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Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

‘We have no alternative’ but to fight, Zelenskyy says

“We have no alternative. It is about our independence, about our future, about the fate of the entire Ukrainian people,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (pictured here on June 16).

Ludovic Marin | Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that his forces have no option but to fight to keep the country independent as he warned that the costs of rebuilding Ukraine would be “colossal.”

Speaking during his nightly video address yesterday evening, Zelenskyy reflected on Russia’s advance in the Donbas in eastern Ukraine now that they have seized Luhansk and have turned their attention to Donetsk. He said “the armed forces of Ukraine respond, push and destroy the offensive potential of the occupiers day after day.”

“We have no alternative. It is about our independence, about our future, about the fate of the entire Ukrainian people,” he said.

Ukrainian servicemen bathe in a stream on the Fedorivka front line in Ukraine on July 4, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Towns and cities retaken by Ukrainian forces would require “colossal funds” for reconstruction, Zelenskyy said, reiterating comments he had made via videolink to international leaders in Switzerland who were gathered for the Ukraine Recovery Conference.

“Ukrainian forces have liberated more than a thousand settlements from the occupiers … All of them suffered significant destruction. And this also implies the need for colossal funds for the restoration of infrastructure, for the return of medicine and social services, for the restoration of normal economic life,” he said.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Monday that the country will need a massive $750 billion for its recovery and that Russia’s invasion has so far resulted in more than $100 billion in damage to Ukrainian infrastructure.

— Holly Ellyatt

Sloviansk’s mayor urges civilians to flee as Russians approach

Destroyed shops at a local market in Sloviansk on July 4, 2022, the day after a Russian rocket attack.

Genya Savilov | Afp | Getty Images

The mayor of Sloviansk, a key target of Russian forces, who are looking to push southwest into the Donetsk region of the Donbas), has urged residents to evacuate the city.

“Sloviansk has already become a frontline, the nearest Russian positions are 7-10 km from the city,” Vadym Liakh said.

Donetsk’s police department posted images and videos on its Facebook page on Monday showing destruction from shelling in Sloviansk, with firefighters trying to put out fires in buildings and civilians rescuing belongings from severely damaged residential buildings.

A house burning during shelling in Ukraine, on July 4, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

“There are victims, including children. 94 civilian objects – homes and infrastructure – were destroyed and damaged,” the Donetsk police said.

The police said Russian forces had shelled 11 settlements. “Russian forces hit the cities of Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, Bakhmut, Avdiyivka, the town of Gostre, Oleksievo-Druzhkivka, Severny, the villages of Malinivka, Lastochkine, Novopoltavka, and Tarasivka,” the police added.

Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine needs $750 billion for its recovery plan, prime minister says

Ukraine will need a massive $750 billion for its recovery following Russia’s invasion, the county’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said while speaking to international leaders in Switzerland gathered for the Ukraine Recovery Conference.

Shmyhal also said that Russia’s invasion has so far resulted in more than $100 billion in damage to Ukrainian infrastructure.

Country leaders, private sector and NGO representatives attended the conference to discuss a sort of “Marshall Plan” to rebuild Ukraine.

President Zelenskyy, who spoke to the conference attendees via video call, warned that there was “really colossal” work needed to reconstruct the areas that have already been taken back from Russian troops. In addition to that, “we will have to free over 2,000 villages and towns in the east and south of Ukraine,” he said.

Sloviansk, in Donetsk, prepares for Russian onslaught

The eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk in Donetsk is readying for a major battle after Russian forces captured neighboring Luhansk province.

“Everyone knows that there will be a huge battle in Sloviansk,” one Ukrainian soldier told the Associated Press. Soldiers defending the city told the AP that they are severely outgunned by the Russians.

The city, home to roughly 100,000 people before the war, was captured by pro-Russian fighters in 2014 and held for three months before being retaken by Ukrainian forces. For many in the city, the war has been going on since then. Roughly three-quarters of Sloviansk’s population has fled since late February, and city officials are urging remaining civilians to evacuate.

— Natasha Turak

Russia will now shift focus to Donetsk, Luhansk governor says

Residents pump water from a public well on June 09, 2022 in Sloviansk, Ukraine.

Scott Olson | Getty Images

Russia has captured Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region and will now turn its focus to neighboring Donetsk, Luhansk’s regional governor Serhiy Haidai said.

The governor expects Russian forces to concentrate their attacks on Sloviansk, a city with a pre-war population of roughly 100,000 that was the first to be seized by Russian-backed forces in 2014. It was then retaken by Ukrainian troops.

Haidai also named the town of Bakhmut as a key target for Russia.

Luhansk and Donetsk, known collectively as the Donbas, has been the site of sporadic fighting between Ukrainian and pro-Russian troops for many years. Moscow has called capturing the Donbas an “unconditional priority.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed that Ukraine will take back its land seized by Russia.

— Natasha Turak

Putin congratulates Russian troops for ‘liberating’ Luhansk region

Plumes of smoke rising to the sky during heavy fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces in Lysychansk, Ukraine, on July 1, 2022. Russia claimed it had captured Lysychansk on Sunday, a development later confirmed by Ukraine.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

President Vladimir Putin congratulated Russian troops on “liberating” Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk province after several weeks of brutal fighting. A huge proportion of the area’s infrastructure, including residential buildings, has been destroyed.

Speaking on television with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Putin said that the troops who fought in Luhansk should rest but that other troops should keep fighting, according to a Reuters translation.

Ukrainian forces have withdrawn from the majority of the area, although President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has pledged to win back the lost territory. Russian forces are now expected to turn their focus to neighboring Donetsk, which together with Luhansk makes up the Donbas region, Moscow’s top territorial priority.

— Natasha Turak

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

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