UK News

Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 97 of the invasion

  • EU leaders have backed a partial embargo on Russian oil after late-night talks at a summit in Brussels. The sanctions will immediately impact 75% of Russian oil imports with the aim to ban 90% of all Russian oil imported to Europe by the end of the year, officials said. The president of the European Council, Charles Michel, hailed the deal as a “remarkable achievement” that would place “maximum pressure on Russia to end the war”. The compromise excludes the Druzhba pipeline from the oil embargo and exempts deliveries arriving in Europe by pipeline, after Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán warned halting supplies would wreck his country’s economy.

  • The latest sanctions package also includes removing access to Swift payments for Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank; banning three more Russian state-owned broadcasters; and further sanctions against “individuals responsible for war crimes in Ukraine”.

  • European Council president Charles Michel addressed speculation of disunity within the EU in the days leading up to the agreement. “In the recent hours and recent days there was speculation about a lack of European unity,” he told reporters. “We do not underestimate all the difficulties. We know that we needed a few weeks before we were able to take a decision.”

  • Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy earlier lamented the delay in EU leaders imposing heavier sanctions against Vladimir Putin. “The pause in agreeing on new sanctions in Europe has been too long,” he said.

  • The European Council added it is ready to grant Ukraine €9bn to aid in its postwar reconstruction. The Council will “continue helping Ukraine with its immediate liquidity needs, together with the G7” European Council President Charles Michel said late on Monday night. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen warned that Ukraine needed €5bn a month just to maintain basic services and “ … to give Ukraine a fair chance to rise from the ashes”.

  • Zelenskiy claims that Russia is blocking the export of 22m tons of grain from Ukraine’s ports and warned it posed a threat of famine. Russia’s blockade of our exports is destabilising the situation on a global scale,” he said in his latest national address. Zelenskiy added that Russian forces “have already stolen at least half a million tons of grain” and “are now looking for ways to illegally sell it somewhere”.

  • The situation in Donbas remains “extremely difficult”, Zelenskiy said, adding that Russian troops shelled Kharkiv again on Monday. “The territory of our Sumy region was also shelled across the border between Ukraine and Russia,” he said.

  • Russian tanks and troops begun advancing into Sievierodonetsk, the largest city in Donbas still held by Ukraine, bringing fighting to the streets on Monday. The regional governor, Serhiy Gaidai, described “heavy battles” and said the fighting was “very fierce”.

  • Russian president Vladimir Putin spoke with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, saying if sanctions were lifted, then Russia could “export significant volumes of fertilisers and agricultural products”.

  • Joe Biden has said the US will not supply Ukraine with long-range rockets capable of reaching Russia. Ukraine has asked for multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) with a range of about 300km (185 miles) to offset Moscow’s increasingly effective use of long-range artillery.

  • France is set to boost military aid to Ukraine. Foreign minister Catherine Colonna said France will “continue to reinforce arms deliveries” while visiting Kyiv on Monday.

  • Belarus will conduct military mobilisation exercises in June and July in the Gomel region, state news agency BelTA reports.

  • Russia will stop supplying gas to the Netherlands as of tomorrow after the government-backed trader GasTerra refused to pay supplier Gazprom in roubles. About 44% of Dutch energy usage is based on gas, but only about 15% of Dutch gas comes from Russia, according to government figures.

  • The Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia has scrapped plans to hold a referendum on joining Russia which had been scheduled for 17 July. The Moscow-controlled enclave’s president Alan Gagloev warned of the “uncertainty of the legal consequences of the issue submitted to a referendum,” according to a report from Agence France-Presse.

  • French journalist, Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff, 32, has been killed after an armoured evacuation vehicle in which he was travelling was hit by shrapnel from a Russian shell in the city of Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian and French authorities have said. France has called for an investigation into the reporter’s death as Zelenskiy offered his “sincere condolences” to his colleagues and family.

  • The first alleged case of rape by a Russian soldier has been sent to court, the prosecutor general of Ukraine said. The serviceman will be tried for the alleged murder of the victim’s husband and “sexual violence against his wife”, Iryna Venediktova said.

  • The Eurovision song contest winners Kalush Orchestra auctioned off their trophy to raise money for the Ukrainian army. The band, whose song Stefania was triumphant in Turin earlier this month, said they raised $900,000 (£713,000) by auctioning off the glass microphone and a further $370,000 by raffling off the pink bucket hat frontman Oleh Psiuk wore during the performance.


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