Ukraine will not launch long-range weapons at Russian cities
Ukraine will not use any long-range missile systems the West may provide to strike civilian neighborhoods in Russia, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Tuesday.
Zelenskyy spoke remotely to Danish media on the eve of a meeting of global defense ministers in Brussels that could determine the weight and amount of armaments that supporting nations will supply to Ukraine’s military, but unshakable. Ukrainian towns have been pounded from afar by long-range Russian weapons that his army cannot reach.
“We are not interested in bombing civilians, we are not terrorists,” Zelenskyy said. “We need the right weapons…that work at such a distance.”
Zelenskyy said he was ready to talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin, with or without mediators, about ending the war and withdrawing Russian troops from Ukrainian territory.
“Only President Putin decides whether the Russian military will stop or not,” Zelenskyy said. “In Russia there is a person who decides absolutely everything for Russian citizens and for the Russian army.”
USA TODAY ON TELEGRAM: Join our Russia-Ukraine War Channel to get updates straight to your phone
►Russia has returned the remains of 64 other Ukrainians killed in the last heroic battle at the Azovstal steelworks in the weeks before the fall of Mariupol, authorities said on Tuesday. The return comes a week after the return of 160 bodies of Ukrainian soldiers, about a third of them from Azovstal.
►State Department officials met with representatives of Brittney Griner’s WNBA team. Griner was arrested Feb. 17 at a Moscow airport after Russian authorities said a search of her bag revealed vape cartridges containing a cannabis derivative.
► After years of limited reductions in nuclear warheads among the nine countries that possess them, nuclear arsenals are expected to increase over the next decade, according to the findings of the 2022 yearbook released Monday by the International Peace Research Institute from Stockholm.
US Open tennis tournament will allow Russians and Belarusians to play
Defending champion Daniil Medvedev of Russia and his qualified compatriots will be allowed to play at the US Open starting August 29, the United States Tennis Association announced on Tuesday.
Medvedev, the new world No. 1 men’s player, and all athletes from Russia and Belarus have been banned from the Wimbledon tournament from June 27 due to their country’s role in the invasion of Ukraine.
Players were free to participate in the French Open which ended on June 5, leaving Wimbledon as the only Grand Slam event to ban Russians and Belarusians since the Kremlin launched its war against Ukraine on February 24.
“We recognize that each organization has faced unique circumstances that affect its decisions,” the USTA said in a statement. “Based on our own circumstances, the USTA will allow all eligible players, regardless of nationality, to participate in the 2022 US Open.”
US to build temporary silos for Ukrainian grain shipment
President Joe Biden said on Tuesday the United States was working with partners to build temporary silos to move 20 million tons of grain out of Ukraine in a bid to lower food prices. The Russians are blocking the export of millions of tons of grain from Ukraine, which has led to food shortages in Africa and Asia. Biden said temporary silos would be built on Ukraine’s borders, including in Poland. From there, Biden said the grain can then be shipped around the world.
“What Putin’s war did was not only try to wipe out the culture of Ukrainians, decimate people and commit countless war crimes,” Biden said, “but it also prevented grain, thousands of tons of cereals that are locked up in these silos ready to be exported.
Separatists warn Ukrainian fighters to ‘surrender or die’
The Russian Defense Ministry pledged on Wednesday to open a humanitarian corridor out of the eastern Ukrainian town of Sievierodonetsk for hundreds of civilians holed up in a chemical plant and urged Ukrainian fighters “to cease all senseless resistance and lay down their arms”.
Eduard Basurin, spokesman for pro-Russian separatists in the region, said Ukrainian fighters must “surrender or die”.
Ukrainian authorities say around 500 civilians sought refuge at the Azole plant amid Russia’s aggressive bombing campaign of the city. Russia says hundreds of fighters are also hiding in the factory.
Mikhail Mizintsev, head of Russia’s National Defense Management Center, guaranteed the “preservation of life” under Geneva Convention rules for prisoners of war.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian and Ukrainian forces were in a fierce battle for “literally every metre” of the city, about 80% of which is now controlled by the Russian side.
Pope Francis denounces Russian “ferocity and cruelty”
Pope Francis hailed the courage of Ukrainians, reprimanded NATO and criticized Russia’s aggression in excerpts from a news story interview published last month in Italian daily La Stampa on Tuesday. Francis castigated the “ferocity and cruelty” of the Russian troops and credited the Ukrainians with “heroism” and “courage” for the relentless defense of their country. Francis said NATO was not blameless, citing the military alliance’s eastern expansion.
“The Russians thought it would be over in a week. But they miscalculated,” Francis said. “They found a brave people, a people who are fighting to survive and who have a history of fighting.”
Lives Destroyed: Ukrainians’ Stories of Loved Ones Lost in War
Thousands of civilians have been killed in the Russian war against Ukraine. Countless others have been left alone in the aftermath, figuring out how to move on when those they loved the most are gone. Anna Priymenko, 37, lost her only brother and three nephews to the war. USA TODAY interviewed Priymenko and others, gathering the stories behind some of the lives destroyed and devastated by Russia’s war on Ukraine. Read their stories here.
“Clearly this time may pass, it may settle down a bit, but … it will never be like before. It will never be,” Priymenko told USA TODAY.
– Karina Zaiets, Janie Haseman and Katelyn Ferral
12,000 residents remain in besieged Sievierodonetsk, a city of 100,000
Russian troops control 80% of the besieged city of Sievierodonetsk and have destroyed all three bridges, but evacuations of wounded continue, a Ukrainian official said on Tuesday. Sievierodonetsk and its twin town of Lysychansk are the last in Luhansk Oblast to avoid complete capture by Russian troops. Luhansk regional governor Serhii Haidai said Ukrainian forces had been pushed back to the industrial outskirts of Sievierodonetsk due to Russia’s “scorched earth method”.
About 12,000 people remain in Sievierodonetsk, a city that had 100,000 inhabitants before the war. More than 500 civilians are hiding in a chemical plant relentlessly shelled by the Russians, according to Haidai. Russian-backed separatists say dozens of Ukrainian soldiers are also hiding at the plant.
Russian military forces have made progress in capturing Donbass, now controlling more than 95% of Lugansk and about half of Donetsk, the two regions that make up Donbass.
Ukraine prepares to purchase much-needed weapons
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin will host defense ministers from around the world on Wednesday in Brussels, Belgium, for the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov will advocate for more weapons, and Austin said the group will try to ensure Ukraine gets what it needs to repel the Russian invasion. The ministers will also help Ukraine “build and maintain strong defences” so that Ukraine can defend itself in the future.
“We will continue to work to get as many of them as possible as quickly as possible to help them succeed,” Austin said.
India and China offer vast markets for Russian energy exports that are funding the war
Despite Western sanctions imposed for its invasion of Ukraine, Russia is finding vast markets for its energy products, which keeps the Kremlin’s war machine well funded.
China, India and other Asian countries are becoming an increasingly vital source of oil revenue for Moscow, despite heavy pressure from the United States not to increase purchases as the European Union and others allies cut energy imports from Russia in accordance with sanctions. These sales increase profits from Russian exports at a time when Washington and its allies are trying to limit them.
The Finland-based Energy and Clean Air Research Center said on Monday that Russia received about 93 billion euros ($97.4 billion) in revenue from the sale of oil, gas natural and coal since the February 24 invasion. China overtook Germany as the top buyer, spending $12.6 billion over that period. Germany, which is trying to wean itself off Russian energy dependence, has spent 12.1 billion euros.
“Revenue from fossil fuel exports is the primary catalyst for Russia’s military buildup and aggression, providing 40% of federal budget revenue,” the center said.
Contribute: The Associated Press