As the Russia-Ukraine war enters its 80th day, we take a look at the main developments.
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- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said although Ukrainians are doing everything they can to drive out the Russians, “no one today can predict how long this war will last”. “This will depend, unfortunately, not only on our people, who are already giving their maximum. This will depend on our partners, on European countries, on the entire free world.”
- Zelenskyy said talks with Russia on getting wounded defenders out of the Azovstal plant in Mariupol were very complex, adding Kyiv was using influential intermediaries.
- The deputy commander of the Azov Regiment, the last Ukrainian army unit holding out in the ruined port city, said his troops will resist Russian forces “as long as they can” despite shortages of ammunition, food, water and medicine.
- The Ukrainian army said Russian forces continued their offensive in the country’s east, attacking new towns and villages.
- More than six million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began, according to the UN.
- German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone for the first time since late March.
- US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called for an immediate ceasefire when he spoke by telephone to his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu for the first time since Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, the Pentagon said.
- Topical international security issues were discussed by Austin and Shoigu, including Ukraine, TASS news agency quoted the Russian defence ministry as saying.
- Ukraine’s foreign minister says his country remains willing to engage in diplomatic talks with Russia to unblock grain supplies and achieve a political solution to the war.
- The United States accused Russia of using the UN Security Council to spout disinformation and conspiracy theories about biological weapons in Ukraine to distract from its war against its smaller neighbour.
Economy and NATO
- Foreign ministers from the G7 group of rich nations backed giving more aid and weapons to Ukraine in what Germany called a “powerful sign of unity” to deepen Russia’s global isolation.
- The world will not be left short of oil even with lower output from sanctions-hit Russia, the International Energy Agency said. It cut its predictions for supply losses to one million barrels per day (bpd) compared with 1.5 million bpd predicted last month.
- The European Union is hopeful of a deal to impose a phased embargo on Russian oil this month despite concerns about supply in Eastern Europe, diplomats said.
- Natural gas prices rose after Russian state-owned exporter Gazprom said it would no longer send supplies to Europe via a pipeline in Poland.
- Swedish membership of NATO would boost national security and help stabilise the Nordic and Baltic regions, Sweden’s foreign minister said, a day after Finland said it would seek to join the US-led alliance.
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country is “not favourable” towards Finland and Sweden joining NATO, indicating Turkey could use its membership in the Western military alliance to veto moves to admit the two countries.