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Russia-Ukraine War: What We Know On Day 106 Of The Invasion

Ukrainian forces have been pushed back by a Russian bombardment in the frontline eastern city of Sievierodonetsk and now only control its outskirts. Serhiy Haidai, the governor of Luhansk, said most of the city was in Russian hands and it was no longer possible to rescue stranded civilians.

The battle for Sievierodonetsk is where the fate of Donbas is being decided and is probably the most difficult seen so far during the war, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has said.

A Russian-backed official in Ukraine’s partially occupied south-eastern region of Zaporizhzhia said Russia had begun to send grain from occupied areas to Turkey and the Middle East through Crimea. A Russian official in Crimea, Oleg Kryuchkov, said the first train carrying grain had arrived from Melitopol, a city in Zaporizhzhia. The Kremlin also claimed shipments of grain would restart in the coming days from the Russian-occupied Ukrainian port of Berdiansk after work to remove mines.

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said Moscow was willing to open corridors to allow grain exports from Ukraine, but these efforts relied on the Ukrainian side to remove mines from their ports. Kyiv dismissed Lavrov’s remarks as “empty” words and said military equipment was required to protect the coastline and a navy mission to patrol the export routes in the Black Sea.

A Ukrainian journalist confronted Lavrov about grain exports from Ukraine during a visit to Ankara, Turkey. “Apart from cereals, what other goods did you steal from Ukraine and who did you sell them to?” Muslim Umerov asked.

The UN’s secretary general, António Guterres, warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is “threatening to unleash an unprecedented wave of hunger and destitution, leaving social and economic chaos in its wake”. A report by the UN says an estimated 94 countries, home to about 1.6bn people, are “severely exposed to at least one dimension of the crisis and unable to cope with it”.

Russian-installed officials in the occupied part of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region reportedly plan to stage a referendum later this year on joining Russia. Ukraine says any referendums held under Russian occupation would be illegal and their results fraudulent. A Kremlin-backed official, Vladimir Rogov, was quoted by the Russian state-owned news agency Tass as saying: “The people will determine the future of the Zaporizhzhia region.”

More than 1,000 Ukrainian servicemen and foreign mercenaries, who had surrendered in Mariupol, have been transferred to Russia for an investigation there, Russian state-owned news agency Tass reports. More Ukrainian prisoners of war will be taken to Russia “later on”, a Russian law enforcement source told the outlet.

Moscow’s chief rabbi, Pinchas Goldschmidt, has left Russia after coming under pressure to support its invasion of Ukraine, according to a relative. Goldschmidt flew to Hungary to raise money for refugees in eastern Europe after refusing to publicly support what Moscow calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Two British men captured by Russian forces while fighting alongside Ukrainian soldiers in Mariupol face 20 years in prison, according to a video shared by Russian state media. Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48, appeared in court in the unofficial Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).

Britain’s economy will suffer more than any other major industrial country from the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the OECD, which says the UK will grow by 3.6% in 2022 before posting zero growth in 2023.

Ukraine has received the first billion dollars of a $40bn US aid package. The US ambassador to Ukraine, Bridget A Brink, wrote online: “Supporting Ukraine means strengthening its economy. Direct support of $1bn is already here to help Ukraine and its people move forward.”

Zelenskiy said he met with the American philanthropist Howard Buffett, son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, in Kyiv to discuss rebuilding efforts. “We discussed assistance that would be valuable for our state. I offered him the chance to join projects restoring irrigation systems in the Odesa region, supporting our people, [and] mine clearance,” Zelenskiy tweeted.

Russian authorities have further cracked down against citizens who speak out about the fighting in Ukraine. A Moscow court on Wednesday extended the detention of Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr, a journalist, while the Russian investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov, said a criminal case had been opened against him.

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