13 min read

Russia-Ukraine war: civilians urged to evacuate in Kherson; at least 15 killed in a strike on apartment blocks

Russia-Ukraine war: civilians urged to evacuate in Kherson; at least 15 killed in a strike on apartment blocks

The Guardian - Richard Luscombe, Joe Middleton, 10 Jul 2022 20.59

Civilians in Kherson were urged to evacuate

Civilians in the Russian-occupied southern region of Kherson were urged on Sunday to immediately evacuate because Ukraine’s armed forces were preparing a counterattack there, Reuters reports.

Donetsk governor says dozens trapped after the attack on the town of Chasiv Yar; Volodymyr Zelensky says dismissals are ‘normal part of diplomatic practice’

Ukraine lost control of most of the Black Sea region of Kherson, including its eponymous capital, in the first weeks following Russia’s 24 February invasion.

Iryna Vereshchuk.
Iryna Vereshchuk. Photograph: Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a nationally televised address:

It’s clear there will be fighting, there will be artillery shelling... and we therefore urge [people] to evacuate urgently.

I know for sure that there should not be women and children there, and that they should not become human shields.

Vereshchuk said she could not say exactly when the counter-attack would take place.

The Kherson region includes the city of Kherson, which before the war had a population of nearly 300,000. It is not known how many of the city’s residents are still there.

Kherson’s Russian-installed authorities say they want to hold a referendum on seceding from Russia, but have not yet set a date. The Kremlin says the future of the region should be determined by its residents.

  • Updated at 19.28 BST
  • 25m ago20.59

The number of Ukrainian children enrolled in Poland’s schools is expected to double to at least 400,000 for the upcoming school year, the country’s education department says.

A report in European Pravda, an online media outlet published by Ukrainian journalists, quotes Przemysław Czarnek, Poland’s education minister, as saying those enrolled will take part in lessons both online from Ukraine and in-person:

We accepted 200,000 [Ukrainian children], of which 160,000 went to schools and 40,000 to kindergartens. According to our estimates, another 200,000 may join from September 1.

The end of the war in Ukraine is not in sight, so naturally those children... will come again.

But there will also be distance learning in Ukraine. Probably a large [number] of the children who are in Poland will want to stay at the computers and continue learning with their peers remotely.

According to European Pravda, the education ministry says teaching classes in Polish allows Ukrainian children to enter subsequent school years at “an appropriate educational level”.

  • 1h ago20.24

Kyiv Independent: two dead, others hurt in Siversk shelling

The Kyiv Independent, citing a Facebook post by Donetsk governor Pavlo Kyrylenko, is reporting the deaths of two Ukrainian civilians, and at least two injuries, from Russian missile attacks on the city of Siversk.

The governor’s update to the “operational situation” in the region also includes three injuries from shelling in the city of Soledar, and the burning down of seven houses and other property from Russian shelling of Bakhmut.

There is no information yet about any casualties in Bakhmut, Kyrylenko said.

Siversk is a smaller town close to where Ukraine is fighting Russian troops for control of Sievierodonetsk, a Luhansk region city Ukraine officials warned last week was facing a “humanitarian disaster”.

  • 2h ago19.19

Civilians in Kherson urged to evacuate

Civilians in the Russian-occupied southern region of Kherson were urged on Sunday to immediately evacuate because Ukraine’s armed forces were preparing a counter-attack there, Reuters reports.

Ukraine lost control of most of the Black Sea region of Kherson, including its eponymous capital, in the first weeks following Russia’s 24 February invasion.

Iryna Vereshchuk.
Iryna Vereshchuk. Photograph: Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a nationally televised address:

It’s clear there will be fighting, there will be artillery shelling... and we therefore urge [people] to evacuate urgently.

I know for sure that there should not be women and children there, and that they should not become human shields.

Vereshchuk said she could not say exactly when the counter-attack would take place.

The Kherson region includes the city of Kherson, which before the war had a population of nearly 300,000. It is not known how many of the city’s residents are still there.

Kherson’s Russian-installed authorities say they want to hold a referendum on seceding to Russia, but have not yet set a date. The Kremlin says the future of the region should be determined by its residents.

  • Updated at 19.28 BST
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Good afternoon. It’s Richard Luscombe in the US picking up the Ukraine blog from my colleagues in the UK, and guiding you through the next few hours. Thanks for joining me.

At least 30 people are still trapped in the rubble of a Chasiv Yar apartment building in eastern Ukraine, according to an AFP update just now about the Russian missile attack late last night that killed at least 15.

Journalists from the news agency were given a tour of the wreckage by survivors. One woman who had ventured inside to see what she could salvage from her apartment retrieved a blue bird, still perched in its cage.

Another woman described to AFP the moment the missile hit the building:

Yesterday, 11 or 10 o’clock in the evening, I was in the bedroom, and when I was leaving, everything started thundering and cracking.

The only thing that saved me was when I ran here, because immediately afterwards all of this crashed down.
  • Updated at 18.49 BST
  • 4h ago17.42

Dozens of Ukrainian emergency workers are still working to pull people out of the rubble after a Russian rocket attack smashed into apartment buildings in Chasiv Yar in eastern Ukraine, Associated Press reports. The strike killed at least 15 people and scores were thought to be still trapped a day later.

The strike late on Saturday evening destroyed three buildings in a residential quarter of town, which is inhabited mostly by people who work in nearby factories. Ukraine’s emergency services said Sunday they have rescued five people from the rubble so far and have made contact with three others still trapped alive beneath the ruins. Another man was pulled alive from the rubble Sunday night.

Cranes and excavators worked alongside the rescue teams to clear away the ruins of one building, its sides completely shorn off by the impact of the strike. The rescuers kept on working in the rain despite the dangerous conditions.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the Donetsk region that includes Chasiv Yar, said the town of about 12,000 was hit by Uragan rockets, which are fired from truck-borne systems. Chasiv Yar is 20km (12 miles) south-east of Kramatorsk, a city that is a major target of Russian forces as they grind westward.

Residents told the Associated Press they had heard at least three explosions and that, in addition to the deaths, many people were badly wounded in the blasts.

  • Updated at 19.33 BST
  • 5h ago16.01

Summary

Here is a brief summary of the most recent developments:

  • At least 15 people have been killed and more than 20 are trapped under the rubble of an apartment block in eastern Ukraine that was hit by a Russian rocket attack in the night. The five-storey building in the town of Chasiv Yar in the Donetsk region was struck by rockets late on Saturday, officials said.
  • The Kyiv Independent is reporting a poll that 44% of Ukrainian businesses think the country’s active war will end by the winter. However, more than one-third think active combat will continue into 2023.
  • Germany has reportedly been blocking €9bn of EU aid to Ukraine for more than a month. The Kyiv Independent, citing the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, said Germany’s finance minister, Christian Lindner, was against the planned aid because of concerns over European debt.
  • The Russian Tennis Federation has been quick to claim Elena Rybakina as “our product” on her run to the women’s title at Wimbledon. They praised her training programme in the country after she became Wimbledon champion while representing Kazakhstan.
  • Russia has restricted access to the website of Germany’s Die Welt newspaper, Reuters reports. This has come at the request of prosecutors, according to Roskomnadzor, Russia’s communications regulator. It was not immediately clear why prosecutors asked for the restriction.
  • Russian forces have most probably made some small territorial advances around Popasna, the latest intelligence update from the UK’s Ministry of Defence said on Sunday. It said the Russian military continues to strike the Slovyansk area of the Donbas from around Izium to the north and near Lysychansk to the east. The update added that the E40 – which links Donetsk and Kharkiv – is likely to be an important objective for Russian forces as it advances through Donetsk oblast.
  • The French finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, has said that a cut-off of Russian gas shipments was currently the most likely scenario, Reuters reported. He told a business and economics conference on Sunday: “Let’s prepare for a cut-off of Russian gas. Today it’s the most likely scenario.”
  • The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said on Saturday night that the Russian army had attacked the cities of Mykolaiv, Kharkiv, Kryvy Rih, and communities in the Zaporizhzhia region, covering a broad swathe of the country.
  • The governor of the Luhansk region said on Saturday that Russian forces were creating “hell” in shelling the eastern region of Donetsk. Serhiy Haidai said Russian forces fired eight artillery shells, three mortar shells and launched nine rocket strikes overnight.
  • At least five people were killed on Saturday, and seven others injured, by renewed Russian shelling in Donetsk, Ukraine officials said. A missile attack in Druzkivka, northern Donetsk, tore apart a supermarket.
  • The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said on Saturday his country’s “commitment to the people of Ukraine is resolute” and announced more than $360m in additional aid.
  • Updated at 16.34 BST
  • 6h ago15.48

Germany has reportedly been blocking €9bn of EU aid to help Ukraine for more than a month.

The Kyiv Independent, citing the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera, said the German finance minister, Christian Lindner, was against the planned aid due to concerns over European debt.

⚡️ Corriere Della Sera: Germany blocks EU's 9 billion euros help to Ukraine.

Germany has been blocking the aid for more than a month, according to the Italian newspaper's sources. Berlin approved only the first tranche of 1 billion euros.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) July 10, 2022

The newspaper claims that Germany's finance minister Christian Lindner disapproves that Brussels is offering to finance aid to Ukraine at the expense of the common European debt.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) July 10, 2022
  • Updated at 16.06 BST
  • 6h ago15.36

These are some of the latest images to be sent to us over the newswires on Sunday from Ukraine.

Orthodox priests and local believers pray at underground chapel in Odesa catacombs. They pray for the health of their relatives and the victory of Ukraine. EPA/STR.
Orthodox priests and local believers pray at underground chapel in Odesa catacombs. They pray for the health of their relatives and the victory of Ukraine. EPA/STR. Photograph: EPA

A sofa chair is seen in what is left standing in the aftermath of the Russian rocket that hit an apartment residential block, in Chasiv Yar, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty).
A sofa chair is seen in what is left standing in the aftermath of the Russian rocket that hit an apartment residential block, in Chasiv Yar, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty). Photograph: Nariman El-Mofty/AP

Iryna Shulimova, 59, weeps at the scene of the Russian rocket that hit an apartment residential block, in Chasiv Yar, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, that has left at least 15 people dead. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
Iryna Shulimova, 59, weeps at the scene of the Russian rocket that hit an apartment residential block, in Chasiv Yar, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, that has left at least 15 people dead. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty) Photograph: Nariman El-Mofty/AP

Andrey, 46, poses inside the bus that he turned into a shop to sell truck equipment for drivers near a petrol station in Khorol, Ukraine. REUTERS/Nacho Doce.
Andrey, 46, poses inside the bus that he turned into a shop to sell truck equipment for drivers near a petrol station in Khorol, Ukraine. REUTERS/Nacho Doce. Photograph: Nacho Doce/Reuters
  • 6h ago15.17

The Russian Tennis Federation was quick to claim Elena Rybakina as “our product” on her run to the women’s title at Wimbledon, reports Associated Press.

They praised her training programme in the country after she became Wimbledon champion while representing Kazakhstan.

The Russian Tennis Federation president, Shamil Tarpishchev, told sports website Championat:

It’s the Russian school, after all. She played here with us for a long time, and then in Kazakhstan.

Rybakina, 23, was born on Moscow and played in the Russian system until 2018, when financial issues led to her nationality switch.

There’s been no official reaction from the Kremlin on Rybakina’s Wimbledon success, but some commentators have claimed her victory as a Russian achievement and a symbolic snub to the All England Club’s ban on players representing Russia and Belarus.

Players from those countries were banned from the Wimbledon tournament because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

  • Updated at 15.30 BST
  • 6h ago15.07
Alex Lawson

Alex Lawson

Our energy correspondent Alex Lawson on the gas supply crisis that could hit Europe:

He is the man charged with keeping the lights on this winter. A seasoned civil servant, Jonathan Mills was last month named director-general for energy supply in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

In a blog entitled: “What do policymakers do all day?” – a nod to the children’s author Richard Scarry – he set out his approach to working in government earlier this year. “The way that I now think of a policy professional is as an ‘orchestrator’,” he said. Mills, who previously oversaw labour market policy, and before that electricity market reform, now faces the orchestration job of his life.

His appointment reflects the growing concerns over Britain’s energy supplies in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On Monday, Russia is closing Nord Stream 1, its main gas pipeline into Germany. The shutdown has been presented as a planned 10-day maintenance period, but there are fears the pipeline will not reopen, plunging Europe’s largest manufacturing nation into an energy crisis. Although Britain is not reliant on Russian gas, if supply drops, prices will rise even further.

National Grid has pledged to set out its winter plans this month, with the annual exercise brought forward from the autumn in 2020 due to Covid.

  • 7h ago14.33

Rescue efforts are under way after Russian rockets destroyed a five-storey apartment building in the eastern Ukraine town of Chasiv Yar, killing at least 15 people.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, the governor of the Donetsk oblast, said the missile struck on Saturday evening.

Five people were reportedly pulled from the rubble alive and the regional emergency service said that 24 more people could still be trapped.

Chasiv Yar is about 20km (12 miles) south-east of Kramatorsk, a city that is expected to be a major target of Russian forces as they move west.

  • 7h ago14.20

The Kyiv Independent is reporting a poll that 44% of Ukrainian businesses think the country’s active war will end by the winter.

However, more than one-third think active combat will continue into 2023.

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, last month called on leaders at the G7 to help his country end the war with Russia by winter.

⚡️ Poll: 49% of Ukrainian businesses expect war's active phase to end this winter.

35% of respondents believe active hostilities will stretch until the end of 2023 or longer. The survey, by the polling agency Gradus, is based on the answers of 104 Ukrainian business owners.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) July 10, 2022

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