- Ukraine has withdrawn its forces from the city of Lysychansk in the Luhansk region, but President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says fighting remains on the city’s outskirts.
- Russia has claimed full control of the Luhansk region.
- At least six people have been killed and 20 wounded in Sloviansk after the eastern town was hit by Russian shelling from multiple rocket launchers, Zelenskyy estimates.
- Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has visited Kyiv and decried the “devastating destruction” in the embattled suburb of Irpin.
Here are the latest updates:
Belarus leader stands with Russia in Ukraine campaign
The president of Belarus – Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin’s closest ally – has said his ex-Soviet state stands fully behind Russia in its military drive in Ukraine.
Addressing a ceremony marking the anniversary of the World War Two liberation of Minsk by Soviet troops on Sunday, Alexander Lukashenko, in power since1994, said he had thrown his weight behind Putin’s campaign against Ukraine “from the very first day” in late February.
“Today, we are being criticised for being the only country in the world to support Russia in its fight against Nazism. We support and will continue to support Russia,” a video on the state BelTA news agency showed Lukashenko telling the gathering on Sunday. “And those who criticise us, do they not know that we have such a close union with the Russian Federation?…That we have practically a unified army. But you knew all this. We will remain together with fraternal Russia.”
Zelenskyy has said the Belarusian leader’s statement amounted to a “signal”, with his actions to be watched carefully. Some Ukrainian officials suggest Belarus could soon become directly involved in the conflict.
Turkish customs detain Russian ship carrying Ukrainian grain: Kyiv ambassador
Turkish customs authorities have detained a Russian cargo ship carrying grain that Ukraine says is stolen, Ukraine’s ambassador to Turkey has said.
“We have full co-operation. The ship is currently standing at the entrance to the port, it has been detained by the customs authorities of Turkey,” Ambassador Vasyl Bodnar said on Ukrainian national television on Sunday.
Bodnar said the ship’s fate would be decided by a meeting of investigators on Monday.
Ukraine has accused Russia of stealing grain from the territories that Russian forces have seized since its invasion began in late February. The Kremlin has denied that Russia has stolen any Ukrainian grain.
With brooms, nail guns, and shovels, Kharkiv residents clean up after attack: Reuters
Armed with brooms, nail guns and shovels, residents in Kharkiv gathered to clean up after multiple Russian rockets hit at 4am (01:00 GMT), the head of the Kharkiv regional military administration, Oleh Synyehubov, said on Sunday.
One of the rockets hit the yard between a school and some private houses. Residents were seen shovelling earth back into a large crater created by the attack, while others were sweeping broken window glass from the floors inside the school and surrounding houses. On Sunday morning, locals were busy fixing roofs and sweeping soot off the façade of the district’s school.
“It (missile blast) happened very early in the morning and in 15 minutes everyone was here.” Vita Kuzub, a school principal, told the Reuters news agency.
The raids that began on Tuesday, June 21, were the worst for weeks in an area where normal life had been returning since Ukraine pushed Moscow’s forces back in May.
Russia shelled Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, Kharkiv Sunday: Zelenskyy
The Russian army shelled the eastern towns of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk on Sunday, as well as the city of Kharkiv, with multiple launch rocket systems as well as Soviet Smerch rockets, Zelenskyy has said, adding that Russia has enough weapons to destroy every city in Ukraine.
“In Sloviansk alone, six people are on the list of dead, and about 20 are wounded. A girl died, her name was Yeva. She would have turned 10 in August this year,” Zelenskyy said in his nighttime address.
“Russia has enough Smerch, Uragan and Grad systems to destroy city after city in Ukraine. They have now accumulated their largest firepower in Donbas,” he added.
Fighting remains on Lysychansk outskirts: Zelenskyy
Kyiv’s forces are still battling Russian soldiers on the outskirts of the city Lysychansk “in a very difficult and dangerous situation,” Zelenskyy has said after Ukraine withdrew its forces from Lysychansk and the Russian defence ministry claimed its army had captured the Luhansk region.
“We cannot give you the final judgment. Lysychansk is still being fought for,” Zelenskyy told a news conference in Kyiv given alongside Australia’s visiting prime minister. He noted that territory can move quickly from one side to the other.
Russian forces maintain an advantage in the area, he acknowledged, calling it a Ukrainian military “weak spot”.
The capture of Lysychansk would give the Russians more territory from which to intensify attacks on the neighbouring Donetsk region. In recent weeks, Russian forces were thought to hold about half of Donetsk, but it is not clear where things stand now.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Read all the updates from Sunday, July 3, here.