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War in Ukraine: Recent Developments

#War #Ukraine #Developments

Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

– Deadly strike on Odessa –

At least 18 people have been killed and dozens injured in rocket attacks in Ukraine’s Odessa region.

The attacks come a day after Russian troops abandoned their positions on the strategic Snake Island off the coast of Odessa.

Early Friday, the rockets hit a nine-story apartment building and recreation center about 80 kilometers south of Odessa, emergency services said.

– Snake Island decision “changes situation”: Zelensky –

Russia’s decision to abandon Snake Island “significantly changes the situation in the Black Sea,” says Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“It still doesn’t guarantee security. It still doesn’t guarantee that the enemy won’t return. But it already limits the actions of the occupiers considerably,” he said in his speech on Thursday.

Snake Island is a strategic destination located away from shipping lanes near the port of Odessa. Russia had attempted to install missile and air defense batteries while coming under drone fire.

The UK MoD, in its latest intelligence report, says Russia most likely withdrew “due to the garrison’s isolation and its increasing vulnerability to Ukrainian strikes, rather than as a ‘goodwill gesture’ as it has claimed”.

Russia’s Defense Ministry on Thursday called the withdrawal a “goodwill gesture” to demonstrate that Moscow will not interfere in UN efforts to organize protected grain exports from Ukraine.

– Lysychansk struck –

The city of Lysyhansk in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region continues to face sustained bombing, says Sergiy Gaiday, governor of Lugansk region.

The capture of the city would allow the Russians to advance deeper into the industrial Donbas, which has become the focus of their offensive since they failed to capture Kyiv after their February 24 invasion.

“Residents of Lysychansk rarely leave their basements and houses,” Gaiday writes on Telegram.

The Russians have taken control of parts of the city’s oil refinery, he says.

– EU boss warns Ukraine against corruption –

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has told Ukraine’s parliament that EU membership is “close at hand” but urges them to push ahead with anti-corruption reforms.

“They have created an impressive anti-corruption machine,” she tells lawmakers via video link. “But now these institutions need teeth and the right people in senior positions.”

Ukraine applied for EU membership just five days after the Russian invasion on February 24, and the 27 member states accepted their candidacy on June 23 in a strong show of support.

But the accession process could take many years.

She stressed that Brussels and EU member states stand firmly behind Ukraine, both in the fight against the ongoing Russian invasion and in the pursuit of “reunification with our European family”.

But she also insisted on the need to build on reforms already in place since Ukraine’s 2014 revolt against its previous government to tackle corruption and the influence of oligarchs on its economy.

– Ukraine exports electricity to the EU –

Ukraine has started exporting electricity to the EU via Romania, President Zelensky says, while Russia is reducing gas supplies to the bloc.

Several European countries that depend heavily on Russian gas for their energy needs have been forced to look for alternatives as Moscow cuts supplies in response to its support for Ukraine.

“This is only the first phase. We are preparing to increase supply,” says Zelenskyy, adding that “a significant part of the Russian gas consumed by Europeans can be replaced.”

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