Ukraine-Russia live news: ‘Relentless’ shelling pounds Donetsk

  • Ukraine says Russian troops are pursuing a “relentless” shelling on Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region.
  • Britain says Russia is moving reserve forces close to the Ukrainian border for future offensives.
  • Ukraine wants more weapons from the West, saying that a turning point has been reached in the war.
  • US President Joe Biden thanks CIA staff for warning the world about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
INTERACTIVE_UKRAINE_CONTROL MAP DAY135_July8_INTERACTIVE- WHO CONTROLS WHAT IN THE DONBAS
(Al Jazeera)

Here are the latest updates on Saturday, July 9:

‘Relentless’ Russian shelling pounds east Ukraine

Russian troops have pursued a “relentless” shelling towards Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, according to Ukrainian officials.

“The entire frontline is under relentless shelling,” Donetsk military administration chief, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said in a Telegram message.

Having endured long battles to capture cities in the neighbouring Lugansk region, Russia is now seeking to push deeper into Donetsk to consolidate its hold over the entire Donbas region.


Five killed in Donetsk in 24 hours: officials

Ukrainian officials have said five people were killed in the Donetsk region in the past 24 hours while seven were injured.

“The entire frontline is under relentless shelling,” Donetsk military administration chief, Pavlo Kyrylenko said in a Telegram message on Friday night.

He said the city of Sloviansk, on which Moscow’s troops have now set their sights, is being “shelled day and night”.


Ukrainian army recruits begin UK military training

The first batch of up to 10,000 inexperienced Ukrainian military recruits set to train in Britain over the coming months have started drills, according to the Ministry of Defence.

The new British-led programme involves 1,050 UK service personnel training the Ukrainian volunteers, who have little to no military experience, in England for several weeks.

The crash course is based on Britain’s basic soldier training, covering weapons handling, battlefield first aid, fieldcraft, patrol tactics and the laws around armed conflict.


Biden calls sister of US prisoner in Russia

US President Joe Biden has called the sister of Paul Whelan, an American who is serving 16 years in Russian prison on espionage charges that he denies.

The US leader told Elizabeth Whelan that “he is committed to bringing Paul home as soon as possible,” a White House official quoted by the AFP news agency said.

Whelan was convicted on spying charges in Russia in 2020 and was sentenced to 16 years of hard labour.

Biden
The US leader told Elizabeth Whelan that “he is committed to bringing Paul home [File: AP]

Blinken says raised concerns with China’s Wang Yi over Russia

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said he discussed Russia’s aggression in Ukraine during talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, during which he also raised concerns over Beijing’s alignment with Moscow.

Blinken made the comments at a news conference on the Indonesian island of Bali after talks with Wang that lasted a little over five hours.


HIMARS ‘hasn’t been used’ to attack Russian territory

Ukraine has not used advanced US-made high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) to strike Russian targets outside of Ukraine territory, according to a senior US defence official disputing Russian accusations.

“The Russian claims about using HIMARS to strike outside of Ukrainian territory – those claims are false,” the official told Reuters news agency, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Ukraine is using those capabilities to fight the battle that its forces are facing, and they are using them effectively in that battle.”


Russia assembling reserve forces near Ukraine: UK

Russia is moving reserve forces from across the country and assembling them near Ukraine for future offensive operations, according to British military intelligence.

A large proportion of the new Russian infantry units are probably deploying with MT-LB armoured vehicles taken from long-term storage as their primary transport, Britain’s Ministry of Defence tweeted in a regular bulletin.


Blinken meets China’s Wang after leading pressure efforts on Russia

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to meet with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Bali after a G20 ministerial meeting on the Indonesian island where the top US diplomat led efforts to pressure Russia over its war in Ukraine.

Blinken is expected to repeat warnings to China not to support Moscow’s war effort in Ukraine and the two sides will address contentious issues that include Taiwan, China’s extensive South China Sea claims, Beijing’s moves to expand its influence throughout the Pacific, human rights, and trade tariffs.

Antony Blinken
Blinken is expected to repeat warnings to China not to support Moscow’s war effort in Ukraine [File: AP]

Ukraine pleads for weapons at G20 meeting

Ukraine has urged its allies to send more weapons as its forces dig in, saying that a turning point has been reached in the war.

Mykhailo Podolyak, the Ukrainian chief negotiator in stalled talks with Moscow, said Russia’s military had been forced to take an operational pause due to losses and to resupply.

“It is clear that they have to redeploy things, bring forward new troops and weaponry, and this is very good. A certain turning point is beginning to take shape because we are proving we are going to attack storage facilities and command centres,” Podolyak told Ukraine’s 24 Channel television.


Biden lauds US intelligence for Putin warnings

US President Joe Biden has thanked staff at the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency for warning the world about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans to invade Ukraine.

Marking the CIA’s 75th anniversary, Biden said: “It was thanks to the incredible work of our intelligence professionals that we were able to forewarn the world what Vladimir Putin was planning in Ukraine.”

He added: “Exposing Putin’s playbook punched a gigantic hole in the pretence, and discredited his lies about what we were doing in Ukraine.”