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Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 120 of the invasion

Forces edge closer to seizing last pocket of Ukraine resistance in Luhansk; footage shows drone crashing into oil refinery in Russia

Russian firefighters at the scene of a fire at the Novoshakhtinsk oil processing plant in the Rostov-on-Don region.
Russian firefighters at the scene of a fire at the Novoshakhtinsk oil processing plant in the Rostov-on-Don region. Photograph: AP
Russian firefighters at the scene of a fire at the Novoshakhtinsk oil processing plant in the Rostov-on-Don region. Photograph: AP
  • Russia’s Tass news agency is carrying a report that British citizens Sean Pinner and Aiden Aslin, alongside Moroccan Saadoun Brahim, are preparing an appeal against their death sentences. Tass quotes Pinner’s lawyer Yulia Tserkovnikova saying “my colleagues and I are preparing the full text of the appeal against the verdict in the interests of our clients”. British authorities have described the trial as a “sham”, with one MP saying the men were essentially being held as hostages. The men argue that they were part of Ukraine’s armed forces, and should be subject to the Geneva convention on prisoners of war.

  • Russia’s ministry of defence claims to have killed at least 650 Ukrainian soldiers in the last 24 hours in its latest daily operational briefing. It claims that “the enemy continues to suffer significant losses” and that it “destroyed 49 tanks with fuel for military equipment of the armed forces of Ukraine, as well as up to 50 multiple launch rocket systems located in the hangars.”

  • Russian forces are putting the Lysychansk-Sievierodonetsk pocket under increasing pressure by steadily advancing around the fringes, according to British intelligence. Since 19 June, Russian forces have “highly likely” advanced over 5km towards the southern approaches of the Donbas city of Lysychansk, according to the latest UK ministry of defence report.

  • Ukrainian troops may need to pull back from the key frontline city of Lysychansk to avoid being encircled after Russian forces captured two villages to its south, regional governor Serhiy Gaidai has said on national television. “In order to avoid encirclement, our command could order that the troops retreat to new positions,” he said. “All of Lysychansk is within reach of their fire. It is very dangerous in the city.”

  • Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said believes Russian forces are attempting to destroy cities in the eastern Donbas region in the same way they did in Mariupol. During his nightly address, Zelenskiy said: “The goal of the occupiers in this direction remains the same - they want to destroy the whole Donbas step by step. Entire. Lysychansk, Slovyansk, Kramatorsk - they aim to turn any city into Mariupol. Completely ruined.”

  • Three cruise missiles hit Ukraine’s southern port city of Mykolaiv today, while air defences shot down another two missiles near the southern city of Odesa, the Ukrainian armed forces said in a statement.

  • The governor of Dnipropetrovsk, Valentyn Reznichenko, has accused Russia of using cluster munitions in the region.

  • Ukraine is expected to hold a preliminary hearing in its first trial of a Russian soldier charged with raping a Ukrainian woman during Russia’s invasion, the first of what could be dozens of such cases. The suspect, Mikhail Romanov, 32, who is not in Ukrainian custody and will be tried in absentia, is accused of murdering a civilian in the Kyiv capital region on 9 March and then repeatedly raping the man’s wife, according to court files.

  • Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu has said Russia and Belarus must take urgent joint measures to improve their defence capabilities and “increase the combat readiness of troop groupings and the unified regional air defence system.”

  • The UK foreign secretary Liz Truss has warned that the grain crisis in Ukraine must be solved by global leaders within the next month, otherwise the world could see “devastating consequences”.

  • The Kremlin has reiterated its assertion that Russia has not stolen any grain from Ukraine, as Turkey said it was probing allegations from Kyiv and would not allow any such grain to be brought to Turkey. Turkish foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Turkey was taking the claims seriously.

  • US donations of its new “Himars” multiple launch rocket system, or MLRS, have arrived in Ukraine. Ukraine’s minister of defence announced the arrival of the precision-guided missile launchers on Twitter. “Himars have arrived to Ukraine,” Oleksii Reznikov wrote. “Summer will be hot for Russian occupiers. And the last one for some of them.”

  • Ireland’s taoiseach, Micheál Martin, has accused Vladimir Putin of “wholly immoral” behaviour, saying the Russian president has “weaponised” food, energy and migration as part of his war effort.

  • Lithuanian president Gitanas Nauseda has said the country must raise defence spending to 3% of GDP to enable it to host a much larger number of Nato troops.

  • The European Union and Norway have agreed to cooperate to bring more gas from western Europe’s biggest producer to the EU’s 27 countries, nearly half of which are now facing cuts to their Russian gas supplies.

  • Dramatic footage emerged on Wednesday from Russia of what appears to be a drone flying into an oil refinery and causing an explosion in what could be an attack inside Russia’s borders. Video shared on social media showed the unmanned aerial vehicle crashing into the Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery in Rostov region, in what would be an embarrassing breach of Russia’s air defence systems.

  • Residents and workers at a nuclear power plant in Enerhodar, a city in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, are being abducted by Russian occupiers, according to the region’s mayor. “Whereabouts of some unknown. The rest are in very difficult conditions: they are being tortured with electric shock, bullied physically and morally,” said mayor Dmytro Orlov.

  • A television tower in the Ukrainian separatist-held city of Donetsk has been badly damaged by shelling and broadcasting has been interrupted, the local Donetsk news agency reported. The Petrovskiy television centre is still standing, but part of its equipment has been damaged, while some equipment has been moved out, the agency said.