All bridges out of the eastern Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk have been destroyed, making it impossible to bring in humanitarian cargoes or evacuate citizens, Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai said. FIGHTING * Gaidai said some access remained and part of the city was still under Ukrainian control. “About 500 civilians remain on the grounds of the Azot (chemicals) plant… 40 of them are children,” he said. The industrial zone was under heavy bombardment by Russian forces. * Southwest of Sievierodonetsk, Russian forces were firing mortars and artillery around a number of settlements, according to Ukraine’s general staff. But it said Ukrainian forces had repulsed Russian attempts to advance towards some communities. * Russia says its missiles have destroyed a large quantity of Ukrainian weapons in the Donbas region, including weapons sent from the West. * President Volodomyr Zelenskiy said Ukraine’s military was gradually liberating territory further west in the Kherson region and had some successes in Zaporizhzhia, too. * Russian forces fired Kalibr cruise missiles to destroy a depot containing U.S. and European weapons in western Ukraine’s Ternopil region, Interfax reported. Ternopil’s governor said a rocket attack from the Black Sea had partly destroyed a military facility in the city of Chortkiv, injuring 22 people. A local official said there were no weapons stored there. Reuters could not independently confirm the differing accounts. * Interfax also said Russian forces had shot down three Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jets near Donetsk and Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine. ECONOMY * Former McDonald’s restaurants flung open their doors in Moscow under new Russian ownership and with the new name, Vkusno & tochka, which translates as “Tasty and that’s it.” * Farmers of Ukraine’s southern Odesa region have begun the 2022 grain harvest, taking advantage of favorable weather. * Ukraine has established two routes through Poland and Romania to export grain and avert a global food crisis although bottlenecks have slowed the supply chain, Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister said.
DIPLOMACY * Security concerns raised by Turkey in its opposition to Finnish and Swedish NATO membership applications are legitimate, the Western military alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in Finland. * European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU executive’s opinion on Ukraine’s request to join the European Union would be ready in the coming week. * Is it better to engage with Russian President Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine or to isolate him? Should Kyiv make concessions to end the war, or would that embolden the Kremlin? Are ramped up sanctions on Russia worth the collateral damage? These are some of the questions testing the international alliance that swiftly rallied around Ukraine, officials and diplomats told Reuters. * The global nuclear arsenal is expected to grow in the coming years for the first time since the Cold War while the risk of such weapons being used is the greatest in decades, a leading conflict and armaments think-tank said.
“France has entered a war economy,” President Emmanuel Macron said at the opening of the Eurosatory arms fair, the world’s largest for ground forces. “We have to go much further, much more quickly and more strongly because geopolitics dictates,” Macron said. (Compiled by Simon Cameron-Moore, Peter Graff and Toby Chopra)