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Russia is planning a “full-scale victory in Ukraine by autumn” and may again try to take the capital city of Kyiv, according to independent news source Meduza. Officials close to the Kremlin have said confidence has spread to the leadership of United Russia, the country’s ruling party, that a full-scale victory in Ukraine is possible before the end of the year.
The besieged Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk appears to be almost completely surrounded by attacking Russian forces. “The Russians are pounding residential neighbourhoods relentlessly,” the governor of Ukraine’s eastern region of Luhansk, Serhiy Haidai, wrote in a Telegram post on Friday. The Kremlin continued to make incremental gains in its offensive in the Donbas region, backed by withering shell fire.
The Luhansk governor has said Ukrainian forces may be forced to retreat from the zone to avoid being captured. “The Russians will not be able to capture Luhansk region in the coming days as analysts have predicted,” Haidai posted on Telegram, adding: “However it is possible that in order not to be surrounded we will have to retreat.”
The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has said the situation in Donbas is “very difficult”. In a short video address, he said Russian forces are concentrated in the coastal region of Ukraine and using “maximum artillery” reserves.
The Austrian chancellor, Karl Nehammer, has stated that Vladimir Putin is “prepared to discuss a prisoner swap with Ukraine”, after holding talks with the Russian president. Nehammer also said Putin had “given signals that he is quite willing to allow exports via the seaports”, adding: “The real willingness will only become apparent when it ... is actually implemented.”
Russia expects to receive 1tn rubles ($14bn) in additional oil and gas revenues this year, the country’s finance minister announced, noting that the additional income will be spent on Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
The US president, Joe Biden, accused Putin of attempting to “wipe out” Ukrainian culture and identity during a speech. Biden also said that Putin inadvertently “Nato-ized all of Europe” after Sweden and Finland sought out membership in the alliance following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The US is expected to send long-range rocket systems to Ukraine that could be announced as early as next week, reports CNN. The rocket systems, multiple launch rocket system or MLRS, have been a top request of Ukraine officials who say it is necessary to ward off Russia’s advancements.
More than 100 Russian national guardsmen have been fired for refusing to fight in Ukraine, court documents show. The cases of the 115 national guardsmen, a force also known as Rosgvardia, appear to be the clearest indication yet of dissent among some parts of Russia’s security forces over the invasion of
New UN figures have revealed that 4,031 civilians have died since Russia first invaded Ukraine in February, including 261 children.