Nato will increase the number of its forces at high readiness to over 300,000, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said.
“We will transform the Nato response force and increase the number of our high readiness forces to well over 300,000,” he told reporters ahead of a Nato summit in Madrid later this week in Madrid.
Nato’s quick reaction force, the Nato response force, so far has some 40,000 troops.
At the Madrid summit, Nato will also change its language on Russia that in the alliance’s last strategy from 2010 was still described as a strategic partner.
“That will not be the case in the strategic concept that we will agree in Madrid,” Mr Stoltenberg said.
“I expect that allies will state clearly that Russia poses a direct threat to our security, to our values, to the rules-based international order.”
Follow the latest updates below.
Russia adds 43 Canadians to blacklist over sanctions
Russia on Monday banned 43 more Canadians from entering its territory, in response to sanctions imposed by Ottawa over Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.
The new blacklist published by the Russian foreign ministry includes Suzanne Cowan, leader of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party, and Mark Carney, former governor of the Canadian and British central banks.
Senior civil servants, political advisers and members of civil society are also penalised.
The foreign ministry in Moscow criticised the “belligerent Russophobia” of Trudeau’s government.
It said the new bans were in retaliation for Canada’s introduction in May of new sanctions targeting the heads of Russian companies and members of their families.
Ukraine’s richest man sues Russia at Europe’s top human rights court
Ukraine’s richest man has filed a lawsuit against Russia at Europe’s top human rights court, seeking compensation over what he has said are billions of dollars in business losses since Russia’s invasion.
Rinat Akhmetov, owner of the Azovstal steelworks in the city of Mariupol where Ukrainian fighters defied weeks of Russian bombardment, sued Russia for “grievous violations of his property rights” at the European Court of Human Rights, his System Capital Management (SCM) holding company said.
It said Mr Akhmetov was also seeking a court order “preventing Russia from engaging in further blockading, looting, diversion and destruction of grain and steel” produced by his companies.
“Evil cannot go unpunished. Russia’s crimes against Ukraine and our people are egregious, and those guilty of them must be held liable,” SCM quoted Mr Akhmetov as saying.
“The looting of Ukraine’s export commodities, including grain and steel, has already resulted in higher prices and people dying of hunger worldwide. These barbaric actions must be stopped, and Russia must pay in full.”
G7 vows solidarity with Ukraine for ‘as long as it takes’
The Group of Seven most industrialised countries vowed enduring support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression, in a statement from its summit in southern Germany on Monday.
“We will continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support and stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” the G7 said.
After speaking with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for nearly two hours by video-link from Kyiv, G7 leaders issued a forceful message of solidarity with the embattled nation.
“As G7 we stand united on Ukraine’s side and will continue our support. For this, we all have to take tough but necessary decisions,” the summit’s host, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz tweeted, thanking Zelensky for taking part.
“We will continue to increase pressure on Putin. This war has to come to an end.”
As @G7 we stand united on Ukraine’s side and will continue our support. For this, we all have to take tough but necessary decisions. Thank you, @ZelenskyyUa, for your participation today. We will continue to increase pressure on Putin. This war has to come to an end. #G7GER pic.twitter.com/avuvN5auPB
— Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz (@Bundeskanzler) June 27, 2022
Moscow says two debt payments have been blocked
Sanctions-hit Russia has said that two of its debt payments had not been transferred to creditors, but Moscow denied that this amounted to a default.
The Russian finance ministry said in a statement that international settlement and clearing systems had “received funds in full in advance” but that the payments were not transferred to the final recipients due to “the actions of third parties”.
France urges oil producers to boost output in ‘exceptional’ move
France has urged oil producing nations to boost their output in an “exceptional manner”, to help bring down soaring crude prices fuelled by the war in Ukraine.
“We need producing countries to produce in an exceptional measure,” said the French presidency on the sidelines of the G7 summit in the Bavarian Alps.
The presidency also called for a “diversification of supplies”, including from Iran and Venezuela.
If Ukraine loses, all democracies lose, Italian PM tells G7
The G7 countries are united with Ukraine because a defeat in its war against Russia would be a defeat for all democracies, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi told leaders on Monday during a session with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“We are united with Ukraine, because if Ukraine loses, all democracies lose. If Ukraine loses, it will be harder to argue that democracy is an effective model of government,” Mr Draghi was quoted as saying in comments sent by his office.
Watch: Russian forces move to Lysychansk in an attempt to take the city
G7 will ‘continue to increase pressure on Putin’, Scholz says
The G7 will keep turning up the heat on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, the host of the group’s summit in Germany, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, has said.
“As G7 we stand united on Ukraine’s side and will continue our support. For this, we all have to take tough but necessary decisions,” Mr Scholz tweeted, thanking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for addressing world leaders by video link.
“We will continue to increase pressure on Putin. This war has to come to an end.”
Russia bars entry to 43 Canadians in sanctions response
Russia sanctioned 43 Canadian citizens on Monday, barring them from entering the country in a tit-for-tat response to Western sanctions on Moscow.
The list, published by the foreign ministry, included the chairperson of Canada’s governing Liberal Party, Suzanne Cowan, and the former governor of the Bank of England and Bank of Canada, Mark Carney.
In April, Moscow sanctioned 61 Canadian officials and journalists. It has barred dozens of other Western politicians, journalists and business figures from entering Russia.
Pictured: Moldovan president visits church in Bucha
Poland to protest after Russia removed its flag from war memorial
Poland is to send a protest note to Russia after it removed a Polish flag at the Katyn cemetery, which commemorates Polish military officers killed by Soviet forces in 1940, the government said on Monday.
An estimated 22,000 officers and intellectuals were killed in Katyn, near Smolensk in western Russia, many trucked in from prison camps, shot in the head from behind, and shoved into mass graves.
After blaming Nazi Germany for the Katyn massacre for decades, the Soviet Union admitted in April 1990 that its forces were responsible, with the killings casting a long shadow over relations between Russia and Poland.
On Friday Smolensk mayor Andrei Borisov, published a photo of two masts – one with a Russian flag and one empty with a ladder leaning against it – saying the Polish flag had been removed.
“There can be no Polish flags on Russian memorials! … I think that the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation made the only correct decision – to remove the Polish flag. Katyn is a Russian memorial, it is Russian history,” Borisov wrote.
War needs to end by winter – Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told leaders of the G7 that he wanted Russia’s war in Ukraine ended by the end of the year before the winter sets in, two European Union diplomats said.
In his address via video link to the gathering of leaders in the German Alps, Mr Zelensky said battle conditions would make it tougher for his troops as they mount their fightback.
He therefore urged the G7 leaders to do the maximum to end the war by year’s end, the source said.
Humiliation for Putin as Russia defaults on foreign debts
The Kremlin insisted Monday there were “no grounds” to say that Russia had defaulted on its foreign currency sovereign debt as the West pummels Russia with sanctions over its Ukraine offensive.
“There are no grounds to call this situation a default,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
The response comes as reports emerge that Russia has defaulted on its foreign debts for the first time in a century, in a humiliating blow to Vladimir Putin that further freezes his country out of the Western financial system.
After narrowly swerving non-payment several times since launching an invasion of Ukraine in late February, Moscow failed to pay $100m of coupons on bonds due last month, for which a 30-day grace period ended on Sunday.
Payment had been rendered practically impossible after the White House moved to block channels to creditors in the West, meaning Russia could not settle its debts despite the means and willingness to do so.
You can read our report from Louis Ashworth in full here.
Volodymyr Zelensky asked G7 for air defence systems, tougher Russia sanctions
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has asked for anti-aircraft defence systems, more sanctions on Russia and security guarantees as he addressed leaders of the G7, a European official said.
Addressing the summit in the Bavarian Alps via video link, Mr Zelensky also asked for help to export grain from Ukraine and for reconstruction aid, the European official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
You can follow all the developments from the G7 summit on our politics live blog with my colleague Jack Maidment here.
G7 ‘close’ to oil price cap deal – US
The G7 will commit to a new package of coordinated actions aimed at increasing pressure on Russia over its war in Ukraine and will finalise plans for a price cap on Russian oil, a senior U.S. official has said.
“The dual objectives of G7 leaders have been to take direct aim at (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s revenues, particularly through energy, but also to minimize the spillovers and the impact on the G7 economies and the rest of the world,” the official said in a briefing on the sidelines of the annual summit.
Western nations are keen to crank up the pressure on Russia without stoking already soaring inflation that is particularly hurting the global south. The price cap could hit the Kremlin’s war chest while actually lowering energy prices.
G7 leaders will also make an “unprecedented, long-term security commitment to providing Ukraine with financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support as long as it takes,” including the timely provision of advanced weapons, the White House said in a fact sheet.
US provides Ukraine with anti-aircraft missile defence system
G7 remains ‘united’ in support for Ukraine – Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson has said G7 leaders remain united in their support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s ongoing offensive on its territory.
Speaking at the G7 summit in Germany, the Prime Minister said: “What has really struck me in the last couple of days is the amazing consistency of our resolve and the continuing unity of the G7. That has certainly shone through in the conversation in the last couple of days.
“The logic of the position is so clear. There is no deal that President Zelensky can do, so in those circumstances the G7, the supporters of Ukraine around the world, have to continue to help Ukrainians rebuild their economy, to get their grain out, and of course we have to help them to protect themselves.”
The PM added the military situation in Ukraine remains “very difficult” but that the Ukrainians are fighting back against the Russian advance.
“The situation in the east, in the south-east of the country remains very difficult, but the Ukrainians have shown that they have incredible ability to push back and change the military position.”
US announces new G7 sanctions targeting Russia’s defence sector
The United States has announced new G7 sanctions targeting Russia’s defence industry in a bid to hobble the Kremlin’s ability to maintain the military machine during its invasion of Ukraine.
“G7 leaders will align and expand targeted sanctions to further restrict Russia’s access” to Western technology that can support the Russian arms industry, the White House said.
And the US will also “aggressively target Russian defence supply chains… and limit Russia’s ability to replace the military equipment it has already lost during its brutal war”.
G7 agrees to use Russia trade tariffs to fund Ukraine
G7 leaders have agreed that money collected from higher trade tariffs imposed on Russian exports should be funnelled as aid to Ukraine, the White House has said.
President Joe Biden and other G7 leaders “will seek authority to use revenues collected by any new tariffs on Russian goods to help Ukraine and to ensure that Russia pays for the cost of its war,” a senior US official said.
EU countries to discuss options to jointly curb gas demand
European Union countries’ energy ministers will discuss options for how they could jointly curb gas demand, as the bloc grapples with cuts to Russian supplies and prepares for possible further supply shocks.
“I plan to present to ministers the concrete steps that I believe we have to make, both at member states’ side and the Commission’s side, to be better prepared,” EU energy commissioner Kadri Simson said on her arrival to the meeting of energy ministers in Luxembourg.
The Commission will present an EU plan to coordinate preparations for further gas supply shocks in July.
Finnish, Swedish leaders to discuss Nato bid with Turkey
Finnish and Swedish leaders will discuss their stalled Nato bids with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the start of an alliance summit in Madrid tomorrow, Helsinki has said.
“President (Sauli) Niinisto will meet tomorrow in Madrid with Turkish President Erdogan, Swedish Prime Minister (Magdalena) Andersson and Nato Secretary General (Jens) Stoltenberg,” the Finnish presidency tweeted.
Ankara has blocked the Nordic countries’ bids, accusing them of providing safe haven to Kurdish militants.
Boris back in cold water
Boris Johnson was up early for a swim in the Ferchensee lake near the Schloss Elmau hotel where G7 leaders are meeting in Germany.
The Prime Minister will use meetings on Monday to continue to press for more support for Ukraine and international efforts to release grain trapped by the Russian naval blockade.
UK helping ensure stolen Ukrainian grain does not make it to market
Britain is providing technology to ensure that any wheat stolen from Ukraine by Russia does not make it to the global market, Britain’s environment minister George Eustice has said.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and blockade of its Black Sea ports has prevented the country, traditionally one of the world’s top food producers, from exporting much of the more than 20 million tonnes of grain stored in its silos.
Last week Turkey said it was investigating claims that Ukrainian grain had been stolen by Russia and shipped to countries including Turkey, but added the probes had not found any stolen shipments so far.
Russia has previously denied allegations that it has stolen Ukrainian grain.
“Russia, it appears, are stealing some wheat from those stores,” Mr Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, told Sky News.
“What the UK government is doing is making available the technology that we’ve got to be able to test the provenance of wheat. We’re working with other countries including Australia on this so that we can ensure that stolen Ukrainian wheat does not find a route to market.”
Mr Eustice said Britain was also looking at what it could do to help Ukraine repair its railways to get the wheat out of Ukraine via land.
Ukraine today, in pictures
Olaf Scholz still deciding whether to attend G20 summit if Putin attends
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said he will take a decision nearer to the time whether to attend the G20 summit in Indonesia in November if Russian President Vladimir Putin also attends.
Mr Scholz, speaking to German television from the G7 summit he is hosting in the Bavarian Alps, said it was important not to “torpedo” the G20 summit.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address the G7 leaders on Monday on a video call.
Latest MoD update
Russia slips into default zone as payment deadline expires
Russia looked set for its first sovereign default in decades as some bondholders said they had not received overdue interest on Monday following the expiry of a key payment deadline a day earlier.
Russia has struggled to keep up payments on $40 billion of outstanding bonds since its invasion of Ukraine on Feb 24, as sweeping sanctions have effectively cut the country off from the global financial system and rendered its assets untouchable to many investors.
The Kremlin has repeatedly said there are no grounds for Russia to default but it is unable to send money to bondholders because of sanctions, accusing the West of trying to drive it into an artificial default.
Russia’s efforts to avoid what would be its first major default on international bonds since the Bolshevik revolution more than a century ago hit a insurmountable roadblock in late May when the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control effectively blocked Moscow from making payments.
‘Crime not to help’: South Korean ex-SEAL has no Ukraine regrets
A former South Korean Navy SEAL turned YouTuber who risked jail time to leave Seoul and fight for Ukraine says it would have been a “crime” not to use his skills to help.
Ken Rhee, an ex-special warfare officer, signed up at the Ukrainian Embassy in Seoul the moment President Volodymyr Zelensky asked for global volunteers and was fighting on the front lines near Kyiv by early March.
To get there, he had to break South Korean law – Seoul banned its citizens from travelling to Ukraine, and Rhee, who was injured in a fall while leading a special operations patrol there, was met at the airport by 15 police officers on his return.
But the celebrity ex-soldier, who has a YouTube channel with 700,000 followers and documented much of his Ukraine experience on his popular Instagram account, says he has no regrets.
Russian forces turn sights on Lysychansk in battle for eastern Ukraine
Russian forces were fighting on Monday to achieve one of their strategic objectives in Ukraine as Moscow-backed separatists said they were pushing into Lysychansk, the last major city still held by Ukrainian troops in eastern Luhansk province.
Lysychansk’s twin city of Sievierodonetsk fell on Saturday in a victory for Moscow’s campaign to seize the eastern provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk on behalf of pro-Russian separatists.
Tass news agency on Sunday quoted a separatist official as saying Moscow’s forces had entered Lysychansk from five directions and were isolating Ukrainian defenders. Reuters could not confirm the report.
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said Russian forces were using artillery to try to cut off Lysychansk from the south but made no mention of separatists entering the city.
In pictures: The latest from Ukraine
Ukraine war pushes France to rethink coal power station closure
France has become the latest country to reconsider its energy options because of the war in Ukraine, announcing Sunday it was looking into reopening a recently closed coal-fired power station.
The energy transition ministry said it was considering reopening the station at Saint-Avold in eastern France this winter, “given the situation in Ukraine” and the effect it was having on the energy markets.
“We are keeping open the possibility of being able to put the Saint-Avold station back in action for a few hours more if we need it next winter,” said a ministry statement, confirming a report on RTL radio.
But France would still be producing less than one percent of its electricity through coal power, and no Russian coal would be used, the statement added.
Zelensky to press G7 for more help as war rages
President Volodymyr Zelensky will urge world powers to step up their support for Ukraine when he addresses the G7 summit on Monday, as Kyiv reels from the first Russian strikes on the capital in weeks.
US President Joe Biden and his counterparts from the Group of Seven wealthy democracies, meeting in the Bavarian Alps, have stressed their unity in the face of Russia’s aggression – even as the global fallout worsens.
Mr Zelensky is set to join the leaders of the United States, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Japan and Canada via video link at 10:00 am (8am UK time).
In his daily address late Sunday, Mr Zelensky renewed his calls for more weapons and air defence systems to be delivered to Ukraine and for fresh sanctions against Russia by G7 nations.
“We need a powerful air defence – modern, fully effective. Which can ensure complete protection against these missiles. We talk about this every day with our partners. There are already some agreements. And partners need to move faster if they are really partners, not observers,” he said.
Ukraine war could boost illegal drug production, says UN
The war in Ukraine could allow illegal drug production to flourish, while the opium market’s future hinges on the fate of crisis-wracked Afghanistan, the United Nations warned on Monday.
Previous experience from the Middle East and Southeast Asia suggests conflict zones can act as a “magnet” for making synthetic drugs, which can be manufactured anywhere, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in its annual report.
“This effect may be greater when the conflict area is near large consumer markets.”
The UNODC said the number of dismantled amphetamine laboratories in Ukraine rose from 17 in 2019 to 79 in 2020, the highest number of seized laboratories reported in any country in 2020.
Ukraine’s capacity to produce synthetic drugs could grow as the war continues, it added.
“You don’t have police going around and stopping laboratories” in conflict zones, UNODC expert Angela Me told AFP.
Nato to pledge aid to Baltics and Ukraine, urge Turkey to let in Nordics
Nato leaders will urge Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to lift his veto over Finland and Sweden’s bid to join the military alliance when they meet for a three-day summit on Tuesday, as the West strives to send Russia and China a signal of resolve.
Taking place in the shadow of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the Madrid gathering comes at a pivotal moment for the transatlantic bond after failures in Afghanistan and internal discord during the era of former US President Donald Trump, who threatened to pull Washington out of the nuclear alliance.
Negotiations among an often-fractious organisation are still under way, diplomats said, but leaders also hope to agree to provide more military aid to Ukraine, increase joint defence spending, cement a new resolve to tackle China’s military rise and put more troops on stand-by to defend the Baltics.
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