Day 614 of the Ukraine Russia War
A Putin ally, Lukashenko, has suggested that Ukraine and Russia should engage in negotiations to resolve the conflict. Meanwhile, Ukrainian peace talks have begun in Malta, with Moscow not in attendance.
- Russia has reported shooting down 36 Ukrainian drones in the Black Sea and the Crimean peninsula. Local media outlets have made claims that a fire at an oil refinery in the early hours of Sunday might have resulted from a drone strike or debris from a downed drone. Ukraine, on the other hand, has stated that it downed five Iranian-made Shahed exploding drones launched from Russia overnight.
- Russian state media has claimed that over the past 24 hours, more than 100 Ukrainian soldiers lost their lives in Yuzhno-Donetsk. This conflict involved the 58th motorized infantry, 79th air assault brigades of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and the 128th territorial defense brigade, facing an attack by Russian forces.
- According to the UK Ministry of Defence, Russian forces have experienced some of their highest casualty rates this year due to ongoing, intense, but indecisive combat in the Donetsk oblast town of Avdiivka.
- A close ally of Vladimir Putin has warned that if the European Union seizes frozen Russian funds to support Ukraine, Russia may retaliate by confiscating assets belonging to EU states it considers unfriendly. This warning comes in response to Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, announcing that the EU is exploring a proposal to allocate some of the proceeds from frozen Russian state assets to aid Ukraine and its post-war recovery.
- Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of Vladimir Putin, has called for Ukraine and Russia to engage in negotiations to resolve the ongoing conflict, which he described as a serious stalemate. In a recent incident in the partly occupied Donetsk oblast, four Ukrainian police officers were wounded when a shell, fired by Russian troops, exploded near their police car in the city of Siversk.
- In a separate development, a third round of Ukrainian-backed peace talks has commenced in Malta, but Moscow is not participating. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy noted that 66 countries were involved, demonstrating the global reach of his peace plan. Ukraine’s Deputy Minister, Mykola Tochytskyi, has stated that his country aims to host a worldwide “peace summit” with world leaders later this year.
- Meanwhile, in Russia’s predominantly Muslim region of Dagestan, a mob stormed the airport in Makhachkala in search of Jewish passengers arriving from Israel, prompted by reports of a flight from Tel Aviv arriving in the city. There were reports of injuries at the airport, and some passengers had to seek refuge in planes or hide within the airport to avoid potential attacks.
- In a more uplifting event, approximately 2,000 Ukrainians in Kyiv participated in a 1km race wearing bibs displaying the names of individuals rather than numbers. Each runner dedicated their run to a person they knew who had been killed, taken captive, or injured during the war, including spouses, children, friends, siblings, neighbors, and colleagues.