The Russian invasion of Ukraine that began on Feb. 24 continues, with casualties mounting on both sides.
Ukrainian forces are putting up resistance in the east, where the focus of the war has shifted, and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy regularly calls on the world to do more to help. Governments around the globe have imposed heavy sanctions against Moscow but have stopped short of direct intervention for fear of sparking a wider conflict.
Meanwhile, rising geopolitical risk and volatile energy and financial markets are rocking Asia.
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Entries include material from wire services and other sources.
Note: Nikkei Asia on March 5 decided to temporarily suspend its reporting from Russia until further information becomes available regarding the scope of the revised criminal code.
Here are the latest developments:
Monday, July 11 (Tokyo time)
3:20 p.m. A major gas pipeline from Russia to Germany began shutting down for annual maintenance Monday, amid German concern that Russia may not resume the flow of gas as scheduled. The Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Germany’s main source of Russian gas, is scheduled to be out of action until July 21 for routine work that the operator says includes “testing of mechanical elements and automation systems.” The operator said the gas flow was reduced progressively, starting at 6 a.m., German news agency DPA reported. German officials are suspicious about Russia’s intentions, particularly after Russia’s Gazprom last month reduced the gas flow through Nord Stream 1 by 60%. Gazprom cited technical problems involving a gas turbine powering a compressor station that partner Siemens Energy sent to Canada for maintenance and couldn’t be returned because of sanctions imposed over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
5:02 a.m. Dozens of Ukrainian emergency workers labored Sunday to pull people out of the rubble after a Russian rocket attack smashed into apartment buildings in eastern Ukraine, killing at least 15 people. More than 20 residents were believed still trapped. The strike late Saturday destroyed three buildings in a residential quarter of the town of Chasiv Yar, inhabited mostly by people who work in nearby factories. On Sunday evening, rescuers were able to remove enough of the bricks and concrete to retrieve a man who had been trapped for almost 24 hours. Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the Donetsk region that includes Chasiv Yar, said an estimated 24 people were believed still trapped, including a 9-year-old child.
Sunday, July 10
11:03 p.m. The Russian Tennis Federation was quick to claim Elena Rybakina as “our product” on her run to the women’s title at Wimbledon. They then praised her training program in the country after she won the Venus Rosewater Dish as Wimbledon champion while representing Kazakhstan. “It’s the Russian school, after all. She played here with us for a long time, and then in Kazakhstan,” Russian Tennis Federation President Shamil Tarpishchev told sports website Championat on Saturday.
5:15 p.m. The Canadian government says it will allow the delivery to Germany of equipment from a key Russia-Europe natural gas pipeline that has undergone maintenance. Russia’s Gazprom last month cited the missing equipment as a reason for more than halving the flow of gas. The return of turbines from the Nord Stream 1 pipeline sent to Montreal for a scheduled overhaul has been complicated by sanctions. Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s minister of natural resources, said in a statement late Saturday that “Canada will grant a time-limited and revocable permit for Siemens Canada to allow the return of repaired Nord Stream 1 turbines to Germany.”
Saturday, July 9
3:46 p.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the Indonesian island of Bali. The two top diplomats held their first face-to-face talks on the sidelines of the Group of 20’s ministerial meeting since last October and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February this year. “In a relationship as complex and consequential as the one between the United States and China, there is a lot to talk about,” Blinken said as the two top diplomats began the meeting. Wang said, “We do need to work together to ensure that this relationship will continue to move forward along the right track.”
3:00 p.m. Russia is moving reserve forces from across the country and assembling them near Ukraine for future offensive operations, British military intelligence says. A large proportion of the new Russian infantry units are probably deploying with MT-LB armored vehicles taken from long-term storage as their primary transport, Britain’s Ministry of Defense tweeted in a regular bulletin.
3:20 a.m. The U.S. will send another $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, including more HIMARS missile launchers, the Financial Times and others report, citing a senior defense official.
Four more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems will be delivered to help Ukrainian forces, the official is quoted as saying.
The Biden administration is reportedly considering sending more coastal defense systems and updating Ukraine’s air defense capabilities.
“If the Russians think they can outlast the Ukrainians, they need to rethink that because we are already pivoting toward thinking what the Ukrainians need in the months and years ahead,” the official says.
Friday, July 8
11:55 p.m. Russia warns Lithuania and the European Union of “harsh measures” it could use against them if the transit of some goods to and from the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad did not resume.
“If the situation does not stabilize in the coming days, then Russia will take harsh measures against Lithuania and the European Union,” Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, says, according to Reuters. “The issue has taken too long to resolve.”
Lithuania has banned the transit of goods subject to EU sanctions across its territory to and from the Baltic exclave.
8:00 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy joins world leaders in condemning the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
6:40 p.m. Russia has used only a small portion of its potential in its “special military operation” in Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells reporters. President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia had barely started in Ukraine and dared the West to try to defeat it on the battlefield, while insisting that Moscow was still open to the idea of peace talks. “Russia’s potential is so great that only a small portion of it is being used in the special operation,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in a conference call with reporters.
6:15 p.m. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen this month will visit the Indo-Pacific and use the trip to make the U.S. case for a price cap on Russian oil aimed at reducing revenue to the Kremlin. Yellen will address the economic and humanitarian challenges wrought by Russia’s war in Ukraine as she represents the U.S. at G-20 finance minister meetings on the Indonesian island of Bali and makes additional stops in Tokyo and Seoul. During the July 12-19 trip, Yellen will notably avoid visiting China, although she did hold a call with China’s vice premier on Monday.
4:50 p.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken addressed Russia directly at the G-20 foreign ministers meeting in Bali and called on Moscow to let Ukrainian grain out to the world, Reuters reports citing a Western official. Blinken spoke at a plenary session of the meeting, which was focused on food and energy insecurity, said the official, who did not want to be identified. “He addressed Russia directly, saying: ‘To our Russian colleagues: Ukraine is not your country. Its grain is not your grain. Why are you blocking the ports? You should let the grain out,'” the official said.
3:30 p.m. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dismisses what he cast as the West’s “frenzied” criticism of the war in Ukraine at a G-20 meeting, scolding Russia’s rivals for scuppering a chance to tackle global economic issues. “During the discussion, Western partners avoided following the mandate of the G-20, from dealing with issues of the world economy,” Lavrov said. He said the West’s discussion “strayed almost immediately, as soon as they took the floor, to the frenzied criticism of the Russian Federation in connection with the situation in Ukraine. ‘Aggressors,’ ‘invaders,’ ‘occupiers,’ — we heard a lot of things today,” Lavrov said.
12:52 p.m. Indonesia urges the G-20 to help end the war in Ukraine, as foreign ministers from the group gather for a meeting that has put some of the staunchest critics of Russia’s invasion in the same room as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The buildup to the gathering on the Indonesian island of Bali has been dominated by the war and its impact on the global economy, with top officials from Western countries and Japan stressing it would not be “business as usual” at the forum. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said at the opening of talks, “It is our responsibility to end the war sooner than later and settle our differences at the negotiating table, not on the battlefield.”
7:00 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin accuses the West of decades of aggression toward Moscow and warns that if it wants to attempt to beat Russia on the battlefield it is welcome to try, but this would bring tragedy for Ukraine. His remarks came as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov prepared for a closed-door foreign ministers’ meeting at a G-20 gathering in Indonesia on Friday. “We have heard many times that the West wants to fight us to the last Ukrainian. This is a tragedy for the Ukrainian people, but it seems that everything is heading toward this,” Putin said in televised remarks to parliamentary leaders.
4:00 a.m. Ukrainians feel saddened by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says.
“We are sincerely grateful for the decisive and uncompromising help since the first days of the war,” Zelenskyy says in a Facebook post. “I thank you in particular for the leadership in defending the interests of Ukraine in the international arena.”
3:00 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden will discuss energy security with Gulf leaders on his trip to the Middle East next week, White House spokesman John Kirby says.
His itinerary will include meetings with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Kirby says.
1:53 a.m. U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner pleads guilty to a drugs charge in a Russian court but denies she intentionally broke the law. Griner was speaking at her trial on the narcotics charge carrying a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, days after she urged U.S. President Joe Biden to secure her release.
Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was detained in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport after authorities found what they said were vape cartridges containing hashish oil. She has been kept in custody since.
1:45 a.m. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov posts an update on the country’s “dronation” campaign of collecting drones and cash donations to buy them for front-line troops.
“An Army of Drones will allow us to constantly monitor the 2,470 km long frontline and provide an effective response to enemy attacks,” the donation website says.
Fedorov doubles as Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation and is known for reaching out to Tesla chief and SpaceX founder Elon Musk with a request for Starlink satellite phones.
Thursday, July 7 (Tokyo time)
5:50 p.m. Pavel Zavalny, head of the energy committee in Russia’s lower house of parliament, says that the Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project in the country’s far east will be put under Moscow’s jurisdiction, as has the neighboring Sakhalin-2. President Vladimir Putin last week signed a decree enabling the seizure of full control of the Sakhalin-2 gas and oil project, a move that could force out investors including Shell and Japanese entities. Four companies — Rosneft, ExxonMoobil, Japan’s SODECO and India’s ONGC Videsh — are partners in the Sakhalin-1 group of fields. ExxonMobil decided to pull out from the project in March.
3:30 p.m. A staggering 71 million more people around the world are experiencing poverty as a result of soaring food and energy prices that climbed in the weeks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United Nations Development Program says in a report. The UNDP estimates that 51.6 million more people fell into poverty in the first three months after the war, living off $1.90 a day or less. This pushed the total number globally at this threshold to 9% of the world’s population. An additional 20 million people slipped to the poverty line of $3.20 a day. “The cost-of-living impact is almost without precedent in a generation … and that is why it is so serious,” UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said at the launch of the report.
11:00 a.m. Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says attempts by the West to punish a nuclear power such as Russia for the war in Ukraine risk endangering humanity. “The idea of punishing a country that has one of the largest nuclear potentials is absurd. And potentially poses a threat to the existence of humanity,” Medvedev, now deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, said on Telegram on Wednesday. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has triggered the most serious crisis in relations between Russia and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when many people feared the world was on the brink of nuclear war.
7:23 a.m. Spikes in the prices of food, fuel and fertilizer sparked by the war in Ukraine are threatening to push countries around the world into famine, bringing “global destabilization, starvation and mass migration on an unprecedented scale,” a top U.N. official warns. David Beasley, head of the U.N. World Food Program, said its latest analysis shows that “a record 345 million acutely hungry people are marching to the brink of starvation” — a 25% increase from 276 million at the start of 2022, before Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. The number stood at 135 million before the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.
More than 424 million faced hunger in Asia in 2021, according to the latest State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report.
3:00 a.m. Sri Lanka’s president has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to help finance fuel imports for the crisis-stricken South Asian nation.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa tweets that he had a “very productive” phone call with Putin.
“I requested an offer of credit support to import fuel,” Rajapaksa adds. He writes that he asked for Russian airline Aeroflot to resume operations in Sri Lanka.
For earlier updates, click here.