President Volodymyr Zelenskiy applies for Ukraine to join Nato and says Ukrainians will take back their land regardless of Kremlin’s proclamation
Hello and thanks for joining today’s live coverage of the Russian war against Ukraine, brought to you by the Guardian. I’m Warren Murray here to get things started. Let’s begin with some of the most recent developments.
Russian forces were potentially on the verge of one of their worst defeats of the war after Ukrainian troops recaptured two villages close to the eastern Russian-occupied stronghold of Lyman.
Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, proclaimed the annexation of territory seized in his invasion in four regions amounting to 15% of total Ukrainian territory while Kyiv said it would continue its fight to retake the illegally occupied land.
Before signing the documents which lay claim to Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk and Donetsk – an act denounced as illegal by Ukraine, the United States, the European Union and the head of the United Nations – Putin delivered a 37-minute anti-western diatribe.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he was formally applying for Ukraine to join the Nato military alliance, adding that Kyiv was ready for talks with Moscow but not while Putin remained president.
Russia vetoed a UN security council resolution introduced by the US and Albania condemning Moscow’s proclaimed annexations. Russia’s strategic partner China abstained from the vote, as well as India, which has historic defense ties with Russia despite a warming relationship with the United States.
The United States responded to the annexations by imposing more sanctions on Russia, targeting hundreds of people and companies, including those in Russia’s military-industrial complex and lawmakers.
At least 30 civilians were killed and almost 100 wounded in what Kyiv said was a cynical Russian missile strike on a convoy of civilian cars in southern Ukraine.
Putin, without providing evidence, blamed the US and its allies for blowing up pipelines under the Baltic Sea, raising the temperature in a crisis that has left Europe racing to secure its energy infrastructure and supplies.
Joe Biden, the US president, said “was a deliberate act of sabotage and now the Russians are pumping out disinformation and lies”, adding that Washington and its allies would send divers to find out what happened.
The ruptures on the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline system have led to what is likely the biggest single release of climate-damaging methane recorded, the United Nations Environment Programme said.
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