Residents walk past the tail section of a rocket embedded in the ground in Kramatorsk, the day after a Russian rocket attack - GENYA SAVILOV/AFP

Residents walk past the tail section of a rocket embedded in the ground in Kramatorsk, the day after a Russian rocket attack – GENYA SAVILOV/AFP

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said his armed forces were undeterred in their efforts to “break” Moscow’s will to pursue a nearly five-month war.

It comes as Russia’s Vladimir Putin hailed his military’s victory in the grueling battle of Luhansk.

Russia captured the city of Lysychansk in eastern Ukraine on Sunday, bringing an end to one of the biggest battles in Europe in generations and completing its conquest of Luhansk province, one of two regions it has demanded Ukraine cede to separatists in the Donbas region.

With the war entering its next phase, Ukrainian forces took up new defensive lines in the eastern part of the country.

In his nightly video message, Mr Zelensky said: “There have been no significant changes on the battlefield in the past 24 hours.

“The Armed Forces of Ukraine respond, push back and destroy the offensive potential of the occupiers day after day. We need to break them. It is a difficult task. It requires time and superhuman efforts. But we have no alternative.”

Earlier in the day, Putin congratulated Russian forces on “victories in the Luhansk direction”. Participants in that combat should “absolutely rest and recover their military preparedness”, while units in other areas keep fighting, the Russian president said in a brief televised meeting with his defence minister.

​​Follow the latest updates below.

08:51 AM

Fields Medal awarded to four mathematicians, including Ukrainian

Four mathematicians were on Tuesday awarded prestigious Fields medals, including Ukrainian Maryna Viazovska, the International Mathematical Union jury said.

French Hugo Duminil-Copin, US-based June Huh and British James Maynard were also awarded the medals at a Helsinki ceremony, recognising “outstanding mathematical achievement” for mathematicians under 40 and handed out every four years.

Ms Viazovska is only the second woman to win the prize, one of the most prestigious prizes in the field.

08:31 AM

Lysychansk today, in pictures

Russia-Ukraine war: 'We need to break them ... we have no alternative,' warns Zelensky - ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO /REUTERSRussia-Ukraine war: 'We need to break them ... we have no alternative,' warns Zelensky - ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO /REUTERS

Russia-Ukraine war: ‘We need to break them … we have no alternative,’ warns Zelensky – ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO /REUTERS

Russia-Ukraine war: 'We need to break them ... we have no alternative,' warns Zelensky - ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO /REUTERSRussia-Ukraine war: 'We need to break them ... we have no alternative,' warns Zelensky - ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO /REUTERS

Russia-Ukraine war: ‘We need to break them … we have no alternative,’ warns Zelensky – ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO /REUTERS

Russia-Ukraine war: 'We need to break them ... we have no alternative,' warns Zelensky - ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO /REUTERSRussia-Ukraine war: 'We need to break them ... we have no alternative,' warns Zelensky - ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO /REUTERS

Russia-Ukraine war: ‘We need to break them … we have no alternative,’ warns Zelensky – ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO /REUTERS

08:21 AM

Ukraine, allies lay foundations for reconstruction

Allies of Ukraine meeting in Switzerland are due Tuesday to adopt a declaration spelling out the principles and priorities of rebuilding the war-shattered country, estimated to cost at least $750 billion.

Leaders from dozens of countries, international organisations and businesses have been meeting in the southern Swiss city of Lugano under tight security since Monday, discussing the best path forward for reconstruction, even as Russia’s war continues to rage in Ukraine.

Speaking on the first day of the Ukraine Recovery Conference, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and a long line of government ministers described the massive destruction caused by Russia’s February 24 invasion.

“Reconstruction of Ukraine is not a local task of a single nation,” Zelensky said via video message.

“It is a common task of the whole democratic world,” he said.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said the recovery “is already estimated at $750 billion”.

“The key source of recovery should be the confiscated assets of Russia and Russian oligarchs,” he said.

“The Russian authorities unleashed this bloody war. They caused this massive destruction, and they should be held accountable for it”.

07:56 AM

Sergei Lavrov to visit Vietnam

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will fly to Hanoi today for a two-day visit to Vietnam before heading to a G20 meeting later this week in Indonesia, the Vietnamese government said.

The visit at the invitation of Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son comes as the two nations mark the 10th anniversary of their “comprehensive strategic partnership”, the government said in a statement .

Russia is Vietnam’s biggest arms supplier and its companies are involved in several major energy projects in the country.

The two nations have close ties dating back to the Soviet era and Vietnam has not so far condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special operation”.

In April, Vietnam voted against a resolution to suspend Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council over the war.

07:11 AM

Russia can claim ‘substantive progress’ in aim of ‘liberating’ Donbas – MoD

06:19 AM

Reality of the ‘Canadian Ukrainian Volunteer’

He was one of the most dashing foreign volunteers fighting in Ukraine, wowing his thousands of Twitter fans with tales of daring missions into enemy territory.

But the Canadian volunteer’s vivid descriptions of front line action have been exposed as a fabrication by internet sleuths identifying his weapons as nothing more than mock air guns.

The story of “Canadian Ukrainian Volunteer” highlights the information war being fought on social media channels and how online amateur detectives caught a fraud who they said was endangering lives.

READ MORE: Celebrity Ukraine ‘volunteer’ soldier exposed as fraud by internet sleuths

04:52 AM

Ukraine among topics raised in US-China chat

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He had a “constructive” virtual dialogue with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday, with both sides agreeing to better coordinate macro policies, according to China’s commerce ministry.

In its statement, the Treasury Department said Ms Yellen “frankly” raised issues of concern including the impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine on the global economy and unfair and non-market Chinese economic practices.

There was no mention of the war in Ukraine in the Chinese statement, but it said Mr Liu and Ms Yellen believed the current global economy was facing “grim” challenges.

The invitation for the video call came from the US Treasury Secretary, according to the ministry.

03:21 AM

‘I’m terrified I might be here forever’

Brittney Griner’s plea to President Joe Biden:

“As I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments, I’m terrified I might be here forever,” she wrote in a letter, excerpts of which have been shared by her representatives.

“On the 4th of July, our family normally honours the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War veteran.

“It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.

“I realise you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other American detainees. Please do all you can to bring us home.

“I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you. I still have so much good to do with my freedom that you can help restore.

“I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my teammates! It kills me to know they are suffering so much right now. I am grateful for whatever you can do at this moment to get me home.”

03:19 AM

Basketballer pleads for US President’s help

American basketball star Brittney Griner has made a direct plea to President Joe Biden to stand up for her in an emotional letter sent to the White House on Monday as she remains detained in Russia on drug charges.

Griner, who was held at a Moscow airport on February 17 when a search of her luggage allegedly revealed multiple cannabis oil vape cartridges, went on trial on Friday and could face up to 10 years in a Russian jail.

The case takes place against a backdrop of high tension between Moscow and Washington over the conflict in Ukraine. American officials say Griner has been detained wrongfully.

Griner, who competes in the US Women’s National Basketball Association but has also played regularly in Russia, was formally told at the first hearing that she was charged with intentionally importing narcotics into Russia.

The judge set the next hearing for July 7.

02:55 AM

Social media fines over Kremlin disinformation

Facebook and other social media firms will face multi-billion pound fines if they fail to take down Kremlin disinformation under new laws.

They will be placed under a new legal duty to “proactively” prevent and remove attempts by Russia, other hostile states and their agents to use their sites to mislead the public or interfere in the UK’s political system.

READ MORE: Social media firms face massive fines for failing to remove Kremlin disinformation

02:49 AM

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