9:50 am: Belarusian president says Wagner boss is back in Russia
Lukashenko, who last month brokered a deal to end the Wagner group’s armed mutiny in Russia, said on June 27 that Prigozhin had arrived in Belarus as part of the deal.
But he told reporters today: “As for Prigozhin, he is in St. Petersburg. He is not on the territory of Belarus.”
Lukashenko said an offer for Wagner to station some of his fighters in Belarus remains on the table, a prospect that has alarmed neighboring NATO countries.
9:15 am: Turkey and Sweden discuss confrontation between members at NATO headquarters
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will lead the meeting, in which the foreign ministers, intelligence chiefs and national security advisers of the countries will participate.
Senior officials from Finland, which joined NATO in April after addressing Turkey’s concerns, will also participate.
The talks come a day after the US president. Joe Biden welcomed Sweden’s prime minister to the White House in a show of support for the country’s membership bid.
7:35 am: ‘Civilians are bearing the brunt of this war’
Russian missiles slammed into Lviv apartment blocks in the early hours of Thursday when most residents were asleep, giving them little chance of finding shelter, says Emmanuelle Chaze of FRANCE 24 reporting from Kyiv.
“Once again, Russian forces have attacked civilian infrastructure; this happens every day in Ukraine,” he explains.
6:45 a.m.: Zelensky vows tangible response after Lviv attack leaves four dead
ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky He has promised a “tangible response” following a Russian missile attack on an apartment block that killed at least four people in the western city of Lviv.
“Aftermath of night attack by Russian terrorists,” he wrote alongside a Telegram video post showing a dilapidated building. “Unfortunately, there are wounded and dead… There will definitely be a response to the enemy. A tangible response.”
5:15 a.m.: Deaths reported after missile attack on Lviv apartment block
At least three people were killed in a Russian missile attack that hit an apartment building in Lviv overnight, the mayor of the western Ukrainian city said.
“Three people have died,” Andriy Sadovyi said in a post on his Telegram channel, adding that about 60 apartments and 50 cars were damaged.
In a previous post he had said that eight people had been injured. It was not clear if the three people he confirmed dead were included in that number.
3:06 a.m.: Russian missiles hit the western city of Lviv in Ukraine
The attacks in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv damaged “critical infrastructure” and injured at least four people early Thursday morning, Ukrainian authorities said.
The Lviv region, hundreds of kilometers from the front lines, has spared the brunt of the attacks.
“A critical infrastructure facility in Lviv was damaged, there are injuries according to initial reports,” Lviv Governor Maksym Kozytski wrote on Telegram.
He did not provide further details or specify whether the attacks were from drones or missiles.
Earlier, he had warned that “several” missiles were “moving in the direction of the western regions”, citing the Command of the Ukrainian Air Forces.
1:30 a.m.: Zelensky says he searched for weapons so that the counteroffensive can start sooner
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told CNN wanted a counteroffensive against occupying Russian forces to begin earlier than it began in June and had urged Western allies to speed up arms supplies for that mission, according to excerpts released through a translator on Wednesday.
“I wanted our counteroffensive to happen much earlier, because everyone understood that if the counteroffensive takes place later, a larger part of our territory will be mined,” Zelensky said. “We give our enemy the time and the chance to lay more mines and prepare his defensive lines.”
He said difficulties on the battlefield had led Ukrainian forces to halt the counteroffensive, which aims to retake territory in eastern and southern Ukraine seized by Russia since its invasion began in February 2022.
The Ukrainian leader has consistently pushed the United States and other Western allies to supply their armed forces with more sophisticated weaponry, such as US-made F-16 fighter jets and longer-range missiles.
Main news for Wednesday, July 5:
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Wednesday requested additional access to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Russia-occupied Ukraine to “confirm the absence of mines or explosives at the site.”
Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of planning to sabotage the site, raising alarm about the risks of a radioactive disaster at Europe’s largest nuclear plant.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Moscow has yet to decide whether to renew the Black Sea grain agreement, which allows for the safe export of grain from Ukraine and will expire on July 18.
Russia has opened a criminal case over a brutal attack by masked men in Chechnya against a prominent Russian journalist and a lawyer as the severity of the injuries sustained in the attack became clear.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)