Communal workers clean up the rubble of a supermarket, partially destroyed by a missile attack on the southeastern outskirts of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv – Copyright AFP Ishara S. KODIKARA
Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:
– British, Moroccan fighters sentenced to death –
Russian news agencies say pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine have sentenced to death two British fighters and a third from Morocco captured by Russian troops while fighting for Ukraine.
The “supreme court of the Donetsk People’s Republic”, one of two self-proclaimed statelets in the Donbas region, ordered the death penalty for Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner and Saaudun Brahim after convicting them of acting as mercenaries during a three-day trial.
The two Britons surrendered in April in the southeastern port of Mariupol, which was captured by Russian troops and Moscow-backed separatists after a bloody, months-long siege.
The UK says it is “deeply concerned” by their sentences and accuses the separatists of violating the Geneva Conventions on the rules of war.
– Fate of Donbas at stake in Severodonetsk: Zelensky –
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says the fate of the eastern industrial heartland of Donbas hinges on the fierce battle for the city of Severodonetsk, now largely Russian-controlled.
“In many ways, the fate of our Donbas is being decided there,” he says in an evening address.
– UN warns of ‘unprecedented’ hunger –
UN chief Antonio Guterres says the war threatens to unleash “an unprecedented wave of hunger and destitution” as talks on unblocking Ukrainian and Russian farm exports trapped by the war remain deadlocked.
Guterres said that while this year’s food crisis is “about lack of access” to food, next year’s could be about “lack of food” itself and says 1.6 billion people risk being affected.
Only an end to the war can “stop this gathering storm,” he says.
Zelensky calls for Russia to be expelled from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization for “causing hunger for at least 400 million, or potentially more than a billion people”.
– Avoid ‘bad peace’, says British PM –
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says any attempt to impose a “bad peace” on Ukraine, through granting territorial concessions to Russia, would be “morally repugnant” and would return to haunt the West.
He did not identify anyone pushing for a peace deal. But last week, French President Emmanuel Macron drew criticism for arguing the West should “not humiliate Russia” and instead give Putin a diplomatic “exit ramp”.
– Russia begins Baltic Sea drills –
Dozens of Russian ships take part in naval drills in the Baltic Sea, three weeks after Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO.
Russia’s defence ministry announces that 60 ships and 40 aircraft will take part in the exercises “for the defence of sea lanes and fleet bases”, with further manoeuvres taking place on land in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.
If Sweden and Finland’s NATO applications — currently blocked by Turkey — are approved, Russia would become the only country on the Baltic Sea outside of the Western military alliance.
– War hammering global investment climate: UN –
The war in Ukraine is hammering the global business and investment climate, the UN says, with foreign direct investment expected to fall this year amid the food, fuel and financial crises the conflict has trigged.
“The global environment for international investment changed dramatically with the onset of the war in Ukraine,” said UNCTAD trade and development agency chief Rebeca Grynspan.
– Nearly five million refugees –
The UN refugee agency UNHCR says nearly five million Ukrainians have been registered as refugees across Europe since the Russian invasion.
“The Ukraine war has caused one of the largest human displacement crises in the world,” the agency says.
A further eight million people are displaced within Ukraine itself, according to the International Organization for Migration.