Ukraine war latest: Enormous price for Russia’s ‘victory’, a Snake Island flag, and the cost of Ukraine’s recovery
Vladimir Putin’s forces have claimed a key region in Ukraine’s east, but it has come at an “enormous cost”, while Ukrainian leaders call for Russian oligarchs’ seized assets to fund their nation’s recovery.
Here is the latest on the war.
Snake Island, the Ukraine flag and a fight over grain
The infamous island (known for a reported exchange between Russian forces and Ukrainian guards at the start of the war that ended with “Russian warship, go f*** yourself”) is about to have a symbolic moment.
A helicopter has dropped a Ukrainian flag on the strategic outpost — but it won’t be hoisted until troops get there.
Why is the island crucial? Its location:
With Russia blockading the key Ukrainian-held port of Odesa, critical grain exports to the rest of the world haven’t been getting out.
And some analysts have said Russia’s withdrawal from the island could loosen its hold on shipping movements.
But a Kyiv-based foreign diplomat told Reuters it was still not enough to allow for safe transit of Ukrainian grain.
Russia said it had pulled out from the island last week as a “gesture of goodwill” to show it was not obstructing United Nations attempts to open a humanitarian corridor to allow grain shipments out.
Here’s what else is going on
- Vladimir Putin officially declared victory in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk, one day after Ukrainian forces withdrew from Lysychansk, their last remaining bulwark of resistance in the province
- Some military experts reckoned the hard-fought victory had brought the Russians little strategic gain
- An intelligence briefing from the British Defence Ministry noted that Russian forces will “now almost certainly” switch to capturing neighbouring Donetsk
- And Ukraine needs $750 billion for a recovery plan, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told a Ukraine Recovery Conference hosted by Switzerland
The latest pictures
And these images show the cost of the fighting in Lysychansk:
Neil Melvin, from the RUSI think tank in London, said the key battle was still to come.
“This has taken 60 days to make very slow progress,” he said.
And the cost for Ukrainians is shown on the faces of those left behind, as troops are farewelled in the western city of Ivano-Frankivsk:
The war in maps
Since claiming Luhansk, Russia is stepping up its attacks in Donetsk, the other part of the wider Donbas region they’re been fighting Ukraine over since 2014.
So where are the latest conflict points?
The Ukrainian General Staff said Russian forces were now focusing their efforts on pushing toward the line of Siversk and Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, about half of which is already controlled by Russia.
And Russian forces have intensified artillery attacks on Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, deeper in Donetsk.
Six people, including a nine-year-old girl, were killed in Russian shelling of Sloviansk deep in the Donetsk region, and another 19 people were wounded, according to local authorities
Vadym Lyakh, the mayor of Sloviansk, said the shelling there means: “It’s now important to evacuate as many people as possible.”
Who said what?
Vladimir Putin’s brief TV appearance showed him congratulating Russian forces on their “victories in the Luhansk direction”.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy used his nightly address to call for the “colossal funds” needed for recovery, and said the nation’s forces wouldn’t give up.
The last word
Here’s Ukraine’s Prime Minister, Denys Shmygal, on using confiscated assets of Russian oligarchs to fund their nation’s recovery: