Thu, 11 Aug 2022

Ukrainian forces on Tuesday took up new defensive lines in Donetsk a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed victory in neighbouring Luhansk province, which a senior Ukrainian official vowed would be a "last victory for Russia on Ukrainian soil". Read about the day's events as they unfolded on our liveblog. All times are Paris time, GMT+2.

This live page is no longer being updated. For more of our coverage of the war in Ukraine, click here.

3:55am: Latvia to reinstate compulsory military service

Latvian Defence Minister Artis Pabriks on Tuesday said the Baltic state will reinstate compulsory military service following growing tension with neighbouring Russia amid Moscow's war in Ukraine.

"The current military system of Latvia has reached its limit. Meanwhile we have no reason to think that Russia will change its behaviour," Pabriks told reporters.

Latvia had scrapped mandatory service a few years after joining the NATO defence alliance. Since 2007, the EU member's military has consisted of career soldiers along with National Guard volunteers who serve in the infantry part-time on weekends.

The country of under two million people, which borders both Belarus and Russia, currently only has 7,500 active-duty soldiers and National Guard members, backed by 1,500 NATO troops

July 6, 1:53am: Russians moving into Ukraine's Donetsk, says regional governor

Russian troops are engaged in heavy fighting and making their way into Ukraine's Donetsk region after taking control of the last two towns in neighbouring Luhansk, the regional governor of Luhansk said on Tuesday.

Serhiy Gaidai said the Russian troops had sustained heavy losses in the long process of capturing the twin towns of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, but were channelling their efforts into moving southward.

"Heavy fighting is going on at the edge of Luhansk region... All the forces of the Russian army and reserves have been redirected there... They are sustaining heavy losses," Gaidai told Ukrainian television.

"A large quantity of equipment is being sent towards Donetsk region. Of course, after Luhansk region, Donetsk is at the top of their list."

11:59pm: U.S. calls on G20 to press Russia to reopen sea lanes for grain delivery

Food and energy security will figure prominently in a meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Bali this week and the group's members should insist that Russia support UN efforts to reopen sea lanes blocked by Moscow's war in Ukraine, a senior US official said on Tuesday.

Ramin Toloui, the US assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs, told reporters that Secretary of State Antony Blinken would raise energy security in the main G20 ministers' session on Friday and in bilateral meetings.

"G20 countries should hold Russia accountable and insist that it support ongoing UN efforts to reopen the sea lanes for grain delivery," he said.

10:18pm: Ukrainian governor urges evacuation of 350,000 residents

The governor of the last remaining eastern province partly under Ukraine's control urged his more than 350,000 residents to flee as Russia escalated its offensive and air alerts were issued across nearly the entire country.

Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said that getting people out of Donetsk province is necessary to save lives and enable the Ukrainian army better to defend towns from the Russian advance.

"The destiny of the whole country will be decided by the Donetsk region," Kyrylenko told reporters in Kramatrosk, the province's administrative center and home to the Ukrainian military's regional headquarters.

"Once there are less people, we will be able to concentrate more on our enemy and perform our main tasks," Kyrylenko said.

7:14pm: France confirms death of second volunteer fighter in Ukraine

The French Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday the death of a second French fighter in Ukraine, confirming a report by RTL radio on Monday.

"We have learned the sad news of this death," the ministry said in a statement. "We offer our condolences to his family, with whom the relevant services... are in contact."

6:41pm: Arbitrary detention widespread in Russian-held parts of Ukraine, UN rights chief says

Arbitrary detention of civilians has become widespread in parts of Ukraine held by Russia's military and affiliated armed groups, with 270 cases documented, the UN human rights chief said on Tuesday, announcing plans to boost monitoring in the country.

The findings were based on information from monitors' field visits and interviews conducted with just over 500 victims and witnesses of human rights violations, as well as other sources of data, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet told the Geneva-based Human Rights Council.

"Despite restrictions on access, we have documented 270 cases of arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance. Eight of the victims were found dead," Bachelet said in an update on the situation in Ukraine in the period from February 24 to May 15.

6:33pm: Britain adds two more Russians to its sanctions list

Britain added two Russian individuals to its sanctions list on Tuesday, subjecting them to an asset freeze and travel ban.

The sanctions list was updated to add Denis Gafner and Valeriya Kalabayeva - both of whom Britain said were involved in spreading disinformation and promoting Russian actions in Ukraine.

4:21pm: Russians are 'going to keep trying' to take Sloviansk

"I spoke a little over half an hour ago to the director of the hospital in Sloviansk, who said that the bombardment had indeed been extremely intense," FRANCE 24's Gulliver Cragg reported. "She said it went on intensely for about an hour and at the moment when we spoke to her she said that six people had so far been taken to the hospital, wounded in these blasts. I think one may presume that there are more wounded than that," Cragg went on.

"It's clear -- and everyone was expecting it -- that the Russians' main target now is the two cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, those two cities that remain under Ukrainian control in the Donetsk region," Cragg added. Earlier today, the Ukrainian forces in their morning report said that they had pushed back a ground offensive of Russian forces to the northwest of Sloviansk. But clearly the Russians are going to keep trying."

3:01pm: Russia accuses Ukraine of torturing prisoners of war

Russia said on Tuesday it was investigating the torture of Russian soldiers held prisoner in Ukraine and released as part of a recent swap with Kyiv.

Russia's Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, said in a statement that it was "verifying facts of inhuman treatment of Russian soldier prisoners in Ukraine".

Last week Moscow and Kyiv exchanged 144 prisoners of war each -- the biggest exchange since President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine on February 24.

The committee said Moscow's soldiers told investigators about "the violence they had suffered".

2:28pm: Russia strikes target across Donetsk after seizing Luhansk

Russian forces struck targets across Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region on Tuesday to prepare the path for an expected armoured thrust to try to take more territory as the five-month-old war entered a new phase.

The strikes, reported by the region's local governor and the Russian military, followed Moscow's capture of the Ukrainian city of Lysychansk on Sunday, a move that handed it total control of the Luhansk region, one of its main war aims.

Taking full control of Donetsk, the other region in Donbas, the industrialised eastern part of Ukraine that has become the stage of the biggest battle in Europe in generations, is another goal of what Moscow calls its "special military operation."

Ukrainian forces which retreated from Lysychansk at the weekend took up new defensive lines in Donetsk on Tuesday, according to Serhiy Gaidai, the Ukrainian governor of Luhansk.

2:14pm: Russian parliament passes first vote on war economy measures

The Russian government will be able to compel businesses to supply the military with goods and make their employees work overtime under two laws to support Moscow's war in Ukraine that were approved in an initial vote in parliament on Tuesday.

The measures will effectively place Russia on a war economy footing, nearly 19 weeks into the invasion which it describes as a "special military operation".

"The load on the defence industry has increased significantly. In order to guarantee the supply of weapons and ammunition, it is necessary to optimise the work of the military-industrial complex and enterprises that are part of cooperation chains," Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said.

2:10pm: Duma speaker asks parliament to look at scrapping sea border treaty with NATO's Norway

The speaker of Russia's lower house of parliament, the Duma, asked a senior lawmaker on Tuesday to look into scrapping a treaty that establishes the country's maritime border with NATO member Norway.

The treaty, which was signed in 2010, aimed to put an end to disputes between Russia and Norway in the Barents Sea, the part of the Arctic Ocean adjoining the northern coasts of Norway and Russia.

Responding to comments in parliament accusing Norway of blocking food deliveries destined for Russian-populated settlements on the Svalbard archipelago, Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin asked the head of the chamber's international affairs committee to look into "denouncing" the treaty.

2:08pm: Donbas's Sloviansk undergoing 'massive' Russian shelling, mayor says

Russian forces are pounding Sloviansk with "massive" shelling, its mayor said on Tuesday, as the eastern Ukrainian city becomes Moscow's next target in its campaign in the Donbas region.

"Sloviansk! Massive shelling of the city. The centre, the north. Everyone, take shelter," Vadim Lyakh wrote on Facebook.

1:24pm: NATO allies sign accession protocols for Sweden, Finland

The 30 NATO allies signed off on the accession protocols for Sweden and Finland on Tuesday, sending the membership bids of the two nations to the alliance capitals for legislative approvals.

The move further increases Russia's strategic isolation in the wake of its invasion of neighbouring Ukraine in February and military struggles there since.

"This is truly a historic moment for Finland, for Sweden and for NATO," said Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

10:40am: Russia accuses Ukraine of torturing prisoners of war

Russia said on Tuesday it was conducting an investigation into the Russian soldiers who had been tortured while being held as prisoners in Ukraine and recently released as part of a prisoner swap with Kyiv in late June.

The Russian Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, said in a statement that it was "verifying facts of inhuman treatment of Russia soldier prisoners in Ukraine".

Last week Moscow and Kyiv exchanged 144 prisoners of war each - the biggest exchange since Moscow launched its Ukraine campaign on February 24.

The Russian committee said Moscow's soldiers told investigators about "the violence they had suffered". It added that the testimonies of the freed Russian soldiers are examples of "violations of the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war".

10:02am: Former FSB official takes over the Moscow-occupied Kherson region

An official from Russia's powerful FSB security services took over the government of the Moscow-occupied Kherson region in southern Ukraine, Kremlin-installed authorities said on Tuesday.

Sergei Yeliseyev, who had previously been serving as the deputy head of government in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, "became head of the government in the Kherson region", said Vladimir Saldo, who heads the Russian occupational administration.

His government takes office on Tuesday, he added.

7:11am: Ukraine sets new defensive lines in Donetsk after losing Luhansk

Ukrainian forces on Tuesday took up new defensive lines in Donetsk, where they still control major cities, while Putin told his troops to "absolutely rest and recover their military preparedness," as units in other areas keep fighting.

Since the outset of the conflict, Russia has demanded that Ukraine hand both Luhansk and Donetsk over to pro-Moscow separatists, which have been declared independent statelets.

"This is the last victory for Russia on Ukrainian territory," Oleksiy Arestovych, adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, said in a video posted online.

"These were medium-sized cities. And this took from 4th April until 4th July - that's 90 days. So many losses..."

06:15am: Putin orders Russians to press on in Donbas after key Ukraine city falls

President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered Russian troops to press their offensive deeper into the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine after Moscow's forces seized the strategic city of Lysychansk.

FRANCE 24's Vedika Bahl brings us a recap of Monday's key events:

02:57am: Zelensky says Ukraine is in talks with Turkey, UN on grain exports

Ukraine is holding talks with Turkey and the United Nations to secure guarantees for grain exports from Ukrainian ports, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday.

"Talks are in fact going on now with Turkey and the UN (and) our representatives who are responsible for the security of the grain that leaves our ports," Zelensky told a news conference alongside Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.

"This is a very important thing that someone guarantees the security of ships for this or that country - apart from Russia, which we do not trust. We therefore need security for those ships which will come here to load foodstuffs."

Zelenskiy said Ukraine was working "directly" with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the issue and that the organization was "playing a leading role, not as a moderator".

1:23am: Norwegian oil and gas workers start strike, cutting output amid European supply crunch

Norwegian offshore workers on Tuesday began a strike that will reduce oil and gas output, the union leading the industrial action told Reuters.

The strike, in which workers are demanding wage hikes to compensate for rising inflation, comes amid high oil and gas prices, with supplies of natural gas to Europe especially tight after Russian export cutbacks.

The Norwegian government has said it was following the conflict "closely". It can intervene to stop a strike if there are exceptional circumstances.

12:44am: Zelensky says Ukrainian forces undeterred after Russia claims Luhansk

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday his armed forces were undeterred in their efforts to "break" Moscow's will to pursue a nearly five-month war, even as Russia claimed victory in the gruelling battle of Luhansk.

With the war entering its next phase, Ukrainian forces took up new defensive lines in the eastern part of the country.

"There have been no significant changes on the battlefield in the past 24 hours," Zelensky said in a nightly video message. "The Armed Forces of Ukraine respond, push back and destroy the offensive potential of the occupiers day after day. We need to break them. It is a difficult task. It requires time and superhuman efforts. But we have no alternative."

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP and REUTERS)

Originally published on France24

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