Authorities in Ukraine’s southern city of Mykolaiv said Sunday that widespread Russian bombardments overnight had left at least one person dead, as Moscow continued to pummel the sprawling front line. Earlier, Russia invited United Nations and Red Cross experts to probe the deaths of dozens of Ukrainian prisoners held by Moscow-backed separatists. Read about the day’s events as they unfolded on our live blog. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).
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August 1, 3:21am: Sunday shelling spans from Black Sea to Ukraine’s northern borderBesides Mykolaiv, Russian forces shelled the Sumy region’s northern border seven times on Sunday, with more than 90 individual strikes, Sumy Governor Dmytro Zhyvytsky said on his Telegram channel. A farm was damaged and 25 hectares (61.8 acres) of wheatfields were destroyed, he said.
Up to 50 Grad rockets hit residential areas in the southern city of Nikopol on Sunday morning, Dnipropetrovsk Governor Valentyn Reznichenko wrote on Telegram. One person was wounded.
9:26pm: The inhabitants of Ukraine’s Mykolaiv demonstrate great resilience following Russian strikes FRANCE 24’s Gulliver Cragg reports from Mykolaiv, where municipal workers and volunteers have been clearing the rubble caused by recent Russian shelling. Meanwhile, in the city centre, people gather in a bomb shelter for a film festival.
7:15pm: On Navy Day, Putin says United States is main threat to RussiaPresident Vladimir Putin on Sunday signed a new naval doctrine which cast the United States as Russia’s main rival and set out Russia’s global maritime ambitions for crucial areas such as the Arctic and in the Black Sea.
Speaking on Russia’s Navy Day in the former imperial capital of St Petersburg founded by Tsar Peter the Great, Putin praised Peter for making Russia a great sea power and increasing the global standing of the Russian state.
After inspecting the navy, Putin made a short speech in which he promised that what he touted as Russia’s unique Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles, warning that Russia had the military clout to defeat any potential aggressors.
Shortly before the speech, he signed a new 55-page naval doctrine, which sets out the broad strategic aims of Russia’s navy, including its ambitions as a “great maritime power” which extend over the entire world.
The main threat to Russia, the doctrine says, is “the strategic policy of the USA to dominate the world’s oceans” and the movement of the NATO military alliance closer towards Russia’s borders.
6:10pm: Red Cross condemns attacks on Ukrainian POWs, has not yet gotten access to site The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has not yet received permission to visit the site of Friday’s attack that killed dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war, it said on Sunday, condemning the incident at the Olenivka facility in eastern Ukraine.
“Families must receive urgent news of and answers on what happened to their loved ones. The parties must do everything in their power, including through impartial investigations, to help determine the facts behind the attack and bring clarity to this issue. However, it is not the role or mandate of the ICRC to carry out public investigations into alleged war crimes,” it said in a statement.
Russia on Sunday invited UN and Red Cross experts to probe the deaths of dozens of prisoners held by Moscow-backed separatists.
Ukraine and Russia have traded accusations over the missile strike or explosion early on Friday that appeared to have killed dozens of Ukrainian prisoners in the front-line town of Olenivka.
The Russian Defence Ministry on Saturday published a list of 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war killed and 73 wounded in what it said was a Ukrainian military strike with a US-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).
Ukraine’s armed forces have denied responsibility, saying Russian artillery attacked the prison to hide mistreatment there.
2:40pm: Russian strikes kill top Ukrainian grain exporterHeavy Russian strikes on Mykolaiv killed the owner of one of Ukraine’s largest grain producing and exporting companies, the local governor said.
Oleksiy Vadatursky, founder and owner of agriculture company Nibulon and his wife, were killed in their home, Mykolaiv Governor Vitaliy Kim said on Telegram.
Headquartered in Mykolaiv, a strategically important city that borders the Russia-occupied Kherson region, Nibulon specializes in the production and export of wheat, barley and corn, and it has its own fleet and shipyard.
President Volodymyr Zelensky described Vadatursky’s death as “a great loss for all of Ukraine”, saying in a statement the businessman had been in the process of building a modern grain market involving a network of transhipment terminals and elevators.
1:38pm: ‘Exasperation’ among Ukrainian officials over civilians staying in Donbas”The Ukrainian government has long been urging people in Donbas region to evacuate, appealing to them to do so in a voluntary basis,” FRANCE 24 correspondent Gulliver Cragg reported. “I’ve spoken to officials when travelling around Donbas, who have expressed exasperation that so many people are still there despite the dangers, hampering to some degree the work of Ukraine’s armed forces. Now the country is moving towards compulsory evacuation.”
10:50am: Southern Ukraine’s Mykolaiv hit by ‘strongest’ Russian strikesAuthorities in Ukraine’s southern city of Mykolaiv said Sunday that widespread Russian bombardments overnight had left at least one person dead, as Moscow continued to pummel the sprawling front line.
“Mykolaiv was subjected to mass shelling today. Probably the strongest so far,” the city’s mayor Oleksandr Senkevych wrote on Telegram.
“Powerful explosions were heard after one in the morning and around five in the morning.”
The governor of the region — where Ukrainian forces are looking to launch a major counter-offensive — said that according to preliminary information one person had been killed and two wounded in the strikes.
10:40am: Ukraine denies carrying out drone attack on Russian fleetUkraine on Sunday denied carrying out a drone attack on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea fleet in annexed Crimea, that Russian officials said wounded six personnel.
Sergiy Bratchuk, spokesman for the coastal Odessa military region, dismissed claims that Ukraine was behind the attack as “sheer provocation”.
“Our liberation of Crimea from the occupiers will be carried out in another way and much more effectively,” he wrote on Telegram.
10:19am: Putin says Russian navy to get new hypersonic missiles soonPresident Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that the Russian navy would receive hypersonic Zircon cruise missiles within the next few months and that the area of their deployment would depend on Russian interests.
10:12am: Zelensky says harvest could be halved by warUkraine’s president said on Sunday that the country’s harvest could be half its usual amount this year due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Ukrainian harvest this year is under the threat to be twice less,” suggesting half as much as usual, President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote in English on Twitter.
“Our main goal — to prevent global food crisis caused by Russian invasion. Still grains find a way to be delivered alternatively,” he added.
7:31am: Five injured in drone attack on Russian fleet in Crimean port, governor saysA drone attack on the Russian fleet in the Crimean port of Sebastopol on Sunday injured five people, the governor of the Russian-annexed city Mikhail Razvozhayev said.
“This morning, Ukrainian nationalists decided to spoil the Day of the Russian Fleet” celebrated in Russia on Sunday, he said on Telegram, adding that five people, including employees of the army staff, were injured.
6:50am: Russia invites UN, Red Cross experts to investigate Ukraine jail deathsRussia invited experts from the UN and Red Cross to investigate the deaths “in the interests of conducting an objective investigation”, the defence ministry said on Sunday.
The ministry had published a list of 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war killed and 73 wounded in what it said was a Ukrainian military strike with a US-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).
Ukraine’s armed forces denied responsibility, saying Russian artillery had targeted the prison to hide mistreatment there. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Friday Russia had committed a war crime and called for international condemnation. Reuters journalists confirmed some of the deaths at the prison, but could not immediately verify the differing versions of events.
The UN had said it was prepared to send experts to investigate if it obtained consent from both parties. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was seeking access and had offered to help evacuate the wounded.
6:33am: Zelensky urges evacuation of DonetskUkraine’s president urged civilians on Saturday to evacuate the frontline Donetsk region, the scene of fierce clashes with the Russian military.
President Volodymyr Zelensky warned in his daily address that thousands of people, including children, were still in the region’s battleground areas, with six civilians killed and 15 wounded on Friday, according to the Donetsk governor.
“There’s already a governmental decision about obligatory evacuation from Donetsk,” Zelensky said, repeating authorities’ calls to leave the besieged region in recent weeks.
© France Médias Monde graphic studio (FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP and REUTERS)