Ukraine says retaking Snake Island is a warning to Russia — live updates

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  • Russia’s Putin warns war on Ukraine has not started ‘in earnest’
  • Zelenskyy sees Ukraine’s flag on Snake Island as warning to Russian forces
  • War overshadows G20 foreign ministers meeting in Indonesia

The article was last updated at 06:56 UTC/GMT

Russia says West ‘avoided’ G20 mandate at summit

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said his Western counterparts were off-topic during the G20 summit in Bali as they criticized the war in Ukraine. 

“During the discussion, Western partners avoided following the mandate of the G20, from dealing with issues of the world economy,” Lavrov said.

He added that the West’s talks “strayed almost immediately, as soon as they took the floor, to the frenzied criticism of the Russian Federation in connection with the situation in Ukraine. ‘Aggressors’, ‘invaders’, ‘occupiers’ — we heard a lot of things today.” 

German lawmakers to vote on Sweden, Finland’s NATO accession

The German parliament, the Bundestag, is set to ratify Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO. 

Berlin’s two northern allies have moved to join the alliance after the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine. 

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has welcomed Finland and Sweden, but the ratification requires unanimous approval of the alliance’s 30 members.

Turkey had initially threatened to block their membership bids, accusing Finland and Sweden of supporting Kurdish militants. 

Helsinki and Stockholm have denied the claim, but Turkey’s approval still seems shaky.

Zelenskyy: Snake Island signals Ukraine ‘will not be broken’ 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said a two-month operation to raise his country’s flag on a key Black Sea island sends a key message to Russian forces. 

“And now let every Russian captain — whether of a ship or an aircraft — see the Ukrainian flag on Zmiinyi (Snake Island) and know that our state cannot be broken,” Zelenskyy said. 

Russian forces withdrew from the island last week, claiming it was a gesture of “goodwill” to allow the export of Ukrainian agricultural products. But Kyiv says it pushed out Russia’s troops. 

G20 host Indonesia calls for end to Ukraine war

Indonesia called for an end to the war in Ukraine at a G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Bali.

“It is our responsibility to end the war sooner than later and settle our differences at the negotiating table, not the battlefield,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said.

Marsudi added that it is important for the host of the G20 to “create an atmosphere that’s comfortable for everyone.”

“This is the first time, since February 24, all major players are sitting in the same room,” she said, referring to the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Putin warns Russian actions in Ukraine ‘haven’t even started’ yet

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Russia had barely started its actions in Ukraine and urged Kyiv and its Western allies to reach a deal with Moscow.

Putin accused the West of wanting to “fight [Russia] until the last Ukrainian” in providing military and economic support to Kyiv.

“It’s a tragedy for the Ukrainian people, but it looks like it’s heading in that direction,” Putin said.

“Everybody should know that largely speaking, we haven’t even yet started anything in earnest,” Putin warned.

Russia’s president said that the Kremlin was ready to sit down for peace talks, and stressed that “those who refuse to do so should know that the longer it lasts the more difficult it will be for them to make a deal with us.”

UK’s Johnson says he will work to end Ukraine grain blockade

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that he will continue to work with partners to end the grain blockade on Ukraine in the coming weeks, a spokesperson for the prime minister said following Johnson’s announcement that he would resign as prime minister. 

“President Zelenskyy thanked the Prime Minister for his decisive action on Ukraine, and said the Ukrainian people were grateful for the UK’s efforts,” the spokesperson said after a call between Johnson and Ukraine’s president.

Recap of Thursday’s events

Kazakhstan’s president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, ordered officials to find oil export routes that don’t go through Russian territory.

At least eight civilians were killed and several others injured in Russian strikes in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian officials said.

Foreign analysts said Russia may be temporarily easing its offensive in Ukraine as the Russian military attempts to reassemble its forces for a renewed assault.

Andriy Yermak, the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, posted a video on Telegram of three soldiers raising a large Ukrainian flag on Snake Island, from which Russian forces withdrew on June 30.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said a Russian ship carrying Ukrainian grain had been allowed to leave the Turkish port of Karasu, calling it an “unacceptable situation” and summoning Turkey’s ambassador.

Finland’s parliament on Thursday voted in favor of legislation that would allow barriers on the country’s border with Russia and enable the closure of the 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) frontier to asylum seekers in case of exceptional circumstances.

German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht rejected the delivery of Fuchs armored personnel carriers to Ukraine, citing Germany’s own security interests.

Click here for all the updates from Wednesday.

fb, sdi/rt (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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