US president Joe Biden has been condemned by human rights groups after agreeing to send widely banned cluster munitions to Ukraine, with a fellow Democrat branding the decision “unnecessary and a terrible mistake”. Washington said it had received assurances from Kyiv to minimize the risk to civilians, including not using munitions in populated areas. Biden said the decision was “very difficult”, but Ukrainian forces were “running out of ammunition”.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has secured significant Turkish support for Ukraine’s pledge to join Nato during his meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Istanbul. “There is no doubt that Ukraine deserves to be a member of Nato,” Erdogan said. Turkey’s support could threaten its ties with Russia after the Kremlin warned it was closely monitoring Zelenskiy’s visit. Erdogan said he would personally brief Putin on negotiations when the president visits Russia next month.
The head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog said it was “making progress” in inspecting several areas of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, after Ukraine claimed that “external objects similar to explosive devices” had been placed on the roofs of the area. UN officials said they “saw no signs of explosives or mines” while touring the cooling ponds and other areas, but had not yet visited the facility’s roofs.
NATO leaders publicly recommit to Ukraine becoming a member of the military alliance when they met in Vilnius on Tuesday, according to the organization’s secretary general. US president Joe Biden said he does not think there is “unity in Nato” to bring Ukraine into the military alliance. Zelenskiy also criticized Nato for a lack of “unity” which he said explains the failure to provide a guarantee for Ukraine’s membership.
If Russia does not agree to extend an agreement that allows the safe export of grain and fertilizer from Ukrainian ports, it is unlikely that western states will continue to cooperate with UN officials who are helping Moscow. of its exports., the UN aid chief said. Russia has threatened to pull out of the deal, which expires on July 17, because many demands to send its own grain and fertilizer have not been met. The last three ships traveling under the agreement are loading cargo at the Ukrainian port of Odesa and are expected to leave on Monday.
More than 9,000 Ukrainian civilians, including more than 500 children, have been confirmed dead since the start of the Russian invasion, according to the latest United Nations data. However, the real numbers are likely to be higher.
A report by the Kyiv School of Economics and B4Ukraine, a coalition of NGOs lobbying international businesses to leave Russia, says that 56% of foreign companies are still operating in the country last year despite the exodus of a significant minority. However, Russia’s revenue from oil and gas sales fell by half.