This is the situation as it stands on Friday, June 30.
- Wagner mercenary force chief Yevgeny Prigozhin has been told that his fighters will no longer take part in Russia’s war in Ukraine after he refused to sign contracts to bring his private army under the control of the Russian defence ministry.
- Ukraine’s military leaders said their forces are advancing “slowly but surely” on the front lines in the east and southeast of the country as well as around battle-scarred Bakhmut city. Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief General Valerii Zaluzhnyi said his forces had “succeeded in seizing the strategic initiative” in the ongoing counteroffensive.
- Ukraine police arrested a man suspected of committing treason for directing a Russian missile attack on a pizza restaurant that killed 12 people and injured more than 60 on Tuesday in the eastern city of Kramatorsk.
- Russia’s Ministry of Defence claimed that two Ukrainian generals and up to 50 Ukrainian military officers were killed in a missile strike in Kramatorsk. Russian officials deny attacking civilian targets.
- The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence said Wagner mercenary fighters shot down Russian military helicopters and an Ilyushin Il-22M airborne command post aircraft during their rebellion on Saturday.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the path to victory for his country is “difficult” and there is no timeframe on when Ukraine will reach its goal.
- Ukraine began nuclear disaster response drills near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, regional officials say. Similar exercises have started in the neighbouring Kherson region.
- The Ukrainian army called on people still living in the northeast region of Sumy to evacuate due to constant Russian shelling.
- At least two people were killed and two others wounded during a Russian attack on a “point of invisibility” shelter in Kherson where local people gather to receive humanitarian aid.
- The International Monetary Fund’s executive board completed its first review of Ukraine’s $15.6bn loan programme, approving Kyiv to immediately withdraw $890m for budget support. The approval brings Ukraine’s withdrawals under the programme launched in March to about $3.6bn so far.
- The Pentagon says there is no imminent decision to provide Kyiv with ATACMS long-range missiles. Ukraine has long sought the United States’ Army Tactical Missile System, or ATACMS, arguing the missiles would help them hit Russian forces far behind the front lines.
- Former US Vice President Mike Pence made a surprise visit to Ukraine to meet Zelenskyy. Pence told NBC News that visiting Ukraine “just steels my resolve to do my part, to continue to call for strong American support for our Ukrainian friends and allies”.
- Zelenskyy met with Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg and prominent European figures who are forming a working group to address ecological damage from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
- Spain takes over the European Union’s rotating presidency this weekend and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will “kick off the EU presidency on Saturday, July 1, in Ukraine”, according to a statement from his office.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy adviser and a papal envoy on the Ukraine conflict discussed humanitarian issues, including refugees, Russia’s senior Catholic prelate was quoted as saying.
- The Czech government said it has banned all athletes representing Russia from taking part in local competitions.
- Ukraine wants to receive an invitation to begin the process of joining NATO at the military alliance’s summit in July, and Zelenskyy will not attend if leaders do not show “courage” in doing so, presidential aide and chief diplomatic adviser Ihor Zhovkva told the Reuters news agency.
- NATO is nearing consensus on how to address Ukraine’s membership push at its upcoming summit in July, US ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith said.
- UK Defence Minister Ben Wallace said NATO should look at skipping the requirement for Ukraine’s Membership Action Plan as part of its pathway to joining the alliance.
- Sweden’s prime minister said he would talk to Hungarian officials after reports that Budapest would delay the ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership.
- The Kremlin says data suggests there is continued strong support among Russians for its war in Ukraine and for President Putin.
- The Kremlin has declined to answer questions about Russian General Sergei Surovikin, whose status and location are unknown amid reports of his arrest over links to the Wagner rebellion.
- Russia opened a criminal case against 160 foreign mercenaries from 33 countries fighting in Ukraine, the Russian TASS news agency reported.
- Germany is not seeking a change of government in Russia, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said after arriving at a two-day EU summit in Brussels. “Our goal here is not a change of government, a regime change in Russia,” Scholz said.
- Russia’s ambassador to Switzerland said Moscow could not accept any Swiss-hosted peace summit on Ukraine after it enforced sanctions over Moscow’s attack on Kyiv.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies