- Russian missile strikes on residential areas in Ukraine’s southwestern Odesa region have killed at least 18 people, including two children, Kyiv says.
- Friday’s attacks come a day after Russia announced its troops had withdrawn from the Black Sea outpost of Snake Island as a “gesture of goodwill”.
- Ukraine has a “very clear European perspective”, the European Commission chief says, following the EU’s decision to grant Kyiv candidacy status.
- Russian forces have captured part of an oil refinery in Lysychansk, according to a Ukrainian official, as Moscow presses for control of the eastern city.
Here are the latest updates:
Erdogan says Nordic nations must fulfill NATO deal: Report
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been quoted as saying that Finland and Sweden must keep promises made to Ankara in exchange for its backing over their NATO membership bids or risk losing his government’s support.
Speaking to reporters on a flight back from the NATO summit in Madrid, Erdogan said there was no need to rush ratifying the two Nordic countries’ bids to join the alliance through Turkey’s parliament.
Ankara should first see if they keep promises made under the memorandum, including on extraditing suspects sought by Turkey, he said.
“This should be known: these signatures don’t mean the issue is done… Without our parliament’s approval, this does not go into effect. So there is no need to rush,” Turkish broadcaster NTV quoted Erdogan as saying. “The ball is in their court now. Sweden and Finland are not NATO members currently.”
Timeline: Week 18 of Russia’s war in Ukraine
Click here for Al Jazeera’s rundown on the major events that marked the 18th week of the war in Ukraine.
Russia’s decree on Sakhalin-2 project not a requisition: Japan
Japan doesn’t consider Russia’s decree on the Sakhalin-2 gas and oil project as a requisition, the country’s minister of economy, trade and industry has said.
The Japanese government believes the decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin is asking current stakeholders whether they agree to hand over all rights of the project to a new company, Koichi Hagiuda told reporters.
Putin signed the decree on Thursday to take charge of the Sakhalin-2 project in Russia’s far east, a move that could force Shell and Japan’s Mitsui and Mitsubishi to abandon their investments in the project.
EU chief urges Ukraine to speed anti-corruption reform
The president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has urged Ukraine to press forward with anti-corruption reforms on the path to EU membership.
“You have created an impressive anti-corruption machine,” she told the lawmakers by video link. “But now these institutions need teeth, and the right people in senior posts.”
Von der Leyen’s warm address heaped praise on Ukraine’s parliament and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government for their swift and successful push to become candidates for EU membership.
Ukraine ‘now has clear European perspective’: EU’s von der Leyen
Ukraine now has a “very clear European perspective” following the European Union’s decision to grant the country candidate status to join the bloc, von der Leyen has 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.
Thank you President @ZelenskyyUA for inviting me to address this special session of @ua_parliament.
Ukrainians are fighting back bravely.
Europe will do everything in our power to help Ukraine win this war.
And we will not rest until you prevail.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) July 1, 2022
Russia’s Snake Island withdrawal based on troop vulnerability, not goodwill: UK
Russia withdrew its troops from Snake Island due to their vulnerability to Ukrainian strikes, as well as their isolation – as Ukraine’s anti-ship missiles often prevented Russian naval vessels from resuppling the island – rather than Moscow’s claimed “gesture of good will,” the United Kingdom’s defence ministry has said.
“The Ukrainian Armed Forces conducted attacks against the Russian garrison in the past few weeks using missile and drone strikes. In addition, it used anti-ship missiles to interdict Russian naval vessels attempting re-supply the island,” the ministry said in its latest intelligence briefing on Twitter.
Russia’s defence ministry announced its forces had withdrawn from Snake Island, which Russia had seized on the first day of the invasion, on Thursday. The island sits along the main shipping lanes to Odesa and its adjacent ports,” the UK’s ministry said.
“Separately, Russian ground forces claim to have captured the village of Pryvilla, north-west of the contested Donbas town of Lysychansk,” the ministry added.
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 1 July 2022
Find out more about the UK government’s response: https://t.co/LarzZ93o7q
🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/AK8aX1SBFi
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) July 1, 2022
Russian forces capture part of Lysychansk oil refinery: Governor
Russian forces have captured part of the Lysychansk oil refinery, some 17km southwest of the city, the governor of Luhansk has said.
“The occupiers are storming the Lysychansk oil refinery, holding the north-western and south-eastern parts of the plant,” Serhiy Haidai wrote on Telegram.
Moscow’s troops are still attempting to surround Ukraine’s military in Lysychansk, the military’s last stronghold in Luhansk, attacking the city from the south and west, he said, adding that this was “in vain”. He said Russian forces had also so far failed to capture the highway connecting Lysychansk to Bakhmut in the neighbouring Donetsk region.
“Residents of Lysychansk spend almost 24 hours in basements and houses. The shelling of the city is very dense,” he added.
Russian strikes kill at least 18 in Odesa region: Ukrainian officials
Russian missile attacks on residential areas in a coastal town near the Ukrainian port city of Odesa have killed at least 18 people, including two children, according to Ukrainian authorities.
Video of the pre-dawn attack showed the charred remains of buildings in the small town of Serhiivka, located about 50 kilometers (31 miles) southwest of Odesa. Ukrainian news reports said missiles struck a multi-story apartment building and a resort area.
“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 Zelenskyy 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.
Sixteen of the 18 victims died in the strike on the apartment building, Ukrainian emergency officials said. Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilians during its offensive.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify the death toll from the reported incidents.
Russia hit 68 civilians sites in second half of June: General
A Ukrainian brigadier general has estimated that Russia hit 68 civilian sites in the second half of June.
Oleksii Hromov earlier said the number of Russian missile strikes on Ukraine had more than doubled in the last two weeks and that Moscow was using inaccurate Soviet-era missiles for more than half of the attacks.
Russia used a Soviet-era Kh-22 missile in the attack on the crowded shopping mall in the central city of Kremenchuk on Monday, which killed at least 18 people, according to Ukrainian authorities.
Russia consistently denies targeting civilians.
Basketball star Griner trial to start in Russia
US basketball player Brittney Griner is due to go on trial in Russia on Friday on drug charges that could see her face up to 10 years in jail, in a case that highlights the fraught relations between Moscow and Washington.
Griner, a star player in the US-based Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on February 17, just days before Russia invaded Ukraine, unleashing a broader confrontation with the West.
Russian authorities said the 31-year-old was carrying vape cartridges containing hashish oil, a substance illegal in the country. She was charged with smuggling a large quantity of drugs, an offence that can carry up to 10 years in jail.
US officials and a score of athletes have called for the release of Griner – or “BG” as she is known in the basketball community. They say she has been wrongfully detained and should be immediately returned to her family in the US.
Seven wounded in Odesa missile strike: Official
An Odesa official says seven people were wounded in Friday morning’s missile strike on a nine-storey building, which reportedly killed 10 people.
A rescue operation is under way, said Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesman for the Odesa regional administration.
He said some people remained buried under the rubble after a section of the building collapsed.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify Bratchuk’s report.
China not giving material support for Russia’s war in Ukraine: US official
The United States has not seen China evade sanctions or provide military equipment to Russia, a senior US official has said, adding that enforcement measures taken earlier in the week targeted certain Chinese companies, not the government, Reuters reports.
The Commerce Department added five companies in China to a trade blacklist on Tuesday for allegedly supporting Russia’s military and defence industrial base as Moscow carries out its war in Ukraine. US officials have warned of consequences, including sanctions, should China offer material support for Russia’s war effort, but have consistently said they have yet to detect overt Chinese military and economic backing of Moscow.
“China is not providing material support. This is normal course-of-business enforcement action against entities that have been backfilling for Russia,” a senior Biden administration official told Reuters, referring to the Commerce blacklist.
“We have not seen the PRC (People’s Republic of China) engage in systematic evasion or provide military equipment to Russia,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
Ukraine receives 446.8m euro ($467.8m) loan from World Bank: Finance ministry
Ukraine has received a 446.8 million euro ($467.8m) loan from the World Bank with 424.6 million euros ($444.6m) of it guaranteed by the United Kingdom, the finance ministry has said.
“The funds raised will secure funding for public sector employees. We are grateful to the government of the United Kingdom and the World Bank team for supporting Ukraine in this difficult period of our historey,” finance minister Serhiy Marchenko was quoted by his ministry as saying on Thursday.
‘Disgusting sight’ if G7 leaders undressed: Putin fires back
Putin has fired back at leaders of the Group of Seven for mocking his macho image, saying that if they undressed, it “would be a disgusting sight anyway” regardless if it was “from top or from the bottom”.
Speaking at a news conference during a visit to Turkmenistan on Wednesday, Putin advised the leaders to refrain from alcohol abuse and to do exercise.
The comments came after G7 leaders poked fun at their absent adversary at a meeting in Germany, where British Prime Minister Boris Johnson could be heard asking colleagues if they should keep their “jackets on, or jackets off? We’ve got to show them we are tougher than Putin.”
“We are not having the best period of our relations, this is understandable. Nevertheless they are all world leaders, it means they have character. And if they want to, they can certainly achieve the desired success. They just need to work on themselves,” Putin told journalists.
Funeral held for Ukrainian serviceman in the village of Babyntsi
A funeral service was held on Thursday in a small Ukrainian village for a 45-year-old soldier killed in the east of the country.
Village head Andriy Kuprash said Volodymyr Kochetov was one of four soldiers from Babyntsi, which is near Bucha, who have been killed in the war. Each loss has taken a heavy toll on the small village, which has a population of around 2,700 people. Local authorities said Kochetov was killed on June 24 in the Donetsk region.
“Just today we received news about the death of a fourth soldier who was killed near Kharkiv, in Kharkiv region,” Kuprash said.
Residents took the knee along the streets of Babyntsi as soldiers carried Kuprash’s coffin, covered in the Ukrainian flag.
Russia will create a firm taking over obligations of Sakhalin-2 oil and gas project operator
Russia will create a firm which will take over all rights and obligations of the Sakhalin Energy Investment Company amid Western sanctions imposed on Moscow, a decree signed by President Putin said on Thursday.
Sakhalin Energy Investment Company is a consortium for developing the Sakhalin-2 oil and gas project in Russia’s Far east.
Its shareholders include Russian gas giant Gazprom (50 percent plus one share) and Shell (27.5 percent minus one share). Leading Japanese traders, Mitsui & Co and Mitsubishi Corp own stakes of 12.5 percent and 10 percent respectively in the firm.
Ukraine’s Lviv symbolically votes to ban formerly Moscow-affiliated church
The local council in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv has become the first to ban a branch of the Orthodox church that was until last month directly affiliated with Moscow.
According to Lviv mayor Andriy Sadovyi, the unanimous council vote to ban the activity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) – with longstanding ties to Moscow – was “political” and without legislative effect, as rules on religious organisations are made at the national level.
“This is a position that we have publicly voiced, and now state bodies must get to work on it,” Sadovyi was quoted as saying by the city administration’s site.
The UOC, which until May reported to Moscow’s Patriarch Kirill, was the official representative of Orthodox Christianity in Ukraine until 2019, when the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine was officially recognised by church leaders in Istanbul.
Zelenskyy says Ukraine is now exporting power to EU
Zelenskyy has said the launching of power transmissions to Romania was the start of a process that could help Europe reduce its dependence on Russian hydrocarbons.
Zelenskyy’s comments in his nightly video message on Thursday followed an announcement by Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal that exports had started earlier in the day – with a volume of 100 megawatts – four months into Russia’s war on Ukraine.
The president said the start of exports was “another significant step in our movement toward the European Union”.
“Thanks to Ukrainian electricity, a significant part of the Russian gas used by European consumers can be replaced. This is therefore not just a question of export earnings for us but a question of security for all of Europe,” Zelenskyy said.
Russian missile strike kills 10 in Odesa: Official
A Russian missile struck a nine-storey apartment building in the Black Sea port of Odesa early on Friday, killing at least 10 people, according to a local official.
“The number of dead as a result of a strike on a multi-storey apartment building has now risen to 10,” Bratchuk, the spokesman for the Odesa regional administration, said in a Telegram post. Earlier reports said six people had died in the incident.
Bratchuk also said a second missile had hit a recreation centre and casualty numbers were being determined. He said Russian forces had launched rockets from the direction of the Black Sea.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify Bratchuk’s report.
Finland’s, Sweden’s NATO plans show Putin his strategies are wrong: Macron
Plans by Finland and Sweden to join the NATO alliance send a clear signal to Russia that Putin’s strategies are wrong and self-defeating, French President Emmanuel Macron has said.
“He (Putin) achieved to have countries, which up to now have had a more careful and withdrawn approach toward the alliance, decide to join it,” Macron said at a NATO summit news conference in Madrid on Thursday.
Macron also said France would soon deliver six further CAESAR howitzers to help Ukraine in its fight against Russia.
“The fight for Ukraine, although Ukraine is not a member of NATO, is our fight. It’s a fight for our values, for our principles, principles of European democracy and democracy in the alliance,” Macron said.
France will deliver swiftly equipment Ukraine needs to defend itself, including 6 more Caesar howitzers and a significant number of armoured vehicles. France, the allies and European partners are and will be there.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) June 30, 2022
We will continue cooperation with Russia: Widodo
Indonesia will continue cooperation with Russia, Indonesia’s Widodo told reporters after meeting with Putin in Moscow on Thursday.
Speaking through a translator, he also said it was important to move towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ukraine.
Russia ready to fulfil Indonesia’s demand for fertilisers: Putin
Russia is ready to fulfil Indonesia’s demand for fertilisers, Putin told reporters after meeting with Indonesia’s President Widodo in Moscow on Thursday.
Putin also said that Russia intends to honour its obligations under contracts for the supply of energy, food and fertilisers abroad.
Widodo said during an earlier press conference with Putin, that global food supply issues would not improve if Russian fertiliser and Ukrainian wheat was unavailable, and said he urged G7 leaders to ensure sanctions on Russia do not affect food and fertiliser supplies.
Russia’s Snake Island withdrawal unlikely to ease grain crisis: Analyst
Russia’s withdrawal from Snake Island is unlikely to help ease the crisis over Ukraine’s blockaded grain, a leading Kyiv-based military analyst has said.
“This will not unblock the export of grain. Russia retains shooting control over this area of the waters. One option is that the United Nations forms a humanitarian convoy, then maybe there would be a chance to get these ships out with grain from our ports for export,” said Oleg Zhdanov.
It was also unlikely that Ukraine would itself take up positions and deploy anti-ship weapons on the island to try to beef up its coastline defences because the island remained within the firing range of Russian forces, Zhdanov said.
Mathieu Boulègue, an analyst at Chatham House, said Russia’s pullback might be part of a plan to let the Kremlin strengthen its military forces elsewhere in the Black Sea. “We should not be fooled by it … It might be short-term relief but there will be long-term pain.”
Zelenskyy hails Russia’s Snake Island withdrawal
Zelenskyy has said Russia’s withdrawal from Snake Island “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,” Zelenskyy said in his nighttime address.
“Step by step, we will drive them out of our sea, our land and our sky,” he added.
Moscow keeps up push to take Lysychansk
Moscow kept up its push to take control of the city of Lysychansk on Thursday, the last remaining Ukrainian stronghold in Luhansk province. Ukraine said the Russians were shelling Lysychansk and clashing with Ukrainian defenders around an oil refinery on its edges.
The Ukrainian military said Thursday evening that Russia had seen “partial success” that day around the plant, some 17 kilometres south-west of the city. They made no reference to claims that attacking forces had been able to cross the strategic Siversky Donets river and enter the city from the north.
A representative of Russia-backed separatists in Luhansk claimed that pro-Russian forces entered Lysychansk on Thursday, after a perilous river crossing — which, if true, would be a significant development.
Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai denied that Lysychansk had been encircled. Nevertheless, Haidai noted that as of Thursday evening, evacuations from the city were impossible due to heavy shelling and mined access roads.
Top Russian economic expert faces embezzlement charges
A leading economic expert in Russia has been detained on embezzlement charges as part of a high-profile case that some observers saw as linked to purges targeting members of the country’s liberal elite.
Investigators accused Vladimir Mau, the rector of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, embezzling funds from the institution, a leading school for public servants. Mau denied the charges.
Since the early 1990s, Mau has served as a senior economic adviser to the Russian government. He received high state awards from President Vladimir Putin in 2012 and 2017.
Kremlin critics have described the arrests as part of a widening government crackdown on independent voices amid the military action in Ukraine.
Read all updates for June 30 here.