War in Ukraine: Latest developments

By: AFP
Published: 09:17 PM, 17 Jun, 2022
War in Ukraine: Latest developments
Caption: Civilians are evacuated from the city of Sloviansk in the eastern Ukraine region of Donbas.
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Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

- EU opens long path to Ukrainian membership -

The European Union's executive recommends Ukraine be formally named a "candidate" for joining the bloc, a move that could open up a years-long path towards membership.

"... This is based on the understanding that good work has been done but important work also remains to be done," Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission, says.

The opinion will serve as a basis for discussion at next week's EU summit, where leaders are expected to approve Ukraine's candidate status, but with stiff conditions attached, and membership could take decades.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praises the decision as "historic", saying it will "certainly bring our victory closer".

However Russia says the EU is "manipulating" Ukraine.

- Turning off the tap -

Russian gas supplies to Western Europe are slumping with French network operator GRTgaz saying it has received nothing from Russia via pipeline for two days amid warnings by Gazprom it would sharply cut deliveries to Europe.

Gazprom, which after having already slashed deliveries to Germany insists importers have to play by its rules, says supply reductions via the Nord Stream pipeline are the result of repair work.

But EU officials believe Moscow is punishing allies of Ukraine.

Italy's Eni adds it will receive only 50 percent of the gas requested from Gazprom, after Rome accused the Russian giant of peddling "lies" over a series of cuts.

- Severodonetsk civilians need ceasefire: governor -

Ukraine says only a "complete ceasefire" would allow hundreds of civilians to be evacuated from the Azot chemical plant in the embattled eastern city of Severodonetsk.

"It is now impossible and physically dangerous to get out of the plant due to constant shelling and fighting. There are 568 people in the shelter, including 38 children," Lugansk governor Sergiy Gaiday says on social media. 

"Exit from the plant is possible only with a complete ceasefire."

Severodonetsk is the largest city in the Lugansk region that is still in Ukrainian hands and it has been under heavy Russian shelling for weeks.

- Ukraine slaps visas on Russians -

Zelensky announces that Kyiv intends to introduce visas for Russians from July 1.

The move will end visa-free travel for Russians that began when Ukraine became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991.

The two neighbours share a border stretching almost 2,300 kilometres (1,400 miles) and share extensive family links.

- Johnson visits Kyiv -

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Kyiv on what is his second visit in just over two months, Zelensky says, hailing Britain's "resolute" support for Ukraine.

The visit by the man who led Britain out of the EU bloc, came a day after the European Union's most powerful heads of state embraced Ukraine's bid to be accepted as a candidate for membership, nearly four months into the Russian invasion. 

- Physics lab to end agreements with Russia -

Europe's physics lab CERN says that its decision-making body intends to terminate cooperation agreements with Russia and Belarus after they expire in 2024 over the situation in Ukraine.

Its council declared during a meeting on Thursday that "it intends to terminate CERN's International Cooperation Agreements (ICAs) with the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus at their expiration dates in 2024."

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.