Skip to content

Ukraine news live: Moscow official 'assassinated' in car bombing - as Putin 'rewrites history lessons'

Ukraine latest as the governor of Luhansk says Ukrainian troops in Severodonetsk will "have to be withdrawn" amid fierce fighting; a Moscow-installed official has been killed in Ukraine's southern region of Kherson in an apparent assassination, Russian news agencies report.

Image:A broken bridge under construction to restore in Irpin near Kyiv. Pic: AP
Why you can trust Sky News
Zelenskyy: 'We are fighting for the future of our children'

The war in Ukraine has changed President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, how could it not?

An actor-turned-leader, he has swapped his suits for military-style clothing as he tries to lead his country through wartime.

The strain in his face is visible, the impact of the war is clear.

Today, as he does every day, he reached out to his citizens.

He said on Telegram: "Everything changed for Ukraine four months ago. We became a country in army boots. 

"A country in tanks, aircraft, ships. A country in trenches and shelters. Our way of life changed, but not our worldview. 

"The path on which we are going to the goal changed, but the goal remained the same.

We are fighting for our freedom and our land. 

"We are fighting for the future of our children and grandchildren, for their life and opportunity to build a new Ukraine."

Ukrainian lawmaker accused of helping Russian units into cities as invasion began

Ukraine's State Security Service (SBU) says it has uncovered a Russian spy network involving Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Derkach.

Derkach - who was previously accused by the US of being a Russian agent - allegedly set up a network of private security firms.

It is claimed they were used to ease and support the entry of Kremlin forces into cities during the invasion of 24 February, the SBU says.

The agency thinks Derkach received sums of $3-4 million every few months in order to fulfil the plan.

Derkach could not immediately be reached for comment. He has previously denied wrongdoing and said he has been targeted for exposing corruption.

Crowdfunding raises $20m for Bayraktar drones

More Bayraktar drones have been crowdfunded for the Ukrainian military after $20m was raised in under three days, according to comedian turned politician Serhiy Prytula.

The Turkish-made UAVs have been in use in Ukraine since the first days of the war and have gained cult status.

At least for a time, the TB2, which has a 12-metre wingspan and can soar to 25,000 feet before swooping to destroy tanks and artillery with laser-guided armour-piercing bombs, helped undermine Russia's overwhelming military superiority.

Such is the drone's renown that it became the subject of a patriotic expletive-strewn hit song in Ukraine that mocked Russian troops, with the chorus "Bayraktar, Bayraktar".

It's not the first time crowdfunding has been used to pay for them either, with Lithuania raising $5.4m to buy one for Ukraine.

Bulgaria lifts veto blocking EU membership negotiations for North Macedonia and Albania

Bulgaria's parliament has lifted a veto that has blocked European Union membership negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania. 

The move was approved by politicians on Friday and raises fresh hope that the EU can press on with its expansion plans in the Western Balkans amid the ongoing war in Ukraine. 

France made the proposal this week to resolve an ethnic and cultural dispute between Bulgaria and North Macedonia that was the source of the veto. 

Under the proposal, North Macedonia would have to recognise in its constitution that Bulgarians are one of the country's constitutive ethnicities. 

North Macedonia said Friday that several topics need clarification before it will agree to the deal. 

On Thursday, Ukraine's ambition to join the bloc passed the first major hurdle as EU leaders approved it as a candidate for membership.

Ukraine needs 'fire parity' to 'stabilise' situation in eastern front

General Valeriy Zaluzhniy, Ukraine's top military general, told his US counterpart that Ukraine needed "fire parity" with Russia to "stabilise" the situation in the Luhansk region. 

During a phone call with General Mark Milley, Mr Zaluzhniy said: "We discussed the operational situation and the delivery flow of international technical assistance." 

Ukraine has said Russia's artillery advantage on the Donbas frontlines is taking a significant toll on Ukrainian troops and has called on its Western allies to supply more weapons to minimize the deficit. 

The Ukrainian general summarised the call in a message on Telegram. 

EU leaders 'not thinking of the negative consequences', says Russian official

Maria Zakharova, Russia's foreign ministry spokeswoman, said on Friday that the decision by European Union leaders to accept Ukraine and Moldova as membership candidates would have negative consequences. 

"With the decision to grant Ukraine and Moldova the status of candidate countries, the European Union has confirmed that it continues to actively exploit the CIS on a geopolitical level, to use it to 'contain' Russia," she said. 

"They are not thinking of the negative consequences of such a step."

It could take a decade to demine Ukraine, according to emergency services official

It will take Ukraine at least 10 years to clear all the mines and explosives from its land and territorial waters once the war is over, an emergency services official said.

Ukraine has managed to clear 620 square kilometres of land that was littered with thousands of explosive devices, including  2,000 bombs dropped from the air, but nearly 300,000 square kilometres are still seen as "contaminated", the official said. 

That is almost half the size of Ukraine's territory and about as large as Italy. 

"Up to 10 years, that's the optimistic figure. Because we don't know what's happening on the territories where active combat is ongoing right now," Oleksandr Khorunzhiy, spokesperson for Ukraine's State Emergency Service, said. 

Russia airlines denied export privileges by US government

The US Commerce Department denied export privileges for three Russian airlines on Friday. 

It says the airlines violated export controls issued after Russia invaded Ukraine. 

The export denials for Nordwind Airlines, Pobeda Airline and S7 Airlines are issued for six months and may be renewed, the department said. 

Auschwitz museum says it has been the target of Russian state propaganda

A Second World War museum in Poland alleged on Friday that it was the target of "primitive" propaganda spread by Russian state agencies on social media. 

The Auschwitz-Birkenau museum said the social media posts falsely claim to show anti-Russian stickers placed around the memorial at the former site of the Auschwitz death camp site in southern Poland. 

Images showing stickers which have "Russia and Russians, the only gas you and your country deserve is Zykon B", were tweeted by official Russian sites, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

They show a reference to the gas used by Germans to mass murder Jews and others at the camp.

However, the museum said that no such stickers were found and CCTV did not capture anyone affixing anything to the locations on or before 22 June, which is when the Tweets claimed the stickers were posted. 

“Everything indicates that the photographs are simply a manipulation,” the museum said, describing the images as “primitive and gross propaganda.” 

Ukraine boycotts judo Olympic qualification event in Mongolia

Ukraine's judo federation has started its boycott of international judo events because Russian athletes are allowed to compete. 

It comes as qualification for the Olympics began on Friday in a tournament in Mongolia.  

Russian athletes have been banned from competing in most Olympic sports but judo is one of the few where they can take part. 

They have to compete under a neutral flag and officially represent the International Judo Federation (IJF). 

Their participation goes against the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which previously said that athletes from Russia and Belarus should be excluded from Olympic sports.

Until this week, Russia stayed away from judo events, citing what the IJF called "logistics and safety" concerns, but 24 athletes entered the Grand Slam tournament in Mongolia.

The competition is the first that counts toward qualification for the Paris Olympics in 2024 but Ukraine has boycotted the tournament in protest.

"Everybody who follows world sport a small way understands that Russian athletes are a key part of this country’s aggressive propaganda politics," Ukrainian Judo Federation president Mykhailo Koshliak wrote in an open letter dated Thursday. 

"Speaking of Russia and sport, it is by no means possible to say that ‘sport is out of politics'. 

"The silence of Russian and Belarusian athletes and coaches supports the war against Ukraine and kills thousands of Ukrainian citizens."