Ukrainian and Russian forces are still fighting in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described the situation there as “extremely difficult” on Monday. Russia has been seeking to seize the entire Donbas, consisting of Luhansk and Donetsk which Moscow claims on behalf of separatist proxies. Follow FRANCE 24’s liveblog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).
1:30am: EU to exclude Russia’s biggest bank from SWIFT
EU leaders agreed Monday that their sixth sanctions package targeting Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine will include a measure to exclude Russia’s Sberbank from the SWIFT financial messaging system.
Sberbank is Russia’s biggest lender, and adding it to the sanctions list will further isolate its financial system as sanctions begin to bite, more than three months after its forces invaded Ukraine.
12:40am: Relatives of Ukraine’s evacuated Azovstal fighters seek news
Relatives of Ukrainian fighters who remained for weeks under the besieged Azovstal steel works said on Monday they had received no news of the whereabouts of their loved ones since they were evacuated to Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine.
Uncertainty surrounds the fate of hundreds of fighters, most from the Azov battalion, taken into Russian custody in mid-May after essentially being ordered to give themselves up as Russian forces pounded the plant and the nearby city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine.
The relatives, all women, said they had formed a Council of Wives and Mothers, to ensure the fighters were treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war.
“We were asked to stay silent in order not to make things worse,” Tetyana Horko, sister of marine commander Serhiy Horko, told a news conference.
“But one mustn’t think that the story of Azovstal heroes is over. They need support, they need to be brought back home.”
Sandra Krotevich, sister of the Azov regiment’s first deputy commander, Bohdan Krotevich, said relatives had no idea what was happening to the detained fighters.
“Where they are, what’s happening to them, in what condition they are, we do not know,” Krotevich said.
12:05am: EU leaders agree to ban export of Russian oil to the bloc
EU leaders agreed on Monday to ban the export of Russian oil to the 27-nation bloc, EU Council President Charles Michel said.
“This immediately covers more than two thirds of oil imports from Russia, cutting a huge source of financing for its war machine,” Michel wrote on Twitter.
The leaders also agreed to cut off the largest Russian bank Sberbank from the SWIFT system and to ban three more Russian state-owned broadcasters, he added.
9:08pm: Gazprom to halt gas sales to Dutch supplier
Russian state gas giant Gazprom confirmed it will halt gas supplies to a Dutch gas trader starting Tuesday due to its refusal to pay for deliveries in rubles, a requirement President Vladimir Putin put forward earlier this year.
GasTerra, based in the northern Dutch city of Groningen, announced the shutoff Monday. It said the move means Gazprom will not deliver some 2 billion cubic metres of gas through October 1, the date the supply contract ends.
In its statement cited by the Russian state news agency Tass, Gazprom said that GasTerra has not paid for the gas supplied in April.
The Dutch trader said it has bought gas from other providers in anticipation of a possible Gazprom shutoff and Dutch Climate and Energy Minister Rob Jetten said in a statement that the government understands the cutoff will “have no effect on the physical delivery of gas to Dutch households”.
GasTerra is a private company that is owned by the Dutch arms of energy giants Shell and Esso and the Dutch government.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)