Street fighting between Ukrainian and Russian troops raged in the industrial city of Sievierodonetsk as Moscow’s forces pushed to conquer Ukraine’s eastern Donbas, seeking a decisive win more than 100 days into the invasion.
* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed for more weapons to arrive faster, saying things could become very difficult for Ukraine if Russian forces broke through frontlines in Donbas, the eastern region where Sievierodonetsk is the main city not in Russian hands.
* Zelenskyy said on Monday that Russian forces had the numerical advantage in the battle for Sievierodonetsk, but that Ukraine’s forces had “every chance” of fighting back. * In its nightly update, the Ukrainian military said two civilians were killed in Russian shelling in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions on Monday and that Russian forces had fired at more than 20 communities.
* Ukraine’s defence ministry said on Monday that Russian forces were also advancing towards Sloviansk, which lies about 85 km (53 miles) to the west of Sievierodonetsk.
* Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield reports. Russia denies targeting civilians in the conflict.
DIPLOMACY AND WEAPONS
* Russia imposed sanctions on 61 US officials including US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, in retaliation for “constantly expanding US sanctions”, the foreign ministry said.
* Russia should not close the US embassy in Moscow because the world’s two biggest nuclear powers must continue to talk, the US ambassador was quoted as saying on Monday. The Kremlin said it was interested in bilateral nuclear arms talks though they were unlikely to take place at this time.
* Britain said it would supply Ukraine with multiple-launch rocket systems that can strike targets up to 80 km (50 miles)away. Zelenskyy expressed gratitude.
* President Vladimir Putin earlier said Russia would strike new targets in Ukraine if the West supplied the country with longer-range missiles. His foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said it would also respond by pushing back Ukrainian forces further from Russia’s border.
Zelenskyy said up to 75 million tonnes of grain could be stuck in Ukraine by this autumn, and that Kyiv wanted anti-ship weapons that could secure safe passage for its exports.
“Sorry, that was the last bottle of Czech beer we had” -said a waiter at a central Moscow restaurant, a sign that once ample Russian reserves of foreign alcohol are dwindling.