A woman walks by a destroyed apartment building in Bakhmut in the eastern Ukranian region of Donbas — the target of a major Russian offensive. – Copyright AFP/File AAMIR QURESHI
Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:
– War crimes verdict awaited –
A Kyiv court is due to hand down its verdict in the first war crimes trial held over the Russian invasion.
Vadim Shishimarin, a 21-year-old Russian soldier, has admitted to shooting dead a 62-year-old unarmed civilian in the early stages of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Prosecutors have requested a life sentence.
– Russia ready to resume Ukraine talks –
Russia’s lead negotiator in peace talks with Ukraine, Kremlin aide Vladimir Medinsky, says Russia is willing to resume negotiations but the initiative to continue them is with Kyiv.
Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for causing the talks to stall in recent weeks. Ukraine says it is not prepared to give up any of its territory and demanded that all Russian troops withdraw.
– Russia must pay ‘long-term price’ –
President Joe Biden says Russia must “pay a long-term price” for its “barbarism in Ukraine” through the sanctions imposed by the United States and allies.
If, after any future rapprochement between Russia and Ukraine, “the sanctions are not continued to be sustained in many ways, then what signal does that send to China about the cost of attempting to take Taiwan by force?” Biden asks.
Polish president Andrzej Duda, on a visit to Kyiv on Sunday, also says there can be no “business as usual” with Russia after the massacre of civilians in places such as the Kyiv suburb of Bucha and the southeastern port of Mariupol.
Duda also expresses regret that some European countries had asked Ukraine to “accept certain demands” from Russian President Vladimir Putin in return to peace.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed earlier this month that his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron asked him to make concessions on Russia’s territorial demands, which Macron’s office has denied.
– France warns of long wait –
France’s Europe minister warns the bid by Ukraine to join the EU might not be finalised for “15 or 20 years”.
He reiterates an offer by President Macron to create a looser “European political community” that could help integrate Ukraine with the bloc sooner, a proposal Zelensky has already rejected.
– Ukraine extends martial law –
Ukraine extends martial law for three months through to August 23, as the war with Russia drags on.
– Russia presses Donbas –
Ukrainian forces are under intense pressure in the eastern Donbas region and on Ukraine’s southern coast.
Shelling and missile strikes hit Kharkiv in the north, and Mykolaiv and Zaporizhzhia in the south, while eight civilians are killed on the eastern front in the Donbas.
– Baltics stop importing Russian electricity –
Russian utility Inter RAO stops trading to the Baltics after a ban by pan-European exchange Nord Pool.
“This is an important step on our way to energy independence,” Lithuanian Energy Minister Dainius Kreivys tells AFP.
The development comes after Russian energy giant Gazprom halted gas supplies to Finland for refusing to pay its bill in rubles, as Moscow had demanded.
– African Union chief to visit Russia, Ukraine –
Senegalese President Macky Sall says he will travel to Russia and Ukraine soon on behalf of the African Union, whose presidency he currently holds.
Most African countries have avoided condemning Russia’s invasion.
– Prisoner exchange talks –
A Russian negotiator says Moscow would consider exchanging prisoners from Ukraine’s far-right Azov battalion for Viktor Medvedchuk, a wealthy Ukrainian businessman known for his close ties to Putin.