Here are the key events so far on Thursday, June 30.
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- Evidence suggests twin Russian air strikes deliberately targeted a theatre used as a shelter in Mariupol, Amnesty International said in a report.
- Russia is stepping up its attacks across Ukraine with several regions beyond the Donbas targeted on Wednesday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. Ten missiles hit a residential area of the Black Sea port city of Mykolaiv, killing at least five people with rescue efforts continuing.
- Rescuers are attempting to evacuate residents from the front-line eastern city of Lysychansk, with about 15,000 people remaining in the city, Ukrainian authorities said.
- Russia’s President Vladimir Putin denied that Moscow’s forces were responsible for the missile raid on a crowded shopping centre in the Ukrainian town of Kremenchuk earlier this week, in which at least 18 people were killed and many remain missing in the rubble.
- Ukraine carried out its biggest exchange of prisoners of war since Russia invaded, securing the release of 144 of its soldiers, including 95 who defended Mariupol’s steelworks, Ukraine’s military intelligence agency said.
- The European Union is close to reaching a compromise deal to defuse the standoff with Russia over Kaliningrad as trade through Lithuania could return to normal within days, Reuters reported.
- US President Joe Biden thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for striking a deal with Finland and Sweden for the two Nordic countries to soon become NATO candidates.
- Biden said he would deploy more American troops, warplanes and warships across Europe as NATO agreed the biggest strengthening of its deterrents since the Cold War in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
- The United Kingdom will provide another 1 billion pounds ($1.2bn) in military support to Ukraine, as NATO has branded Russia the biggest “direct threat” to Western security.
- NATO agreed to a long-term financial and military aid package to modernise Ukraine’s largely Soviet-era military.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies