Ukrainian forces on Tuesday took up new defensive lines in Donetsk a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed victory in neighbouring Luhansk province, which a senior Ukrainian official vowed would be a “last victory for Russia on Ukrainian soil”. Follow FRANCE 24’s live blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time, GMT+2.
7:11am: Ukraine sets new defensive lines in Donetsk after losing Luhansk
Ukrainian forces on Tuesday took up new defensive lines in Donetsk, where they still control major cities, while Putin told his troops to “absolutely rest and recover their military preparedness,” as units in other areas keep fighting.
Since the outset of the conflict, Russia has demanded that Ukraine hand both Luhansk and Donetsk over to pro-Moscow separatists, which have been declared independent statelets.
“This is the last victory for Russia on Ukrainian territory,” Oleksiy Arestovych, adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, said in a video posted online.
“These were medium-sized cities. And this took from 4th April until 4th July – that’s 90 days. So many losses…”
06:15am: Putin orders Russians to press on in Donbas after key Ukraine city falls
FRANCE 24’s Vedika Bahl brings us a recap of Monday’s key events:
02:57am: Zelensky says Ukraine is in talks with Turkey, UN on grain exports
“Talks are in fact going on now with Turkey and the UN (and) our representatives who are responsible for the security of the grain that leaves our ports,” Zelensky told a news conference alongside Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.
“This is a very important thing that someone guarantees the security of ships for this or that country – apart from Russia, which we do not trust. We therefore need security for those ships which will come here to load foodstuffs.”
Zelenskiy said Ukraine was working “directly” with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the issue and that the organization was “playing a leading role, not as a moderator”.
1:23am: Norwegian oil and gas workers start strike, cutting output amid European supply crunch
The strike, in which workers are demanding wage hikes to compensate for rising inflation, comes amid high oil and gas prices, with supplies of natural gas to Europe especially tight after Russian export cutbacks.
The Norwegian government has said it was following the conflict “closely”. It can intervene to stop a strike if there are exceptional circumstances.
12:44am: Zelensky says Ukrainian forces undeterred after Russia claims Luhansk
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday his armed forces were undeterred in their efforts to “break” Moscow’s will to pursue a nearly five-month war, even as Russia claimed victory in the gruelling battle of Luhansk.
With the war entering its next phase, Ukrainian forces took up new defensive lines in the eastern part of the country.
“There have been no significant changes on the battlefield in the past 24 hours,” Zelensky said in a nightly video message. “The Armed Forces of Ukraine respond, push back and destroy the offensive potential of the occupiers day after day. We need to break them. It is a difficult task. It requires time and superhuman efforts. But we have no alternative.”
(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP and REUTERS)