Ukraine news – live: Kyiv accuses Russia of ‘terrorism’ as 19 killed in apartment strike

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Ukraine has accused Russia of carrying out “terrorism” after 19 people, including two children, were killed in a missile strike on an apartment block.

Video of the pre-dawn assault showed the charred remains of a nine-story buildings in the small town of Serhiivka, around 31 miles south-west of Odesa in western Ukraine.

“A terrorist country is killing our people. In response to defeats on the battlefield, they fight civilians,” Andriy Yermak, the chief of staff to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said.

The Kremlin has denied Moscow targeted the building, insisting “the Russian Armed Forces do not work with civilian targets”.

The attack comes after Russian forces withdrew from the strategically important Snake Island on Thursday, a move Ukrainians hoped would ease the threat to nearby Odesa.

Key Points

  • Children among 18 dead in apartment block strike, Odesa officials say

  • Boris Johnson plays down Putin’s nuclear threats

  • Kremlin refuses to rule out Putin attending G20 summit

  • Russia ordered to prevent death sentence of captured Britons

  • Russia withdraws troops from Snake Island

Death toll from Odesa apartment block strike rises to 19

11:13 , Tom Barnes

Ukraine authorities now say 19 people have died, including two children, in a Russian strike on an appartment block near Odesa.

“A terrorist country is killing our people. In response to defeats on the battlefield, they fight civilians,” Andriy Yermak, the chief of staff to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said.

The Kremlin has denied Moscow targeted the building, insisting “the Russian Armed Forces do not work with civilian targets”.

The attack comes after Russian forces withdrew from the strategically important Snake Island on Thursday, a move Ukrainians hoped would ease the threat to nearby Odesa.

Russia-backed separatists say they will start using death penalty from 2025 in new criminal code

11:02 , Reuters

Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine where two Britons and a Moroccan have been sentenced to death say the death penalty will start being used from 2025, according to an updated criminal code of the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).

The DPR has had the death penalty on its statute books since 2014, but no legislation outlining how to enforce it until now. Rights group Amnesty International, which tracks the use of the death penalty worldwide, has not recorded any instances of official executions in the region.

A court in the DPR in June sentenced two Britons - Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner - and Moroccan Brahim Saadoun to death for “mercenary activities” after they were captured fighting with Ukrainian forces. Their lawyers say they will appeal the decision, which was handed down after a hasty non-jury trial with no access for independent or international media.

It was unclear what the new rules - outlined in an updated version of the DPR’s criminal executive code that was published on the website of the breakaway entity’s legislature - would mean for the men. Their lawyers were not immediately available for comment.

The new criminal code, in effect from Friday, also states that the death penalty should be carried out by firing squad and that the head of the Russian-backed separatist republic has the final say on issuing pardons to anybody sentenced to death.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said on Thursday it had issued an order to Russia to ensure that the men do not face the death penalty. The Kremlin said it was not bound by rulings from the ECHR, from which Russia has pulled out since it launched its invasion of Ukraine.

Moscow denies striking apartments near Ukraine's Odesa

10:57 , Reuters

The Kremlin dismissed allegations that Russian missiles had struck an apartment building near the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odesa early on Friday.

Ukrainian authorities said Russian missiles had hit an apartment building and two holiday camps, killing at least 18 people and wounding dozens.

“I would like to remind you of the president’s words that the Russian Armed Forces do not work with civilian targets,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on a conference call with reporters.

Russian forces capture Lysychansk oil refinery, Moscow claims

10:42 , Tom Barnes

Russian state sources are claiming troops have caputured the Lysychansk oil refinery, the second-largest refinery in Ukraine.

The state-owned RIA news agency quoted Russia’s defence ministry as saying the refinery was now under its control, although details could not be immediately verified.

Russia has been targeting the refinery since May, but had upped its offensive in the area in recent days.

EU flag raised in Ukrainian parliament

10:27 , Tom Barnes

The EU flag was raised in the Ukrainian parliament after the country was granted candidate status to join the bloc.

MPs applauded at the flag was carried into the Verkhovna Rada by soldiers on Friday morning.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen told Ukraine’s parliament the country now had a "very clear European perspective" but the road to EU membership will take time and require hard work, in a speech on Friday.

EU leaders last week granted Ukraine candidate status to join the bloc, formally opening a process that is expected to take years before it becomes a member of the union that now comprises 27 countries.

More photos emerge from deadly apartment bombing

09:52 , Tom Barnes

Ukrainian officials have released more images showing the damage caused by the bombing of an apartment block near Odesa this morning.

 (AP)
(AP)
 (via REUTERS)
(via REUTERS)
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Ukraine releases more footage of missile strike on mall

09:32 , Tom Barnes

Ukraine has released new footage of shoppers diving for cover the moment a Russian missile hit a busy mall.

Video captured by CCTV cameras shows terrified customers running for their lives moments after the attack at the Amstor mall in Kremenchuk, central Ukraine on Monday.

A missile can be seen flying towards the building in footage from outside the shopping centre. Seconds later, a huge explosion takes place, throwing debris high into the air.

Before the strike, shoppers can be seen calmly browsing busy stores and walking around the exterior of the mall.

The footage calls into question Russia’s claims the mall was “non-functioning” and was being used to store ammunition.

Russia ‘a state sponsor of terror’, Ukraine says after apartment strike

09:07 , Tom Barnes

Ukraine says Russia should be recognised as a state sponsor of terrorism following a missile strike on an apartment block this morning left at least 18 people dead, including two children.

Video of the pre-dawn attack showed the charred remains of buildings in the small town of Serhiivka, located about 30 miles southwest of Odesa. Ukrainian news reports said missiles struck a multi-story apartment building and a resort area.

“[Russian] terrorists attacked Odesa region last night. According to Operational Command South and Odesa RMA, at least 18 people died,” Ukraine’s defence ministry said on Twitter.

“These are the same X-22 missiles that were fired at the mall in #Kremenchuk. It’s time to officially recognise russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.”

Ukraine 'now has clear European perspective', EU's von der Leyen says

08:40 , Tom Barnes

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Ukraine now has a “very clear European perspective” following the European Union’s decision to grant the country candidate status to join the bloc, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said in a speech to the Ukrainian parliament.

“Ukraine now has a very clear European perspective. And Ukraine is a candidate country to join the European Union something that seemed almost unimaginable just five months ago,” von der Leyen said in a speech by video-link to the assembly on Friday.

“So today is first and foremost. A moment to celebrate this historic milestone, a victory of determination and resolve and a victory for the whole movement that started eight years ago on the Maidan,” she added.

Children among 18 dead in apartment block strike, Odesa officials say

08:24 , Tom Barnes

Russian missile attacks on residential buildings in Odesa early Friday killed at least 18 people, including two children, authorities have said.

The deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Kirill Tymoshenko, said 18 people died, including two children.

A spokesman for the Odesa regional government, Serhiy Bratchuk, said on the Telegram messaging app that another 30 had been injured.Ukrainian news reports said the target of the missile attack was a multi-story apartment building and a recreational area.

ICYMI: Key developments in the Ukraine conflict yesterday

07:54 , Tom Barnes

Haven’t had a chance to catch up on the latest headlines from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? Here were the key developments in the conflict yesterday.

Russian forces retreat from Snake Island

Russian forces have withdrawn from Snake Island off Ukraine’s coast in the Black Sea as a “gesture of goodwill”, its defence ministry announced.

Deadly airstrike on Mariupol theatre a ‘clear war crime’, Amnesty inquiry finds

Russian forces committed a “clear war crime” in Ukraine’s coastal city of Mariupol when they launched a deadly airstrike on a theatre they knew was sheltering hundreds of civilians, according to a new investigation by Amnesty International.

Putin rejects Boris Johnson’s claim a woman wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine

Vladimir Putin dismissed Boris Johnson’s claim that he wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine if he were a woman, citing Margaret Thatcher’s decision to send troops to the Falklands.

Russian troops withdrew from Snake Island due to isolation, UK says

07:27 , Tom Barnes

Russian troops likely withdrew from the strategically significant Snake Island in western Ukraine due to their “increasingly vulnerability” to air strikes, the UK has said.

In its daily update on the situation in Ukriane, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) questioned Moscow’s claims it pulled troops from the island as a “gesture of goodwill”.

“The Ukrainian Armed Forces conducted attacks against the Russian garrison in the past few weeks using missile and drone strikes,” the MoD said. “In addition, it used anti-ship missiles to interdict Russian naval vessels attempting re-supply the island.”

“ Russia has highly likely withdrawn from Snake Island owing to the isolation of the garrison and its increasing vulnerability to Ukrainian strikes, rather than as a ‘gesture of good will’, as it has claimed.”

Hungary must radically increase its defence capabilities, says PM

07:13 , Arpan Rai

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban said that the country will speed up its defence development programme in a bid to end the ongoing war in Europe as soon as possible.

Speaking to state radio, Mr Orban said: “We must radically increase our defence capabilities.”

The prime minnister underlined Hungary’s interest seeking an end to the war in the neighbouring country as soon as possible.

Death toll in Russian missile strike climbs to 17

06:06 , Arpan Rai

The death toll in a Russian missile strike on an apartment building and a resort near Black Sea port of Odesa has reached 17, Ukrainian officials said.

The missile struck the building in Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi at around 1am on Friday, sparking fire in an attached store.

Three more people, including a child, were killed in a separate missile attack on a resort facility, said Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesperson for Odesa regional administration.

Satellite images show destroyed Snake Island after Russia leaves

06:00 , Arpan Rai

Ukraine marked its victory on Thursday after it drove Russian forces from the strategic Black Sea outpost of Snake Island.

The island was captured by Russia on its first day of invasion of Ukraine.

However, Russia said it withdrew from Snake Island as a “gesture of goodwill” and that it was not hindering UN’s attempts to open a humanitarian corridor for shipping grains from Ukraine.

Satellite imagery published by Maxar Technologies showed smoke emitting from burning vehicles and structures at several locations across the northern section of the island.

Closer view of northern end of island and burning pier and buildings on 30 June (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies.)
Closer view of northern end of island and burning pier and buildings on 30 June (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies.)
An overview of a bombarded and destroyed Snake Island on 30 June. Russia had captured the strategic Black Sea outpost of Snake Island on the first day of invasion. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)
An overview of a bombarded and destroyed Snake Island on 30 June. Russia had captured the strategic Black Sea outpost of Snake Island on the first day of invasion. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)
A closer view of the southern end of the Snake Island. Ukraine forces announced they had wrested control of the island back from Russia on Thursday. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies.)
A closer view of the southern end of the Snake Island. Ukraine forces announced they had wrested control of the island back from Russia on Thursday. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies.)
A coloured infrared image shows an overview of Snake Island in Ukraine. Fighters from Kyiv retook the control of the Snake Island, which Volodymyr Zelensky has called a strategic point which significantly changes the situation in the Black Sea. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)
A coloured infrared image shows an overview of Snake Island in Ukraine. Fighters from Kyiv retook the control of the Snake Island, which Volodymyr Zelensky has called a strategic point which significantly changes the situation in the Black Sea. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)

Situation in Donbas ‘toughest, extremely difficult’, says Zelensky

05:16 , Arpan Rai

Volodymyr Zelensky has said that the country’s fight in the east is fierce as Russia continues its weeks-long assualt to capture the separatist territory.

“The situation in Donbas remains the toughest, extremely difficult. The fire superiority of the occupiers is still extremely tangible - they have already taken everything from their reserves to hit us: the Luhansk region, the Donetsk region,” he said late on Thursday.

Mr Zelensky thanked the Ukrainian soldiers and said he is “grateful to everyone who defends our positions in such conditions”.

This is true heroism, he said.

He lauded the Ukrainian fighters including gunners, pilots of the army aviation and Air Force, the command of “Oleksandriya” for freeing the Snake Island from Russian forces after months.

“Undoubtedly, the main word today is Zmiinyi. Apparently, there was just as much talk about Zmiinyi only on the day when the Russian ship arrived there. Then the ship left - forever, and now the island is free again. I am grateful to the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine, the fighters of “Alpha”, I am grateful to our gunners, pilots of the army aviation and Air Force, the command of ‘Oleksandriya’,” he said.

He added that the island, known as Zmiinyi Island in Ukraine, is a strategic point, and “significantly changes the situation in the Black Sea”.

“It does not guarantee safety yet, it does not yet guarantee that the enemy will not return. But it already limits the actions of the occupiers significantly. Step by step, we will drive them out of our sea, our land, and our sky,” Mr Zelensky said.

Russian missile strike on Odesa port kills 10

04:32 , Arpan Rai

At least 10 people were killed after a Russian missile struck Ukraine’s southern port of Odesa early on Friday, regional official confirmed.

Preliminary reports indicated that at least six people, including three children, died in the night-time strike on a residential building.

Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesperson for Odesa’s regional administration said: “The number of dead as a result of a strike on a multi-story apartment building has now risen to 10.”

This comes just hours after Ukraine expelled Russian forces from the key Black Sea outpost of Snake Island.

The missile had struck a nine-story apartment building in Ukraine’s Black Sea port, following which a section of the building collapsed.

Officials said that a rescue operation was underway as some people were reported buried under the ruble.

Western leaders, including Boris Johnson, would look ‘disgusting’ topless, says Putin

03:00 , Emily Atkinson

A thin-skinned Vladimir Putin has hit back at the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other Western leaders who mocked his tough-man topless exploits, with the Russian leader claiming they would look “disgusting” if they tried to copy him.

Earlier this week, Mr Johnson jested that G7 leaders could take their clothes off to “show that we’re tougher than Putin” amid Russia-West tensions over Moscow’s military action in Ukraine.

He added that we need to “show our pecs”.

David Harding has more:

Putin says Boris Johnson topless would be a ‘disgusting sight’

Watch: Ukrainian soldiers train on range of complex weapons with British Army in UK

02:00 , Emily Atkinson

Opinion: We deserve a say in the role Britain plays in Ukraine

01:00 , Emily Atkinson

Let’s start with the headline that the government and the prime minister have helpfully provided: “The UK will provide an additional £1bn of military support to Ukraine.” What will it be spent on, Mary Dejevsky asks.

We deserve a say in the role Britain plays in Ukraine | Mary Dejevsky

US blocks trust which held property interest of sanctioned Russian oligarch

Friday 1 July 2022 00:11 , Emily Atkinson

The US treasury department has blocked a trust where sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov held a property interest.

“The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced it has issued a Notification of Blocked Property to Heritage Trust, a Delaware-based trust in which OFAC-designated Russian oligarch Suleiman Abusaidovich Kerimov holds a property interest,” the Treasury Department said in a statement.

The trust held assets valued at over $1 billion as of Thursday, it added.

Boris Johnson’s 2030 military spending pledge ‘feeble’, say senior Tories

Thursday 30 June 2022 23:00 , Emily Atkinson

Boris Johnson sought to heal a cabinet rift by promising to hike defence spending to 2.5 per cent of Britain’s economic output by the end of the decade.

The prime minister wrapped up the Nato summit in Madrid with a pledge that could see more than £55bn added to military budgets this decade, following Ben Wallace’s pleas for more money.

However, senior Conservatives said the PM’s ambition remained “feeble” and the target too far off, given the gravity of the immediate threat from Vladimir Putin’s Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

Adam Forrest reports:

Boris Johnson’s 2030 military spending pledge ‘feeble’, say senior Tories

Watch: Liz Truss says Putin's 'rhetoric' and its threat towards Nato should be ignored

Thursday 30 June 2022 22:03 , Emily Atkinson

Vladimir Putin loses his 57th colonel in just four months of war

Thursday 30 June 2022 20:45 , Emily Atkinson

Vladimir Putin has lost another colonel - the 57th in just four months of war, as fighting intensifies in eastern Ukraine.

Lieutenant Colonel Pavel Kislyakov, 40, was buried on Thursday with full military honours in his hometown in the Moscow region.

Kislyakov, commander of a prestigious unit of Russian paratroopers, is the 57th known colonel to have been killed since president Putin ordered his troops to launch a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Thomas Kingsley has more:

Vladimir Putin loses his 57th colonel in just four months of war

Boris Johnson plays down Putin’s nuclear threats

Thursday 30 June 2022 20:20 , Emily Atkinson

Boris Johnson has played down the estimated 35 nuclear threats made by president Vladimir Putin since the start his military operation - insisting instead that he would be able to overcome Ukrainian resistance by conventional means.

In an interview marking the end of the Nato summit in Spain, Mr Johnson told LBC’s Nick Ferrari : “I think it’s very, very important that we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be side-tracked by this kind of sabre-rattling.

“Because fundamentally, what Putin is trying to do is to reframe this as about Russia versus Nato.

“It’s not. It’s about his attack on an entirely innocent country, with conventional weapons, with artillery, bombardments with planes, shells and so on.

“And it’s about the Ukrainians’ right to protect themselves. That is what this is about.

“And what we had today at Nato was, yet again, the alliance being tested, being asked, being interrogated. Are we resolved? Are we determined? Will we give the Ukrainians the means to protect themselves?

“And the answer was absolutely yes and, if anything, the strength of the unity is greater than it was before.”

Putin can hold onto power in Russia if he backs down over Ukraine, Boris Johnson says

Thursday 30 June 2022 19:55 , Emily Atkinson

Vladimir Putin still has a way to get out of the war in Ukraine without losing his grip on power in Moscow, Boris Johnson has suggested.

Ever since Russia’s invasion of its neighbour on 24 February, Mr Johnson has made clear that, while supporting Ukraine’s efforts to drive Putin’s troops out of the country, he was not seeking regime change in the Kremlin.

He has previously been critical of Western leaders, like France’s Emmanuel Macron, who have suggested that Putin must be offered a ladder to climb down to allow him to end the conflict without losing face.

Our political editor Andrew Woodcock has the story:

Putin can hold onto power in Russia if he backs down over Ukraine, Boris Johnson says

Russian strikes more than double in fortnight, Kyiv claims

Thursday 30 June 2022 19:30 , Emily Atkinson

Missile strikes have more than doubled over the last fortnight, figures show.

It comes a Ukrainian brigadier general said on Thursday that Moscow was using inaccurate Soviet-era missiles for more than half of the attacks.

General Oleksii Hromov estimated that 68 civilian sites had been hit in the second half of this month.

Watch: Russian oil transfers off England's coast

Thursday 30 June 2022 19:05 , Emily Atkinson

Ankara seeks intensified efforts for lasting Ukraine ceasefire

Thursday 30 June 2022 18:40 , Emily Atkinson

Efforts must be intensified for a lasting ceasefire in Ukraine, Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan has said.

He was speaking at a news conference in Madrid at the end of a Nato summit on Thursday.

UK ‘underspend’ on climate crisis to be used to bolster military aid for Ukraine

Thursday 30 June 2022 18:15 , Emily Atkinson

The UK’s expanded £1bn commitment to military aid for Ukraine will be partly funded through underspending on climate finance, the business minister Kwasi Kwarteng has said.

Following the British government’s announcement it would nearly double support to Ukraine to help stave off the Russian invasion, Mr Kwarteng tweeted: “My department has contributed to the effort by surrendering climate finance and foreign aid underspends.”

The admission comes a month after The Independent revealed the UK government failed to deliver almost a quarter of a billion pounds in green projects aimed at hitting net zero emissions even as Boris Johnson urged governments around the world to drastically raise their investment in tackling the climate crisis.

Our environment correspondent Harry Cockburn reports:

UK ‘underspend’ on climate crisis to be used to bolster military aid for Ukraine

Putin downplays Ukraine grain blockage

Thursday 30 June 2022 17:50 , Emily Atkinson

Vladimir Putin has denied that Moscow was blocking Ukrainian grain exports and questioned the impact of missing Ukrainian agricultural goods on the world food market.

“We do not prevent the export of Ukrainian grain. The Ukrainian military has mined the approaches to their ports, no one prevents them from clearing those mines and we guarantee the safety of shipping grain out of there,” Putin said, speaking alongside visiting Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Putin repeated Russia’s assertion that Western sanctions are to blame for problems on the global food market and rising prices.

He also downplayed Ukraine‘s impact on the global market, saying there were only 5 million tonnes of wheat currently stuck in the country.

“This is a quantity which does not affect the world markets in any way,” he added, saying it represented just 0.5 per cent of global production.

Reuters