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Residents walk past flats destroyed in the city of Sievierodonetsk in the Luhansk region, Ukraine, June 30 2022. Picture: ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO/REUTERS
Residents walk past flats destroyed in the city of Sievierodonetsk in the Luhansk region, Ukraine, June 30 2022. Picture: ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO/REUTERS

Russia said on Monday that it had established full control over the Luhansk region after Ukrainian forces pulled out of the bombed-out city of Lysychansk. Luhansk governor Serhiy Gaidai said the loss hurt “but it’s not losing the war”.

FIGHTING

During a brief televised meeting with his defence minister, President Vladimir Putin congratulated Russian forces on their “victories in the Luhansk direction”. Those who participated in the combat should “absolutely rest and recover their military preparedness”, while other units continue fighting in other areas, he said.

Gaidai said he expected the city of Sloviansk and the town of Bakhmut to come under attack as Russia tries to take full control of the Donbas in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to regain the lost territory with the help of long-range Western weapons. He later said in an address to Japanese university students and teachers: “We can’t put down our weapons otherwise we will disappear as a state, as a people.”

Zelensky’s office said that in the Donetsk region, Russian forces had increased the intensity of their shelling. Over the past day, nine people were killed, including a child, and 25 were wounded, it said.

The Russian defence ministry said it had carried out attacks on Ukrainian command posts and munitions depots in several locations in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.

The Ukrainian flag has been raised again on Snake Island in the Black Sea, Ukraine’s military said, after Russian forces withdrew from the strategic outpost last week.

Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield accounts.

DIPLOMACY AND ECONOMY

Russian gas producer Gazprom has proposed expanding its rouble-for-gas scheme for pipeline gas to include liquefied natural gas, the Interfax news agency quoted a senior manager as saying on Monday.

Ukraine needs $750bn for a recovery plan, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told a Ukraine Recovery Conference hosted by Switzerland.

Putin would not congratulate his US counterpart Joe Biden on Monday’s Independence Day because of Washington’s “unfriendly” actions towards Moscow, the Kremlin said.

France’s Schneider Electric has agreed to sell its Russian unit to the local leadership team, it said on Monday, joining a wave of companies divesting their Russian businesses.

Turkey has halted a Russian-flagged cargo ship off its Black Sea coast and is investigating a Ukrainian allegation that it was carrying stolen grain, a senior Turkish official said on Monday.

Pope Francis said in an interview with Reuters he hoped he would be able to go to Moscow and Kyiv as part of efforts to end the war.

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