Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, Iryna Vereshchuksaid that the evacuation of residents of the eastern Donetsk region must take place before the onset of winter, as the natural gas reserves in the region have been destroyed.
She was quoted by Ukrainian national media while, separately, the President Volodymyr Zelensky said his government was ordering the mandatory evacuation of Donetsk, the scene of heavy fighting with Russia.
Reuters reported him saying in a televised address that hundreds of thousands of people still in combat zones in the greater Donbass region – which includes Donetsk as well as the neighboring Luhansk region – had to leave.
The more people leave [the] In the Donetsk region now the less the Russian army will have time to kill.
Residents who leave would be compensated, Zelenskiy said.
Many refuse to leave but it still has to be done.
A drone flew into the Russian headquarters of its Black Sea Fleet, injuring five people, the governor of Sevastopol said.
Russian news agency Ria-Novosti quoted Mikhail Razvozzhaev as also saying that all festive events in honor of Navy Day in the city had been canceled for security reasons.
Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine. Here is a summary of the latest developments as it barely passes 9 a.m. in Kyiv this Sunday, July 31, 2022.
- Ukrainian officials have denounced a call from the Russian embassy in Britain for the fighters of the Azov regiment to undergo a “humiliating” execution, reports Agence France-Presse. Twitter said the embassy broke its rules on ‘hateful conduct’, but put a warning on the tweet rather than banning the post about Azov, a Ukrainian battalion that retains some far-right affiliations . Andriy Yermak, the head of the Ukrainian presidential office, replied on Telegram on Saturday: “In the 21st century, only savages and terrorists can speak on a diplomatic level about the fact that people deserve to be executed by hanging. Russia is a state sponsor of terrorism. What other evidence is needed? »
- New Russian strikes on Ukraine’s front line kill one in the south of the country and also hit a school in Kharkiv, officials said. The mayor of the southern city of Mykolaiv said one person was killed when rockets pounded two residential neighborhoods overnight, AFP reported. In Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv, rockets from an S-300 surface-to-air system destroyed part of an educational institution, local authorities said.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has called for the evacuation of the eastern Donetsk region of Ukraine, which has seen violent clashes between the forces of his country and the Russian army. The governor of Donetsk, where Moscow is concentrating most of its offensive, said six civilians were killed and 15 injured in strikes on Friday. Zelenskiy said in his daily address: “There is already a government decision on mandatory evacuation from the Donetsk region. Please follow the evacuation. Zelenskiy said thousands of people, including children, were still in the battlefield areas of the Donetsk region.
- The Ukrainian army said it killed dozens of Russian soldiers and destroyed two ammunition depots during the fighting in the Kherson region., the center of Kyiv’s counter-offensive in the south and a key link in Moscow’s supply lines. Reuters reported that the army’s Southern Command said rail traffic to Kherson on the Dnipro had been cut off, potentially further isolating Russian forces west of the river from supplies in occupied Crimea and to the east.
- Gazprom suspends gas deliveries to Latvia following tensions between Moscow and the West over the conflict in Ukraine and sweeping sanctions against Russia, AFP reports. The company drastically reduced gas deliveries to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline to around 20% of its capacity on Wednesday. European Union states have accused Russia of cutting supplies in retaliation for Western sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
- Russia has announced that it is banning 32 New Zealand officials and journalists from entering its territory, in response to similar measures taken by Wellington against Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine, AFP reported. Among those subject to sanctions are Wellington Mayor Andrew Foster; Auckland Mayor Philip Goff; New Zealand Navy Commander Commodore Garin Golding; and journalists Kate Green and Josie Pagani, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
- The US ambassador to the United Nations said on Friday there should be no doubt that Russia intended to dismantle Ukraine, Reuters reported. Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the UN Security Council that the United States is seeing increasing signs that Russia is preparing the ground to try to annex all areas of eastern Ukraine from Donetsk and Lugansk and the southern regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
- Russia is ‘running out of steam’ in its war against Ukraine, said the head of the British intelligence agency MI6, Richard Moore, in a brief comment on Twitter on Saturday. Moore made the remark above an earlier tweet from the Defense Department that said the Kremlin was “growing desperate.”
- Russia and Ukraine have both opened criminal investigations into strikes that allegedly killed at least 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war held in a remand center in the village of Olenivka, after both countries blamed the other side for the attack. The UN is ready to send a group of experts to Olenivka to investigate the incident, if it obtains the consent of both parties.
- Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba accused Russia of a ‘petrifying war crime’ on the killings and called on world leaders to “recognize Russia as a terrorist state”.
- Ukraine has said it is ready for grain exports to leave its ports again but awaits the green light from the UN.