Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 495

  • Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said the conflict situation was “complicated”. Ukrainian troops were advancing with “partial success” on the southern flank of Bakhmut in the east and near Berdyansk and Melitopol in the south. However, Maliar said Russian troops were making advances in Avdiivka, Marinka, Lyman and Svatove in eastern Ukraine amid “fierce fighting”.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a meeting of the country’s top military command and atomic energy officials at the Rivne Nuclear Power Plant in northern Ukraine near the border with Belarus to discuss “the security of our northern regions and our measures to strengthen them”.
  • On a trip to the southern port city of Odesa, Zelenskyy promised to intensify efforts to retake land occupied by Russia in the south of Ukraine. “Together we will win. The Ukrainian coasts will never tolerate these occupiers,” he said in a video message.

Wagner mutiny fallout

  • Dmitry Kiselyov, a leading Russian television personality, said Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin had gone off the rails after the mercenary force’s operations in Syria, Africa and Ukraine, and receiving billions in public funds. “He thought that he can challenge the defence ministry, the state itself and the president personally,” Kiselyov said in his weekly talk show, referring to Prigozhin’s failed mutiny on June 24.
  • Yevgeny Zubarev, the director of the prominent RIA FAN news site, said the channel would be closing. RIA FAN is part of Prigozhin’s Patriot Media group and had taken a strongly nationalist, pro-Kremlin editorial line, while also providing positive coverage of Prigozhin and Wagner. “I am announcing our decision to close down and to leave the country’s information space,” Zubarev said without elaborating.
  • The director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), William Burns, said Russia’s war in Ukraine had had a “corrosive” effect on Russian President Vladimir Putin, with discontent over the conflict creating a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” for the US’s spy agency.

Diplomacy

  • US President Joe Biden will head to Europe on July 9 on a three-country, five-day visit to attend the annual NATO summit, which this year takes place in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. He will stop in the United Kingdom before heading to Lithuania and end his tour in Finland, the White House said.
  • Papal envoy Cardinal Matteo Zuppi said his mission to Moscow last week focused mainly on humanitarian issues. Zuppi met an adviser to Putin as well as the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. All the meetings “were important, especially in humanitarian aspects, which are what we have focused on. There is not a peace plan, not a mediation”, Zuppi told state broadcaster RAI.
  • Poland said it would send 500 police officers to tighten security at its border with Belarus. Minister of Interior Mariusz Kaminski said the decision reflected the “tense situation” at the border. The Polish Border Guard said 187 people had tried to cross into Poland from Belarus illegally on Saturday.

Weaponry

  • Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Madrid would deliver more heavy weaponry to Ukraine, including four Leopard tanks and armoured personnel carriers, as well as a mobile field hospital. Sanchez made the comments on a visit to Kyiv.