Ukraine war: Russia railway station strike kills 22, injures dozens

Ukraine war: A Russian rocket strike on a Ukrainian train station has killed 22 people, Ukraine says, on the day marking six months since Moscow’s invasion began. It says five of the victims of the attack in the eastern town of Chaplyne burnt to death in a vehicle. An 11-year-old boy also was killed. President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the strike in the middle of a UN Security Council meeting. He said about 50 people were injured. Russia has so far made no comment. It has repeatedly denied targeting civilian infrastructure.…

Ukraine war: Australian PM visits Kyiv, pledges more military aid

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has pledged more military aid to Ukraine after visiting the war-torn nation’s capital. The prime minister met President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv during a surprise trip on Sunday. He earlier toured the devastated towns of Bucha and Irpin, describing what he saw as a “war crime”. The aid package, worth 100m Australian dollars ($68m; £56m), includes drones and 34 additional armoured vehicles. Mr Albanese also announced sanctions and travel bans on a further 16 Russian ministers and oligarchs and an end to imports of Russian…

Russia promises Belarus Iskander-M nuclear-capable missiles

Russia will send nuclear capable short-range missile systems to its ally Belarus in the coming months, President Vladimir Putin has said. He said Iskander-M systems “can fire ballistic and cruise missiles, both conventional and nuclear types”. The systems have a range of up to 500km (310 miles). Tensions between Russia and the West have escalated, following President Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine on 24 February. Mr Putin has made several references to nuclear weapons since then, which some have interpreted as a warning to Western countries not to intervene. Speaking…

Severodonetsk: Ukraine orders forces to withdraw from key eastern city

Ukrainian forces have been ordered to withdraw from Severodonetsk, according to the top regional official. The eastern city has endured weeks of bombardment, as Russian forces try to take complete control of the region. A Ukrainian retreat would be significant because it would leave all of Luhansk under Russian control, except for the city of Lysychansk. Luhansk, a mainly Russian-speaking region in east Ukraine, is a key priority for President Vladimir Putin. Together with the Donetsk region it makes up what is collectively known as the Donbas – a large,…

Ukraine set for European Union candidate status as leaders meet

European Union leaders on Thursday are set to grant Ukraine candidate status to join the 27-nation bloc, the first step in a long and unpredictable journey toward full membership that could take many years to achieve. Making the war-torn country a contender now seems to be a done deal after leaders were initially divided on how fast they could move to embrace the war-torn country’s bid that was launched only a few days after Russia launched its invasion on Feb. 24. According to several EU diplomats who spoke on condition…

Russia becomes China’s top oil supplier amid Ukraine war sanctions

Chinese refiners cash in on heavily discounted Russian oil supplies, boosting imports by 55% China’s crude oil imports from Russia soared by 55% from a year earlier to a record level in May, displacing Saudi Arabia as the top supplier, as refiners cashed in on discounted supplies amid sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine. Imports of Russian oil, including supplies pumped via the east Siberia Pacific pipeline and seaborne shipments, totalled nearly 8.42m tonnes, according to data on Monday from the Chinese general administration of customs. The shipments…

Russia blockading Ukrainian grain is a ‘real war crime’ – EU

Russia’s blockade of millions of tonnes of Ukrainian grain is a “real war crime”, says EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. “It is inconceivable – one cannot imagine that millions of tonnes of wheat remain blocked in Ukraine while in the rest of the world people are suffering hunger,” Mr Borrell said. “We call on Russia to deblockade the [Ukrainian] ports.” EU foreign ministers are meeting to discuss the crisis. Western countries have demanded Russia stop blockading Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and allow vast stores of grain to reach world…

Eurovision: Ukraine deserves to host 2023 contest, says Boris Johnson

Ukraine should be given the chance to host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023, the UK prime minister has said. Speaking to journalists after returning from its capital, Kyiv, Boris Johnson said the streets there were lively and Ukrainians were “confident”. As winners of the contest in May, Ukraine should normally host the show, but organisers said on Friday they thought it would be too unsafe. Its planners are discussing holding it in the UK instead, which came second. Ukrainian rap-folk band Kalush Orchestra, who were given special permission to…

As war rages on, Ukraine gets chance to ‘live the European dream’

The European Union has recommended that Ukraine become a candidate to join the bloc. President Zelensky said that the bravery of Ukrainians has created the opportunity for Europe to create a new history of freedom. With the war in Ukraine’s east raging on, Kyiv received a major boost when the European Union recommended that it become a candidate to join the bloc, in what would be a dramatic geopolitical shift following Russia’s invasion. EU leaders are expected to endorse the EU executive’s recommendations for Ukraine and neighbouring Moldova, announced on…

Ukraine moves one step closer to EU membership

The European Commission has backed Ukraine’s bid to be given candidacy status to join the EU – bringing it one step closer to joining the bloc. “Good work has been done” by Ukraine, but more is needed, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. Ukraine must make “important” reforms – on rule of law, oligarchs, human rights and tackling corruption, she added. Candidacy status is a significant step to joining the EU, however the whole process can take many years. The recommendation from the European Commission still needs to…