Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:
‘Historic’ day for Ukraine EU candidacy
EU chief Charles Michel says he expects the bloc’s leaders to take the “historic” decision to accept war-torn Ukraine and its neighbour Moldova as candidates for EU membership.
EU leaders are meeting in Brussels to discuss the move, which would send a strong message of support for Ukraine, four months into the war.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tells the nation to get ready for a “historic decision”.
Securing candidate status is the first step on the road to EU membership, a process that can take years.
Russian tightens grip in east UKRAINE
Russia closes in on the strategically important cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk in Ukraine’s embattled eastern Donbas region.
Taking the two cities would give Moscow control of the whole of Lugansk, one of two regions with neighbouring Donetsk that make up Ukraine’s industrial heartland of Donbas.
Sergiy Gaiday, governor of the Lugansk region, says Ukrainian troops have lost control over two settlements southeast of Lysychansk, Loskutivka and Rai-Oleksandrivka.
Britain’s defence ministry says in an intelligence note some Ukrainian units had probably been forced to withdraw “to avoid being encircled” as troops advanced slowly but steadily toward Lysychansk.
Germany and France act on gas shortage
Germany takes a step closer to rationing its gas supplies following a sharp reduction in deliveries from Russia.
“Gas is now a scarce commodity in Germany,”
Economy Minister Robert Habeck says, announcing plans to raise the alert level under the country’s emergency gas plan to the second-highest level.
Russian energy giant Gazprom last week cut its supplies via the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany by 60 percent, in what Berlin called a political move but Gazprom said was due to repairs.
Several EU members have already had their Russian gas supplies cut off for refusing to pay in rubles.
The French government aims to have its natural gas storage reserves at full capacity by autumn, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne says, adding France will also build a new floating methane terminal to receive more energy supplies by ship.
Ukraine welcomes US precision artillery systems
Ukraine says that it has taken delivery of HIMARS advanced multiple-rocket launchers from the United States.
“Himars have arrived to Ukraine…. Summer will be hot for Russian occupiers. And the last one for some of them,” Ukraine Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov writes on Twitter.
Kyiv had pleaded for the new rocket systems, which have greater range than those it is currently using, in order to be able to strike Russian targets from safe positions.
G7 to step up pressure on Russia
US President Joe Biden and other world leaders will announce new punitive measures against Russia at a G7 summit starting Sunday in Germany, a senior US official says.
“We will roll out a concrete set of proposals to increase pressure on Russia,”
the official says.
Biden will meet with the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan at the summit in Bavaria before travelling to Madrid for a NATO summit.
Zelensky will address both summits by video link.
Putin looks to BRICS
Russian President Vladimir Putin calls on the leaders of Brazil, India, China and South Africa — Russia’s partners in the so-called BRICS club — to cooperate as Moscow is pummelled by Western sanctions over Ukraine.
Unprecedented sanctions by the United States and European Union over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have prompted Putin to seek new markets and strengthen ties with countries in Africa and Asia.
Nike quits Russia
US sports apparel giant Nike says it will be permanently leaving the Russian market and will not reopen its stores after temporarily shuttering them shortly after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine.
© Agence France-Presse