Russia gave the most sombre assessment so far of its invasion of Ukraine, describing the “tragedy” of mounting troop losses and the economic hit from sanctions, as Ukrainians were evacuated from eastern cities before an anticipated major offensive.
* Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia had sustained “significant losses” in Ukraine.
* British military intelligence said Russian forces were shelling cities in the east and south and had advanced further south from the city of Izium, which is under their control. Reuters could not immediately verify the report.
* The governor of Ukraine’s eastern region of Luhansk said on Friday Russia was accumulating forces in the country’s east but had not broken through Ukrainian defences.
* Capturing Mariupol is still the main focus of Russian troops and Russian battalions are blockading and bombarding the northeastern city of Kharkiv, the Ukrainian military said.
* The United States will send new weapon systems to Ukraine, after NATO foreign ministers agreed to accelerate arms deliveries. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned of a war that could last months or even years.
CASUALTIES OF CONFLICT
* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the situation in Borodyanka, a town northwest of Kyiv, was “significantly more dreadful” than in Bucha, where Ukraine and the West say Russian troops killed civilians in what amounted to war crimes. He did not cite any evidence. Moscow denies targetting civilians.
* Video from Borodianka showed search and rescue teams using heavy equipment to dig through the rubble of a building that collapsed. Hundreds of people were feared buried.
* A social media video verified by Reuters and geo-located to an area west of Kyiv appears to show Ukrainian forces shooting and killing a captured and badly wounded Russian soldier.
* Ukraine said it aimed to establish up to 10 humanitarian corridors to evacuate trapped civilians on Friday, but civilians trying to flee besieged Mariupol will have to use private vehicles.
* At least 160 000 civilians remain trapped in Mariupol without power and with little food or running water, the city mayor said, putting the civilian death toll in the city at about 5 000. Reuters was not able to verify the numbers.
* Mariupol’s mayor said 40 000 residents had been forcibly deported to Russia, which says the arrivals are refugees.
* The United Nations General Assembly voted to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council and voiced grave concern at the continuing human rights and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. Russia called the move illegal.
* Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said Kyiv presented Moscow with a draft peace deal that contained “unacceptable” elements that deviated from a previous proposal.
* Ukraine and Russia are “constantly” holding peace talks online but the mood has been affected by events including the deaths of civilians in Bucha, Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said on Friday.
* European Union envoys reached a political deal on Thursday to ban imports of Russian coal which will immediately prevent the signing of new contracts with a phase-out of existing contracts until mid-August.
UNDP warns that Ukraine could lose 2 decades of developmental gains
The United Nations Development Programme has warned that almost two decades of developmental gains could be lost if the war in Ukraine becomes protracted.
In a conversation with the SABC’s Sherwin Bryce-Pease, the head of UNDP also pointed to a worst-case scenario where $100 billion worth of infrastructure from roads to hospitals and schools could be destroyed and where 9 in 10 Ukrainians face poverty and extreme economic vulnerability.
But it’s also the ripple effects of the war – on exports, food security, supply chains and energy costs that have placed many developing economies at heightened risk that leads Achim Steiner to take the view that the world is facing an intensely tragic moment. Here now that exclusive conversation with the UN’s third highest-ranking official.
* “I think the deal that Ukraine is offering is fair. You give us weapons, we sacrifice our lives, and the war is contained in Ukraine,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.
* “The whole world is not comfortable. Do you think that anyone should be comfortable with this crisis?” Zhang Jun, the United Nations ambassador of Russia’s strategic partner China, in response to remarks by his US counterpart.