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:
Thursday, July 14 (Tokyo time)
10:58 a.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken strongly condemns the “unlawful transfer and deportation of protected persons” from areas in Ukraine that Russia controls. “Russian authorities must release those detained and allow Ukrainian citizens forcibly removed or coerced into leaving their country the ability to promptly and safely return home,” Blinken said in a statement. An estimated 900,000 to 1.6 million Ukrainian citizens — including 260,000 children — have been interrogated, detained and deported to Russia, with some sent to the country’s far east, he said.
9:44 a.m. The central bank of Singapore tightens its monetary policy in an out-of-cycle move as the city sees inflationary pressure rising on the back of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The state also announced its economy grew 4.8% on the year in the April-June quarter, according to preliminary figures released on Thursday, faster than the 4% spurt the previous term.
4:10 a.m. Turkey, Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations have reached a deal in talks aimed at resuming Ukrainian grain exports blocked by Russia, the Turkish defense minister says.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hails the development as a “major step forward” that shines “a ray of hope in a world darkened by crises.”
2:00 a.m. Ukraine has severed diplomatic relations with North Korea, which Kyiv condemns for recognizing Russian-occupied breakaway regions that have declared independence.
North Korea is one of a handful of countries, including Syria and Belarus, that recognize or support the recognition of the “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states.
Ukraine maintains these regions are part of its territory, a position for which it has widespread international support.
“Russia has no more allies in the world, except for countries that depend on it financially and politically, and the level of isolation of the Russian Federation will soon reach the level of isolation of the DPRK,” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says in an statement on cutting diplomatic ties with North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
North Korea’s recognition of the two breakaway regions came on Wednesday. The North Korean ambassador to Russia, Sin Hong-chol, met his Donetsk counterpart Olga Makeyeva in Moscow. Makeyeva said she was confident that “cooperation between countries, which now has official status, will be fruitful and mutually beneficial,” Tass reports.
1:30 a.m. Chinese and Russian military activity around Japan increased 2.5 times in the four months following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, sparking alarm here over a potential escalation.
Releases by Japan’s Ministry of Defense show 90 instances of activity by Chinese and Russian military vessels and aircraft near Japan in the four months after the invasion began. There had been 35 in the four months before.
A Chinese vessel and Russian vessel entered Japan’s contiguous zone near the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands on July 4. China claims the islands as the Diaoyu. Read more.
6:57 p.m. Chinese exports to sanctions-hit Russia tumbled in June for the fourth straight month, while Russian shipments to China continued at an elevated pace, official data show. Shipments to Russia fell 17% from the same month a year earlier in dollar terms, worse than May’s 8.6% year-on-year decline, according to Reuters calculations based on customs data. Imports from Russia, however, surged 56% in June versus the same month in 2021, on top of a jump of 80% in May.
Wednesday, July 13
For the first half of the year, China’s exports to its neighbor slumped to meager growth of 2.1%, as international sanctions on Russia bit. Imports, on the other hand, jumped 48%. Russia is a major source of oil, gas, coal and agricultural commodities for China.
10:33 a.m. Ukraine launched long-range rocket attacks on Russian forces in southern Ukraine and destroyed an ammunition dump, its military said, as Russia continued to pound the country’s east. The strike on Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region killed 52 people, Ukraine’s military said on Tuesday. The town’s Russia-installed authorities said that at least seven people had been killed and around 70 injured, Russia’s TASS news agency reported. The strike came after Washington supplied Ukraine with advanced HIMARS mobile artillery systems which Kyiv says its forces are using with growing efficiency.
6:37 a.m. Ukraine sparked hopes Tuesday for an increase in grain exports despite Russia’s blockade of Black Sea ports, noting that ships had started to pass through an important mouth of the Danube river. “In the last four days, 16 ships have passed through the Bystre rivermouth,” Deputy Infrastructure Minister Yuriy Vaskov was quoted as a saying in a ministry statement. “We plan to maintain this pace.” The ministry said the 16 vessels were now waiting to be loaded with Ukrainian grain for export to foreign markets, while more than 90 more vessels were awaiting their turn in Romania’s Sulina canal.
2:00 a.m. Myanmar armed forces leader Min Aung Hlaing has agreed to deepen military and “military-technical cooperation” with Russia on his second trip to the country since taking control of the Southeast Asian nation last year.
The Myanmar general met with Russian defense ministry officials in Moscow on Tuesday, Tass reports, citing a Ministry of Defense statement. He also reportedly met with state space company Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin.
“The meeting was held in a traditionally friendly atmosphere and confirmed the mutual commitment to gradually increase the wide-ranging cooperation between the defense ministries of the two countries,” the defense ministry says.
12:30 a.m. A court in Russia finds Apple guilty of failing to localize Russian users’ personal data within the country’s territory.
The U.S. tech giant has been fined 2 million rubles ($34,000), Russian and other media report. Apple representatives reportedly told the court that the company is not responsible for gathering personal data in Russia.
12:00 a.m. The euro is within a hair of parity with the dollar for the first time since 2002 as investors weigh the risk of a deep economic slump triggered by an energy shock.
Foreign exchange markets are “discounting a severe European recession,” into the euro-dollar trade, Greg Anderson and Stephen Gallo of BMO Capital Markets write in a note to clients, the Financial Times reports.
Tuesday, July 12 (Tokyo time)
5:46 p.m. A Russian ammunition depot was apparently targeted by Ukrainian forces overnight, resulting in a massive blast captured on social media. The Ukrainian military’s southern command said the rocket strike targeted the depot in Russian-held Nova Kakhovka, about 35 miles (55 km) east of the important Black Sea port city of Kherson, which is also occupied by Russian forces. Video on social media showed a massive explosion. The nature of the strike suggested that Ukrainian forces used U.S-supplied multiple-launch High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, to strike the area.
12:00 p.m. The White House says it believes Russia is turning to Iran to provide it with “hundreds” of unmanned aerial vehicles, including weapons-capable drones, for use in its war in Ukraine. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that it is unclear whether Iran has already provided any of the systems but that Iran apparently is preparing to train Russian forces to use them as soon as this month. “Our information indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred UAVs, including weapons-capable UAVs on an expedited timeline,” he told reporters.
11:44 a.m. The global price of oil could surge by 40% to around $140 per barrel if a proposed cap on the price of Russian oil is not adopted, along with sanctions exemptions that would allow shipments below that price, a senior U.S. Treasury official says. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will discuss implementation of the U.S. proposal and global economic developments with Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki when they meet later on Tuesday. The goal is to set the price at a level that covers Russia’s marginal cost of production so Moscow has an incentive to continue exporting oil, but not high enough to allow it to fund its war against Ukraine, the official said.
9:12 a.m. The United Nations announces it will start monitoring the war in Ukraine and conflicts in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Africa’s central Sahel region for violations against children, including killings, injuries, recruitment, rape and other forms of sexual violence. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in his annual report to the Security Council on children and armed conflict that those four new conflicts have been added to 21 conflicts that the U.N. already is monitoring for violations of the rights of children. He said the latter conflicts saw “a high number of grave violations” in 2021.
2:45 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plan to meet soon to discuss facilitating grain exports from Ukraine. Turkey has been mediating between Moscow and Kyiv since Russia sent its armed forces into Ukraine on Feb. 24. The last talks between representatives of Russia and Ukraine were held in Istanbul in late March.
2:00 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin signs a decree extending a simplified Russian naturalization process to all citizens of Ukraine, a document published on the government’s website shows.
Previously, the simplified procedure applied only to residents of the self-proclaimed breakaway territories of the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine.
Monday, July 11
5:50 p.m. Ukrainian forces have recaptured the village of Ivanivka in the southern Russian-occupied region of Kherson, a Ukrainian infantry brigade says. “The only thing left of the Russian occupiers in Ivanivka are horrible memories and ‘dead’ military equipment,” it said. There is more than one village of Ivanivka in the area. One of them is located along the front line.
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.