Russia Ukraine war live: First lady issues sobering warning in rare interview

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Russian missiles hit apartment block and Ukrainian security service building in Dnipro

Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska has issued a sobering warning to the world as the conflict enters its 18 month, in an exclusive interview with Independent TV.

Speaking from the command centre in Kyiv, Ms Zelenska warned that her country is in desperate need of “faster” support to enable it to fight Vladimir Putin’s troops.

“We keep hearing from our Western partners that they will be with us as long as it takes. ‘Long’ is not the word we should use. We should use the word ‘faster’,” she told Independent TV.

“Ukrainians are paying for this war with the lives of our compatriots. The rest of the world pays with its resources. These are incomparable things, so we urge you to speed up this help,” she added.

A comedy screenwriter and the childhood sweetheart of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, Ms Zelenska gave up her day job to become an ambassador for Ukraine after Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

Founding the Olena Zelenska Foundation in September 2022, the organisation’s work is wide-ranging, encompassing everything from reconstructing hospitals to supporting those suffering with their mental health.

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What Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska wants the world to know

In a rare interview the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, has spoken to Independent TV about her work rebuilding Ukraine in the middle of war, the pressures on her family and concerns for the future of her country.

From the presidential palace, she told The Independent’s Bel Trew about the need to reconstruct cities despite the fighting raging on, about building cutting-edge facilities to treat the country’s’ war-wounded and fighting stigma on trauma around the country.

What Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska wants the world to know

In a rare interview the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, has spoken to Independent TV about her work rebuilding Ukraine in the middle of war, the pressures on her family and concerns for the future of her country. From the presidential palace, she told The Independent’s Bel Trew about the need to reconstruct cities despite the fighting raging on, about building cutting-edge facilities to treat the country’s’ war-wounded and fighting stigma on trauma around the country. Watch the full interview on Independent TV, across mobile and connected TV from Monday 7 August.

Eleanor Noyce2 August 2023 22:07

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Putin’s troops fail to advance but are well dug in, says Ukrainian official

Even though Russian forces have not made any significant headway along the front lines, they are entrenched in heavily mined areas they control, making it difficult for Ukrainian troops to move east and south, Ukrainian officials said on Wednesday.

Russian forces have utilised ample time this year during their occupation in frontline areas to prepare defences and lay extensive minefields, Oleksiy Danilov, the Secretary of Ukraine’s Security Council, said.

“The enemy has prepared very thoroughly for these events,” he told national television. “The number of mines on the territory that our troops have retaken is utterly mad. On average, there are three, four, five mines per square metre.”

In June, Ukrainian forces launched a drive to retake occupied areas and have been pressing southward toward the Sea of Azov to sever a land bridge between occupied eastern Ukraine and the Russian-annexed Crimean peninsula.

Arpan Rai3 August 2023 04:30

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Several explosions in Kyiv overnight as anti-aircraft units repel attacks

Anti-aircraft units were in action against attack drones during a three-hour air raid alert in and around Kyiv in the early hours today, the military said, with several explosions reported but no strikes or casualties announced.

Kyiv military authorities lifted the alert just after 4am (1am GMT).

One report by the military said airborne targets had been downed, but no details were provided.

Alerts were also lifted in most other areas of the country.

Arpan Rai3 August 2023 04:07

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Face to face with a mercenary: Inside Wagner and its blood-soaked role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Amid the ravages of war, Sergey, a seasoned Wagner mercenary, found himself grappling with the relentless violence that has become a way of life and death on the front line. The savage conflict, the sense of betrayal from the Kremlin, and rumours of plots, all combined to create an atmosphere of uncertainty and dread.

At the end he decided to abandon the Wagner group and the savage, meat-grinding combat of Donbas where corpses piled up, and towns and cities were razed.

Kim Sengupta meets a fighter – a father of two – who has recently left the mercenary group and hears about the daily routine of ‘fight, eat, pray’ on some of the fiercest frontlines in the war:

Eleanor Noyce3 August 2023 04:00

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Areas near Bakhmut recaptured, says Kyiv

Officials in Kyiv have said its troops have retaken areas near Bakhmut, an eastern city seized by Russian forces in May after months of battles.

Deputy Ukrainian defence minister Hanna Maliar said Russian forces had “tried quite persistently to halt our advance in the Bakhmut sector. Without success.”

Russian forces, she wrote on Telegram, were beefing up reserves and equipment in three areas further north, where heavy fighting has also been reported in recent weeks.

Arpan Rai3 August 2023 03:51

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Russia attacks grain port across River Danube from Romania

Russia attacked Ukraine’s main inland port across the River Danube from Romania yesterday, sending global food prices higher as it ramps up its use of force to prevent Kyiv from exporting grain.

The attacks destroyed buildings in the port of Izmail, south of Moldova, and halted ships in their tracks as they prepared to arrive there to load up with Ukrainian grain in defiance of a de-facto Black Sea blockade reimposed by Russia last month.

The port, which lies across the river from Nato-member Romania, is the main alternative route for exports.

Arpan Rai3 August 2023 03:44

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Mapped: The latest strikes on Ukraine and Russia as war rages on

“Gradually, the war is returning to the territory of Russia – to its symbolic centres and military bases, and this is an inevitable, natural and absolutely fair process,” he said in a video address from the western city of Ivano-Frankivsk.

Russia’s defence ministry conceded on Sunday (30 July) that a 50-storey building containing the offices of a number of government agencies and a shopping precinct in the capital’s western Moskva-Citi business district were both hit by drone strikes it blamed on Ukraine, claiming to have brought down three more devices.

Joe Sommerlad has the full story:

Eleanor Noyce3 August 2023 03:00

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Why are Wagner mercenaries in Belarus – and would they try to invade Poland?

Thousands of Wagner mercenaries have arrived in Belarus since the group’s failed mutiny against Moscow led by its founder Yevgeny Prigozhin – leading to Nato member Poland reinforcing its eastern border against the “potential threat” they pose.

Adding to the tension, Poland’s government said that two Belarusian helicopters entered Poland’s airspace on Tuesday, with Warsaw authorities saying it is rushing more troops to the border in light of the incident. It said it had informed Nato of the border violation, which Belarus denies.

The country’s defence ministry said: “There was a violation of Polish airspace by two Belarusian helicopters that were carrying out training near the border.” It added that Belarus had earlier informed Poland of plans to carry out training exercises in the area. It said they were flying at a low altitude and were not picked up by radar.

Eleanor Noyce3 August 2023 02:00

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ICYMI: China imposes curbs on drone exports citing Ukraine and concern about military use

China imposed restrictions Monday on exports of long-range civilian drones, citing Russia’s war in Ukraine and concern that drones might be converted to military use.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s government is friendly with Moscow but says it is neutral in the 18-month-old war. It has been stung by reports that both sides might be using Chinese-made drones for reconnaissance and possibly attacks.

Export controls will take effect Tuesday to prevent use of drones for “non-peaceful purposes,” the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement. It said exports still will be allowed but didn’t say what restrictions would apply.

Eleanor Noyce3 August 2023 01:00

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Voices: I have a frozen embryo in Russia called Tallulah – the war in Ukraine means it’s trapped there

I know it sounds over the top to actually call a frozen embryo by a name – but I’m not alone.

I don’t want another child, writes Charlotte Cripps – but it doesn’t stop me from worrying about my frozen embryo in St Petersburg:

Eleanor Noyce3 August 2023 00:01

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