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Ukraine war: Six developments in the conflict with Russia to know about from Sunday

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By Euronews  with AFP
A Sunday morning cyclist emerges from a sandbagged tunnel next to the Dnipro River in Kyiv, July 10, 2022. Reminders of war are visible as Russian forces attack to the east.
A Sunday morning cyclist emerges from a sandbagged tunnel next to the Dnipro River in Kyiv, July 10, 2022. Reminders of war are visible as Russian forces attack to the east.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Cara Anna

1. Claim and counter-claim as strikes continue in east and south

The Ukrainian army headquarters reported numerous Russian bombings but almost no ground assaults by Moscow's forces on Sunday, as on the previous day.

Russian rockets hit the eastern Ukraine town of Chasiv Yar, destroying a five-storey apartment block and killing at least 15 people, Ukrainian officials said on Sunday. Read more here.

Kyiv said it had targeted two Russian "command points" and depots in the southern Chornobayevka region. Ukrainian forces also claimed responsibility for a strike on a Russian base in the occupied Kherson region, also in the south, without giving further details.

In Kharkiv, the country's second largest city, Governor Oleg Synegoubov reported on Telegram that further missile strikes hit an "educational institution" and a house, leaving one person injured.

Other Russian strikes were reported near Siversk and Sloviansk in the east, as well as in the Mykolaiv region in the south.

"High-precision ground weapons hit a temporary deployment point of the Ukrainian Armed Forces artillery unit and an ammunition depot on the territory of the ceramic factory in the city of Sloviansk," the Russian military said. 

"Up to 100 people" were killed and "more than 1,000 artillery shells for US-made M777 howitzers and about 700 rockets for Grad MLRS" were destroyed, it added. The claims could not be verified.

The Moscow envoy of the separatist Luhansk Republic, Rodion Mirotchnik, said on Sunday morning on Telegram that in the Donetsk region an offensive had been "launched against Siversk from the north" and that the town of Grygorivka had been "captured after fighting".

"Our troops continue to carry out military operations to liberate Serebrianka", another locality in the region, he added. (AFP)

2. Russian grain blockade may have impacted Sri Lanka unrest — Blinken

Russia's restrictions on Ukrainian grain exports may have contributed to the unrest in Sri Lanka, according to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who expressed concern that they could trigger other crises.

"We see the impact of this Russian aggression showing up everywhere. It may have contributed to the situation in Sri Lanka. We are concerned about the implications around the world," Blinken told a news conference in Bangkok.

Repeating a request he has made several times, Blinken called on Russia to let about 20 million tonnes of grain leave Ukraine, which Moscow invaded in February.

"We are seeing growing food insecurity around the world which has been greatly exacerbated by the Russian aggression against Ukraine," Blinken said.

He added that there was also an impact in Thailand where fertiliser prices had "skyrocketed" due to the blockade.

Sri Lanka has been caught up in the turmoil of serious unrest caused by severe shortages of food, medicine and fuel. The president has agreed to resign after protesters stormed his official residence on Saturday.

Russia has said it would allow Ukrainian ships loaded with foodstuffs to leave if the Ukrainian army cleared its ports, but this option has been rejected by Kyiv, which fears for the safety of its Black Sea coast. (AFP)

3. German paper die Welt blocked in Russia

The website of German newspaper die Welt has been blocked in Russia, having been added to the growing list of sites banned by media watchdog Roskomnadzor, Russian agencies said on Sunday.

The blocking followed a request from the prosecutor's office, a source said.

The site could no longer be opened on phones and computers, AFP journalists in Russia noted.

Since the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, the German newspaper had begun publishing content in Russian, while most independent information has been repressed in Russia.

The paper also employed Russian journalist Maria Ovsiannikova for a time, after she burst onto the set of a pro-Kremlin TV news programme holding up a sign against the Russian offensive in Ukraine. (AFP)

4. Russia claims credit for Elena Rybakina's Wimbledon title

The Russian Tennis Federation was quick to claim Elena Rybakina as “our product” on her run to the women's title at Wimbledon.

They then praised her training programme in the country after she became champion while representing Kazakhstan.

“It’s the Russian school, after all. She played here with us for a long time, and then in Kazakhstan,” Russian Tennis Federation president Shamil Tarpishchev told sports website Championat after Rybakina beat Ons Jabeur 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 on Saturday.

The 23-year-old Rybakina was born on Moscow and played in the Russian system until 2018, when financial issues led to her nationality switch.

There's been no official reaction from the Kremlin on Rybakina's Wimbledon success, but some commentators have claimed her victory as a Russian achievement and a symbolic snub to the All England Club, which banned players from Russia and Belarus from Wimbledon because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Some Russian state media outlets emphasised Rybakina's roots in Moscow, with others opting to call her simply a “representative of Kazakhstan”. (AP)

5. French energy industry turns to oil for fear of Russian gas shut-off

France's energy-intensive companies are speeding up contingency plans and converting their gas boilers to run on oil as they seek to avoid disruption in the event any further reduction in Russian gas supplies leads to power outages.

Gathered over the weekend at a business and economics conference at Aix-en-Provence in southern France, several top executives said they were preparing for possible blackouts.

Russia in June reduced flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, its main route for shipping gas into western Europe, to 40% of capacity. Politicians and industry are concerned there will be further supply constraints linked to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Across Europe, industry has been resorting to more polluting fuel than gas as it gives precedence to tackling the cost to the economy of business disruption and surging energy prices, rather than longer-term targets to switch to zero carbon fuel.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told the top corporate executives attending the conference it would be irresponsible not to prepare for shortages.

"Let's prepare for a cut-off of Russian gas," he told them. "Today it's the most likely scenario."

France, relies on nuclear power for around 70% of its electricity, meaning it is far less directly dependendent on Russian gas than neighbouring Germany.

However, the state-controlled electricity producer EDF is struggling to meet France's needs because of outages at its ageing power plants, increasing the strain on the rest of the energy sector. (Reuters)

6. Canada to return Nord Stream pipeline turbines to Germany

Canada has decided to return turbines for the Russian Nord Stream gas pipeline to Germany, despite sanctions targeting Moscow.

Kyiv had called on Germany not to "submit to blackmail by the Kremlin". The turbines have been undergoing maintenance in Siemens workshops near Montreal. 

The Russian gas group Gazprom had invoked the repair work as the reason for a reduction in its deliveries to Germany via Nord Stream in mid-June.

"Canada will grant Siemens Canada a time-limited, revocable licence to return the repaired Nordstream 1 turbines to Germany, which will support Europe's ability to access reliable and affordable energy," said Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson.

The minister accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of wanting to "sow division among allies".

Canada has also announced its intention to extend its economic sanctions against Russia to industrial manufacturing.

"The new sanctions will apply to land and pipeline transportation, as well as to the manufacture of metals and transportation, computer, electronic and electrical equipment, and machinery," said Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly. (AFP)

Additional sources • AP, Reuters