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  • Latest updates: War in Ukraine

    Latest updates: War in Ukraine

    Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

    Ukraine’s EU membership

    A bid by Ukraine to join the European Union could not be finalised for “15 or 20 years,” France’s Europe minister says, pouring cold water on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s hopes for a quick entry in the wake of Russia’s invasion.

    “We have to be honest. If you say Ukraine is going to join the EU in six months, or a year or two, you’re lying,” Clement Beaune says.

    He reiterates an offer by France’s President Emmanuel Macron to create a looser “European political community” that could help integrate Ukraine with the bloc sooner, but that offer has received a cold welcome from Zelensky.

    ALSO READ: LIVE UPDATES: Russia’s war in Ukraine: Latest developments

    Russia presses Donbas

    After just over 12 weeks of fierce fighting, Ukrainian forces have halted Russian attempts to seize Kyiv and the northern city of Kharkiv, but they are under intense pressure in the eastern Donbas region and on Ukraine’s southern coast.

    Shelling and missile strikes hit Kharkiv in the north, and Mykolaiv and Zaporizhzhia in the south, while eight civilians are killed on the eastern front in the Donbas.

    Ukraine warns only diplomacy can end war

    Zelensky warns only a diplomatic breakthrough rather than an outright military victory can end Russia’s war on his country.

    The war “will be bloody, there will be fighting but will only definitively end through diplomacy”.

    “Discussions between Ukraine and Russia will decidedly take place. Under what format I don’t know,”

    he adds, but promises the result would be “fair” for Ukraine.

    Ukraine extends martial law

    Ukraine extends martial law for three months through to August 23, as the war with Russia drags on.

    Russia cuts off gas to Finland

    Russian energy giant Gazprom says it has halted gas supplies to Finland after Helsinki refuses to pay its bill in rubles, which Moscow has demanded in a bid to side-step financial sanctions.

    Finland’s state-owned energy company Gasum says it will use other sources, such as the Balticconnector pipeline, which links Finland to fellow EU member Estonia.

    ALSO READ: Hundreds protest return of Spain ex-king Juan Carlos

    Prisoner exchange?

    Ukraine hopes to exchange surrendering soldiers for Russian prisoners. But in Donetsk, pro-Kremlin authorities have threatened to put some of them on trial.

    A Russian negotiator says Moscow would consider exchanging prisoners from Ukraine’s far-right Azov battalion for Viktor Medvedchuk, a wealthy Ukrainian businessman known for his close ties to Putin.

    Biden signs $40 bn aid bill for Ukraine’s war effort

    US President Joe Biden signs a $40 billion bill the White House says will ensure a steady supply of weaponry and economic support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

    The bill, which will funnel support to Ukraine for about the next five months, includes around $6 billion budgeted for armoured vehicles and air defences.

    WHO on Ukraine ‘health emergency’

    The World Health Organization says it will use its annual assembly to voice alarm at the “health emergency in Ukraine”, and highlight the dire impacts beyond its borders, including how disrupted grain exports are deepening a global food security crisis.

    Kyiv and its allies will present a resolution in Geneva harshly condemning Russia’s invasion, and especially its more than 200 attacks on healthcare, including hospitals and ambulances, in Ukraine.

    © Agence France-Presse

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