Wednesday, August 10

Russia-Ukraine war live news: Lavrov to attend G20 meeting; Russian troops push towards Sloviansk | Ukraine


The strategically and symbolically important southern outpost of Snake Island has reportedly been struck by two rockets early this morning.

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Spokesman of the Odesa military administration, Serhiy Bratchuk, said two rockets “significantly damaged” a wharf on the island in an update posted to Telegram just after 8am.

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Bratchuk added that Odesa was also attacked around dawn.

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“Two agricultural harvesters were hit, 35 tons of grain were destroyed,” he said.

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New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has said the world is “bloody messy” as she decried Russia’s “morally bankrupt” war in Ukraine and pointed rowards the failure of the UN to appropriately respond.

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In a speech to foreign policy thinktank the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Ardern decried Russia’s “morally bankrupt” war in Ukraine – but also argued against the hardening of alliances, saying that the war should not be presented as a conflict of “democracy v autocracy” or be seen as an inevitable direction for other tensions between competing nations.

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“In taking every possible action to respond to Russia’s aggression and to hold it to account, we must remember that fundamentally this is Russia’s war,” she said.

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As she charted New Zealand’s approach to trying to pursue “independent foreign policy” as a small player in an intensely pressured environment, Ardern re-articulated the country’s commitment to multilateral institutions – but also reflected on their recent failures.

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There was “no better example of that than the failure of the UN to appropriately respond to the war in Ukraine because of the position taken by Russia in the security council”, she said, describing it as “a morally bankrupt position on their part, in the wake of a morally bankrupt and illegal war”.

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Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, has flown into Indonesia’s resort island of Bali for a meeting of G20 foreign ministers, which is set to be overshadowed by tensions in Ukraine.

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The G20 gathering runs until Friday in in Bali’s Nusa Dua area, as foreign diplomats descended on the tropical island for the meeting.

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German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Russia must not be allowed to use the G20 meeting as a platform given its war in Ukraine.

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“It is in the interest of us all to ensure that international law is respected and adhered to. That is the common denominator,” Baerbock said in a statement.

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The summit will see the first face-to-face meeting between President Vladimir Putin’s long-serving foreign minister Lavrov and some of Russia’s biggest critics since the invasion of Ukraine.

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Lavrov had arrived in Bali and planned to meet some G20 counterparts on the sidelines of the summit, Russian news agency Tass reported, but ministers including Baerbock and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken have ruled out meeting Lavrov.

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The Group of 20 includes western countries that have accused Moscow of war crimes in Ukraine and rolled out sanctions, but also countries like China, Indonesia, India and South Africa that have been more muted in their response.

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Some officials from Europe and the United States have stressed the Bali summit would not be “business as a usual”, with a spokesperson for the German foreign minister saying G7 countries would coordinate their response to Lavrov in Bali.

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Discussion of energy and food security are on the agenda in the two-day meeting, with Russia accused of stoking a global food crisis and worsening inflation by blockading shipments of Ukrainian grain. Russia has said it ready to facilitate unhindered exports of grain.

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The Ukrainian military says it has so far staved off any major Russian advance into the north of Donetsk, but pressure is intensifying with heavy shelling on the city of Sloviansk and nearby populated areas.

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It said Russian forces were bombarding several Ukrainian towns with heavy weaponry to enable ground forces to advance southward into the region and close in on Sloviansk.

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In its latest operational update, the Ukrainian military said:

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The enemy is trying to improve its tactical position…[They] advanced … before being repulsed by our soldiers and retreating with losses.”

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Other Russian forces, it said, aimed to seize two towns en route to the city of Kramatorsk, south of Sloviansk, and were also trying to take control of the main highway linking Luhansk and Donetsk provinces.

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“We are holding back the enemy on the (Luhansk/Donetsk) border,” Luhansk governor, Serhiy Gaidai, told Ukrainian TV. Later, he said Luhansk was still not entirely occupied by Russian forces and that Russia had sustained “colossal losses.”

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“They will continue to try to advance on Sloviansk and Bakhmut. There is no doubt about that,” he said.

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Sloviansk mayor, Vadym Lyakh, told a video briefing the city had been shelled for the last two weeks.

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Hello it’s Samantha Lock back with you as we unpack all the latest news from Ukraine this morning.

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Russia’s near five-month conflict in Ukraine has left cities in ruins and thousands homeless.

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Here are all the latest lines as of 8am in Kyiv.

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  • The capture of the city of Lysychansk in eastern Ukraine has given Russia’s forces “genuine headway”, while its forces in the south have shown signs of “better cooperation”, analysts say. Western officials said the sustainability of Russia’s attacks on Ukraine was “challenging”, but described the impact on their munitions and morale as “remarkable”.
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  • Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has said heavy weapons from western allies have finally begun working at “full capacity” on frontlines. In his nightly video address, Zelenskiy said the Ukrainian military has been able to target Russian warehouses and locations that are “important for logistics”.
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  • Resistance remains ongoing in villages around Lysychansk, where 15,000 civilians remain, according to Luhansk’s governor, Serhiy Haidai. On Telegram, Haidai said: “Today’s videos from Lysychansk are painful to watch.” He accused Putin’s troops of engaging in a scorched earth policy, “burning down and destroying everything on their way”.
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  • The evacuation of civilians from Sloviansk continued on Wednesday as Russian troops pressed towards the eastern Ukrainian city in their campaign to control the Donbas region. Mayor Vadym Lyakh said that about 23,000 people out of 110,000 were still in Sloviansk but claimed Russia had been unable to surround the city. The governor of Donetsk has also urged the region’s 350,000 people to flee.
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  • The battle for Sloviansk is likely to be the next key contest in the struggle for Donbas as Russian forces approach to within 16km of the Donetsk town, British intelligence said. Russian forces from the eastern and western groups of forces are likely now around 16km north of Sloviansk as central and southern groups of forces also pose a threat to the town, the UK Ministry of Defence has said.
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  • Ukraine has rejected the claim that Russian forces destroyed two advanced US-made Himars rocket systems and their ammunition depots in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine’s general staff said the claims by Russia’s defence ministry were fake and that it was using the US-supplied Himars to inflict “devastating blows” on Russian forces.
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  • Ireland’s taoiseach, Micheál Martin, visited the war-scarred suburbs of Borodianka, Bucha and Irpin on the outskirts of Kyiv on Wednesday. Martin said he and Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, discussed a joint response to the threat to food security, the energy crisis and the preparation of the seventh sanction package against Russia. Martin reiterated his country’s solidarity with Ukraine.
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  • The head of the Russian-imposed administration of the occupied Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine, Yevgeny Balitsky, has said the region plans to sell Ukraine’s grain to the Middle East. The main countries involved in the deal were Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russia of stealing grain, a charge that Moscow has denied.
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  • Russian forces have occupied about 22% of Ukraine’s arable land, according to Nasa’s Harvest mission. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Nasa has been focusing on the impact of the war on the global food system. Its findings have revealed that Ukrainian fields where 28% of winter and 18% of spring crops are sown are under Russian occupation.
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  • Sri Lanka’s president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, said he asked his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin to help import fuel to his country as it faces its worst economic crisis in seven decades. Rajapaksa tweeted that he had a “productive” telephone call with Putin, while thanking him for “all the support extended by his [government] to overcome the challenges of the past”.
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  • Zelenskiy called on the world’s largest independent oil trader to stop shipping Russian oil, accusing it of “brazen profiteering from blood oil”.
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  • Ukraine’s military announced plans to introduce a system of permits that would prohibit men eligible for conscription from leaving the region where they are registered. The move, based on legislation from 1992, was intended to enable the country’s armed forces to locate potential conscripts more easily, but it prompted an immediate backlash.
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  • Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, has admitted that he met the former KGB agent, Alexander Lebedev, without officials present while foreign secretary. Johnson told MPs he accepted he met the former KGB agent on a trip to Italy. Asked whether he reported the meeting to officials, Johnson said: “I think I did.”
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  • Russia’s parliament has rushed through two bills imposing strict controls on the economy, requiring businesses to supply goods to the armed forces and obliging employees at some firms to work overtime. The bills will allow the government to introduce “special economic measures” once signed into law by Putin.
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  • Nearly 9 million people have left Ukraine since Russia invaded, the UN refugee agency has said. With Russia stepping up its offensive in the east of the country, there are increasingly loud calls from Ukrainian authorities for people to escape while they can from frontline areas.
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Key events:




www.theguardian.com

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