Russia-Ukraine war: 19 dead after Odesa strike; Zelenskiy says EU membership should not take ‘years or decades’ – live

Briton and Moroccan sentenced to death in Donetsk appeal sentence

A Briton and a Moroccan man sentenced to death by pro-Russia officials in Russian-controlled east Ukraine have appealed against their sentences, Russian state media reports.

The supreme court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic has received appeals from lawyers for Brahim Saadoun and Shaun Pinner, according to the Russian state-owned news agency Tass.

Another Briton sentenced to death by the Russian proxy court, Aiden Aslin, had not yet submitted an appeal, Tass reports.

British man Shaun Pinner (R) and Moroccan Saaudun Brahim (C), pictured with Aiden Aslin (L) have reportedly appealed against their death sentences. Photograph: EPA

A new Reuters investigation has found that at least 14 Russian weapons companies have not faced any Western sanctions.

Nearly three dozen leaders of Russian weapons firms and at least 14 defense companies have not been sanctioned by the United States, the European Union or the United Kingdom,” the Reuters report said.

One of the weapons moguls who has not been sanctioned is Alan Lushnikov, the largest shareholder of Kalashnikov Concern JSC, the original manufacturer of the famous AK-47 assault rifle.

According to records reviewed by Reuters, Lushnikov owns a 75% stake in the firm.

The company, which was sanctioned by the US in 2014 – the year that Russia invaded and annexed Crimea, accounts for 95% of Russia’s production of machine guns, sniper rifles, pistols and other handheld firearms.

Silhouette of a Kyiv territorial defence member with a Kalashnikov rifle in his hands, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 25, 2022.
Silhouette of a Kyiv territorial defence member with a Kalashnikov rifle in his hands, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 25, 2022. Photograph: Reuters

US announces new $820 million military aid package to Ukraine

The US announced on Friday that it will provide Ukraine with an additional $820 million in military aid.

The new aid package will include new surface-to-air missile systems and counter-artillery radars to respond to Russia’s long-range strikes in its war against Ukraine.

The Pentagon also announced that it will provide up to 150,000 rounds of millimeter artillery ammunition to Ukrainians.

Friday’s announcement marks the 14th military package sent from the Defense Department’s stocks to Ukraine since August 2021. In total, the US has provided over $8.8 billion in weapons and military training to Ukraine.

As part of the new package, the U.S. will purchase two systems known as NASAMS, a Norwegian-developed anti-aircraft system that is also used to protect the airspace around the White House and Capitol in Washington.

The Pentagon will also provide additional ammunition for medium-range rocket systems it provided Ukraine in June, known as the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS.

A view shows a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is being fired in an undisclosed location, in Ukraine in this still image obtained from an undated social media video uploaded on June 24, 2022.
A view shows a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is being fired in an undisclosed location, in Ukraine in this still image obtained from an undated social media video uploaded on June 24, 2022. Photograph: Via Pavlo Narozhnyy/Reuters

Ukraine’s outspoken ambassador to Germany, a talkshow staple who was central to the public debates that led Berlin to step up weapons deliveries to Kyiv, is facing criticism for defending World War Two Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera in an interview.

Reuters reports:

Andriy Melnyk is easily the best known ambassador in Berlin, known for robust social media exchanges in which he condemned as appeasers politicians and intellectuals who opposed arming Ukraine for its fight against Russian invaders.

But an interview with journalist blogger Tilo Jung published on Thursday in which he said Bandera was not a “mass murderer of Poles and Jews” caused uproar and drew condemnation from both the Polish government and the Israeli embassy.

“The statement made by the Ukrainian ambassador is a distortion of the historical facts, belittles the Holocaust and is an insult to those who are murdered by Bandera and his people,” the embassy wrote on Twitter.

Though he spent much of World War Two in a Nazi prison, Bandera headed the radical wing of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists which killed tens of thousands of Polish civilians during the war.

Living in Munich in exile after the war, he was a figurehead of Ukraine’s anti-Soviet insurgency which fought Moscow in partisan actions into the 1950s. He was assassinated by the Soviet KGB in 1959.

Even Ukraine’s foreign ministry distanced itself from Melnyk’s remarks, saying they did not reflect its views. Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau thanked his Ukrainian counterpart for his intervention over the “false statements.”

Melnyk, 46, has become a central figure in debates over Germany’s obligations to Ukraine, credited with using his pulpit as envoy of a nation fighting foreign invasion to keep up the pressure on Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who despite initial reluctance has kept boosting arms deliveries to Ukraine.

Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andriy Melnyk speaks during an event marking the 77th anniversary of the 1945 victory against Nazi Germany at the Brandenburg parliament in Potsdam on May 8, 2022.
Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andriy Melnyk speaks during an event marking the 77th anniversary of the 1945 victory against Nazi Germany at the Brandenburg parliament in Potsdam on May 8, 2022. Photograph: Sören Stache/AFP/Getty Images

Summary

It is 9pm in Kyiv. Here’s where we stand:

  • At least 21 people, including two children, have been killed after Russian missile strikes in Odesa in southern Ukraine, Odesa’s military spokesperson, Sergei Bratchuk, said. A 12-year-old boy was among the dead, he added. A further 38 people, including six children and a pregnant woman, were hospitalised with injuries after two Russian missiles struck a multistorey block of flats and a recreation centre. The Kremlin has denied responsibility for the strike.
  • Eight people have been confirmed dead after a Russian missile strike on a residential building in Ukraine’s southern city of Mykolaiv on Wednesday, according to local officials. Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych had previously said eight missiles had hit the city, adding that the residential building appeared to have been hit by a Russian X-55 cruise missile.
  • A Briton and a Moroccan man sentenced to death by pro-Russia officials in Russian-controlled east Ukraine have appealed against their sentences, Russian state media reported. The supreme court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic has received appeals from lawyers for Brahim Saadoun and Shaun Pinner, according to the Russian state-owned news agency Tass. Another Briton sentenced to death by the Russian proxy court, Aiden Aslin, had not yet submitted an appeal, Tass reports.
  • Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine will begin using the death penalty in 2025, according to an updated criminal code of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). A Russian proxy court in the DPR sentenced two Britons, Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, and Moroccan Brahim Saadoun to death on charges of “terrorism”. It is unclear what the new rules would mean for the men.
  • The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has told Ukraine that there is “a long road ahead” for its bid to become an EU member, but that “Europe will be at your side every step of the way.” After her speech, broadcast via video link, Ukrainian lawmakers watched as the EU’s flag was hoisted in the plenary hall of the parliament in Kyiv.
  • Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has said a new chapter had started for his country and the EU after Brussels formally accepted Ukraine’s candidacy to join the bloc. In a Telegram post, Zelenskiy said Ukraine’s path to EU membership should “not take years or decades” and vowed to make Ukraine’s part of the process “perfect”.
  • Finland’s foreign minister, Pekka Haavisto, has said war in Europe beyond Ukraine is “of course” a possibility and urged countries to support Kyiv. Finland could not maintain neutrality as its neighbour Russia becomes a security threat, Haavisto said in an interview with CNN, adding that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “has changed the security atmosphere”.
  • Ukrainian forces said on Thursday that they have pushed Russian forces away from Snake Island, a strategic Black Sea outpost off the southern coast. Russia portrayed the pullout from the island as a “goodwill gesture”. Ukraine’s military said Russians fled the island in two speedboats after a barrage of Ukrainian artillery and missile strikes.
  • The situation in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lysychansk is “extremely difficult” as Russian forces’ continuous shelling makes it impossible for civilians to evacuate, officials say. Luhansk’s regional governor, Serhiy Haidai, said Russian forces remained on the city outskirts, where there was no street fighting.
  • Moscow has told Ukrainian teachers in occupied territories to sign a document within weeks certifying their willingness to switch to teaching the Russian school curriculum. The Guardian spoke with teachers in Russian-occupied parts of south-east Ukraine who said newly appointed local authorities told them they had until 21 July to either sign a document certifying their readiness to follow the Russian school curriculum or resign.
  • Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has claimed that pressure from the west has pushed Russia to accelerate its integration with neighbouring Belarus. Putin’s remarks at a Russia-Belarus forum on Friday follow comments last week by Russia’s defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, who said Russia and Belarus must take urgent joint measures to improve their defence capabilities and troops’ combat readiness.
  • Russia has threatened to close its embassy in Bulgaria after Sofia announced that it would expel 70 Russian diplomatic staff. Russia’s ambassador to Bulgaria, Eleonora Mitrofanova, said the closure of the Russian embassy would inevitably lead to the closure of Bulgaria’s embassy in Moscow. The EU said Russia’s threat to sever diplomatic ties with Bulgaria was unjustified.
  • The cooking of borsch, a beetroot and cabbage soup, in Ukraine has been added to the United Nations cultural agency’s list of endangered heritage because of Russia’s invasion. The Ukrainian culture of cooking borsch, considered a national dish, has been included on Unesco’s “list of intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding”.

Two Britons charged with ‘mercenary activities’ in Donetsk

Two British citizens captured by Russian forces in eastern Ukraine have been charged with “mercenary activities”, the Russian state-owned news agency Tass reports.

Dylan Healy and Andrew Hill have been charged by officials in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Tass cited a source in DPR law enforcement as saying.

Both men were refusing to cooperate with the investigation, Tass reports.

Healy, 22, was reportedly captured by Russian forces in April along with another British man, Paul Urey, at a checkpoint south of the city of Zaporizhzhia in south-eastern Ukraine. There was no mention of Urey in the report by Tass.

Presidium Network, a UK-based company that says it carries out evacuations of families and individuals from war zones, said it had been intending to work with Healy and Urey. Both men appeared to be members of the public with little or no experience of military or humanitarian work.

Hill, 35, a father of four from Plymouth, was reportedly captured by Russian forces during fighting in the Mykolaiv region in southern Ukraine.

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, has condemned Russia for the missile strikes on the Odesa region that killed 21 people dead and injured dozens.

Kuleba called for modern missile defence systems to be sent to Ukraine, urging allies to “help us save lives and put an end to this war”.

Terrorist state Russia continues its war against civilians with overnight missile strikes on Odesa region killing dozens, including children. I urge partners to provide Ukraine with modern missile defense systems as soon as possible. Help us save lives and put an end to this war. pic.twitter.com/SQP6UUkNlf

— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) July 1, 2022

Isobel Koshiw

Talina Zharikova first met people who had fled fighting in Donbas in a bomb shelter near her flat in the south-central Ukrainian city of Dnipro when the invasion started.

For a while, she and her neighbours hosted them in their flats. But there were quickly more people than they could house, so Zharikova decided to ask about renovating an abandoned Soviet hospital opposite their block of flats.

Zharikova, her neighbours, other Dnipro residents and those who had fled fighting set about renovating the building, which had been empty for a decade. There are now 240 people living in the various rooms in the shelter, known as Good on Love, and they say there is room for another 100.

The shelter is one of more than 60 set up by Dnipro residents for evacuees. As the first city of relative safety outside many frontline areas, Dnipro has become Ukraine’s aid hub. Thousands who live there, many left jobless by the war, have thrown themselves into volunteering.

Lunch being served at the shelter Good on Love.
Lunch being served at the shelter Good on Love. Photograph: Anastasia Taylor-Lind/The Guardian

Like other volunteers in Dnipro, Zharikova said the financial burden has been immense.

“The city authorities didn’t help, so I fed them all with my own money for the first month. My husband is fighting at the front and I went out and got out what money I had,” said Zharikova, a former hotel manager.

Read the full story:

Briton and Moroccan sentenced to death in Donetsk appeal sentence

A Briton and a Moroccan man sentenced to death by pro-Russia officials in Russian-controlled east Ukraine have appealed against their sentences, Russian state media reports.

The supreme court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic has received appeals from lawyers for Brahim Saadoun and Shaun Pinner, according to the Russian state-owned news agency Tass.

Another Briton sentenced to death by the Russian proxy court, Aiden Aslin, had not yet submitted an appeal, Tass reports.

British man Shaun Pinner (R) and Moroccan Saaudun Brahim (C), pictured with Aiden Aslin (L) have reportedly appealed against their death sentences.
British man Shaun Pinner (R) and Moroccan Saaudun Brahim (C), pictured with Aiden Aslin (L) have reportedly appealed against their death sentences. Photograph: EPA

The cooking of borsch, a beetroot and cabbage soup, in Ukraine has been added to the United Nations cultural agency’s list of endangered heritage because of Russia’s invasion.

The Ukrainian culture of cooking borsch, considered a national dish, has been included on Unesco’s “list of intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding”. Borsch is also widely consumed in Russia, other ex-Soviet countries and Poland.

The decision was approved after a fast-track process prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the “negative impact on this tradition” caused by the war, Unesco said.

“People are unable not only to cook or grow local vegetables for borsch, but also to come together” to eat it, “which undermines the social and cultural well-being of communities”, it said.

Ukraine’s minister of culture, Tkachenko Oleksandr, celebrated the decision on Twitter, tweeting: “Victory in the war for borsch is ours!”

Перемога у війні за борщ- наша! 🇺🇦
Як і всі наступні💪🏻
На позачерговому засіданні Міжурядового комітету з охорони нематеріальної культурної спадщини за зверненням @MKIPUkraine “Культура приготування українського борщу” внесено до Списку нематеріальної культурної спадщини @UNESCO pic.twitter.com/iTMNub1ZO1

— Tkachenko Oleksandr (@otkachenkoua) July 1, 2022

Ukraine’s first deputy foreign minister, Emine Dzheppar, also welcomed Unesco’s decision, saying: “Ukrainian Borsht derussified!”

Ukrainian Borsht derussified!
At extraordinary meeting @UNESCO Committee for Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage unanimously decided to include🇺🇦element “Culture of Ukrainian borscht cooking” into the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding1/2 pic.twitter.com/DGHVX6q6eZ

— Emine Dzheppar (@EmineDzheppar) July 1, 2022

Russia’s foreign ministry, Maria Zakharova, ridiculed the move, claiming “as I understand, everything is subject to Ukrainisation”.

Ukraine has requested that Turkey detain and arrest a Russian-flagged cargo ship carrying Ukrainian grain, Reuters reports.

The ship, Zhibek Zholy, was involved in the “illegal export of Ukrainian grain” from the Russian-occupied port of Berdiansk and headed to Karasu, Turkey, with 7,000 tonnes of cargo, Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said in a letter to Turkey’s justice ministry.

Separately, a Ukrainian foreign ministry official said the ship had loaded the first cargo of some 4,500 tonnes of grain from Berdiansk, which the official said belonged to Ukraine.

Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russia of stealing grain from occupied areas. The Kremlin has denied that Russia has stolen any Ukrainian grain.



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