Ukraine is prepare for possible Russian strikes as it marks its independence day and 31 years since the end of the Soviet regime. Authorities have canceled celebrations in Kyiv as officials warn Russia is preparing to attack the capital. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he had information from Ukrainian intelligence and international partners that there was an increased threat, as the United States said it believed Russia would target civilian and government infrastructure in the next few days. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry has advised Ukrainians to be especially careful, citing the threat of missile attacks and “provocations” from Russia.
Many civilians were trying to leave Kyiv for fear of a Russian attack, according to an adviser to the Ukrainian president. Alex Rodnyansky said people were worried and there was “certainly some concern” that an attack could hit decision-making centers on Wednesday. Russia and Putin’s regime “are really obsessed with dates and symbols, so it would make sense to be on the lookout and be prepared for Independence Day to come under attack,” Andriy Yusov said , the head of the department’s intelligence directorate.
Zelensky has warned Russia of a firm response to any attacks on Independence Day. Russia “will receive an answer, a powerful answer”.
Zelenskiy said Ukraine would not agree to any proposals to freeze current frontlines in order to “calm down” Moscow, which controls around 22% of Ukraine, including Crimea. “At the point where we are, we are not ready for a ceasefire. We explained that there will be no Minsk-3, Minsk-5 or Minsk-7. We will not play these games, we have thus lost part of our territories… it is a trap”, he declared during a press conference at the end of a summit of the Crimean platform in Kyiv.
Zelensky also promised to return Crimea to Ukraine, saying it would be part of the EU along with the rest of the country. “We will return Crimea, because it is our territory. Either way, we decide. We will decide that for ourselves, without consulting any other state. It all started with Crimea and it will end with Crimea.
The UN nuclear watchdog said it would visit the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine “in the coming days if the ongoing negotiations are successful”.
The United States is about to announce a new security assistance package for Ukraine worth about $3 billion. (£2.5bn), officials said, to equip it for a war of attrition and secure its medium to long-term defense posture. The money will fund contracts for as many as three types of drones, and other weapons, ammunition and equipment that may not see the battlefront for a year or two, US officials told The Associated Press.
Ukraine accused Russia of having organized illegal mass adoptions of Ukrainian children after transferring them from the occupied territories to mainland Russia. “More than 1,000 children from Mariupol [a southern Ukrainian city occupied by Russian troops] were illegally transferred to foreigners in Tyumen, Irkutsk, Kemerovo and Altai Krai” in Siberia, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.
The UN has said it is “very concerned” about plans by Russian-backed authorities to hold trials for Ukrainian soldiers captured in Mariupol. Pro-Russian officials appeared to be setting up metal cages in a hall in Mariupol as part of plans to establish what they called an “international court”, a spokesman for the state’s human rights office said. UN, adding that such a process could in itself constitute a war crime.
A $75m (£63) superyacht linked to a Russian steel billionaire has gone up for auction in Gibraltar in the first sale of an oligarch’s assets since Putin invaded Ukraine in February. The 72.5 meter Axioma was seized from Dmitry Pumpyansky in March below sanctions by UK, EU and US.
Hundreds of people gathered in Moscow for the funeral of Darya Dugina. Dugina, daughter of ultra-nationalist Alexander Dugin, was killed in a car bomb attack outside Moscow on Saturday. Russia’s FSB security service has accused Ukrainian intelligence agencies of ordering his assassination, which Kyiv denies.