- The UN human rights office says that more than 5,000 civilians had been killed in Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24, adding that the real toll was likely much higher.
- The Kremlin says that Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Iran next week for a Syria summit with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
- At least seven people have been killed and 60 were injured in a Ukrainian air raid on Nova Kakhovka, a city in the Russian-occupied Kherson region, TASS reports citing a Russian-backed official.
- Ukraine’s officials say their forces destroyed an ammunition depot in the city.
- The death toll from a Russian rocket attack that hit an apartment block in Chasiv Yar over the weekend has risen to 34, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine reports.
Here are the latest updates:
Ukrainian Premier League to resume on August 23 without fans
The Ukrainian Premier League (UPL) will start again on August 23, the country’s sports minister has said, but matches will be held without fans and the stadiums will be equipped with shelters for any air raid sirens.
In a Facebook post, Sports Minister Vadym Guttsait said matches will have a military presence for security, as well as the other safety provisions. The date of August 23 coincides with Ukraine’s National Flag Day.
“It is very important to resume playing football, like other national championships, in Ukraine,” he said.
“We keep competing and cheering. We keep fighting and winning. Ukrainian sport will earn victory on all fronts and cannot be stopped from progressing.”
Emergency services: Death toll from collapsed Donbas apartment block rises to 43
The death toll under a collapsed apartment block in the Donetsk region town of Chasiv Yar climbed to 43 evening, with rescue work still not over four days after the building was hit by Russian rocket fire, emergency services said.
Over 420 tonnes of rubble had been cleared and 9 people rescued from under the ruins, the regional emergency services directorate wrote on Facebook.
Ukraine says grain talks must be resolved under UN auspices
Ahead of scheduled four-way talks in Turkey to unblock Ukraine’s grain exports, Ukraine’s foreign ministry has said the grain issue must be resolved under the auspices of the United Nations.
“Ukraine advocates that the issue of unblocking Ukrainian grain be resolved under the auspices of the UN,” foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko told Reuters news agency.
“In this context, we are grateful to Secretary General Antonio Guterres for his active efforts to find a solution that will guarantee the security of the southern regions of our country,” he said.
UN chief on Ukraine grain export talks: ‘still a way to go’
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that “there is still a way to go” in talks to try and resume Ukraine Black Sea exports of grain.
Military delegations from Turkey, Russia and Ukraine will meet with UN officials on Wednesday to discuss the issue, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Tuesday.
“We are working hard indeed, but there is still a way to go,” Guterres told reporters. “Many people are talking about it, we prefer to try and do it.”
US announces additional $1.7 bn aid to Ukraine: statement
The United States Treasury has announced it will send an additional $1.7bn in economic aid to Ukraine to help fund the country’s recovery from Russia’s invasion.
“This aid will help Ukraine’s democratic government provide essential services for the people of Ukraine,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement. The funds are part of the $7.5bn aid package signed by President Joe Biden in May.
Civilian toll in Ukraine conflict passes 5,000 mark, UN says
The UN human rights office (OHCHR) has said that more than 5,000 civilians had been killed in Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24, adding that the real toll was likely much higher.
OHCHR, which has dozens of human rights monitors in the country, said in its weekly update that 5,024 people had been killed and 6,520 injured.
Lego closes Russia business indefinitely, lays off 90 staff
Lego is closing its business in Russia indefinitely and laying off its 90 Moscow-based employees, owing to “extensive disruption” in the country, the Danish toymaker has said.
Lego has terminated its contract with franchisee Inventive Retail Group (IRG) which owned and operated 81 stores on Lego’s behalf.
“LEGO Group has decided to indefinitely cease commercial operations in Russia given the continued extensive disruption in the operating environment,” a Lego spokesperson said.
An IRG spokesperson said: “Our company will continue to work as an expert in the toy design and development category.”
Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and UN meeting on grain set for July 13
Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar has said that military delegations from Turkey, Russia and Ukraine will meet with a United Nations delegation to discuss the safe export of Ukrainian grain.
The meeting will take place on July 13, Akar said.
“Military delegations from Turkey, Russia and Ukraine and a United Nations delegation will be conducting talks in Istanbul tomorrow regarding safe transfer of grain waiting in Ukrainian ports to international markets via sea route,” he said.
Iran says cooperating on ‘technologies’ with Russia
Iran’s foreign ministry has said in a statement that Iran and Russia were cooperating on “novel technologies” since before the Ukraine war.
Foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said, however, that “in the recent period, there has been no special development in this regard.”
The statement came after White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that information received by the US suggested Iran was preparing to train Russian forces to use the drones.
Pointing out that Iran’s stance on the Ukraine War was clear, Kanani blamed the US and the West for conflicts due their arming of Israel and other powerful states for decades.
Iran has refrained from condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Instead, it has blamed NATO’s expansion as the “root cause”, but said it believes the conflict needs to be resolved through dialogue.
Reporting by Mansur Mirovalev in Kyiv, Ukraine
Westinghouse to build a Ukrainian nuclear power plant
Westinghouse, a US energy consortium, said that it would build a Ukrainian nuclear power station amid a looming energy crisis in the war-torn nation.
Westinghouse said it would finish the construction of two blocks at the Khmelnitskyi power plant in central Ukraine, which will run on US-made fuel rods instead of Russian-made fuel.
“These are significant steps for Ukraine’s energy independence,” David Durham, president of Westinghouse Energy Systems, said in a statement released on Monday.
Despite the 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, Ukraine generates almost half of its electricity at four nuclear power stations.
Reporting by Mansur Mirovalev in Kyiv, Ukraine
Ukraine’s Naftogaz asks bondholders for two-year debt freeze
Ukraine’s state-owned gas company Naftogaz has asked its international creditors to defer payments on its debt for two years, saying Russia’s invasion had left it short of cash as many of its customers were now unable to pay their bills.
Naftogaz has a $335m bond maturing on July 19 on which it is also due to pay a final interest payment, plus a separate coupon payment on a 2024-maturing bond due the same day.
In its request for the payment freeze, Naftogaz said Russia’s ongoing invasion had resulted in a “significant economic and business decline in Ukraine” and that customers’ missed bill payments had “negatively affected its liquidity position.”
Eight ships enter Ukraine to transport grain, says navy
Ukraine’s navy has said that eight ships entered the Danube, Black Sea canal to transport Ukrainian grain through Romania amid a looming food crisis caused by Russia’s blockade of the Black Sea.
The arrival of the vessels was made possible after Ukrainian forces liberated the Zmiiny (Snake) Island near the canal after months of Russian occupation.
“Unfortunately, most of our nation’s ports remain closed, and some are occupied,” the Ukrainian navy said on Facebook.
The navy added that Russia “tries to manipulate information about its gestures of goodwill to de-block the export of Ukrainian raw materials by sea”.
Reporting by Mansur Mirovalev from Kyiv, Ukraine
Another Russian arms depot on fire in southern Ukraine, says mayor
A Russian emergencies ministry base is on fire in the occupied Ukrainian city of Melitopol, its mayor has said.
Russians “took their military equipment there after Ukrainian forces delivered a ruining strike on a Russian military base at the Melitopol airport a week ago,” the city’s mayor Ivan Fyodorov said on Telegram.
He said that local residents heard 25 explosions and saw dense black smoke rising from the base.
It was not possible to independently verify this account.
Reporting by Mansur Mirovalev from Kyiv, Ukraine
Amid Russia-Ukraine war, Putin to visit Iran for Syria talks
As Russia’s war on Ukraine grinds on, President Vladimir Putin will travel to Iran next week for a Syria summit with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Kremlin has announced.
“The president’s visit to Tehran is being planned for July 19,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday. He added the trio would meet for peace talks on Syria.
Read more here.
Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and UN meeting on grain set for Weds
Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar has said that military delegations from Turkey, Russia and Ukraine will meet with a United Nations delegation to discuss the safe export of Ukrainian grain.
The meeting will take place on July 13 in Istanbul, Akar said.
EU approves one billion euros in financial aid to Ukraine
EU finance ministers has approved one billion euros ($1bn) in financial aid to Ukraine, the first instalment of a promised nine-billion-euro ($9bn) budget for Kyiv agreed upon by European leaders in May.
“This will give Ukraine the necessary funds to cover urgent needs and ensure the operation of critical infrastructure,” said Zbynek Stanjura, minister of finance from the Czech Republic, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency.
Russian forces encircling Ukraine’s Siversk
Russian and Russian-backed separatist forces are encircling the town of Siversk in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, the Russian state news agency TASS has cited Rodion Miroshnik, the ambassador to Moscow of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic, as saying.
Siversk, which is claimed by the Donetsk People’s Republic, another breakaway territory that Moscow is trying to prise out of Kyiv’s control, lies on the front line of the battle for Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region after Ukrainian troops abandoned the city of Severodonetsk last month.
Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit Iran
The Kremlin has said that Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Iran next week.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Putin will travel to Tehran next Tuesday to attend a trilateral meeting with the leaders of Iran and Turkey, the so-called Astana (Nut-Sultan) format of meetings for Syria-related talks.
Peskov told reporters that during the visit, Putin will also have a separate meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Kremlin: many Ukrainians want to be Russian citizens
The Kremlin has said that many Ukrainians want to become Russian citizens, a day after Moscow published a decree simplifying rules for Ukrainian citizens to acquire Russian passports.
During a call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there was “no discussion” of relaunching peace talks with Kyiv, over four months after Russia sent its armed forces into Ukraine.
Russia has said that residents of areas of southern and eastern Ukraine occupied since February are entitled to become Russian citizens, a move that Ukraine and Western countries say confirms that Moscow plans to retain control of those regions.
Why the war in Ukraine is causing a global food crisis
Ukraine is usually one of the world’s biggest exporters of grain but the war has changed that.
What’s going on? And why has it got the UN warning about famine?
Russia, Ukraine to discuss grain crisis in Turkey with UN
A fresh round of talks between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations over grain exports from Ukraine will take place on Wednesday in Istanbul, Interfax news agency has reported, citing the Russian foreign ministry.
Ukraine is a key agricultural exporter and its inability to ship vital grain supplies has caused a surge in food prices, aggravating concerns about a global food crisis.
Donetsk separatists say decisions on foreign fighters’ appeal to come within a month
Decisions on the appeals of British and Moroccan fighters sentenced to death by the Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine will be taken within a month, Interfax has quoted a separatist official as saying.
Two Britons and one Moroccan citizen captured fighting with the Ukrainian army were sentenced to death as mercenaries by a Russian-backed separatist court last month.
All three have appealed their sentences.
Ukraine and Western countries have said that the men are prisoners of war, entitled to protection under the Geneva Conventions.
At least 12 wounded by shelling in Ukraine’s Mykolaiv, says governor
At least 12 people were wounded in the shelling of Ukraine’s southern city of Mykolaiv overnight, the regional governor has said.
Rockets from multiple rocket launchers landed on two medical facilities and residential buildings, Vitaly Kim said.
“So far there are 12 wounded,” Kim said in a post on the Telegram messaging app.
Russia, which invaded Ukraine in what it calls a special military operation, denies attacking civilians.
IEA chief says price cap on Russian oil should include refined products
The head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) has said the G7 proposal to impose a price cap on Russian oil should include refined products as well.
The Group of Seven rich nations is considering imposing a price cap on Russian oil in an effort to keep oil flowing and curb inflation, while still limiting revenue to Moscow for the war on Ukraine that it calls a “special military operation”.
“My hope is that the proposal, which is important to minimise the effect on the economies around the world, gets buy-in from several countries,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol told the Reuters news agency in an interview on the sidelines of the Sydney Energy Forum.
US, Japan agree to address war-driven food and energy prices
US treasury secretary Janet Yellen and Japan’s Shunichi Suzuki have agreed to further strengthen bilateral ties and work together to address rising food and energy prices exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
They said the war had increased exchange rate volatility, which could have adverse implications for economic and financial stability, and pledged to continue to consult closely on foreign exchange markets and “cooperate as appropriate” on currency issues, in line with their commitments as part of the Group of Seven (G7) and Group of 20 economies.
Their joint statement also touched on issues ranging from climate change to global tax reforms and a price cap on Russian oil that the United States has proposed to prevent Moscow from benefitting from using higher oil prices to fund its war in Ukraine.
Four injured in Mykolaiv: Governor
At least four people have been injured after missiles hit the port city of Mykolaiv on Tuesday morning, the regional governor has said.
Vitaliy Kim described the attacks as “massive rocket fire” and said two medical institutions and several residential buildings were hit.
Chasiv Yar death toll reaches 34: Emergency service
The death toll from the missile attack on a residential building in the town of Chasiv Yar has risen to 34, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine says.
Among the dead is a nine-year-old boy, the department reported.
Russia’s breadbasket seeing high yields as wheat harvest starts: Reuters
Farmers in Russia’s southern Rostov region, one of the largest grain producing and exporting areas of the country, are seeing high wheat yields as harvesting gets under way, growers and officials in the region have said, according to Reuters.
Sanctions-hit Russia, the world’s largest wheat exporter, is expected to produce a massive crop in 2022 with record amounts available to supply abroad in the July-June marketing season.
“The crop prospects are good,” Viktor Goncharov, first deputy governor of the region told Reuters.
Russia’s exports are crucial for global wheat supply as Ukraine’s Black Sea ports have been blocked due to Russia’s invasion.
Carmaker Renault’s sales slump by 30% after Russia exit
French carmaker Renault has reported a plunge in its vehicle sales in the first half of 2022 after shutting down activities in Russia, its second-biggest market.
The group said its worldwide sales fell 29.7 percent from last year to 1,000,199 units. Excluding the activities of Avtovaz and Renault Russia, the number of units sold was down 12 percent year-on-year.
In May, Renault said it would sell Avtovaz, Russia’s biggest carmaker and owner of the Lada brand, to a Russian science institute, reportedly for just one rouble with a six-year option to buy it back.
Death toll from Ukraine’s attack on Nova Kakhovka rises to seven: Official
At least seven people have died in Ukraine’s attack on the Russian-held town of Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region, TASS reports.
“There are already seven dead for sure and about 60 wounded,” TASS quoted Vladimir Leontyev, head of a Russian-installed administration, saying.
Russian troops making incremental gains in Donetsk: UK
Russian troops are making small, incremental territorial gains in the Donetsk region, with Russia claiming to have seized control of the village of Hryhorivka, the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence has said.
In its latest intelligence briefing on Twitter, the ministry said Russian forces were continuing their assault along the main supply road towards the cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.
“Russian forces are likely maintaining military pressure on Ukrainian forces whilst regrouping and reconstituting for further offensives in the near future,” the ministry added.
It also said Russia’s high personnel losses in Ukraine may be forcing Moscow to turn to recruit soldiers from Russian prisons for the Wagner private military company.
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 12 July 2022
Find out more about the UK government’s response: https://t.co/vzAuk7j6hs
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) July 12, 2022
Treasury’s Yellen, Japan’s Suzuki meet to discuss more Russia sanctions
Janet Yellen has begun a meeting with Japan’s finance minister to discuss ways of further strengthening Western sanctions against Russia over its war in Ukraine.
The meeting will also focus on working with Japan and other trusted partners to build stronger and more resilient supply chains to help lower prices for consumers in the US, where inflation is running at 40-year highs, the Treasury Department said.
The two countries “will discuss how the United States and Japan can continue our united efforts to end Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine,” Yellen said at the start of the meeting.
Six killed in Ukrainian attack on Russian-occupied city: Official
At least six people were killed in an attack by Ukrainian armed forces on Monday in the Russian-held town of Nova Kakhovka, TASS has reported.
“There are six people confirmed [dead]. And many dozens injured, [with] shrapnel wounds, cuts,” the report said, citing Russian-backed regional administration leader, Vladimir Leontyev.
“There are still many people under the rubble. The injured are being taken to the hospital, but many people are blocked in their apartments and houses,” Leontyev added.
Ukrainian officials say their forces destroyed an ammunition depot in Nova Kakhovka. Odesa administration spokesman Serhiy Bratchuk wrote on his Telegram channel that Nova Kakhovka was now “minus” its ammunition warehouse.
Advisor to Head of Kherson administration Serhii Khlan confirmed that Ukrainian Army hit the ammunition warehouse that Russia had in Nova Kakhovka.
What a pretty sight. pic.twitter.com/AvFKeR15Zt
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) July 11, 2022
Moscow-backed separatist statelet in Ukraine to open embassy in Moscow
The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), a Russian-backed secessionist territory in eastern Ukraine, will open an embassy in Moscow today, Monocle magazine reports.
The DPR is only recognised by Russia, Syria and fellow breakaway states Abkhazia and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR).
Dozens injured in Ukrainian attack on Russian-occupied city: Moscow-backed authorities
Dozens of people were injured and some people killed as a result of a Ukrainian air raid on the city of Nova Kakhovka in the Russian-occupied Kherson region, Moscow’s state news agency TASS cites the Russian-installed head of the region’s administration as saying.
“Unfortunately, there are casualties, a large number of injured, dozens of people were left homeless,” Vladimir Leontyev told TASS.
TASS reported that the Ukrainian army attacked Nova Kakhovka on Monday evening, which damaged buildings and led to explosions at several fertiliser warehouses. Ukrainian officials said their forces had destroyed an ammunition depot there.
Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, tweeted a video of what he said was one of the explosions. He said Ukraine’s armed forces were “working on the enemy in Novaya Kakhovka”, adding that the extremity of the blast in the video came from fuel trucks being placed around an ammunition depot before the attack.
– ЗСУ работает по противнику в Новой Каховке.
Мой знакомый артиллерист называет такие цели «клубничка» – когда в районе склада боеприпасов ставят полные бензовозы 🙂
Мы воюем с долбоебами, все таки. pic.twitter.com/0aveiCn9aL
— Arestovych (@arestovych) July 11, 2022
Most residents evacuated from Donetsk region: Governor
About 80 percent of residents have been evacuated from the Donetsk region since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the governor has said, according to Ukrinform.
“As of February 24, 1,670,000 people permanently lived in the government-controlled territory of the Donetsk region. About 340,000 people have stayed there,” Pavlo Kyrylenko said in televised comments.
Kyrylenko reportedly added that 252 people had been evacuated from the regions of Bakhmut and Pokrovskyi over the past day.
Russian forces are planning a major offensive to take control of the whole of Ukraine’s Donetsk region, after capturing neighbouring Luhansk.
Yellen to discuss Russian oil price cap with Japanese FM: US official
The global price of oil could surge by 40 percent to about $140 per barrel if a proposed price cap on Russian oil is not adopted, along with sanction exemptions that would allow shipments below that price, a senior US Treasury official has said.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will discuss implementation of the proposed oil price cap with Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki when they meet later on Tuesday, the official said.
The goal was to set the price at a level that covered Russia’s margin cost of production so Moscow is incentivised to continue exporting oil, but not high enough to allow it to fund its war against Ukraine, the official said.
Japanese officials had expressed concern about the price cap being set too low, but had not rejected a potential price range of $40 to $60 per barrel outright, the official said.
Mykolaiv rocked by ‘powerful’ explosions: Mayor
The Black Sea port city of Mykolaiv has been rocked by powerful explosions, its mayor said in the early hours of Tuesday morning (local time).
“There are powerful explosions in Mykolaiv! I ask everyone not to come out of shelters!”, Alexander Senkevich wrote on Telegram.
Residents also reported blasts on social media, with several counting more than 20 explosions.
Mykolaiv was also rocked by explosions on Monday morning from six missiles, which wounded at least one person, the head of the regional military administration, Vitaliy Kim, said.
Kharkiv woman rescued from the rubble after Russian shelling
Witness video released by the State Emergency Services of Ukraine shows the moment a woman was rescued from a destroyed building after Russian shelling in Kharkiv.
Valentina Popovichuk was woken up in her Kharkiv apartment in the early morning hours of Monday morning by a cloud of dust falling down on her bed.
She ran to the toilet only to find herself under chunks of rubble raining down on her from the floor above.
Russian weapons pounding Ukraine’s second largest city Kharkiv killed at least three people on Monday and injured 31, including two children, regional Governor Oleh Synyehubov said.
French and Dutch FMs meet to discuss Ukraine and EU
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna has met with her Dutch counterpart Wopke Hoekstra in Paris, to discuss European Union and Ukraine-related topics.
Speaking at a news conference following the meeting, Hoekstra said the EU needed to be strengthened in the face of the war in Ukraine.
“Europe will need to be more assertive in the defence of its interests, including the supply of oil and gas for which the European dependency is too important. We must rapidly reduce it,” he said.
Colonna added that the EU needed to keep providing support to Ukraine, including in the military field.
Chasiv Yar death toll reaches 33: Ministry of Internal Affairs
Rescuers have found the body of a child under the rubble of a five-storey residential building in Chasiv Yar, which collapsed due to a Russian missile attack on Saturday, the press service of Ukraine’s ministry of internal affairs has said.
The death toll has now reached 33, the ministry said, with rescue efforts continuing.
Biden will push for greater oil output on Middle East trip: Sullivan
US President Joe Biden will make the case for greater oil production from OPEC nations to bring down gasoline prices when he meets Gulf leaders in Saudi Arabia this week, the White House national security adviser has said. Oil prices have surged in the wake of sanctions on Russian oil and gas.
Biden leaves Tuesday night on his first visit to the Middle East as president, with stops in Israel, the occupied West Bank and Saudi Arabia on his agenda.
Jake Sullivan said members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have the capacity to take “further steps” to increase oil production despite suggestions from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that they can barely do this.
“We will convey our general view … that we believe that there needs to be adequate supply in the global market to protect the global economy and to protect the American consumer at the pump,” Sullivan added.
Dutch PM meets with Zelenskyy in Kyiv
The prime minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, has met with Zelenskyy in Kyiv and reaffirmed his country’s support for Ukraine “politically, militarily and economically”.
Rutte said he visited “various places where the Russian army has left behind a horrific trail of death and destruction. I am deeply shocked by what I witnessed today”.
“These appalling crimes must not go unpunished. This is also the subject of the Ukraine Accountability Conference which will be held later this week in The Hague,” Rutte said, adding that the conference is organised by the Dutch government, the International Criminal Court and the European Commission.
Zelenskyy told journalists after the meeting that he and Rutte discussed weapons supplies, but he could not disclose the details: “I am not sure that I can tell absolutely everything we are negotiating with the Dutch government. I would not like to prepare the Russian Federation for unpleasant surprises for them,” he said.
Today I had the honour of meeting President @ZelenskyyUa in Kyiv. I also visited various places where the Russian army has left behind a horrific trail of death and destruction. I am deeply shocked by what I witnessed today. pic.twitter.com/QOGhbiNnkw
— Mark Rutte (@MinPres) July 11, 2022
Latvia considers defence spending boost due to Russia risk
Latvia may have to increase its defence spending and introduce compulsory military service for citizens regardless of their gender to contain any possible security risks arising from Russia, the president has said.
NATO and EU member Latvia plans to gradually raise its defence budget to 2.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025 from about 2 percent now. But President Egils Levits, 67, told the Reuters news agency the existing spending plans covered the building of more military bases to accommodate more troops from NATO allies – an increase agreed at the NATO summit in Madrid last month – but that Latvia, a former Soviet nation like Ukraine, may need to spend more.
“Security is a priority of our politics today,” Levits said. “2.5 per cent [of GDP] is already committed now but maybe it would not be enough and we should be prepared for that.”
Asked whether Latvia is worried about any direct conflict between the Baltic states and Russia, Levits said: “Of course, we are worried about the aggressive behaviour of Russia and our strategic answer is to be strong because weakness means in this situation [an] invitation to Russia to go forward to aggress another country. So, we have to be strong.”
Death toll from Chasiv Yar attack rises to 31: Zelenskyy
Zelenskyy has said that 31 people had been killed and nine rescued from the rubble in Chasiv Yar, after attacks hit a residential block on Saturday.
Speaking during his nightly video address, the president said Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, had also come under attack by Russian artillery.
“Kharkiv faced new brutal attacks by the Russian army. Another missile hit a residential building – one block was completely destroyed. In the morning, the occupiers shelled the Saltiv and Kyiv districts with rocket artillery. Five people were killed,” he said.
“The Odesa region was hit by missiles, extremely violent fighting continued in the Donetsk region and in the territory of the Luhansk region,” he added.
Iran set to deliver armed drones to Russia: White House
The White House has said it believes Russia is turning to Iran to provide it with “hundreds” of unmanned aerial vehicles, including weapons-capable drones, for use in its ongoing war in Ukraine.
US NSA Jake Sullivan said it was unclear whether Iran had already provided any of the unmanned systems to Russia, but said the US has “information” that indicates Iran is preparing to train Russian forces to use them as soon as this month.
“Our information indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred UAVs, including weapons-capable UAVs on an expedited timeline,” he told reporters Monday.
Sullivan said it was proof that Russia’s overwhelming bombardments in Ukraine, which have led it to consolidate gains in the country’s east in recent weeks, were “coming at a cost to the sustainment of its own weapons”.
Read all updates from July 11 here.