- Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says his troops have “no alternative” but to “push back and destroy the offensive potential” of Russian forces, as the battle moves from Luhansk to nearby Donetsk.
- President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Russian troops on “liberating” the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk.
- Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai says Ukrainian forces that retreated from Lysychansk are now holding the line between Bakhmut and Sloviansk, preparing to fend off a further Russian advance.
- Ukraine is holding talks with Turkey and the United Nations to secure guarantees for grain exports from Ukrainian ports, Zelenskyy says.
- Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has met Ukraine’s president in Kyiv, with the two parties signing a joint statement on defence and energy cooperation.
Here are the latest updates:
Russia to supply Crimea with electricity from Ukraine’s occupied power plant
The Russian-installed head of the occupied city of Enerhodar, home to the Zaporizhia Power Plant, says the city plans to provide electricity supplies to the annexed territory of Crimea once damage to the plant is restored, Russia’s state news agency TASS reports.
“We are ready to supply Crimea – according to approximate calculations – about 25% of the energy produced by the plant. But they are very slowly restoring the towers blown up in 2015 near Chonhar (village),” Yevgeny Balitsky told TASS adding that the towers were blown up by “Ukrainian nationalists”.
“And let’s face it: in eight years everything is already there (in Crimea). Everything is fine without us, there is no urgency for Crimea, although energy from nuclear power plants will be cheaper. But for us, there is both urgency and a need,” Balitsky said.
Ukraine now says no troops yet on recovered Snake Island to raise its flag
The Ukrainian flag has been delivered by helicopter to Snake Island in the Black Sea after Russian forces withdrew from the strategic outpost last week, and it will be raised as soon as Ukrainian troops arrive, Ukraine’s military has said.
Natalia Humeniuk, spokeswoman for Ukraine’s southern military command, had initially said the flag had been raised on the craggy outcropping in the Black Sea.
“The flag has been delivered to the island by helicopter,” Ukrainian media quoted Humeniuk as telling CNN television. “It will await the arrival of troops and will then be hoisted.”
Homeniuk said her original remarks to reporters should be viewed “metaphorically”. No troops had landed on the island and “No one is taking any risks for the sake of a media photo.”
UK says to strengthen internet laws to fight Russian disinformation
The United Kingdom is proposing a new law that will require social media companies to proactively tackle disinformation posted by foreign states such as Russia, the government has said.
The law would tackle fake accounts on platforms such as Meta’s Facebook and Twitter that were set up on behalf of foreign states to influence elections or court proceedings, the government said.
Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said on Monday the invasion of Ukraine has shown how Russia uses social media to spread lies about its actions.
“We cannot allow foreign states or their puppets to use the internet to conduct hostile online warfare unimpeded,” she said. “That’s why we are strengthening our new internet safety protections to make sure social media firms identify and root out state-backed disinformation.”
Nearly 90 Ukrainian athletes, coaches have died amid war: Zelenskyy
Zelenskyy’s office has detailed the toll on Ukrainian sport during the Russian invasion, now in a fifth month.
A total of 89 athletes and coaches have died “as a result of hostilities,” 13 more have been captured by the Russians, and “more than a hundred thousand Ukrainian athletes do not have the opportunity of training,” Zelenskyy has said.
Zelenskyy praises IOC for supporting bans on Russian sport
Zelenskyy has thanked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for supporting a ban on Russian teams and athletes competing in most Olympics sports, ahead of a court hearing Tuesday to challenge the ruling in international soccer.
Zelenskyy met in Kyiv on Sunday with IOC President Thomas Bach and praised “his unwavering position” on sports sanctions against Russia and its ally Belarus, according to a readout of the visit provided by his presidential office.
The IOC advised sports leaders on February 28 to act and soccer bodies FIFA and UEFA made a joint ruling later that day. It is the subject of an appeal Tuesday by the Russian soccer federation at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the Olympic home city of Lausanne, Switzerland.
The IOC also said it has now tripled its fund for Ukrainian sport to $7.5m since the war started.
🇺🇦 IOC President visits Ukraine to meet athletes and hold talks with President @ZelenskyyUa.
— IOC MEDIA (@iocmedia) July 4, 2022
Putin has likely directed an ‘operational pause’: ISW
Putin has likely directed his troops to take an “operational pause” after they captured Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has said.
After congratulating his troops on taking the Luhansk region, Putin said the forces participating in the recent gains should “absolutely rest and recover their military preparedness”.
“Putin‘s public comment was likely meant to signal his concern for the welfare of his troops in the face of periodic complaints in Russia about the treatment of Russian soldiers. His comment was also likely accurate – Russian troops that fought through Severodonetsk and Lysychansk very likely do need a significant period in which to rest and refit before resuming large-scale offensive operations,” the ISW said.
“It is not clear, however, that the Russian military will accept the risks of a long enough operational pause to allow these likely exhausted forces to regain their strength,” it added.
— ISW (@TheStudyofWar) July 5, 2022
Putin did not congratulate Biden on July 4 due to ‘unfriendly’ relations: Kremlin
The Kremlin says Putin did not congratulate his American counterpart, Joe Biden, on the US’s Independence Day because of Washington’s “unfriendly” actions towards Moscow.
“Congratulations this year can hardly be considered appropriate,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call. “The United States’ unfriendly policies are the reason.”
Zelenskyy given 1711 letter recognising Ukraine independence
The Swedish prime minister has given Zelenskyy a letter written in 1711 by King Charles XII – previously kept in her country’s national archives – in which the king instructs the Swedish ambassador in Constantinople to recognise the Zaporizhzhian Sich as an independent state.
The Zaporizhzhian Sich was as a semi-autonomous quasi-state of the Cossacks, a predominantly eastern Slavic group originating in the steppes of Ukraine, that existed between the 16th to 18th centuries. It centred around the region spanning the lower Dnieper river, where Ukraine’s current Zaporizhia region is located.
Zelenskyy showed the letter to journalists and read out a fragment he thought relevant, according to a statement from his office: “… to implement as soon as possible the article about the will of Ukraine and all Cossacks that all Ukraine and the Zaporizhzhia Army under the current commander Pylyp Orlyk regain the ancient freedom, possession of their land and its former borders, so that from now on this people will become an independent state and never again be subject to the obedience or protection of the king.”
Ukraine is in talks with Turkey, UN on grain exports: Zelenskyy
Ukraine is holding talks with Turkey and the United Nations to secure guarantees for grain exports from Ukrainian ports, Zelenskyy has said.
“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,” Zelenskyy told a news conference alongside the Swedish prime minister.
“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.”
Zelenskyy said Ukraine was working “directly” with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the issue and that the organisation was “playing a leading role, not as a moderator”.
Ukraine has not lost the war: Luhansk governor
Serhiy Haidai, the Ukrainian governor of the Luhansk region, has acknowledged his entire province was now effectively in Russian hands but told the Reuters news agency: “We need to win the war, not the battle for Lysychansk”.
He added, “It hurts a lot, but it’s not losing the war.”
Haidai said Ukrainian forces that retreated from Lysychansk were now holding the line between Bakhmut and Sloviansk, preparing to fend off a further Russian advance.
Russia captured the city of Lysychansk in eastern Ukraine on Sunday, bringing an end to one of the biggest battles in Europe in generations and completing its conquest of Luhansk province, one of two regions it has demanded Ukraine cede to separatists in the Donbas region.
Ukraine could have withdrawn from Luhansk weeks ago but chose to keep fighting to exhaust the invasion force. It hopes the ferocious battle will leave the Russians too depleted to hold gains elsewhere.
‘We need to break the occupiers’: Zelenskyy
Ukraine’s armed forces were undeterred in their efforts to “break” Russia’s will to pursue its ongoing war, Zelenskyy has said, after Putin hailed his military’s victory in the gruelling battle for Luhansk.
“There have been no significant changes on the battlefield in the past 24 hours,” Zelenskyy said in his 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.”
Earlier on Monday, Putin congratulated Russian forces on “victories in the Luhansk direction”, after his troops captured the town of Lysychansk, Ukraine’s last stronghold in the region.
Sweden’s PM meets Zelenskyy in Kyiv
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has met Ukraine’s president in Kyiv, with the two parties signing a joint statement on defence and energy cooperation.
“This is the first such document in the history of bilateral relations. The joint statement sets out key issues for both our states. This applies, in particular, to defence cooperation, sectoral cooperation in the fields of nuclear energy, energy efficiency, and financial support for Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said in a statement.
He also thanked Sweden for its humanitarian support for Ukraine.
“One hundred thousand Ukrainian citizens are in Sweden, and Sweden supports them. We will remember your sincere attention to the citizens of Ukraine in this difficult time of the Russian war,” he said.
Read all the updates from July 4 here.