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Deaths reported in 'massive' shelling of Sloviansk

July 5, 2022

The mayor of Sloviansk has urged residents to take shelter as his city faced "massive shelling." Elsewhere, more than 40 nations have vowed to support Ukraine's recovery.

Soldiers stand outside a shelled building
Two people were killed in Sloviansk on Tuesday by heavy shelling, local officials saidImage: Michal Burza/ZUMA/IMAGO
  • Sloviansk pounded with 'massive shelling'

  • Lugano Declaration signed supporting Ukraine's recovery

  • NATO members sign accession protocols for Finland and Sweden

  • Zelenskyy says Ukrainian forces 'undeterred' in stopping Russia offensive

These live updates are now closed. For the latest coverage click here

'Maybe we lost the battle, but not the war' — Ukrainian government adviser

Director of the Hybrid Warfare Analytical Group and adviser to Ukraine’s government, Liubov Tsybulska, told DW that Russia’s "victory" in Luhansk was not the end and that Ukraine needed to adopt a more offensive strategy.

"Maybe we lost the battle, but not the war," Tsybulska said.

 "We are now conducting defensive operations, and obviously we need to go offensive, we need to get more weapons, and that’s what we expect to get from our Western allies," she added. 

The government adviser pointed out the amount of effort it had taken the Russians to get to this point and questioned whether it was in fact a victory at all.

"Russia managed to get Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk…after a few months of very heavy, very hard bombing, to get just these small two towns, its not a victory for them at all," Tsybulska said.

Putin's war 'a murderous crime' — German president

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier slammed Russia's invasion of Ukraine and urged the international community to take a stand.

"It is a murderous crime," which Russian President Vladimir Putin was responsible for, Steinmeier said during an address to the diplomatic corps in Nuremberg.

"We must make a stand. We owe that to the many courageous people in Ukraine who are resisting day after day," Steinmeier added.

The German president said Russia's actions could not be tolerated.

"A world where law-breaking, invasion and brutality become the norm is a worse world for all of us. We must not accept this," he said.

Donetsk governor calls for the evacuation of 350,000 people

A day after Russia claimed control of the Luhansk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, the governor of Donetsk province in eastern Ukraine, urged the evacuation of 350,000 people.

Kyrylenko said that this would be a necessary step to save lives and allow Ukrainian forces to prepare defenses in towns ahead of a Russian advance.

"The destiny of the whole country will be decided by the Donetsk region," Kyrylenko told reporters.

"Once there are less people, we will be able to concentrate more on our enemy and perform our main tasks," he added. 

The comments from the governor come as Russian forces bombarded the key city of Sloviansk.

Hundreds of 'arbitrary detentions' documented — UN rights chief

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said that hundreds of civilians have been detained in parts of Ukraine held by Russian forces.

"Despite restrictions on access, we have documented 270 cases of arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance. Eight of the victims were found dead," Bachelet told the Human Rights Council.

Russian delegate Evgeny Ustinov said that the report was part of a disinformation campaign targeting Moscow and was a bid "to cover up the crimes of the Kyiv regime."

Russia has denied deliberately targeting civilians since the invasion of Ukraine began.

'Almost impossible' for Belarusian forces to enter war — exiled leader

Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tikhanovskaya said she doesn't believe forces from her country will join the war in Ukraine.

"I really doubt that Belarussian troops...will participate in the invasion of Ukraine," Tikhanovskaya told reporters while on a visit to Warsaw.

"Of course I can't guarantee this but according to the intelligence, according to expert opinions, it's almost impossible," the exiled leader said.

"The Belarussian army is extremely demoralized. They don't want to fight with Ukrainians...They don't want to die for Lukashenko or for Putin," Tikhanovskaya added.

Tsikhanouskaya was a political novice and stay-at-home mother of two when her husband, Siarhei Tsikhanouski, who had launched a presidential campaign against Lukashenko, was arrested.

She took his place in the presidential election and is widely believed to have won the August 2020 vote, which Alexander Lukashenko claimed as his own victory.

Russia has made 'hardly any advances' in the rest of Donetsk — King's College analyst

As Russia turns its attention to Sloviansk in Donetsk province, foreign and security policy analyst Domitilla Sagramoso told DW that Russia has so far only made limited progress in the region.

Sagramoso pointed to the defensive efforts of Ukrainian forces.

"There have been hardly any advances of Russian forces in the rest of the Donetsk Oblast. So far, they've [Ukrainians] been really very good at holding any Russian attack. They have very good defensive positions, so one could expect that for some time these regions might not fall."

Sagromoso said that Russian forces may feel like they have momentum as they target Sloviansk, but she highlighted Ukraine's ability to launch attacks on Russian targets in hit and run attacks.

"It's also important to note how much the Ukrainians are also hitting behind the lines. There have been attacks on ammunition depots, on infrastructure, on airports in the areas of Melitopol, also in Kharkiv Oblast, also in Donetsk Oblast."

At least two dead and seven injured in Sloviansk

Regional authorities in Donetsk said two were killed and seven more were injured during heavy shelling on the Ukrainian city of Sloviansk on Tuesday.

Local governor Pavlo Kyrylenko made the announcement on Telegram and said Russian shells had targeted the city's market. AFP journalists in Sloviansk reportedly saw the marketplace hit as firefighters worked to put out the fire while three shells hit nearby streets.

"Once again the Russians are intentionally targeting places where civilians assemble," Kyrylenko wrote.

In 2014, Sloviansk was briefly controlled by Russian-backed forces before Ukraine could retake the city.

Pizza Hut operator in Russia announces sale of business

Yum Brands, which owns the Pizza Hut and KFC brands in Russia, said it had nearly completed the sale of its Pizza Hut business in the country to a local operator who would re-brand the American chain. Yum Brands also said it was quite close to closing on a deal to sell the KFC business, which would face a re-brand as well.

In the 1990s, Pizza Hut featured an iconic tongue and cheek ad with Mikhail Gorbachev, the final leader of the Soviet Union, where customers at a location off Red Square argue over his legacy but unite around the fact that he brought them Pizza Hut.

UK's Boris Johnson holds call with Zelenskyy

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and told him that Ukraine's military could retake territory that had recently fallen to Russian forces.

Additionally, Johnson updated Zelenskyy on the latest British military equipment that will be delivered to Ukraine in the coming days and weeks. That materiel includes 10 self-propelled artillery systems.

Poles crowdfund purchase of drones for Ukraine

Polish citizens are crowdfunding for the purchase of drones for Ukraine following a similar successful initiative in neighboring Lithuania.

Roughly a quarter of the amount needed to purchase one drone had been raised by Tuesday, with the campaign set to run until the end of July.

Last month, Lithuania raised enough money to buy a Bayraktar drone for Ukraine. Bayrak, the Turkish company behind the unmanned aerial vehicle offered instead to gift a drone to Ukraine so that the funds raised could be used for other purposes.

UN: Food agency receives $17 million for Ukraine grain storage

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced a donation of $17 million (€16.5 million) to address the problem of grain storage in Ukraine and to increase exports. The funds will be used to help Ukraine store food from the summer harvest.

Global food prices are at record levels due to the war in Ukraine, triggering protests in the developing world as well as record inflation worldwide. Black Sea ports have been shut since Russia invaded on February 24 which has put an end to maritime exports of grain from the world's fourth largest producer.

Eighteen million tons of grain and oilseeds harvested in 2021 remain stuck in storage. An additional 60 million tons are anticipated this year in the harvest but 30% of grain storage in Ukraine is still taken by last year's output.

Sloviansk mayor urges residents to seek shelter during 'massive shelling'

Vadim Lyakh, the mayor of Sloviansk, urged residents of his city to take shelter as his city faced "massive shelling."

On Facebook, Lyakh wrote his city was being hit in "the center, the north," and called on, "Everyone, take shelter!"

Since Sunday, at least six people have died and an additional 19 have been injured due to Russian shelling of the city.

On several occasions, residents have been urged to evacuate as the frontline closes in on the city that had a prewar population of around 100,000. Along with Kramatorsk, Russian forces have turned their attention to Sloviansk following the fall of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk in the neighboring region of Luhansk.

Russian bills move country towards war economy

The lower house of the Russian parliament, the Duma, approved the first reading of two bills obliging Russian businesses to supply the military with goods and services in support of what Moscow acknowledges only as a "special military operation" in Ukraine.

One bill focuses on cooperation from industry while the other can force companies to make workers submit to overtime, potentially at night, on weekends or bank holidays, and forego annual leave, to meet the needs of the country's defense industries.

Yuri Borisov, the deputy prime minister, said the push towards a war economy was needed as Russia faces "colossal sanctions pressure" and has already defaulted once on its foreign debt payments since launching an invasion of Ukraine.

"In order to guarantee the supply of weapons and ammunition, it is necessary to optimize the work of the military-industrial complex and enterprises that are part of cooperation chains," Borisov said.

The bills still require additional readings, the approval of the upper house of parliament and the signature of Russian leader Vladimir Putin to come into effect.

Russian cosmonauts on ISS shown with separatist flags

The Russian space agency Roscosmos posted a photograph on the messaging app Telegram of cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveyev and Sergei Korsakov with the flag of Russian forces occupying Luhansk onboard the International Space Station.

A second photograph featured the Cosmonauts with the flag of Russian occupying forces in Donetsk.

In a statement, Roscosmos said, "We celebrate on earth and in space."

Lugano Declaration supporting Ukraine recovery signed by over 40 nations

Representatives of over 40 countries along with multilateral organizations such as the European Investment Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) signed onto the Lugano Declaration outlining a roadmap for Ukraine's recovery.

The declaration's focus is on providing Ukraine with political, financial and technical support. Part of the document known as the Lugano Principals will guide reconstruction, which Kyiv pegs currently at an estimated €750 billion ($773 billion), and also features a plan for domestic reforms in Ukraine.

The declaration follows a two-day conference in the Swiss city focused on the country's recovery.

'We need the whole world,' German minister says at Ukraine conference

Svenja Schulze, Germany's Minister for Development, told German news agency DPA that Ukraine's recovery effort "is not a project for one year or two," at an international donor conference in Lugano, Switzerland. Schulze also noted the opportunity the task presents for German industries.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said it would cost €750 billion ($773 billion) to rebuild infrastructure in his country.

He also thanked Swiss President Ignazio Cassis and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for organizing the conference dedicated to Ukraine's rebuilding efforts.

The two day summit in the Swiss Alps wraps up later Tuesday.

FSB official to lead Kherson region following occupation

Sergei Yeliseyev, the deputy head of Russia's Kaliningrad region, "became the head of the government in the Kherson region." The news was announced by Vladimir Saldo, the head of the Russian occupation administration.

Yeliseyev, 51, is a graduate of the FSB Academy and has served in the FSB in unknown roles. Alexei Kovalev, a former Ukrainian lawmaker who joined Russia's side in the conflict and faced an assassination attempt last month, was named Yeliseyev's deputy in the Kherson region.

In recent weeks, Moscow's occupation forces in Kherson have faced repeated attacks. Kherson is located near Crimea and was the first major city to fall following Russia's invasion.

NATO begins ratification process for Finland and Sweden

The procedure for ratifying Finland and Sweden’s membership in NATO formally launched, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.

The two countries' bid to join the military alliance comes after Russia's decision to invade Ukraine despite decades of official neutrality, including during the Cold War, and years of working officially and exercising with NATO, despite not being covered by the mutual defense pact known as Article 5.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that his country faces invasion by Russian forces now due to the fact that Ukraine is not covered by Article 5 protections and has not been granted permission to join NATO, despite years of wishing for the door to membership to be open.

After the 30 ambassadors and permanent representatives of the North Atlantic Council sign off on Finland and Sweden's bid for membership, the member states' legislatures must formally approve the move as well.

Report: Ukraine's German ambassador to return to Kyiv

According to the Bild and Süddeutsche Zeitung newspapers in Germany, citing unnamed sources in Ukraine's presidential office, Ambassador Andriy Melnyk is set to leave the embassy in Berlin to take up another role within the Foreign Ministry in Kyiv.

Bild reported that the change could take place during the summer months, but also cited a government official as saying that this should not be understood as his being recalled, rather as a recognition of his work.

Melnyk has been a prominent voice in the German media debate since the outbreak of the conflict late in February. His impassioned appeals for more assistance, particularly in the form of weapons exports from Germany, repeatedly grabbed the headlines.

The government in Berlin has since gone against several of its longstanding foreign policy principles to provide more weaponry, including heavy weaponry, to a hot conflict than it typically would.

However, Melnyk's often frank tone has sometimes caused controversy, as have some isolated comments. Most recently, his defense of World War II-era Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera prompted criticism from both the Polish and Israeli governments, as well as the German government's official charged with combating anti-Semitism.

Bandera is a contentious figure, closely tied to western Ukrainian nationalist efforts to break free of control from the Soviet Union and or Poland, and revered in parts of Ukraine. He's also accused of complicity with Nazi Germany and of thus helping facilitate massacres of Jewish and Polish citizens.

Ukraine regroups defenses in Donbas

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address that Ukrainian forces are resisting Russia's continued advances following the capture of Lysychansk.

"There have been no significant changes on the battlefield in the past 24 hours," Zelenskyy said.

"The Armed Forces of Ukraine respond, push back and destroy the offensive potential of the occupiers day after day. We need to break them. It is a difficult task. It requires time and superhuman efforts. But we have no alternative," he said. 

Earlier, the Ukrainian General Staff said that the focus of fighting had shifted further west into Donetsk province from the neighboring Luhansk province, which is effectively under Russian control after the Ukrainian withdrawal from Lysychansk.

Russian forces are now focusing on pushing toward the towns of Siversk, Feroivka and Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, the general staff said.

Serhiy Gaidai, the Ukrainian governor of Luhansk, said Ukrainian forces were now focused on holding a defensive line from their stronghold in Sloviansk to Bakhmut, some 45 kilometers to the south. 

Russia has also intensified its shelling of Sloviansk and the neighboring city of Kramatorsk.

Recap of Monday's events

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that was holding talks with Turkey and the United Nations on securing guarantees for grain exports.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the European Union will set up a reconstruction platform to coordinate the rebuilding of Ukraine after its war with Russia. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said the country needs $750 billion (€718 billion) for a three-stage recovery plan in the wake of Russia's invasion.

Turkey halted a Russian-flagged cargo ship off its Black Sea coast and was  investigating a Ukrainian claim that it was carrying stolen grain.

President Vladimir Putin congratulated Russian troops on "liberating" the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk. Yuriy Sak, advisor to the Ukrainian defense minister, told DW that the loss of Lysychansk in the Luhansk region is "temporary."

Ukraine's general staff said it expects Russian forces to focus on the city of Slovyansk in the Donetsk region following the capture of Lysychansk.Click here for all updates from Monday.

kb, ar, sdi/msh, wmr (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)