Russia-Ukraine war latest: Zelenskiy says Borodyanka ‘much worse’ than Bucha; Kremlin admits ‘significant’ troop losses – live | World news
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Thursday that the situation in the town of Borodyanka was “much worse” than in nearby Bucha, where Russian forces’ suspected killings of civilians received global condemnation.
Officials believe more than 300 people were killed by Russian forces in Bucha, 35km northwest of the capital Kyiv, and around 50 of them were executed.
Moscow has denied targeting civilians and says images of bodies in Bucha were staged by the Ukrainian government to justify more sanctions against Moscow and derail peace negotiations.
“The work on dismantling the debris in Borodyanka began… It’s much worse there,” Zelenskiy said in a late-night national address.
The town is about 25 km from Bucha.
Zelenskiy did not provide any further detail or evidence that Russia was responsible for civilian deaths in the town.
Earlier on Thursday, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova, said 26 bodies had been found under two ruined buildings in Borodyanka.
She did not say if the authorities had established the cause of death, but accused Russian troops of carrying out airstrikes on the town, which is being searched by Ukrainian authorities after Russian troops occupying it withdrew.
Speaking in a televised briefing, Venediktova said:
Borodyanka is the worst in terms of destruction and in terms of the uncertainty about [the number of] victims.”
On Tuesday, Venediktova said the number of victims in Borodyanka would be higher than anywhere else, but did not provide further details.
Before we launch our new liveblog, here is a comprehensive rundown of where the situation currently stands:
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that the situation in the town of Borodyanka was “much worse” than in nearby Bucha, where Russian forces’ suspected killings of civilians received global condemnation. Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova, added: “Borodyanka is the worst in terms of destruction and in terms of the uncertainty about [the number of] victims.”
- Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova, said 26 bodies had been found under two ruined buildings in Borodyanka, a town about 25km west of Bucha. She did not say if the authorities had established the cause of death, but accused Russian troops of carrying out airstrikes on the town, which is being searched by Ukrainian authorities after Russian troops occupying it withdrew.
- Zelenskiy highlighted the bravery of his nation in his latest late-night national address. “Being brave is our brand,” he said, while calling for bolder sanctions on Russia. He also claimed Russian troops were preparing “elaborate propaganda scenarios” to make it look like civilians they had killed in Mariupol were killed by Ukrainian soldiers.
- Boris Johnson is set to meet the German Chancellor as they look to discuss how to help European countries wean themselves off Russian gas following the attack on Ukraine. Johnson will host Olaf Scholz at Downing Street on Friday, with a press conference planned for the afternoon, PA Media reports.
- The European Union approved an embargo on Russian coal imports and the closing of the bloc’s ports to Russian vessels over the Ukraine war. The measure will take effect from mid-August.
- In addition to the sanctions, the EU also backed a proposal to boost its funding of arms supplies to Ukraine by 500 million euros, taking it to a total of 1.5 billion euros.
- Ukraine is bracing for a renewed Russian offensive on its eastern front, as Russian forces withdraw from the shattered outskirts of Kyiv to regroup and intensify their attacks across the Donbas region. Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said the besieged southern city of Mariupol was holding out and that he believed the Russian efforts to surround Ukrainian troops in the east would be in vain. The mayor of Dnipro, a city in central-eastern Ukraine, urged women, children and elderly people to leave. Similar calls were made by authorities in the Luhansk region, east of Dnipro.
- The mayor of Mariupol, Vadym Boichenko, says more than 100,000 people still urgently need to be evacuated from the city. Speaking on national television, he described the situation in the Russian-besieged Ukrainian port city as a humanitarian catastrophe.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) said it had confirmed more than 100 attacks on health services in Ukraine, as it called for humanitarian access to the besieged city of Mariupol.
- The United Nations general assembly voted to suspend Russia from the UN human rights council over reports of “gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights” by invading Russian troops in Ukraine. Ninety-three countries voted in favour of the US-led motion, while 24 countries voted against and 58 countries abstained.
- Russia will probably renew its attack on Kyiv if it succeeds in taking full control of the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, the deputy chief of staff of Ukraine’s ground forces, Oleksandr Hruzevych, said. The Ukrainian deputy defence minister, Hanna Malyar, earlier warned that Russian forces were biding their time as Moscow ramped up intelligence operations there and learned how best to fight Ukrainian troops.
- US defence secretary Lloyd Austin contradicted these claims, saying he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin has given up on conquering Kyiv after his forces were beaten back by the Ukrainian military.
- General Mark Milley, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, said the war would be a “long slog” at the US Senate armed services committee in a hearing in Washington DC.
- Nato’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said allies had agreed to strengthen support for Ukraine, and were providing “a wide range” of weapon systems, as well as cybersecurity assistance and equipment to protect against chemical and biological threats. There was no sign Vladimir Putin intended to pull back, he added.
- The prospect of Finland and Sweden joining Nato was part of the discussion between foreign ministers from the military alliance in Brussels this week, a senior US State Department official said.
- Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, called for more heavy weaponry from western allies and “ruinous” sanctions against Moscow, warning: “Either you help us now – and I’m speaking about days, not weeks – or your help will come too late, and many people will die.”
- German intelligence agencies have intercepted radio messages from Russian soldiers discussing the killings of civilians in Ukraine, according to reports. Two separate communications are said to have been intercepted in which Russian soldiers describe how they question soldiers as well as civilians, and then proceed to shoot them, the Washington Post cited an intelligence official as saying.
- Russia has imposed sanctions on Australian and New Zealand citizens, including their prime ministers, the Russian foreign ministry announced.
- Fox News correspondent Benjamin Hall, who was wounded in Ukraine during an attack that killed two of his colleagues, said on Thursday that he had sustained serious injuries but felt “pretty damn lucky” to have survived.
Russia has imposed sanctions on Australian and New Zealand citizens, including their prime ministers, the Russian foreign ministry announced.
Entry bans have been imposed on 228 Australian government members and lawmakers, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in response to sanctions from Canberra.
The ministry published a list of 228 Australian lawmakers and government members who were barred from entering Russia on Thursday.
It said Australia “obediently follows the decisions of the West” and has decided to sanction Russia’s top managers and almost all of its deputies.
“In the near future, members of the Australian army, businesspeople, experts and members of the media who have contributed to the formation of negative attitudes towards Russia will also be included in the blacklist and announced.”
And a total of 130 New Zealand citizens, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Governor-General Cynthia Kiro and members of the government and parliament were also banned from Russia because of their unfriendly actions against Russia as a matter of reciprocity.
The ministry said the sanctions took effect Thursday.
Fox News reporter Benjamin Hall, who was injured in an attack outside Kyiv, has posted on Twitter about his injuries and paid tribute to his colleagues Sasha and Pierre who were killed.
The United States has blacklisted two Russian state-owned enterprises, United Shipbuilding Corp and the Alrosa diamond mining company, denying them access to the US financial system over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Treasury Department said on Thursday.
“Through these designations, Treasury is cutting off additional sources of support and revenue for the Government of the Russian Federation to wage its unprovoked war against Ukraine,” the US officials said in a press release.
Australia has sent its first convoy of 20 refitted Bushmaster vehicles to Ukraine on aircraft C-17 Globemasters leaving Brisbane on Friday.
It is part of a $50m support package worth of military vehicles to the country.
The armoured vehicles have been repainted olive green with Ukraine’s flag stencilled on each side and the words ‘United with Ukraine’ emblazoned in both English and Ukrainian in a pledge of solidarity.
“Australia may be thousands of kilometres away but we’re standing side by side with Ukraine against this illegal invasion with arms, equipment, aid and even energy sources,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
“Our Australian-designed and made Bushmasters are known around the world for their usefulness in a combat zone and they will help boost Ukraine’s defence against Russia’s unprovoked and illegal violence.”
Boris Johnson is set to meet the German Chancellor as they look to discuss how to help European countries wean themselves off Russian gas following the attack on Ukraine.
The prime minister will host Olaf Scholz at Downing Street on Friday, with a press conference planned for the afternoon, PA Media reports.
Johnson is expected to offer assistance to Berlin, which is still heavily reliant on Russian gas, to reduce its dependence on Moscow’s energy exports in a bid to starve Vladimir Putin’s war machine of funds.
It comes after UK foreign secretary Liz Truss, following a meeting of Nato counterparts in Brussels on Thursday, said she hoped to see “more countries” commit to banning Russian energy imports.
The UK has pledged to end all imports of Russian coal and oil by the end of 2022, with gas to follow as soon as possible.
Germany has faced criticism from Ukraine and other European nations, including Poland, with claims it has been too slow to phase out Russian energy.
Robert Habeck, the German economy and energy minister, has announced plans to stop importing oil and coal from Russia this year, and gas by mid-2024.
Kyiv earlier called for more heavy weaponry from its western allies, warning that the battle for Donbas will remind Nato members of the second world war.
“Either you help us now – and I’m speaking about days, not weeks – or your help will come too late, and many people will die,” Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, told a meeting of his counterparts in the alliance in Brussels on Thursday.
Watch Kuleba’s address in the video below.
Microsoft Corp said it disrupted hacking attempts by Russian military spies aimed at breaking into Ukrainian, European Union, and American targets.
In a blog post, the tech firm said a group it nicknamed ‘Strontium’ was using seven internet domains as part of an effort to spy on government bodies and think tanks in the EU and the United States, as well as Ukrainian institutions such as media organisations.
Microsoft did not identify any of the targets by name.
Strontium is Microsoft’s moniker for a group others often call Fancy Bear or APT28 – a hacking squad linked to Russia’s military intelligence agency.
The United States has sharply increased the number of Ukrainians admitted to the country at the Mexican border as more refugees fleeing the Russian invasion follow the same route.
The number of Ukrainians arriving at the US-Mexico border to seek asylum in the United States since Russia’s invasion of its neighbour has more than doubled in less than a week, officials said.
A government recreation centre in the Mexican border city of Tijuana grew to about 1,000 refugees on Thursday, according to city officials. A canopy under which children played soccer only two days earlier was packed with people in rows of chairs and lined with bunk beds, the Associated Press reports.
Tijuana has suddenly become a final stop for Ukrainians seeking refuge in the United States, where they are drawn by friends and families ready to host them and are convinced that the US will be a more suitable haven than Europe.
US President Joe Biden said late last month his country would receive up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.
British rock band Pink Floyd has released a new song to raise money for humanitarian relief in Ukraine, featuring the vocals of a Ukrainian singer who quit an international tour to fight for his country and was wounded.
The single ‘Hey Hey, Rise Up’ – Pink Floyd’s first original new music in almost 30 years – was recorded last week and highlights singing by Andriy Khlyvnyuk from Ukrainian band Boombox.
Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour said he learned that Khlyvnyuk – with whom he had previously performed – left a US tour with Boombox and returned to Ukraine to join the Territorial Defence Forces.
“Then I saw this incredible video on Instagram, where he stands in a square in Kyiv with this beautiful gold-domed church and sings in the silence of a city with no traffic or background noise because of the war,” Gilmour said on Pink Floyd’s website.
“It was a powerful moment that made me want to put it to music.”
Gilmour said he spoke with Khlyvnyuk while he was in a hospital in Kyiv recovering from a mortar shrapnel injury.
“I played him a little bit of the song down the phone line and he gave me his blessing. We both hope to do something together in person in the future,” he said.
Gilmour said he had a Ukrainian daughter-in-law and grandchildren and he was feeling “the fury and the frustration” of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.