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Ukraine news latest: Russia starts 24-hour nuclear explosion detection at new facility

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‘Third World War has already started’, Ukraine defence minister claims

Russia has reportedly begun round-the-clock monitoring to detect nuclear explosions at a newly opened facility.

“From July 1, 2022, in order to strengthen the defence capability of our state, shifts of the Main Centre for Geophysical Monitoring began to carry out round-the-clock duty,” Interfax news agency reported on Monday, citing the defence ministry.

The centre, which opened on June 1, is tasked with identifying the sources of man-made “geophysical disturbances” as well as nuclear explosions, Interfax reported.

Russia‘s official military deployment principles allow for the use of nuclear weapons if they – or other types of weapons of mass destruction – are used against it, or if the state faces an existential threat.

Meanwhile, the British Defence Ministry said that Russia will “almost certainly” shift its focus to capturing Donetsk Oblast now that Ukrainian troops have withdrawn from Luhansk.

The Ministry of Defence added that the fight for the Donbas “has been grinding and attritional and this is highly unlikely to change in the coming weeks”.

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Ukraine flag raised again on Snake Island, military says

The Ukrainian flag has been raised again on Snake Island in the Black Sea, a Ukrainian military spokesperson said on Monday, after Russian troops withdrew from the strategic outpost last week.

“The territory (Snake Island) has been returned to the jurisdiction of Ukraine,” Natalia Humeniuk, spokesperson for Ukraine‘s southern military command, told a news conference.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain4 July 2022 11:49

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Russia has begun round-the-clock monitoring to detect nuclear explosions at a newly opened facility, Interfax news agency reported on Monday, citing the defence ministry.

“From July 1, 2022, in order to strengthen the defence capability of our state, shifts of the Main Centre for Geophysical Monitoring began to carry out round-the-clock duty,” Interfax reported citing the ministry.

The centre, which opened on June 1, is tasked with identifying the sources of man-made “geophysical disturbances” as well as nuclear explosions, Interfax reported.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, relations between Moscow and the West have become increasingly tense, with politicians in both Russia and the United States speaking publicly about the risk of nuclear war.

President Vladimir Putin said in February that he was putting the country’s nuclear forces on high alert, citing what he called aggressive statements by NATO leaders and economic sanctions against Moscow.

Russia‘s official military deployment principles allow for the use of nuclear weapons if they – or other types of weapons of mass destruction – are used against it, or if the state faces an existential threat.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain4 July 2022 11:26

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Opinion- Calling Putin ‘mad’ only makes him more dangerous

“We have witnessed so many abhorrent acts by Russia against the people of Ukraine, it is no wonder that we search for reasons as to why they were sanctioned. Increasingly, politicians and high profile figures suggest that Russia’s president Vladimir Putin is “mad” or a “psycho”.

“This strikes me as not only lazy but dangerous. Firstly, part of the stigma towards those with a mental illness is based on a fear of what they might do, that they are dangerous and potentially violent.

“The evidence suggests otherwise: the greatest danger faced by those who have a mental health problem is from themselves, either through self-harm or tragically prematurely ending their lives. Accusing the Russian leader of being “mad” does little to reduce the stigma,” Ian Hamilton writes.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain4 July 2022 11:20

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Swiss NGO calls out government as it hosts meeting on Ukraine

A leading Swiss nongovernmental group on Monday called out Switzerland as a “safe haven” for Russian oligarchs and as a trading hub for Russian oil, grain and coal.

Public Eye called on the Swiss executive branch to “use all levers at its disposal to stop the financing of this inhuman aggression,” a reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine that has killed untold thousands of people, driven millions from their homes and rippled through world economy by driving up food and fuel prices.

It spoke out on the day that the Swiss president was due to host a conference on Ukraine‘s eventual recovery from Russia‘s war involving government officials, advocacy groups and U.N. institutions.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain4 July 2022 10:58

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Pope Francis says there is still ‘very open dialogue’ with Russia

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Pope Francis said he would like to go to Ukraine and “wanted to go to Moscow first”.

He said: “We exchanged messages about this because I thought that if the president of Russia gave me a tiny window, I would go there to serve the cause of peace …. And now it’s possible, after I come back from Canada; it is possible that I manage to go to Ukraine.

“The first thing is to go to Russia to try to help in some way, but I would like to go to both capitals.”

He added: “(With Russia) there is still that very open dialogue, very cordial, very diplomatic in the positive sense of the word, but for the moment it’s OK; the door is open.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain4 July 2022 10:41

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Putin will not congratulate Biden on July 4, Kremlin says

Russian president Vladimir Putin will not congratulate his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden on Monday’s U.S. Independence Day because of Washington’s “unfriendly” actions towards Moscow, the Kremlin said.

“Congratulations this year can hardly be considered appropriate,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call. “The United States’ unfriendly policies are the reason.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain4 July 2022 10:26

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Russian cosmonauts celebrate capture of Ukraine’s Luhansk region in space

Russian cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station on Monday celebrated Russia‘s capture of the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk, a significant milestone for Moscow in the war.

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, described Moscow’s capture of the Luhansk region as “a liberation day to celebrate both on Earth and in space.”

The agency posted pictures of cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev and Sergei Korsakov smiling as they held up flags of Russia‘s proxies in eastern Ukraine, the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic and Donetsk People’s Republic.

“This is a long-awaited day that the residents of the occupied areas of the Luhansk region had been waiting eight years for,” Roscosmos wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

“We are convinced that July 3, 2022, will forever remain in the history of the (Luhansk People’s) Republic.”

Russia announced on Sunday that Russian and separatist forces had gained full control over the Luhansk region after capturing its last major city, Lysychansk.

Ukraine, which has vowed to regain the lost territory, said its troops had withdrawn from their last remaining bastion in the region to save the lives of its soldiers. Kyiv said its troops would regroup to launch a counter-offensive with the help of long-range Western weapons.

After being repelled in its initial attempt to capture the capital Kyiv in February, Russia has focused on driving Ukrainian forces out of the eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Kyiv since Russia‘s first military intervention in Ukraine in 2014.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain4 July 2022 10:05

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Western ambassadors in China sound off over Russia in rare forum

Western envoys in China criticised Russia on Monday for its invasion of Ukraine, with the U.S. ambassador saying China should not spread Russian “propaganda”, in an unusual public forum in a country that has declined to condemn Moscow’s attack.

Speaking at the World Peace Forum, organised by the Tsinghua University, U.S. ambassador Nicholas Burns called the Russian war against Ukraine “the greatest threat to global world order”.

Burns said he hoped China’s foreign ministry spokespeople would stop repeating “Russian propaganda” blaming NATO for the war.

“I hope foreign ministry spokespersons would also stop telling lies about American bioweapons labs, which do not exist in Ukraine,” he said.

Burns was flanked by the British and French ambassadors to his left and a Chinese government adviser and the Russian ambassador to his right. The forum organiser had billed the session as a discussion among representatives of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.

While the session was on the broad topic of “The United Nations and Global Order”, all three Western ambassadors criticised Russia for what they called its illegal aggression against Ukraine, a characterisation rejected by Russian ambassador Andrey Denisov.

British ambassador Caroline Wilson told the audience, made up of foreign diplomats, Chinese students and academics: “If Russia has its way, we would have global anarchy”.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain4 July 2022 09:48

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Australia’s PM visits Ukraine

Australia’s prime minister has shown his support for Ukraine after visiting president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Anthony Albanese wrote in a Twitter post today: “My visit to Ukraine sends a clear message that democratic nations like Australia will stand with the Ukrainian people in their time of need.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain4 July 2022 09:30

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Ukraine claims Russian military base has been hit

Ukraine said its air force had flown some 15 sorties “in virtually all directions of hostilities”, destroying equipment and two ammunition depots.

In the Russian-occupied southern Ukrainian city of Melitopol, Ukrainian forces hit a military logistics base with more than 30 strikes on Sunday, the city’s exiled mayor Ivan Fedorov said. A Russian-installed official confirmed that strikes had hit the city.

Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield reports.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain4 July 2022 09:15