Ukraine news – live: Putin facing no breakthrough for months in ‘grim’ war, says US – The Independent

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Wealthlandnews July 3, 2022
Updated 2022/07/03 at 1:20 AM

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Putin denies the busy mall was targeted by Russian missile
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Dozens of “body fragments” have been found in the wreckage of a bombed shopping centre in Kremenchuk, according to Ukraine’s state emergency service.
In a Facebook post, they said: “As a result of shelling, 21 people died and 66 people were injured, of which 26 people were hospitalised.
“A total of 29 body fragments have been discovered since the beginning of the work.”
The shopping mall was struck by a missile on Monday 27 June. Russian president Vladimir Putin has claimed that troops intended to hit a weapons depot nearby, denying that the mall was a target.
Meanwhile, war crime investigators in Ukraine are sifting through the wreckage of a nine-storey apartment block near Odesa destroyed by a Russian strike reported to have killed 21 people.
Ukraine’s prosecutor-general Iryna Venediktova said investigators were recovering fragments from missiles and taking measurements to determine the trajectory of the weapons, believed to have been Soviet-era anti-ship missiles.
A British man condemned to death by a separatist court in east Ukraine has appealed against his sentence, Russian state news agency TASS has reported.
Shaun Pinner, 48, has formally lodged papers in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), the Russian-backed separatist region, said TASS on Friday. Another Briton also sentenced to death, Aiden Aslin, had not yet submitted an appeal, added the agency.
A third man condemned with the Britons, Brahim Saadoun from Morocco, had also lodged an appeal against his death sentence.
No appeal has yet been received from the other Briton, Aiden Aslin, held in the Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic
The director of a charity helping the family of a British man captured in eastern Ukraine said Dylan Healy was detained on April 25 at a Russian checkpoint in the south of the Zaporizhzhia region.
Dominik Byrne, director of operations at Presidium Network, told The Associated Press that Healy is an aid worker and has no connection either to the Ukrainian or the British military. Healy is among at least five foreigners, including four Britons, being held by separatists, who accuse them of being mercenaries fighting for Ukraine. Three have been sentenced to death. The charges against Healy were announced Friday.
Investigators have combed through the wreckage from a Russian airstrike early Friday on residential areas near the Ukrainian port of Odesa that killed 21 people.
Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Iryna Venediktova said the investigators were recovering fragments from missiles that struck an apartment building in the small coastal town of Serhiivka.
They also were taking measurements to determine the trajectory of the weapons and “the specific people guilty of this terrible war crime,” she said.
Larissa Andruchenko said she was in the kitchen making tea at about 1 a.m. when a blast blew the doors open. At first she thought the propane gas tank had exploded, and called her husband to the kitchen
.“And right then the lights went off and it was nightmare. The two of us are in the kitchen with glass flying, everything was flying,” she said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said three anti-ship missiles struck “an ordinary residential building, a nine-story building” housing about 160 people.
The victims of Friday’s attack also included four members of a family staying at a seaside campsite, he said.‘I emphasise: This is deliberate direct Russian terror, and not some mistake or an accidental missile strike,” Zelensky said.
Fighting intensified on Saturday for Lysychansk, Ukraine‘s last bastion in the strategic eastern province of Luhansk, while blasts shook a southern city after the civilian toll from Russian strikes climbed in towns well behind the frontlines.
Andrei Marochko, an officer of the pro-Russian Luhansk People’s Militia, was quoted by Russia‘s TASS news agency as saying that the militia’s red hammer-and-sickle flag was now flying over the administrative building in Lysychansk, although Ukraine‘s military rejected claims that the city was encircled.
Russian media showed videos of Luhansk militia parading in the streets of Lysychansk waving flags and cheering, but Ukraine National Guard spokesman Ruslan Muzychuk told Ukrainian national television the city remained in Ukrainian hands.
“Now there are fierce battles near Lysychansk, however, fortunately, the city is not surrounded and is under the control of the Ukrainian army,” Muzychuk said.
He said the situations in the Lysychansk and Bakhmut areas, as well as in Kharkiv region, were the most difficult on the entire front line.
“The goal of the enemy here remains access to the administrative border of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Also, in the Sloviansk direction, the enemy is attempting assault actions,” he said.
Russian forces are firing “all available kinds of weapons” in their bid to take the eastern Ukrainian city of Lysychansk, the last stronghold of resistance in eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk province, officials said.
Ukrainian fighters have come under intense fire in recent days as they try to defend the city and keep it from falling to Russia, as neighbouring Sievierodonetsk did a week ago.
Fighting has raged around an oil refinery on the city’s edge, with both Russia and Ukraine claiming they have control of the key facility.
“Over the last day, the occupiers opened fire from all available kinds of weapons,” said Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai on Saturday.
Lysychansk is the last Ukrainian stronghold of resistance in the province of Luhansk, in the east of the country
Two British men captured by Russian forces in separatist-held Ukraine have been charged with being mercenaries, Russian media has said.
Aid worker Dylan Healy, 22, was stopped at a checkpoint earlier this year while helping a woman and children to flee a battle zone in Russian-backed territory, according to an aid charity.
Andrew Hill, a military volunteer who was detained in the Mykolaiv region around the same time, was shown in camouflage gear on Russian state television.
A source in the power structures of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic said investigators had filed charges of carrying out “mercenary activities” against both men, according to Tass.
It claimed both men were refusing to cooperate with the investigation, writes Jane Dalton.
Aid worker and military volunteer charged in Russian-backed Donbas with being mercenaries
Kyiv has urged Turkey to detain a Russian-flagged cargo ship carrying grain mounted from a Ukrainian port seized by Russia.
Ukrainian foreign ministry officials believe that the 7,146 deadweight tonnage (DWT) Zhibek Zholy had loaded the cargo of some 4,500 tonnes of grain from Berdyansk, reported Reuters citing Ukraine’s foreign ministry officials.
Earlier in a letter dated 30 June, Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office had written to Turkey’s justice ministry informing them about the “illegal export of Ukrainian grain” on its way from Berdyansk to Turkey’s Karasu.
Read more from Namita Singh here:
Ukraine suspects grain was loaded from a port seized by Russia
The Foreign Office said it condemns the exploitation of prisoners of war and civilians for political purposes, after two British men were captured by Russian forces and charged with being mercenaries in Ukraine.
Cambridgeshire aid worker Dylan Healy, 22, and military volunteer Andrew Hill have been charged with carrying out “mercenary activities”, officials in the Moscow-backed Donetsk People’s Republic said, according to Russian state media Tass.
The outlet reported both men were refusing to co-operate with investigators.
Read more here:
Officials are in ‘constant contact’ with the government of Ukraine about the case.
Russia has again been accused of using phosphorus bombs in its war on Ukraine, this time in an attack on Snake Island, just a day after Moscow claimed to have retreated from the Black Sea outpost in a “gesture of goodwill”.
Located just 22 miles from the shores of Nato member Romania, the island – also known as Zmiinyi – had been held by Moscow since February, when it took on symbolic as well as strategic importance after a Ukrainian soldier’s defiant response to a Russian warship was adopted as a popular battle cry.
On Thursday, after Kyiv reported launching a barrage of strikes on the island, Russia’s foreign ministry said it had ceded the territory in conjunction with UN-brokered agreements “in order to organise humanitarian grain corridors”.
Read more from Andy Gregory here:
Moscow’s stockpiles of more accurate weapons might be dwindling, UK Ministry of Defence claims
Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko said on Saturday Ukraine had tried to strike military facilities on Belarusian territory three days ago, but all its missiles had been intercepted, the state-run Belta news agency reported.
Lukashenko, who did not provide evidence for the claim, said Belarus did not want war with Ukraine, but would fight if its own territory was invaded.
The Ukrainian military did not immediately comment.
“They are provoking us. I have to tell you, three days ago, maybe a bit more, an attempt to strike military facilities on Belarusian territory was made from the territory of Ukraine,” Belta quoted Lukashenko as saying.
“But, thank God, the Pantsir anti-aircraft systems managed to intercept all the missiles launched by Ukrainian armed forces.”
Lukashenko said there were no troops from Belarus fighting in what Moscow calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Belarus is a close ally of Russia and allowed Moscow to use Belarusian territory to send troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.
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Ukrainian state emergency service firefighters work to take away debris at the shopping centre (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)
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