A man stands in Lysychansk in eastern Ukraine amid its bombardment by Russian forces in late June (Sky)
Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1539 GMT:
Speaking at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano, Switzerland, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said $750 billion is needed for reconstruction.
Shmyhal said there has been more than $100 billion of direct damage to infrastructure from Russia’s attacks so far.
He added that the Ukrainian Government believes some of the funding can come from assets confiscated from Russian oligarchs.
Speaking by video link, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told the conference of a colossal task, in a war where Russia’s leaders are determined to destroy Ukraine’s physical and moral fabric.
He said the process will allow Ukraine to deepen its links with Europe.
UPDATE 0903 GMT:
Russian officials have justified the detention of staff of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe for 3 1/2 months, making unsupported claims of espionage.
Four local OSCE staff were seized in March. One was freed at the end of May.
The OSCE, which began its mission in 2014 after Russian proxy groups seized territory in eastern Ukraine, was forced to withdraw in April after Moscow vetoed an extension of its mandate.
The Russian National Guard said on Monday:
While conducting targeted operations, the special forces of the Russian National Guard have discovered the documents of the OSCE international observation organization in the house of a former head of the Security Service of Ukraine for the Kherson Region, General Vyacheslav Savchenko, confirming cooperation with Ukrainian intelligence.
No documents were produced to support the assertion.
UPDATE 0754 GMT:
The US-based Institute for the Study of War assesses that Ukrainian forces likely used a medium-range rocket artillery system, recently delivered by the US, to strike a Russian ammunition depot at the Melitopol airfield in southern Ukraine on Sunday.
Exiled Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov reported two strikes on one of the four Russian depots in the port city.
THe US dispatched the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) last month. The system can carry a container with six rockets, each with a range of 50 miles.
Ukrainian partisans reportedly derailed a Russian armored train carrying ammunition near Melitopol on Saturday. Russian State outlet RIA Novosti acknowledged the derailment, while claiming that the incident was an accident.
UPDATE 0748 GMT:
The Ukraine military says 36,200 Russian troops have been killed in Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
The military claims the destruction of 1,589 tanks, 3,754 armored fighting vehicles, 804 artillery systems, 246 multiple launch rocket systems, 105 air defense systems, 187 helicopters, 217 warplanes, 658 drones, and 15 warships.
UPDATE 0727 GMT:
Ukrainian media are reporting the destruction of an ammunition depot in Russian-occupied Snizhne in the eastern Donetsk oblast, posting video of the explosion.
UPDATE 0709 GMT:
Amid Russian destruction, occupation, and blockade, Ukraine’s agricultural experts are unlikely to be more than 35% of last year’s level, assesses UK military intelligence.
Russia’s invasion has disrupted supply chains of seed and fertilizer, and Moscow’s forces continue to prevent export from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.
Ukraine provided 10% of the world’s wheat exports in 2021.
The Russian invasion has made almost 50 more million people “food insecure” around the world. UN Secretary General António Guterres warned last month about “hunger and destitution”:
This means that, unfortunately, there may be a physical shortage of products in dozens of countries around the world. Millions of people may starve if the Russian blockade of the Black Sea continues….
While we are looking for ways to protect freedom, another person is destroying it. Another person continues to blackmail the world with hunger.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Avoiding encirclement by Russian invaders, Ukrainian forces have pulled out of Lysychansk, the last city they held in the Luhansk oblast of eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine’s military command confirmed the withdrawal on Sunday evening, noting that there would have been “fatal consequences” if troops remained any longer in the city on the Siverskyi Donets River.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly address to the nation:
If the commanders of our army withdraw people from certain points at the front, where the enemy has the greatest advantage in fire power, and this also applies to Lysychansk, it means only one thing: That we will return thanks to our tactics, thanks to the increase in the supply of modern weapons.
“We Would Have Lost the Whole Group”
After 3 1/2 months of bombardment and ground assaults, levelling most of the area, Russian troops occupied Lysychansk’s sister city Sievierodonetsk just over a week ago. The Russians began advancing on Lysychansk from the south and crossed the Siverskyi Donets river to the north, threatening to surrounding the Ukrainian forces.
Residents said most Ukrainian forces in the city pulled out on Friday, bolstering defenses along the border with the neighboring Donetsk oblast. Ukrainian troops repulsed an attempt by Russian forces to cut the last road out of Lysychansk, near the village of Verkhnokamianske. That ensured the withdrawal to prepared defensive positions on the border with the neighboring Donetsk oblast.
Ukrainian officials held out against confirmation, apparently until they were certain that the last defenders had left Lysychansk. Zelenskiy said on Sunday afternoon, even as photos and videos on social media showed the Russians occupying the city center, that resistance was continuing on the outskirts.
Russia concentrated on the offensive in the Donbas, which comprises the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, after the failure of the initial phases of its invasion. Giving up the attempts overrun cities such as the capital Kyiv and withdrawing from northern Ukraine, the Russians had shorter supply lines in the east as they pressed their 10:1 advantage in artillery with the destruction of cities and mass killing of civilians as well as troops.
Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai wrote on Sunday:
If houses and administrative buildings in Sievierodonetsk survived a month of street fighting, in Lysychansk the same administrative buildings were completely destroyed in a shorter period of time….
There was a chance to hold Lysychansk for longer, but at what cost? To hold out there for another two weeks? Then Russian troops would have made a breakthrough from the Bilohorivka, Popasna and Komyshuvakha side and encircled our troops in Lysychansk, and we would have lost the whole group.
Haidai said about 8,000 civilians remain in occupied Sievierodonetsk and about 10,000 in Lysychansk.
The invaders are likely to pursue an advance on Slovyansk, 43 miles to the west of Lysychansk, Kramatorsk, and Bakhmut in the Donetsk oblast. On Sunday, shelling of Slovyansk killed at least six people and wounded 15. Kramatorsk — where 57 civilians were slain by a Russian missile strike on a railway station on April 8 — was also bombarded.
Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said that, in addition to the killings in Slovyansk, three other civilians — one in Avdiivka, one in Bakhmut, and one in Zaitseve — were slain by the Russians on Sunday. Two of those slain are children.
Russian proxy forces have held about half of Donetsk, including Donetsk city, since 2014.
The night Russia invaded Ukraine, we were staying at this hotel in Kramatorsk (where the decor and sateen sheets were something else)
— Sarah Rainsford (@sarahrainsford) July 3, 2022