Russia-Ukraine war live news: Moscow suspends US inspections of nuclear arsenal; Ukraine reports intense shelling in Donbas

Summary and welcome

Good morning, and welcome back to our live coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. These are the latest developments

  • Ukraine has arrested two people working for Russian intelligence services who planned to kill the Ukrainian defence minister and the head of the country’s military intelligence agency, Ukraine’s domestic Security Service said on Monday. The Security Service of Ukraine foiled the plot by the Russian GRU military intelligence agency to use a sabotage group to carry out three murders including that of a prominent Ukrainian activist, the agency said.
  • The United States will provide an additional $4.5bn (£3.7bn) to Ukraine’s government, bringing its total budgetary support since Russia’s February invasion to $8.5bn (£7bn), the US Agency for International Development has announced. The funding, coordinated with the US Treasury Department through the World Bank, will go to Ukraine’s government in tranches, beginning with a $3bn (£2.5bn) disbursement in August, USAid, the Agency for International Development, said.
  • Russia has suspended an arrangement that allowed US and Russian inspectors to visit each other’s nuclear weapons sites under the 2010 New Start treaty, in a new blow to arms control. Mutual inspections had been suspended as a health precaution since the start of the Covid pandemic, but a foreign ministry statement on Monday added another reason Russia is unwilling to restart them. It argued that US sanctions imposed because of the invasion of Ukraine stopped Russian inspectors travelling to the US.
  • It is highly likely Russia is deploying anti-personnel mines to protect and deter freedom of movement along its defensive lines in Donetsk and Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region, according to the UK Ministry of Defence.
    The ministry called the PFM-1 and PFM-1S mines – also known as “butterfly mines” – “deeply controversial and indiscriminate weapons” with the potential to inflict widespread casualties among both the military and the local civilian population.
  • Two more ships, carrying corn and soybeans, departed Ukrainian ports, taking the total to 10 ships carrying Ukrainian grain exports since the UN deal to unblock Ukraine’s grain exports was struck, Reuters reported. Future ships exporting Ukraine grain through the Black Sea will now be protected by a 10 nautical mile buffer zone, according to long-awaited procedures agreed by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations.
  • The first grain carrying ship to depart Ukrainian ports after the UN-brokered deal is looking for another port to unload its cargo after the initial Lebanese buyer refused delivery due to its five-month delay, Reuters reported.
  • The head of Ukraine’s state nuclear power company Energoatom has called for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to be made a military-free zone, warning of the risk of a Chornobyl-style nuclear disaster after shelling of the site caused a reactor to shut down on Saturday. Russia and Ukraine continue to trade accusations over is responsible for the shelling, with the UN calling for international inspectors to be given access. According to reports from the head of the Russian-installed administration of the occupied Zaporizhzhia region, the nuclear power station is currently operating normally.
  • The Russian-installed head of the occupied part of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region signed a decree on Monday providing for a referendum on joining Russia, in the latest sign that Moscow is moving ahead with its plans to annex seized Ukrainian territory. The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has ruled out any peace talks with Russia if the country proceeds with referendums in the occupied areas.
  • The Kremlin said on Monday there was no basis for a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents at the moment. Negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv have been stalled for months, with each side blaming the other for a lack of progress, Reuters reports.

Key events

With Russia and Ukraine trading accusations over endangering the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, and the head of the UN saying that attacks on the station were “suicidal”, we prepared this explainer on what’s at stake.

Russia is scheduled to launch an Iranian satellite into orbit on Tuesday, but Tehran has brushed off fears that Moscow might use it in the war against Ukraine.

Iran’s Khayyam satellite is scheduled to take off from the Moscow-operated Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 05:52 GMT, three weeks after Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, met Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran.

Iran has sought to deflect suspicions that Moscow could use Khayyam to improve its surveillance of military targets in Ukraine.

Last week, the Washington Post quoted anonymous Western intelligence officials as saying that Russia “plans to use the satellite for several months or longer” to assist its war efforts before allowing Iran to take control.

But the Iranian Space Agency said on Sunday that the Islamic republic would control the Khayyam satellite “from day one”.

The US believes Russia has suffered between 70,000 and 80,000 casualties, either killed or wounded, since its invasion of Ukraine began on 24 February.

Colin Kahl, the Pentagon’s top policy official said: “The Russians are taking a tremendous number of casualties on the other side of the equation. I think it’s safe to suggest that the Russians are probably taking 70 or 80,000 casualties in less than six months.”

Kahl admitted that the Ukraine side also had significant losses of manpower on the battlefield, but gave no figures. “Both sides are taking casualties. The war is the most intense conventional conflict in Europe since the second world war,” he said.

Ukraine has reported intense Russian shelling across the frontlines on Tuesday as both sides traded blame for the weekend strike on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex that triggered international concern about a potential atomic disaster.

Heavy fighting was reported in frontline towns near the eastern city of Donetsk, where Ukrainian officials said Russian troops were launching waves of attacks.

“The situation in the region is tense – shelling is constant throughout the front line … The enemy is also using air strikes a great deal,” Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told Ukrainian television. “The enemy is having no success. Donetsk region is holding.”

In the south-east, the key Antonovsky bridge over the Dnieper River in Kherson region was targeted again by Ukrainian forces trying to disrupt Russian supply lines.

Yuri Sobolevsky, deputy head of Kherson regional council ousted by Russian occupation forces, said on Telegram the bridge had been seriously damaged after “overnight actions”.

Summary and welcome

Good morning, and welcome back to our live coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. These are the latest developments

  • Ukraine has arrested two people working for Russian intelligence services who planned to kill the Ukrainian defence minister and the head of the country’s military intelligence agency, Ukraine’s domestic Security Service said on Monday. The Security Service of Ukraine foiled the plot by the Russian GRU military intelligence agency to use a sabotage group to carry out three murders including that of a prominent Ukrainian activist, the agency said.
  • The United States will provide an additional $4.5bn (£3.7bn) to Ukraine’s government, bringing its total budgetary support since Russia’s February invasion to $8.5bn (£7bn), the US Agency for International Development has announced. The funding, coordinated with the US Treasury Department through the World Bank, will go to Ukraine’s government in tranches, beginning with a $3bn (£2.5bn) disbursement in August, USAid, the Agency for International Development, said.
  • Russia has suspended an arrangement that allowed US and Russian inspectors to visit each other’s nuclear weapons sites under the 2010 New Start treaty, in a new blow to arms control. Mutual inspections had been suspended as a health precaution since the start of the Covid pandemic, but a foreign ministry statement on Monday added another reason Russia is unwilling to restart them. It argued that US sanctions imposed because of the invasion of Ukraine stopped Russian inspectors travelling to the US.
  • It is highly likely Russia is deploying anti-personnel mines to protect and deter freedom of movement along its defensive lines in Donetsk and Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region, according to the UK Ministry of Defence.
    The ministry called the PFM-1 and PFM-1S mines – also known as “butterfly mines” – “deeply controversial and indiscriminate weapons” with the potential to inflict widespread casualties among both the military and the local civilian population.
  • Two more ships, carrying corn and soybeans, departed Ukrainian ports, taking the total to 10 ships carrying Ukrainian grain exports since the UN deal to unblock Ukraine’s grain exports was struck, Reuters reported. Future ships exporting Ukraine grain through the Black Sea will now be protected by a 10 nautical mile buffer zone, according to long-awaited procedures agreed by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations.
  • The first grain carrying ship to depart Ukrainian ports after the UN-brokered deal is looking for another port to unload its cargo after the initial Lebanese buyer refused delivery due to its five-month delay, Reuters reported.
  • The head of Ukraine’s state nuclear power company Energoatom has called for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to be made a military-free zone, warning of the risk of a Chornobyl-style nuclear disaster after shelling of the site caused a reactor to shut down on Saturday. Russia and Ukraine continue to trade accusations over is responsible for the shelling, with the UN calling for international inspectors to be given access. According to reports from the head of the Russian-installed administration of the occupied Zaporizhzhia region, the nuclear power station is currently operating normally.
  • The Russian-installed head of the occupied part of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region signed a decree on Monday providing for a referendum on joining Russia, in the latest sign that Moscow is moving ahead with its plans to annex seized Ukrainian territory. The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has ruled out any peace talks with Russia if the country proceeds with referendums in the occupied areas.
  • The Kremlin said on Monday there was no basis for a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents at the moment. Negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv have been stalled for months, with each side blaming the other for a lack of progress, Reuters reports.

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