occupied towns in Kherson region from the invaders," Kriviy Rih regional governor Oleksandr Vilkul said on Telegram, adding that Ukrainian troops had taken back the town of Potyomkin.

04:50 AM

Indonesia's leader targets food crisis

Indonesia's president ended a trip to Ukraine and Russia saying he hoped for progress reintegrating global food and fertiliser supply lines disrupted by the conflict, and offered to be a diplomatic bridge between the two nations.

President Joko Widodo, who is the G20 president this year, was speaking at a news conference alongside his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin after a bilateral meeting in Moscow on Thursday.

His trip followed a visit to Kyiv on Wednesday where he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"I really appreciate President Putin who said earlier that he will provide security guarantee for food and fertiliser supplies from both Russia and Ukraine. This is good news," said the Indonesian president, who is widely known as Jokowi.

"For the sake of humanity, I also support the United Nations' efforts to reintegrate Russian food and fertiliser commodities and Ukrainian food commodities to re-enter the world supply chain."

Jokowi said he had urged leaders of the G7 during a meeting he attended in Germany this week to ensure sanctions on Russia did not affect food and fertiliser supplies.

03:52 AM

Ukraine exporting electricity to EU

Ukraine has started exporting electricity to the European Union, via Romania, Volodymyr Zelensky said, as Russia reduces gas supplies to the bloc.

Several European countries, including Italy and Germany, are highly reliant upon Russian gas for their energy needs but have been forced to look for alternatives as Moscow slashes deliveries.

Speaking on Thursday night, Mr Zelensky said Ukraine had "launched a significant export of electricity to the territory of the EU, via Romania."

He added: "This is only the first stage. We are preparing to increase supply."

03:35 AM

Ecclestone a ‘shocking apologist’ for Putin

Liz Truss has branded Bernie Ecclestone a “shocking apologist” after he said he would “take a bullet” for Vladimir Putin.

The 91-year-old former Formula One boss provoked widespread outrage with an extraordinary defence of the Russian president during a live interview on breakfast television.

Asked on ITV's Good Morning Britain if he still regards Putin as a friend, Mr Ecclestone replied: "I'd still take a bullet for him. I'd rather it didn't hurt, but if it does I'd still take a bullet, because he's a first-class person.

"What he's doing is something that he believed was the right thing he was doing for Russia."

In an interview with Piers Morgan on Thursday night, Mr Ecclestone went further, appearing to refer to the Ukrainian population as “Russians”.

Read more: ‘Shocking apologist’ Bernie Ecclestone under fire for saying he would ‘take a bullet’ for Vladimir Putin

03:10 AM

Why Snake Island defeat could be a major blow for Putin

Ukraine's victory on Snake Island could be critical to reopening shipping lanes to grain trapped on the docks of Odesa. It could also spell the end of Vladimir Putin's ambitions to invade southern Ukraine, Dominic Nicholls, The Telegraph's Defence and Security Editor, says.

“With Snake Island in Ukrainian hands, the threat to Russia’s Black Sea fleet will go up, the risk of an amphibious assault on Odesa will go down, the chances of the Kremlin smashing Ukraine’s economy is reduced and Putin’s stranglehold over the provision of grain to the world’s poorest regions, and indeed food prices globally, is weakened - as will his economy be when prices settle.”

Read more: Why Ukraine's Snake Island victory could be a major blow for Putin

02:38 AM

Zelensky celebrates retaking Snake Island

Ukraine on Friday celebrated driving Russian forces from the strategic Black Sea outpost of Snake Island.

Russia said on Thursday it had decided to withdraw from Snake Island as a "gesture of goodwill" to show Moscow was not obstructing UN attempts to open a humanitarian corridor allowing grains to be shipped from Ukraine.

Ukraine said it had driven Russian forces off the outcrop after an artillery and missile assault, with President Volodymyr Zelensky hailing the victory.

"It does not yet guarantee security. It does not yet ensure that the enemy will not come back," he said in his nightly video address. "But this significantly limits the actions of the occupiers. Step by step, we will push them back from our sea, our land and our sky."

Zelensky speaks via video conference with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, bottom centre, at a digital festival in Vienna - GETTY IMAGES
Zelensky speaks via video conference with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, bottom centre, at a digital festival in Vienna - GETTY IMAGES

01:40 AM

More details on missile strike

An apparent Russian missile strike on an apartment building has killed 10 and injured seven, including three children, officials said.

Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesman for the Odesa military said one missile struck a nine-storey residential building while another missile hit a recreation centre.

"In an apartment building, nine floors of one section are completely destroyed," Mr Bratchuk said, adding that rescuers were at the scene and attending to the wounded.

01:22 AM

Johnson ‘almost as popular in Ukraine as Zelensky’

Boris Johnson’s favourability among Ukrainians is almost as high as Volodymyr Zelensky’s, a poll has revealed, Sam Hall writes.

The Prime Minister was viewed “very” or “somewhat” favourably by nine out of 10 Ukrainians surveyed, in comparison to 93 per cent who thought the same of the Ukrainian president.

Joe Biden was also regarded highly by the Ukrainian public, with 89 per cent sharing a similarly positive view of the US president.

However, Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz do not rank well, with just 42 per cent of the 1,012 Ukrainians surveyed stating they had a favourable view of the French and German leaders.

Read more: Boris Johnson is Ukraine’s favourite foreign leader (but don’t tell France and Germany)

01:06 AM

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