Ukraine on track for EU membership, G7 looks to pressure Moscow| Top updates

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has hailed the European Union's (EU's) expected offer of candidate status for his country, adding he spoke to 11 EU leaders on Wednesday and will make more calls on Thursday, news agency Reuters reported.
Servicemen of the 126th Separate Territorial Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine take part in military exercises in Odessa region on June 22, 2022.(AFP)
Servicemen of the 126th Separate Territorial Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine take part in military exercises in Odessa region on June 22, 2022.(AFP)
Published on Jun 23, 2022 06:46 AM IST
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Written by Harshit Sabarwal | Edited by Swati Bhasin, New Delhi

Nearly four months after Russia's offensive in Ukraine began, fresh bombardment was seen in the Kharkiv city over the last two days that has reportedly killed at least 20 people. The Ukrainian government has characterised the strikes as a bid to force the country to pull resources from the main battlefields in the rebel-held eastern region of Donbas to protect civilians.

Also Read| Explainer: How Ukraine-Russian war will shape world's arsenals

Amid escalating developments, the upcoming G7 summit in Germany is set to witness new measures that will be aimed at pressuring Moscow for invading Ukraine. "We will roll out a concrete set of proposals to increase pressure on Russia," a senior US official told news agency AFP on Wednesday.

Here are the top updates on the Ukraine war:

> Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has hailed the European Union's (EU's) expected offer of candidate status for his country, adding he spoke to 11 EU leaders on Wednesday and will make more calls on Thursday, news agency Reuters reported. At a summit in Belgium's capital city Brussels, European leaders will formally set Ukraine on the long road to EU membership.

> Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said that the Russian forces were hitting Kharkiv intending to terrorise the city's population and force Kyiv to divert troops.

> Meanwhile, Moscow said on Thursday that Ukrainian forces in Severodonetsk are trapped, adding they were ordered last week to surrender or die after the last bridge over the Siverskyi Donets river was destroyed. The Sievierodonetsk city has been the latest hotspot of intensified fighting between Russia and Ukraine for weeks.

> Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Wednesday that Maksim Levin, a Ukrainian photographer, was executed by the Russian forces north of Kyiv on March 13, Reuters reported. Levin was a documentary filmmaker and had occasionally contributed to the news agency's coverage of the country since 2013 and went missing on March 13 this year.

> American software giant Microsoft has said that state-backed Russian hackers engaged in “strategic espionage” against governments, think tanks, businesses and aid groups in 42 countries supporting Ukraine, the Associated Press reported. “Since the start of the war, the Russian targeting (of Ukraine's allies) has been successful 29 per cent of the time,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a report.

(With agency inputs)

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