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German chancellor Olaf Scholz does not consider support for Russia sanctions to be waning even with energy bills expected to surge further, a government spokesperson said on Monday.
“We face difficult months ahead,” the spokesperson said, adding: “But it is clear that we stand firmly on the side of Ukraine and we stand behind the sanctions that we agreed together with the European Union and the international community”.
Speaking at a regular news conference in Berlin, the spokesperson also ruled out approval for the shelved Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Reuters reported.
Updated at 12.18 BST
Russia’s defence ministry has claimed its forces shot down 19 US-made Himars missiles across eastern and southern Ukraine, and destroyed Himars vehicles near the Ukrainian town of Kramatorsk.
Reuters was unable to verify the reports.
More on this claim as it comes.
Updated at 11.53 BST
The Kremlin said on Monday there was no basis for a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents at the moment.
In response to a question about Turkish president Tayyip Erdoğan’s offers to broker peace talks, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call that Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelenskiy could meet only after negotiators from both sides had “done their homework”.
Negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv have been stalled for months, with each side blaming the other for a lack of progress, Reuters reported.
“The Ukrainian delegation has gone off the radar, there is no negotiation process now,” Peskov said on Monday.
“As for a meeting between presidents Putin and Zelenskiy, it is possible only after all the homework has been done by the delegations. This is missing, so there are no necessary prerequisites for the meeting,” he added.
Updated at 11.26 BST
Summary of the day so far …
- Ukraine and Russia have blamed each other for renewed shelling of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, the Zaporizhzhia. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy called for new international sanctions on Moscow for “nuclear terror”. The UN nuclear watchdog has called for an immediate end to all military action near the plant after it was hit by shelling on Saturday night, causing one of the reactors to shut down and creating a “very real risk of a nuclear disaster”.
- The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station is operating normally according to reports from Yevgeniy Balitsky, head of the Russian-installed administration of the occupied Zaporizhzhia region. The head of Ukraine’s state nuclear power company Energoatom called for the plant to be made a military-free zone, and said there should be a team of peacekeepers present at the site.
- Ukraine conducted long-range strikes on Russian troop bases and two key bridges across the Dnieper River overnight. The strikes hit the only two crossings Russia has to the pocket of southern Ukrainian territory it has occupied on the western bank of the river, said Natalia Humeniuk, spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern military command. “The results are rather respectable, hits on the Antonivskyi and Kakhovskyi bridges,” she said on television. Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the pro-Russian administration imposed on occupied Kherson told Interfax: “The equipment of the builders who are repairing the Antonivskiy bridge burned down, there are no critical damages. But the opening of the bridge is slightly delayed.”
- Four ships carrying Ukrainian foodstuffs sailed from Ukrainian Black Sea ports on Sunday. Pope Francis welcomed the departure of the ships carrying grain from Ukrainian Black Sea ports saying this could be a model for dialogue to bring an end to the war in Ukraine. Two more grain-carrying ships have sailed from Ukraine’s Black sea ports on Monday, and the Polarnet, carrying 12,000 tons of Ukrainian corn, has arrived in Turkey.
- Russia is strengthening its positions and numbers on Ukraine’s southern front to ready itself for a Ukrainian counteroffensive and is likely to be preparing the ground to attack, according to British and Ukrainian military authorities. “Russian troops are almost certainly amassing in the south, either waiting for a Ukrainian counteroffensive or preparing to attack. Long convoys of Russian military trucks, tanks, artillery and other things continue to move from the Donbas to the south-west,” the UK’s defence ministry said.
- Russian shelling was recorded on Saturday in dozens of towns along the eastern and southern frontlines, according to the Ukrainian military. It also said Russian forces attempted to conduct assault in six different areas in the eastern Donetsk region, all of which failed to gain any territory and were held back by Ukrainian forces.
- Ukraine is investigating almost 26,000 suspected war crime cases committed since Russia’s invasion in February and has charged 135 people, its chief war crimes prosecutor told Reuters. Of those charged, approximately 15 are in Ukrainian custody and the remaining 120 remain at large.
- Zelenskiy said on Sunday that there could be no talks with Russia if it proceeds with referendums in occupied areas of Ukraine on joining Russia. Russian forces now hold large areas of territory in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region and in southern areas, where officials have raised the possibility of holding referendums.
- Finland has registered a record number of asylum seekers following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, beating a previous high set during the 2015 migrant crisis.
- Human rights group Amnesty International apologised for the “distress and anger” caused by a report that accused Ukraine of endangering civilians. The apology comes after Amnesty’s Ukraine head Oksana Pokalchuk said that she was resigning as she opposed the report’s publication, saying the human rights group unwittingly “created material that sounded like support for Russian narratives of the invasion”.
Updated at 11.33 BST
The head of Ukraine’s state nuclear power company Energoatom called this morning for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to be made a military-free zone, and said there should be a team of peacekeepers present at the site.
Reuters reports he made the comments on television after Ukraine and Russia accused each of shelling the nuclear power plant – Europe’s biggest – which lies in Russian-occupied southern Ukraine.
At the same time, Energoatom has posted on its official Telegram channel accusing Russia of mining the plant. It claims to be quoting “the head of the radiation, chemical and biological defence forces of the Russian Federation, major general Valeriy Vasyliev”, accusing him of saying: “We have planted mines in all the important facilities of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. And we do not hide this from the enemy. We warned them. The enemy knows that the plant will be either Russian – or no one’s.”
Updated at 10.56 BST
AFP reports Finland has registered a record number of asylum seekers following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, beating a previous high set during the 2015 migrant crisis.
“By 4 August, those fleeing Ukraine due to the Russian military attack had submitted 35,074 applications for temporary protection,” the Finnish immigration service said in a statement.
More than 37,000 people are currently registered in the reception system, “which is more than ever before”.
“One third of those fleeing Ukraine are children,” the immigration service said.
The latest figures from UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, show that over 6.3 million refugees from Ukraine have been recorded across Europe.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station is operating normally according to reports from Yevgeniy Balitsky, the head of the Russian-installed administration of the occupied Zaporizhzhia region.
Reuters reports he told Interfax: “We have information from the military and representatives of Russia’s Rosatom, who are here, just watching the situation. We have information from them that everything is operating in normal mode.”
Updated at 09.47 BST
Ukraine conducted long-range strikes on Russian troop bases and two key bridges across the Dnieper River overnight, Ukrainian officials have said.
The strikes hit the only two crossings Russia has to the pocket of southern Ukrainian territory it has occupied on the western bank of the river, said Natalia Humeniuk, spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern military command.
“The results are rather respectable, hits on the Antonivskyi and Kakhovskyi bridges,” Reuters reports she said on television.
The claims have not been independently verified, but earlier Kirill Stremousov, the deputy head of the pro-Russian administration imposed on occupied Kherson, told the Interfax news agency that the Antonivskyi bridge had been struck again.
Updated at 11.32 BST
Here is a selection of images that have been sent to us today over the newswires from Sloviansk, in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.Residents gather to pump water from a well outside an apartment complex in Sloviansk. Photograph: David Goldman/APA taxi drives down a road damaged by shrapnel from a May rocket attack in Sloviansk on Saturday. Photograph: David Goldman/APLyubov Mahlii, 76, pulls a crate of water bottles up the stairs to her fifth floor apartment after filling them up at a nearby park in Sloviansk. A lack of running water in the city means that residents must fill bottles by hand at public pumps. Photograph: David Goldman/APIda Svystunova, 89, looks out the damaged room adjoining her apartment. Svystunova is one of only four people left living in the block and spends most of her day looking out the window. ‘I sit and wait for the end of this war or maybe the end of ourselves,’ she said. Photograph: David Goldman/APA couple embrace after cooling off in a lake in Sloviansk. While the city’s remaining population has adapted to a new way of life without running water, local officials warn that the coming of winter could set the stage for a humanitarian crisis. Photograph: David Goldman/AP
Updated at 09.28 BST
Oleh Synyehubov, governor of Kharkiv, appears to have confirmed on Telegram that at least one person has been killed in a strike this morning, posting “Unfortunately, as a result of the morning shelling, one person died, another one was injured. Information is being updated. Emergency medical personnel are on site.”
In the last few minutes the mayor of Kharkiv, Ihor Terekhov has posted to Telegram to say:
Now Pavlovo Pole is being shelled already in the morning … minutes ago there was an explosion. There is definitely no military infrastructure in this peaceful and densely populated area. I ask everyone to be in shelters – the shelling can be repeated.
Updated at 08.53 BST
Here is an image that has been sent to us from Turkey of the ship Polarnet arriving at Derince port. It is carrying 12,000 tons of Ukrainian corn.The Turkish-flagged ship Polarnet arrives at Derince. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
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