Russia’s hopes for quick gains in northeastern Ukraine seemed to have stalled when Ukrainian troops managed to drive Russian troops out of Kharkiv, the region’s largest city, according to Ukrainian authorities. Follow FRANCE 24’s live blog for the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT + 2).
12:10: G7 foreign ministers promise to continue economic pressure on Russia, “will never recognize” boundaries changed by force
Foreign ministers from the G7 group of nations have promised to strengthen Russia’s economic and political isolation, continue to supply weapons and work to alleviate the global food shortages stemming from the war in Ukraine in a joint statement on Saturday.
“We reaffirm our determination to further increase the economic and political pressure on Russia and to continue to act in unity,” the Foreign Ministers said in a statement following the meeting in northern Germany.
The group of seven industrialized nations also said they would never recognize the borders that Russia is trying to change in its war against Ukraine.
“We will never recognize borders that Russia has sought to change through military aggression, and will maintain our commitment to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, including Crimea, and all states,” G7 foreign ministers said in a statement.
11:07: Russia shuts off electricity to Finland: Finnish network operator
Russia stopped supplying electricity to Finland overnight after its energy company RAO Nordic threatened to shut off supplies due to late payments, according to an official of the Finnish grid operator.
Stocks “have been zero since midnight”, Timo Kaukonen told AFP.
RAO Nordic had said it would suspend deliveries, citing payment problems, as Helsinki prepares to announce its application for NATO membership in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
9:15: Erdogan’s “opportunistic” opposition to Finland, Sweden NATO bid
On Friday, Erdogan accused Finland and Sweden of hosting “terrorist organizations” and said that Turkey did not have a “positive opinion” about the Nordic nations’ applications for membership in NATO.
Mortimer explains that the “terrorist organizations” to which Erdogan referred appeared to be the Kurdish PKK and DHDKP-C groups, and the Gulenists, a group accused of being behind a failed coup attempt in 2016. “These groups also exist in other European countries. “, Mortimer explained. “Erdogan’s choice of Finland and Sweden seems opportunistic. I think what is going on here is that Erdogan is saying a big ‘no’ to get concessions, to get the governments of Helsinki and Stockholm to promise to overthrow the PKK.”
08:05: Moscow-administered Kherson asks to be included in Russia: Great Britain
The Russian-led military-civilian administration in Ukraine’s Kherson region said it would ask Russia to include it in the Russian Federation, according to the British Ministry of Defense.
If Russia conducts an accession referendum in Kherson, it will almost certainly manipulate the results to show a clear majority to leave Ukraine, Britain said in a regular Twitter bulletin.
07:43: Duman’s deputy chief visits Ukraine’s Russian – occupied Kherson: reports
Senior Russian lawmaker Anna Kuznetsova visited the Russian-occupied Kherson region of Ukraine to discuss the social and health needs of local people, the state news agency RIA reported on Saturday.
The report could not be confirmed independently.
Kherson is the first region to be annexed after Moscow said in April that it had gained full control of the region, which has seen sporadic anti-Russian protests.
Kuznetsova, deputy head of Russia’s Duma or lower house of parliament, discussed the range of food and medical and other products needed for children, the RIA reported.
04:33: Fierce fighting in the Donbas region
Intense fighting is underway in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, according to a local official.
“Fierce fighting is taking place on the border with the Donetsk region, near Popasna,” Lugansk regional governor Sergei Gaidai said in a Facebook post late Friday. There were large losses in personnel and equipment on the Russian side, he added.
The British Ministry of Defense said on Friday that Ukrainian forces had “successfully” repulsed a Russian attempt to cross the Siverskyi Donet River west of Severodonetsk.
(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP and REUTERS)