Ukraine-Russia Ceasefire Negotiations: Chapter III
This article looks at the third chapter of ceasefire negotiations between Russia and Ukraine that occurred from May 2022 to early July 2022. For the latest on the ceasefire negotiations, see the running tracker here. Read about Chapter II here and Chapter I here.
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Chapter III Summary: With Ukraine gaining weapons assistance and other aid from the international community, this chapter in the war witnessed both sides focusing on securing territory in Ukraine's eastern regions. For Russia, the objective was to gain control of the entirety of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson oblasts, while Ukraine sought to liberate areas at least to the pre-24 February boundaries. Negotiations continued to be about prisoner exchanges, but a new dynamic emerged with the emerging food security crisis. A new negotiation began with the aim of establishing maritime corridors for the flow of grain and fertilizer from Ukrainian ports. This chapter ended with symbolic victories for both sides: for Ukraine, it was the recapture of Snake Island (of "Russian Warship, go f*** yourself" fame); and for Russia, it was the declared "liberation" of the entirety of Luhansk.
In an interview with the Turkish Anadolu Agency, Ukrainian negotiator Rustem Umerov expresses his views on the negotiations. Key excerpts are included below:
On territory as indispensable interests: "Donbas and Crimea, illegally annexed by Russia, are our red lines...We will not give up our people or our land."
On the status of negotiations: "By initiating negotiations with Russia, we wanted to show to the world that we want the war to end...[However,] the attacks of the Russians on the Azovstal, both from the air and the ground, are slowing down the negotiations. In such conditions, it is difficult to sit at the negotiation table with the Russians."
On Turkey's humanitarian and diplomatic support to Ukraine: "Owing to Turkey's support, we feel stronger at the negotiating table."
Head of Ukraine's Presidential Office Andriy Yermak announces the publication of a "Energy Sanctions Roadmap" against Russia, intended to raise the costs for their invasion of Ukraine.
In an interview with Financial Times, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba asserts that Ukraine's objectives for the fighting have shifted: "In the first months of the war the victory for us looked like withdrawal of Russian forces to the positions they occupied before February 24 and payment for inflicted damage. Now if we are strong enough on the military front and we win the battle for Donbas, which will be crucial for the following dynamics of the war, of course the victory for us in this war will be the liberation of the rest of our territories."
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk comments on the state of negotiations in trying to evacuate the remaining personnel from Azovstal steel complex. She asserts that the government is working different options including the proposal to the Russia side that they open a humanitarian corridor for wounded personnel in exchange for Russian prisoners. Vereshchuk notes that there is no agreement yet and that negotiations are ongoing.
Three separate Ukrainian negotiators highlight Russian atrocities and bad faith behavior via social media.
David Arakhamia (via Telegram): "We warned that every criminal who was lucky enough to survive would be found and punished. They will never be able to live peacefully on this earth again. Neither we nor the world will forgive what they did in Borodyanka, Irpen, Bucha, what they are doing now in Mariupol. And this process will begin immediately, without waiting for victory."
Mikhail Podolyak (via Twitter): "Classic hypocritical [Russia]. Before, Kremlin opposed [Ukraine]'s accession to NATO, not to EU. Now it’s strongly against the EU, too. It proves that Moscow's words are worth neither paper nor time for talking. Good news--the world no longer cares about the opinion of barbarians & looters."
Rustem Umerov (via Twitter): "600 hospitals were damaged, 100 of them--completely destroyed by Russians since the start of the war. Russia must pay its price for every damage it costs in Ukraine: both by money and by justice."
In her daily briefing, Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defense Hanna Mailar asserts that they are entering a new phase of the war. She argues that the first phase ended with Russian withdrawal from Kyiv, but the "change in the global attitude to the detachment of Russia" along with mobilization and armament of Ukrainian forces now enables the second phase to end and a new one to begin.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk clarifies the ongoing negotiations related to Azovstal steel complex. She claims that commentary from politicians, journalists, and public figures have harmed the negotiation process, in part by inflating the expected outcomes to cover 500 to 600 people. Vereshchuk clarifies that the actual number is 38 wounded soldiers that they are trying to extract via negotiations. Meanwhile, the fighting at Azovstal continues.
In a joint statement, President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announce their intent for Finland to apply for NATO membership:
In his daily video address, President Volodymyr Zelensky notes that Ukrainian forces regained control of at least six settlements in the last 24 hours of the counteroffensive. This brings the total of recaptured settlements to around 1,015 since the beginning of the invasion.
Speculations on Vladimir Putin's health abound as media outlets report on two leaked materials:
The first is a recording from mid-March of an unnamed Russian oligarch who claimed that Putin is "very ill with blood cancer" and that he and the other oligarchs hope he will die. The oligarch was recorded saying, "He absolutely ruined Russia’s economy, Ukraine’s economy and many other economies--ruined [them] absolutely...The problem is with his head. One crazy guy can turn the world upside down.”
The second leaked material is an internal memo from the Russian Federal Security Service (the successor organization of the KGB) which directed regional chiefs to ignore speculation that Putin only has months to live.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö informs Vladimir Putin that Finland will be applying for NATO membership. Full readout is below:
Ukrainian forces reach the Russian border along the previously occupied Kharkiv region, marking the success of their counteroffensive.
Soldiers pose along the Russo-Ukrainian border in Kharkiv (photo via Ukraine's Ministry of Defence)
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson announces that the ruling Social Democratic Party backs the country's accession into the NATO alliance. She states, "Our 200 year-long standing policy of military non-alignment has served Sweden well, but the issue at hand is whether military non-alignment will keep serving as well. And Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is not only illegal and indefensible, it also undermines the European security order that Sweden builds its security on...Our conclusion is that as a member of NATO, Sweden will not only achieve more security, but also contribute to more security." This announcement paves the way for Sweden to take formal action to apply for NATO membership.
Ukrainian negotiator Rustem Umerov publicizes the Ukraine side's position vis-a-vis war reparations, stating, "If Russia doesn't pay reparations for the damage caused by the war, Ukraine will seize and sell all Russian property. Russia must pay for every damage it costs [sic]."
Ukrainian negotiator Mikhail Podolyak comments on the war via social media, asserting, "[Ukraine] is not interested in a protracted war with Russia, same as the whole world. We can't [end the war] this month, but we can do it this year. The recipe for victory is simple: real oil embargo + tanks, aircraft and artillery. Let's end it together."
The Russian Ministry of Defense announces that an agreement was reached to open a humanitarian corridor from Azovstal steel complex. According to the ministry, wounded Ukrainian forces were transported to a medical facility in Novoazovsk in Russian-occupied Donetsk. The Ukrainian government confirms that 264 personnel were evacuated--53 wounded to Novoazovsk and 211 others to Olenivka.
Wounded Ukrainian forces are transported to Novoazovsk in Russian-occupied Donetsk, 16 May 2022 (photos via Twitter @Nexta_TV)
International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan QC announces the largest-ever field deployment of an ICC forensics and investigative team to Ukraine. The 42-person team will collect testimonials on military attacks that may constitute violations of the Rome Statute. Meanwhile, forensic experts will work with Ukrainian crime scene investigators in order to "trace workflows and strengthen chain of custody with respect to hard evidence."
Ukrainian negotiator Mikhail Podolyak comments on engagement with Russia, providing a de facto confirmation that the political-level negotiating process is stalled as Ukraine focuses on imposing additional costs on Russia:
On the sidelines of the 2nd Central Asian conference, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko claims that political level negotiations have completely stalled. He states, "The talks are not continuing. Ukraine has in fact quit the process of negotiations," adding that Ukrainian negotiators never provided a response to the draft treaty that the Russia side delivered following the Istanbul round of face-to-face talks.
Negotiations related to the Azovstal defenders continue after Ukrainian leadership orders the group to surrender to Russian forces. Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk asserts that the two sides have agreed to exchange 52 severely wounded Ukrainians that were transported to Novoazovsk for Russian prisoners of war. President Zelensky notes in a video address that his staff will continue to work on returning all the Azovstal defenders to Ukrainian custody.
In an interview with Dutch news outlet NRC, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba asserts Ukraine's interests for achieving a desirable outcome of the war: liberation of Russian-occupied territory (including Donbas and Crimea); Russian war reparations; prosecution of war crimes; and European integration.
In an interview with ZDF television, European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen asserts that the EU is exploring how seized Russian assets may be liquidated to fund war reparations for Ukraine: "Our lawyers are working intensively on finding possible ways of using frozen assets of the oligarchs for the rebuilding of Ukraine. I think Russia should also make its contribution." She notes that the EU will seek to co-finance the reconstruction of Ukraine while instituting the reforms necessary to enable Ukrainian accession into the union.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken chairs a UN Security Council meeting on "conflict and food security." This meeting comes amidst Russian blockage of Ukrainian ports and reports that Russia is attempting to sell stolen Ukrainian grain.
Ukrainian negotiator Mikhail Podolyak directly addresses the issue of stalled negotiations via social media, stating the following: "Do not offer us a ceasefire--this is impossible without total Russian troops withdrawal. Ukraine is not interested in new "Minsk" and the war renewal in a few years. Until [Russia] is ready to fully liberate occupied territories, our negotiating team is weapons, sanctions and money."
In a video address, President Volodymyr Zelensky presents a mechanism aimed at securing war reparations from Russia. He invites partner states to sign a multilateral treaty that establishes a mechanism for the money acquired liquidation of seized Russian assets to be transferred to a special fund for compensation of the "victims of Russian aggression." He argues that such an arrangement would also influence the war calculus for Russia, who would "feel the true weight of every missile, every bomb, and every projectile it has fired at Ukraine."
President Zelensky proposes a multilateral treaty for using seized Russian assets as war reparations, 20 May 2022 (via Telegram)
Spokesperson for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Oleh Nikolenko confirms that his government is studying Italy's proposed roadmap for ending the war. The previous day, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio delivered the proposal to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, offering Italy's support in facilitating a cessation of hostilities in Ukraine, delivery of humanitarian assistance, and export of foodstuffs. Italy's roadmap for ending the war consists of four steps:
Step 1: Ceasefire. Italy proposes negotiating this while fighting, focusing on an Armistice that includes supervisory mechanisms and demilitarization of the frontlines.
Step 2: International Status of Ukraine. This step focuses on multilateral negotiations that deal with Ukraine's relationship to the European Union and NATO, as well as appropriate security guarantees.
Step 3: Territorial Issues. Here, the Ukraine and Russia sides must negotiate territory and borders, especially focused on Donbas and Crimea.
Russian negotiator Leonid Slutsky (also head of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia faction in the State Duma) visits the headquarters of the breakaway "Donetsk People's Republic." When queried by reporters, he states that the LDPR party can open its headquarters on the territory of the Donetsk People's Republic if the residents want it. [Note: there was some reporting that Slutsky asserted that Russia may be willing to exchange the Azovstal prisoners for Putin-ally Viktor Medvedchuk, but Slutsky later dispelled this as taking his comments out of context.]
Leonid Slutsky meets with Denis Pushilin at the headquarters of the breakaway "Donetsk People's Republic," 21 May 2022 (via Telegram)
Ukrainian negotiator Rustem Umerov comments on the effort to establish humanitarian corridors and evacuate civilians:
Russians mine roads in the temporarily occupied Kherson region to not let people evacuate. Since the start of the war, occupiers did not let open any evacuation corridors. Thousands of people are every day risking their lives to leave the region under the constant shelling. We continue 24/7 working on establishing green corridors for our people to leave safely occupied territories. Ukraine will never give up on its people.
Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk and Deputy Minister of Defense Hanna Mailar meet with family members of Ukrainian prisoners of war. There, the officials field questions and explain how the government is working to secure the release of those captured during the war.
Ukrainian officials meet with family members of prisoners of war, 22 May 2022 (via Facebook)
In a meeting with war veterans, Russian negotiator Leonid Slutsky acknowledges that negotiations on prisoner exchanges are ongoing. He states, "For us, the lives of our prisoners, Russian ones, are very valuable. They must be saved at any cost."
The war enters its fourth month. Heavy fighting continues in the eastern territories of Ukraine, and while both sides acknowledge that negotiations over prisoner exchanges are ongoing, political-level negotiations aimed at concluding a ceasefire remain stalled.
Ukrainian negotiator Mikhail Podolyak remarks on the state-of-play in the war. His main points are below:
On foreign calls for Ukrainian concessions in exchange for peace: "Today, some political mouths are offering us a new agenda: a ceasefire, a frozen conflict, and the surrender of some territories for peace...So that there is no ambiguity: Ukraine will not take part in that discussion. We do not trade our citizens, territories, or sovereignty. This is a clear red line. Ukrainian society has paid a terrible price, and we will not allow anyone to take a step in this direction--no government and no country...Ukraine has drawn its conclusions from the Minsk agreements and therefore will not go to Minsk-3."
On the issues of territory & citizens: "[G]eopolitical 'strategists' talk about territories, but no one talks about people. Since the beginning of the war, 13 million Ukrainians have left their homes. These people will not return to live in the occupied territories or in the 'gray zone' of hostilities. Because it's risky. So, we will not have an economy. Are those who call for a freeze in the war going to keep our migrants for life...Millions of Ukrainians are also under occupation, and we will not allow anyone to trade their fortunes while sitting in a comfortable chair in a country that is not at war."
On negotiating with Russia: "Any war ends at the negotiating table, and this will be no exception. But negotiations will be possible only when the parties are ready to agree. To do this, Russia needs to start soberly assessing the situation. Calls for concessions, saving face, or freezing the conflict are unlikely to help. No one in the world is interested in a long war. Nobody is interested in a food crisis. But today, the shortest way to end the war is with weapons, sanctions, and financial assistance to Ukraine."
In an interview with reporters in Moscow, Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko comments on issues related to negotiations. His key points are included below:
On Ukrainian demands for Russia to return to pre-24 February positions before negotiations could continue: "This statement can hardly be assessed as constructive. Please note that Ukraine took active part in the negotiations practically since the first day of the special operation and did not set any terms...As it is setting terms today, this makes us doubt the sincerity of their desire to find a peaceful solution."
On opening ports to address food security: "We have repeatedly commented on the matter and said that a resolution of the food problem would require a comprehensive approach, including the lifting of sanctions imposed on Russian exports and financial transactions. That would also require Ukraine's demining of all ports where the ships are. Russia is ready to provide the necessary humanitarian passage, as it is doing every day,"
On the possibility of the deployment of escort vessels for grain shipments: "I believe that would seriously escalate the situation in the Black Sea region."
On the role of the UN in managing food security issues: "We are interacting with the United Nations in those matters...Further consultations on ways the UN could help with this situation are underway."
On his way back from the Davos World Economic Forum, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba answers questions from the public via Twitter Live. A summary of his key points are below:
On why Russia has not yet annexed any areas in Ukraine: Kuleba asserts that the reason that Russia has not formally annexed occupied areas in Ukraine is because the occupiers have not able to find enough supporters in those areas to be able to administer it.
On what Ukraine needs right now: Kuleba repeatedly stated that the military assistance Ukraine needs most right now is multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS). He notes that the biggest gap between Russian and Ukrainian forces is heavy artillery, so MLRS will help mitigate this disparity and enable a counteroffensive to retake occupied territory.
On prospects for a ceasefire: He asserts that Russia will not request a ceasefire unless they are a step away from defeat. He notes that if Russia were to sue for peace, Ukraine would have to "think twice, three times" about accepting the proposal.
On un-blocking Ukrainian ports: Kuleba states that Ukraine is working with the UN and western partners to unblock Odesa and enable shipment of Ukrainian food stuffs abroad. He calls on other governments to apply the pressure necessary to compel Russia to open up the ports.
On the state of negotiations: He asserts that negotiations between Russia and Ukraine are basically non-existent at the moment, but that the Ukrainian Presidential Office (led by Andriy Yermak) is continuing negotiations with "partners and friends" on security guarantees.
In a telephone called initiated by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Vladimir Putin asserts that Russia is willing to allow grain and fertilizer exports through the Black Sea if the West is prepared to lift sanctions. A Kremlin release stated the following: "Vladimir Putin emphasized that the Russian Federation is ready to make a significant contribution to overcoming the food crisis through the export of grain and fertilizers, subject to the lifting of politically motivated restrictions by the West."
Regional lawmakers in Primorsky Krai (a territory in Russia's far east) call upon Vladimir Putin to end the fighting. During a legislative meeting, four party members cite Russia's heavy losses and lack of military success as reasons to halt the operation. This prompts immediate rebuke from the Communist Party.
Ukrainian negotiator Mikhail Podolyak responds to Russian allegations that Ukraine is refusing to negotiation. He tweets, "Moscow generates lies: '[Ukraine] refuses from negotiations'. We can negotiate, but only if [Russia] renounces hypocrisy (say one thing--do another), leaves the south of the country and withdraws its troops. Until then, negotiations are conducted by another 'delegation' on the frontline."
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz hold telephone talks with Vladimir Putin. In their discussion, Macron and Scholz raise the issues of ending the war through negotiations, respect for Ukrainian sovereignty, release of prisoners-of-war, and food insecurity caused by Russia's blocking of ports. According to the Kremlin, Putin raises the following points:
On negotiating with Ukraine: Putin asserts that Russia remains open to dialogue but Ukraine is refusing talks.
On the provision of weapons to Ukraine: Putin warns that delivery of weapons to Ukraine risks "further destabilization of the situation and aggravation of the humanitarian crisis."
On food security issues. Putin blames the impending food security crisis on "misguided economic and financial policies of Western countries, as well as the anti-Russian sanctions they imposed." The Kremlin statement notes that "Russia is ready to help find options for unhampered exports of grain, including exports of Ukrainian grain from the Black Sea ports...Increasing supplies of Russian fertilizers and agricultural products will also help reduce tension on the global food market, which, of course, would require removing the relevant restrictions."
In reference to negotiations with Ukraine, Russian MFA Spokesperson Maria Zakharova references a quote by former USSR Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko: "Once, in a conversation with his son, USSR Foreign Minister Gromyko said about the negotiating positions: 'We will not change the outcome of the war. If we yield to them, then we will be cursed by all those who were tortured and killed. When I am negotiating with the Germans, it happens that I hear a whisper behind my back: 'Do not give in to them, Andrey, do not give in, this is not yours, but ours'...Whoever now does not hear this no longer a whisper, but an alarm, is hopelessly deaf. Whoever does not see what is happening is also blind."
President Volodymyr Zelensky and Head of the Presidential Office Andriy Yermak visit the Kharkiv region. They express their support for the frontlines, present awards, and take note of requirements for the counteroffensive for recapturing occupied territories.
Zelensky, Yermak, and other officials visit Kharkiv, 29 May 2022 (photo via Andriy Yermak)
Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk (also, Minister for the Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories) issues an appeal to Ukrainians in occupied areas. She urges them (1) to escape to Ukrainian-controlled territories and (2) not to accept Russian passports. Her appeal comes after reports that Russian occupiers have been confiscating Ukrainian passports and issuing Russian passports to residents in occupied areas.
Deputy head of the Kherson region’s military-civil administration Kirill Stremousov denies that the Ukrainian counter-offensive is achieving any success. He asserts, “The Kherson region is denazified forever. It is a Russian land.” Despite that declarative statement, he notes that formal integration into Russia will depend on the state of hostilities and could occur by next year via vote or plebiscite.
Kirill Stremousov delivers a video address, 29 May 2022 (photo via Twitter @Nexta_TV)
In an interview with France’s TF1, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov asserts that controlling all of Donbas remains Russia's primary objective. He also asserts that sanctions against Russia were planned "long-ago"--well prior to the initiation of Russia's "special military operation"--and that he does not expect them to be lifted anytime soon.
After weeks of negotiations, the European Union agrees to a partial ban on the import of Russian oil. Some states–Hungary in particular–objected to a total ban, so they settled on a compromise in which they would shut off maritime oil imports while allowing pipeline imports to continue. The compromise among EU states will effectively shut off two-thirds of oil imports from Russia by the end of 2022, with Germany and Poland pledging to shut off their pipeline imports unilaterally to raise that figure to 90%.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan holds telephone talks with Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky. The Turkish readouts from the calls are below.
Readout from call with Vladimir Putin:
Readout from call with Volodymyr Zelensky:
President [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] spoke by phone with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. The call addressed the latest developments in the Ukraine-Russia war.
President Erdoğan stated that Türkiye has thus far made every effort for the continuation of the negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, and stood ready from now on to provide any needed help, including mediation.
President Erdoğan stressed that he attached special importance to the project of establishing a safe corridor for the exportation of Ukrainian agricultural products by sea.
President Erdoğan further noted that Türkiye looked with favor in principal on joining the Control Center to be formed with the participation of the United Nations as well as the parties, and hosting the center in Istanbul.
Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk announces that she has transferred responsibility for managing prisoner exchanges to the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense. The Ministry of Reintegration will continue to maintain registers of prisoners-of-war and work with relevant international organizations.
The New York Times runs an op-ed attributed to U.S. President Joe Biden entitled, "What America Will and Will Not Do in Ukraine." The article clearly lays out the U.S. government's interests, approach, and self-imposed constraints and restraints vis-à-vis its support to Ukraine's fight against Russia. The key points are included below:
On the U.S. government's desired end state: "We want to see a democratic, independent, sovereign and prosperous Ukraine with the means to deter and defend itself against further aggression."
On the U.S. government's approach for achieving that end state: "As President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has said, ultimately this war 'will only definitively end through diplomacy'. Every negotiation reflects the facts on the ground. We have moved quickly to send Ukraine a significant amount of weaponry and ammunition so it can fight on the battlefield and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table."
On self-imposed constraints and restraints: "We do not seek a war between NATO and Russia. As much as I disagree with Mr. Putin, and find his actions an outrage, the United States will not try to bring about his ouster in Moscow. So long as the United States or our allies are not attacked, we will not be directly engaged in this conflict, either by sending American troops to fight in Ukraine or by attacking Russian forces. We are not encouraging or enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders. We do not want to prolong the war just to inflict pain on Russia."
On the stalled Ukraine-Russia ceasefire negotiations: "Ukraine’s talks with Russia are not stalled because Ukraine has turned its back on diplomacy. They are stalled because Russia continues to wage a war to take control of as much of Ukraine as it can. The United States will continue to work to strengthen Ukraine and support its efforts to achieve a negotiated end to the conflict."
Head of Ukraine's Presidential Office Andriy Yermak announces that Ukraine has no intent to execute strikes against Russian territory. His statement is aimed at mollifying concerns that weapons provided to Ukraine will be used in attacks on Russian soil, which could cause unwanted escalation of the war. He states, "We do not fight on the territory of Russia, we are interested in our sovereignty and territorial integrity."
Governor of Saint Petersburg Alexander Beglov and Russian-installed administrator of Mariupol Konstantin Ivashchenko sign a sister-city agreement. This represents another step at establishing a fait accompli with regard to Russian administration of the recently-captured city.
Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk issues an appeal to Ukrainian residents in response to Russian occupation authorities' attempts to impose Russian state curriculum in local schools. She urges educators not to work for the occupiers, suggesting that they move to territory controlled by the Ukrainian government. She clarifies that teachers who work for occupation authorities will face legal repercussions. As for the parents of school-aged children, Vereshchuk appeals to them not to study at schools controlled by Russian occupation authorities. Once again, she urges them to leave occupied territories for areas controlled by the Ukrainian government.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov states that there is no timeline for a referendum in occupied territories. He asserts, "No, there is no understanding yet regarding the time frame. This is a very important issue and as the corresponding conditions take shape, the situation in this field will get clearer." Peskov has previously stated that the security conditions do not permit holding a referendum in occupied areas on whether to join the Russian Federation. Ukrainian officials contend that Russia is balking at such a move because occupation authorities cannot muster enough support to administer occupied areas.
In an interview with domestic media, Ukrainian lead negotiator David Arakhamia comments on the prospects for resumption of negotiations with Russia: "Negotiations must continue when our negotiating position is strengthened. And, first of all, now it can be strengthened due to the fact that the weapons that are constantly promised to us by international partners, will eventually arrive in sufficient quantities. The armed forces are ready to use it…And then, I think, we can initiate a new round of talks from a strengthened negotiating position."
In an interview with regional press, French President Emmanuel Macron comments on the state-of-play in the war and negotiations. He notes that he has spent what he considers to be about 100 hours on the phone with Vladimir Putin, adding that it is France's role to serve as a mediator in ending the conflict. Macron asserts that the west "must not humiliate Russia so that the day the fighting stops, we can build a way out through the diplomatic channels."
The war reaches its hundredth day.
In an interview with the Rossiya 1 television channel, Vladimir Putin offers conditions for food exports from Ukraine. He states that Russia can guarantee the unimpeded passage of ships carrying grain if Ukraine clears waterways of mines and conducts the transit through Russian-occupied ports at Berdyansk and Mariupol. Putin asserts that overland exports can happen through Belarus if sanctions against the Lukashenko regime are lifted.
Vladimir Putin hosts Senegalese President (and chairperson of the African Union) Macky Sall at his Black Sea residence in Sochi. During a three hour-long meeting, the two discuss the impact of the war on Africa, particularly with regard to food security. Sall reportedly asks Putin to "become aware that our countries, even if they are far from the theater, are victims on an economic level." Speaking to reporters after the engagement, Sall asserts, "I found Vladimir Putin committed and aware that the crisis and sanctions create serious problems for weak economies, such as African economies," adding that we is "very reassured and very happy with our exchanges."
Vladimir Putin hosts chairperson of the African Union Macky Sall in Sochi, 4 June 2022
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba responds to President Macron's statement that the west must not humiliate Russia: "Calls to avoid humiliation of Russia can only humiliate France and every other country that would call for it. Because it is Russia that humiliates itself. We all better focus on how to put Russia in its place. This will bring peace and save lives."
Irina Kuksenkova, a journalist for Russia's Channel One news, reports that Russian and Ukrainian forces have exchanged bodies of fallen soldiers at the line of contact in the Zaporizhzhia region. She clarifies that there was an even exchange, with 160 bodies returned from each side. [Note: this was later confirmed by the Associated Press.]
President Volodymyr Zelensky and Head of the Presidential Office Andriy Yermak visit the Zaporizhzhia region. They meet families that evacuated from Mariupol, along with soldiers charged with winning back occupied territory and defending the frontlines.
President Zelensky visits Zaporizhzhia, 5 June 2022 (photo via Andriy Yermak)
On the occasion of Pentecost, Pope Francis renews his call for an end to the war. He urges those in power to engage in "real discussions, concrete negotiations for a ceasefire and for a sustainable solution." The Vatican echoes his remarks in social media, publishing various quotes and images such as the one below:
In an interview with Rossiya 1, Vladimir Putin dismisses the notion that western provision of multiple launch rocket systems is escalatory. He asserts, "We believe that the delivery of rocket systems by the United States and some other countries is related to making up for the losses of this combat hardware. There is nothing new about that and this actually changes nothing."
Russian media outlet Izvestia reports that Russian leadership is close to concluding a deal with Turkey to enable grain shipments from the port of Odesa in Ukraine. Turkish officials revealed that negotiations with Russia on enabling grain exports had been taking place since late May, and Sergei Lavrov is scheduled to arrive in Ankara on 8 June to conclude the agreement. Under the Russo-Turkish plan, Turkish forces would demine the waters around Odesa and provide escort to vessels through designated corridors. Russia has reportedly demanded that it be allowed to inspect the vessels to ensure that they are not being used to transport military equipment. President Zelensky states that no Ukrainian officials have been invited to Ankara to participate in the discussions.
Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Montenegro closed their skies to Russian aircraft, preventing Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov from visiting Serbia for discussions in Belgrade. Lavrov says this to reporters in response: "What has happened is basically a deprivation of a sovereign state's right to conduct foreign policy. Serbia's international activity is blocked, at least for the moment in the direction of Russia...We are not going to beat around the bush here. This is another very clear and instructive demonstration of the extent to which NATO and the EU can go to use the most lowbrow ways to influence those who are guided by national interests and not ready to sacrifice their principles, their dignity in favor of the very rules that the West imposes instead of international law."
The International Working Group on Sanctions (led by Andriy Yermak and Mike McFaul) publishes its third roadmap for sanctions. This time, the roadmap focuses on individual sanctions against Russia's ruling elites.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrives in Ankara. The Russian Foreign Ministry issues a press release detailing the purpose of this "working visit," noting that Lavrov will meet his counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on 8 June and focus on Ukraine and Syria. The statement includes the following: "The ministers will exchange views on the current state of affairs in the Ukrainian crisis, the prospects for the resumption of Russian-Ukrainian peace talks. The Russian side will inform the Turkish colleagues about the course of the special military operation of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in Ukraine and the steps taken to ensure the safety of the civilian population."
Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu delivers a briefing on the situation on the ground in Ukraine. He claims that "97% of the territory of the Luhansk People's Republic has been liberated to date," adding that Russian forces are currently holding 6,489 prisoners of war. Shoigu adds that vehicle traffic is now open between mainland Russia and Crimea, signaling the achievement of a key objective for the Russian occupation. He also states that on behalf of the "Supreme Commander-in-Chief" [i.e., Vladimir Putin], Russian forces are prepared to allow grain shipments from the ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk [note: both ports are under Russian occupation]. Also of note, Shoigu asserts that the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is operating normally [note: on 6 June, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael MarianoGrossi stated that the Agency is working to send an expert team to the power plant since it is no longer operating under IAEA safeguards].
Sergei Shoigu delivers a briefing on the state-of-play in Ukraine, 7 June 2022
The Turkish government formally announces that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will arrive for meetings in Ankara from 7 to 8 June. Although the press release remains vague on the topics of discussion, the central issues for the meeting relate to the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.
Ukrainian and Russian forces carry out another remains repatriation in Zaporizhzhia. In total, 100 bodies are exchanged (50-for-50), 37 of which include those who fell defending the Azovstal steel complex. On the Ukraine side, the negotiation was conducted by the Commissioner for Missing Persons Oleg Kotenko, and the repatriation was carried out by personnel from the Ministry for the Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories, General Staff of the Armed Forces, Security Service of Ukraine, and other law enforcement agencies.
Head of Ukraine's Presidential Office Andriy Yermak describes the Zelensky administration's position vis-à-vis grain exports via social media. He asserts that "Ukraine has its own vision of unblocking our ports," clarifying that it would require establishment of safe maritime corridors which can be utilized by ships from any partner state. He adds that security guarantees in the Black Sea are needed and that the Ukrainian government accepts Turkey's role as mediator with Russia. With regard to security guarantees, Yermak suggests the use of military escorts, as well as the provision of anti-ship missiles to Ukraine to ensure security.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavoslogu hosts his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Ankara for negotiations. The two hold a press conference after the negotiations, and their main points are below:
Lavrov argues that there is nothing on the Russian side to be done to ensure grain exports from Ukrainian ports. He claims that Russia is prepared to allow ships to transport grain, arguing that it is on Ukraine to de-mine the ports and allow safe passage corridors to open.
Lavrov asserts that the ball is in Ukraine’s court for resuming ceasefire negotiations. He claims that the Ukrainian negotiating team changed their positions that they presented in Istanbul and have disengaged from talks. [Note: the Ukrainian negotiating team delivered the "Istanbul Communique" during the last round of face-to-face talks on 29 March. The Russian side delivered a counterproposal a few weeks later. There has been no further movement on political-level ceasefire negotiations since.]
Çavuşoğlu subtly challenges Lavrov’s claim that Russia is ready to allow the export of grain. He clarifies that the Russian side wants to ensure that the vessels are not transporting weapons. He adds that they need to employ a UN-proposed mechanism that includes the UN, Ukraine, and Russia to ensure that the transport of grain can happen.
Çavuşoğlu asserts that Turkey is ready to facilitate the resumption of talks, noting that they hosted talks before and they are prepared to do so again up to the head-of-state level.
When challenged by a Ukrainian reporter after the formal questioning period finished, Lavrov glibly retorts that he will of course take the extra question because "we are not in Ukraine--we are in Turkey, in a free country." The reporter asks a question regarding stolen Ukrainian goods, which Lavrov deflects by re-asserting that Russia’s goal has always been to “rid the eastern of Ukraine of the pressure from the neo-Nazi regime.”
Sergei Lavrov and Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu field questions during their joint press conference, 8 June 2022
The "Supreme Court" of the breakaway "Donetsk People's Republic" sentence three foreign born Ukrainian soldiers to death. The DPR authorities accused the captured soldiers of being mercenaries and subject to criminal law instead of being afforded protections under the Geneva conventions as prisoners of war.
In a speech commemorating the 350th birth anniversary of Peter I, Vladimir Putin signals his regime's intent to annex occupied areas of Ukraine. He states, “Peter the Great returned territories and fortified them. This destiny has also fallen to us." Referencing Peter I's Great Northern War against Sweden, he adds, "[W]here it may seem that he was fighting against Sweden, and seizing lands . . . He wasn’t seizing anything. He was actually returning” lands that Russia had lost." Other sources indicate that the regime's intent is to annex the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions via local referenda sometime between mid-July and mid-September.
Vladimir Putin discusses returning and fortifying territories, 9 June 2022 (via Twitter @smotri_media)
Ukrainian officials respond to Putin's remarks on Russian-occupied territories. They signal that Russian withdrawal back to pre-February 24th status quo might be acceptable to accept a ceasefire, which is a break from previous statements regarding the liberation of Donbas and Crimea.
Presidential Advisor and negotiator Mikhail Podolyak: "Local collaborators say they are 'preparing for the referendum'. And the Russian president compares himself to Peter I, talking about the expansion of Russia at the expense of lands of other countries... It's time to draw a clear red line...1. Kherson and Zaporizhia will remain Ukraine. We will liberate our territories, no matter what names the z-occupiers come up with...2. For the international community: Kherson and Zaporizhia oblasts must remain the territory of Ukraine. The use of Western weapons are particularly for the liberation of Ukrainian lands."
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba: "Russia says President Zelensky's demand for them to withdraw behind the February 24th line is ‘not serious’. This proves Russia remains focused on war, not diplomacy, and sends a clear message to the world: Russia’s path to negotiating table lays through battleground defeats."
The eleventh prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia takes place in the Mykolaiv region, with an undisclosed number of personnel returned to each side. Head of the regional state administration Vitaly Kim explains that the negotiation for this exchange had taken place for a "very long time," noting that they secured the release of Oleh Pilipenko, a municipal leader who had been in custody for two months.
Regional administrator Vitaly Kim offers details on the eleventh prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia via social media, 10 June 2022
The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine arrives in Ukraine to investigate Russian war crimes. The intent of the commission is to conduct fact finding with the aims of delivering a report to the General Assembly when the 77th session convenes in a few months. Olena Kondratiuk, the Deputy Head of Verkhovna Rada, states that Ukrainian law enforcement agencies are investigating over 16,000 potential war crimes, including over 5,000 murders and 6,000 injury-causing attacks against civilians. [Note: The UN Commission's investigation is separate from the International Criminal Court investigation.]
European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen travels to Kyiv to discuss Ukraine's bid for EU membership. There, she visits wounded Ukrainians in hospitals, traverses the Maidan (the city square which has served as the nucleus of Ukraine's independence movements), and meets Volodymyr Zelensky. During their meeting, Zelensky urges the EU to prepare a seventh package of sanctions against Russia and expresses appreciation for the EU Commission's proposal for a new €9 billion assistance program. The two discuss Ukraine's application for EU membership, which is the subject of a European Council meeting scheduled for 23-24 June. Von der Leyen offers her support, asserting that "Europe is at your side."
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen meets Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, 11 June 2022 (photo via Twitter @AndriyYermak)
Russian occupation authorities begin issuing Russian passports to the residents of Melitopol in Zaporizhia Oblast. Occupation administrators also open up registration for Russian passports in occupied Kherson. [Note: Both Oblasts (provinces) are in Ukraine's southeast situated between Russian-claimed Crimea and the breakaway regions in Donbas. Occupation of areas in these provinces yields the Putin regime a land bridge between Crimea and Russia.]
Russian news agency TASS reports that as of 12 June, more than 1.8 million people "from the DPR ["Donetsk People's Republic"], LPR ["Luhansk People's Republic"], and Ukraine" have crossed the Russian border since the start of the war. Of those, 289,000 were children. [Note: The Ukrainian government contends that many residents, especially children, have been forcibly deported from occupied areas to Russia.]
Ukrainian negotiator Mikhail Podolyak publishes his government's wish list for weapons assistance:
Ukrainian officials focus their efforts on advocacy for weapons assistance from foreign partners. In televised remarks, Deputy Minister of Defense Hanna Mailar claims that Ukraine has only received 10 percent of the weapons its has request from foreign partners. Both Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Head of the Presidential Office Andriy Yermak issue appeals via social media. Ukrainian Deputy (Member of Parliament) and negotiator Rustem Umerov meets with colleagues in Ottawa and urges them to facilitate immediate weapons delivery.
Ukrainian Deputy and negotiator Rustem Umerov (third from left) visits parliamentary counterparts in Canada, 14 June 2022
In an interview with domestic media, Commander of Armed Forces in the Mykolayiv region Major General Dmytro Marchenko discusses the Ukrainian counter-offensive. He asserts that Ukrainian forces can successfully liberate occupied territories by the end of September if they receive enough assistance from western partners. He also acknowledges that Russian war atrocities had pushed ceasefire negotiations past a "point of no return," which put them on the path towards full liberation of Ukrainian territory currently held under Russian occupation.
Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu indicates that Turkey is ready to host four-party talks on grain shipments with representatives from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and the United Nations. Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the UN Secretary General, states that the UN is "working in close cooperation with the Turkish authorities on this issue...In order for this to go forward there will be a need for agreement from the Ukrainian side, from the Russian side." The Russian government maintains that it will allow exports from Mariupol and Berdyansk as long as Ukraine de-mines its ports. Ukrainian lead negotiator David Arakhamia asserts that de-mining ports will leave the country vulnerable to Russian forces: "Our military people are against it, so that's why we have very, very limited optimism for this model." [Note: Ukrainian officials have previously asserted that they may be willing to accept that the risk of de-mining if Ukraine is provided with shore-based anti-ship missiles.]
Representatives from around 50 countries convene in Brussels for the third meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (dubbed "Ramstein-3" since the first meeting took place in Ramstein, Germany). Among the pledges of additional assistance was the U.S. promise to deliver another $1 billion aid package that includes Harpoon launchers, HIMARS rockets, 18 Howitzers, and 4 armored vehicles, and an additional $225 million in humanitarian assistance.
Officials convene for "Ramstein-3" to deliberate support to the Ukrainian war effort, 15 June 2022 (photo via U.S. Department of Defense)
As Ukraine's foreign partners convene in Brussels to discuss assistance in the war effort, Russian officials deliver remarks to domestic media on the "special military operation" and state of negotiations.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov: "Our reaction is to prove that these plans [to cause a Russian defeat] will collapse, that they will fail, that we will put an end to it there where we deem right, and not where some strategists, ideologists or military planners in Washington or other capitals imagine...If [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky and his team are not ready for negotiations, if those behind him are determined to continue their mindless, or rather, insane pumping of Ukraine with weapons, it is their choice, it is sad, it is tragic, but we cannot retreat."
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova: "These talks [ceasefire negotiations] were frozen, halted, broken off...Let them [the Ukraine side] say for themselves what they did with these talks. We know that very well because we have information that was the order given by their American handlers...We saw a lot of things: The venue is wrong, the makeup of the delegation isn’t right, the host country needs to be different. There were a lot of quirks."
Russian Deputy and negotiator Leonid Slutsky: "Washington maniacally continues to support the so-called combat readiness of the national battalions and the Armed Forces of Ukraine, although even among Western experts and military analysts there are fewer and fewer of those who believe in Ukraine's victory 'on the battlefield'. The defeat of the puppet Kyiv regime for the United States will mean the collapse of the 'anti-Russia' project and all efforts to 'prevent re-Sovietization', as Mrs. Clinton put it when she was Secretary of State. Therefore, orders are given not to continue negotiations with the Russian side, and the killings of civilians with American weapons are obviously regarded as another 'collateral damage' in the fight against alleged 'Russian aggression'. Nevertheless, it is precisely on the hands of American politicians that the blood of the children of Donbass is now on their hands, it is they who bear equal responsibility with the Ukrainian Nazis for the death of the civilian population."
Ukrainian Presidential Adviser and negotiator Mikhail Podolyak comments on the dearth of trust in the negotiating process with Russia: "Today's endless proposals for negotiations on the part of the Russian Federation are nothing more than an attempt to deceive the world: to create the impression of readiness for dialogue, and then to stab one in the back. Sit in the temporarily occupied territories under a temporary truce, set up bases, accumulate reserves and restore offensive potential…Ukraine will definitely return to the negotiation process. Only at the right time and with a strong negotiating position."
Ukrainian Deputy and negotiator Rustem Umerov sits for an interview with Fox News while in the United States for meeting with congressional counterparts. He states that Ukraine has been able to evacuate up to 400,000 civilians through negotiations. Umerov notes that, right now, “Our main topic [of negotiation] is prisoners-of-war and civilian evacuations, and at the moment we are starting a new vertical which is agro-security and opening up of ports.” Umerov identifies a key position vis-à-vis an agreement to open up trade: “We need to unblock the ports. To unblock the ports, we need weapons–we need missiles so that…we could keep them [the Russians] from our shores.”
The heads-of-government from France (Emmanuel Macron), Germany (Olaf Scholz), Italy (Mario Draghi), and Romania (Klaus Iohannis) visit Irpin and Kyiv.
President Volodymyr Zelensky hosts his counterparts, 16 June 2022 (photos via Twitter)
In his nightly address, President Volodymyr Zelensky reveals that the Ukrainian government secured the release of Yulia Payevska, better known as "Taira," from Russian captivity. Taira was a paramedic who recorded 256 gigabytes of body cam footage from the war, which was smuggled out by Associated Press reporters from Mariupol. She had been in captivity for three months.
Yulia Payevska prior to her capture in March 2022 (photo via Andriy Yermak)
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba publishes an op-ed in Foreign Affairs entitled, "How Ukraine will win: Kyiv's theory of victory." In the article, he reiterates the necessity of western arms provisions while signaling the Ukrainian government's willingness to accept the pre-war boundary lines. He cautions the Putin regime, asserting, "[I]f Putin remains intransigent, Ukraine can proceed farther into Luhansk and Donetsk until he is willing to negotiate in good faith or until our army reaches and secures Ukraine’s internationally recognized border. "
Leaders of the breakaway "Donetsk People's Republic" (Denis Pushilin) and "Luhansk People's Republic" (Leonid Pasechnik) participate in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. There, they sign a series of agreements with Russian officials who pledge humanitarian and economic assistance from the Russian Federation. This includes provision of legal and medical assistance to residents, teachers' training, and infrastructure construction, as well as the development of leisure and cultural centers, the promise to hold mutual consultations, forums, and conferences, and "methodological assistance to the state authorities of the territories."
The leaders of the breakaway "DPR" and "LPR" sign agreements with Russian officials at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, 17 June 2022 (photos via Leonid Pasechnik)
The European Commission adopted its opinions on the membership applications of Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova. President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen posts this comment online: "We recommend to give Ukraine the candidate status, on the understanding that the country will carry out a number of important reforms. Ukraine has clearly shown commitment to live up to European values and standards. And embarked, before the war, on its way towards the EU. Ukraine has already implemented roughly 70% of [EU] rules, norms and standards. Yet important work remains to be done, on the rule of law, oligarchs, anti-corruption and fundamental rights. The process is merits-based. So progress depends entirely on Ukraine."
The Ukrainian cabinet of ministers decides to implement a visa regime for Russians wishing to enter Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelensky referred this decision to the cabinet "within the framework of an unprecedented threat to the country’s national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity." It is set to be implemented started 1 July.
Leader of the breakaway "Luhansk People's Republic" Leonid Pasechnik declares that his administration is ready to export grain to Syria. [Note: Ukrainian officials suspect that Russia will attempt to channel stolen Ukrainian grain through the breakaway regions and Syria to buyers elsewhere in the world.]
The Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine's Ministry of Defense announces that the two sides conducted another negotiated prisoner exchange: "Today, the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War held another exchange according to the 5-to-5 formula. Five Ukrainian citizens returned home. It is noted that all those released were civilians illegally detained by the occupying forces. Four civilians were taken prisoner by the occupiers during the fighting in Kyiv region. Three of them were during the occupation of Gostomel. The body of one of the dead defenders of Ukraine was also returned."
Photo released by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense after Ukraine and Russia conduct another prisoner exchange, 18 June 2022
In an interview with Voice of America, Ukrainian Deputy and lead negotiator David Arakhamia discusses the prospects of negotiations. He asserts that Ukraine may return to the negotiating table at the end of August after strengthening its position via counteroffensives. Arakhamia notes that a minimum agreement would necessitate Russian withdrawal to pre-war boundaries, but that a military armistice could potentially open the door for follow-on political negotiations: “We could consider some political treaty like the one proposed in Istanbul. For example, we would not touch on the Crimean issue for several years. We would do it not militarily but diplomatically.”
Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev responds to the news that Ukrainian officials may be ready to resume negotiations in August: "The chief negotiator from Ukraine considers it possible to resume negotiations with Russia from the end of August. It is possible too. The question is whether there will be anything to talk about and with whom."
Russia's TASS News Agency breaks a story that two Ukrainian troop commanders from the besieged Azovstal Steel Complex have been transferred to Russia for "investigative purposes." Svyatoslav Palamar, a deputy commander of the Azov battalion, and Sergei Volynsky, the commander of the 36th Marine Brigade of the Ukrainian armed forces were captured in Mariupol.
Russian Deputy and negotiator Leonid Slutsky protests Lithuania's stoppage of rail transit across its borders into Russia, labeling it a "blockade" of Kaliningrad by Lithuania and the European Union. He asserts, "Russia reserves the right to take action to protect its national interests and its sovereignty. And this has already been announced by the Chargé d'affaires of Lithuania."
Head of Ukraine's Presidential Office Andriy Yermak sits for a long-form interview with LB News. During the discussion, he covers a range of topics related to the war and negotiations. His key points are included below:
On negotiating priorities for the Zelensky administration: "The most important thing today is to provide our army with powerful weapons and ammunition. The second is the constant tightening of sanctions. Then there are the issues of children forcibly deported from Ukraine, fixing the crimes of the occupiers, preparing materials for international processes, including reparations. Fourth - financial and humanitarian support for Ukraine, our people and refugees…The fifth area of work is economic support and post-war reconstruction...And last but not least - reliable security guarantees for Ukraine, integration into the European Union and the construction of a new international security system."
On the establishment of an international group on security guarantees: "We are completing the formation of an international group led by former NATO Secretary General [Anders Fogh] Rasmussen. Prior to his arrival, which we are waiting for in the coming days, we will agree on a list of international experts who will work out proposals on security guarantees for Ukraine. Mr. Rasmussen is a great supporter of us and is very supportive. He was the Secretary General of NATO, so he is a high-level security expert."
On the issue of child deportation: "On behalf of the President, a few weeks ago we set up a special group coordinated by Daria Gerasymchuk, the President's Commissioner for Children. The group included the Prosecutor General, representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Foreign Affairs, etc. It will deal with crimes against children and the return of children who have found themselves in Russia or in the occupied territories. There is an absolutely clear strategy, the involvement of international partners to ensure that all these acts are first and foremost properly communicated and made public. Concrete steps to return are already being taken. These are negotiations, consultations, so as not to lose a single day, and to return all our children, as well as all citizens, to our territory."
On the role of back channels and informal mediators like Roman Abramovich: "Diplomacy in intergovernmental communication always contains a backstage and informal element, especially when it comes to saving people. So, to be honest, while all this is going on, I think it would be wrong to reveal any details. There are too many challenges, too many people in captivity, they need to be returned. We touched on the topic of children, however, there are both military and civilian prisoners. When it comes to life, we try to use every opportunity to bring people back to life. Of course, within the framework of our principles and national interests. As for the negotiations, I do not think that any mediators can play a key role. Key issues will be resolved through direct negotiations at the highest level."
On achieving implementable security guarantees: "It is important that the security guarantees provided to Ukraine by individual NATO members do not conflict with the Alliance's responsibilities in the Alliance. That is why we have invited Mr. Rasmussen, who can speak clearly about this. Today, many different countries from different continents have declared their desire to be future guarantors. There are many technical issues, we certainly do not want it to be an analogue of the Budapest Memorandum or any other document that is worthless. We want the guarantee agreement to be ratified by the parliaments of the countries that will sign it, it is important. That this document, indeed, on the one hand was legally binding, on the other hand--passed all the procedures that give it full legitimacy. In a sense, this will be a fairly experimental document, so it's not easy, but the process is moving. I do this every day. I can also say that the general security design may be as follows. This is our previous vision. Different states have different internal procedures and features. Therefore, it can be a large framework agreement on security guarantees, which will contain general principles, parameters and tools. It must be signed by all or most of the guarantor states. And this agreement must pass all internal procedures, local legalizations, ratifications by parliaments, and so on. But on its basis it will be necessary to conclude additional bilateral guarantee agreements with each guarantor state. They will contain more details and more specifics. And they must also be fully ratified within the signatory states. We strive to use the best experience of international law development and our experience in cooperation with partners before and after February 24."
On achieving an agreement related to grain exports: "We are considering the only option--unlocking ports. This is the only way to fully export our agricultural products, which is very important and is a serious factor in food security. We are working on it. I am in direct contact with Secretary-General Guterres, who is conducting these negotiations. We clearly understand how it should be. In fulfillment of the relevant instructions of the President, I am in full coordination with our military, with the Minister of Infrastructure Kubrakov, the Minister of Agriculture Solsky, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with our partners."
On his definition of victory: "In this war, we have lost and continue, unfortunately, to lose the most precious thing--our people. The first is to end this war so that our people do not die. And the second is the complete restoration of our territorial integrity. And the cessation for many, many years, for many years of any possibility of a repeat of this tragedy."
A military delegation from Turkey’s Ministry of National Defense meets Russian counterparts in Moscow. According to the Ministry, the two sides discuss "the resolution of the food crisis, the evacuation of commercial ships loaded with grain waiting in Ukrainian ports, and the safe transportation of aircraft belonging to the Turkish Armed Forces at Borispol Airport to Turkey." The military delegates agree to pursue a quadrilateral meeting in Turkey in the "coming weeks" with representatives from Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Nations to discuss food security issues. The meeting also results in an agreement for the Turkish dry cargo ship "Azov Concord" to leave the port of Mariupol. The becomes the first foreign ship to leave Ukrainian ports since the Russian blockade began.
Military delegations from Turkey and Russia meet in Moscow, 21 June 2022 (photos via the Turkish Ministry of National Defense)
Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, the chief of Russia’s National Defense Management Center, states that Russia has evacuated a total of 2,026,548 people (including 321,820 children) from “dangerous areas of Ukraine and the Donbass republics to Russia since the special military operation began.” [Note: the Ukrainian government contends that many of these “evacuations” are actually forcible deportations. Civilian repatriation remains a point of contention in potential ceasefire negotiations.]
Canada becomes the first G7 power to codify legal steps for using seized Russian assets to provide financial aid to Ukraine. The Canadian passes the country’s 450-page budget bill. Nested within the bill is the power to confiscate and sell assets seized in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the proceeds from which will be used to aid Ukrainian reconstruction.
With 529 votes to 45 (and 14 abstentions), the European Parliament adopts a resolution calling on the EU Council to grant EU candidate status to Ukraine “without delay.” Hours later, the Council votes unanimously to grant candidate status.
The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa meet virtually for the 14th “BRICS” summit. The 7382-word joint statement contains just 79 words about Ukraine: “We have discussed the situation in Ukraine and recall our national positions as expressed at the appropriate fora, namely the UNSC and UNGA. We support talks between Russia and Ukraine. We have also discussed our concerns over the humanitarian situation in and around Ukraine and expressed our support to efforts of the UN Secretary-General, UN Agencies and ICRC to provide humanitarian assistance in accordance with the basic principles of humanity, neutrality and impartiality established in UN General Assembly resolution 46/182.”
The BRICS leaders convene virtually for their 14th summit, 23 June 2022
In an informal (Arria-formula) meeting of UN Security Council representatives, Senior adviser to Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations Sergey Leonidchenko argues that International Criminal Court is being used as a tool to stage contracted litigation against Russia. He contends that western powers are eliminating impartiality and exploiting the international body by funding and driving the joint investigation and prosecutorial process against Russia while ignoring Ukrainian atrocities. He asserts the following:
Over the 20 years of its existence, this body has demonstrated its utter inability to ensure unbiased and independent justice. It has turned into an instrument of political pressure on unwanted states and governments…The West is openly paying for a contracted trial at the ICC, with the guilty party being appointed well in advance…The fact that entire teams of national court experts have been commissioned to the ICC to help it record Russia’s alleged crimes is serving the same goal. So, it looks like the ICC is just a smoke screen used by the collective West to organize its disgraceful trial for our country behind...The team also includes Western countries, which are supplying the Kiev regime with weapons, including long-range artillery and multiple launch systems, as well as cluster munitions they were supposed to completely destroy as they pathetically declared. These gifts continue to kill civilians in Donbass.
The G7 foreign ministers hold an online meeting ahead of the G7 summit scheduled to begin on Sunday, 26 June. They focus on Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, specifically seeking to address the global food security crisis while rejecting Russia’s false narratives and disinformation on sanctions. They also discuss continuing support for Ukraine, including military and defense assistance, humanitarian assistance, reconstruction and stabilization support. They highlight the need for enhancing the resilience of neighboring countries, especially Moldova, which are attempting to manage the influx of Ukrainian refugees.
Russian Deputy and negotiator Leonid Slutsky claims that NATO’s actions are blocking negotiations between Ukraine and Russia. He writes via Telegram: “NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the situation in Ukraine should be resolved via talks. Yet to strengthen Kiev’s positions it is necessary to continue flooding Ukraine with weapons and increase sanctions against Russia. NATO supports the talks yet is doing everything for them not to happen!”
In an interview with Ukrainian news outlet Babel, Ukrainian presidential adviser and negotiator Mikhail Podolyak shares his thoughts on negotiations with Russia.
On calls from the international community for Ukraine to concede territory to end the war: “The volume of such messages will increase. After all, Russia has felt that the pre-war rhetoric of fear is beginning to be partially present in the European or global media, and will invest in this, because it is necessary to force Ukraine to a certain agreement. What territorial concessions to Russia give us? Only one thing: further movement along the military path. The war will stop for a while, and then Russian propaganda will work again that Ukraine raises fighter marmots [an appeal to the fakes spread by the Russian state-controlled media about Ukraine making biological weapons; for example, breeding special pigeons that disseminate poison only among Russians], and then a large-scale war will begin again to seize the next part of our territory…The second part is that Russia will correct mistakes in the military sense, because they have not fought on such a scale and in direct conflict with another army for a long time. They will adjust the control system, accumulate even more necessary weapons, and attack us with even greater brutality…The third component: any territorial concession of the Russian Federation will establish the status quo in relation to the territorial losses of Ukraine. People will not return, for example, to Kharkiv, Mykolayiv, Zaporizhzhia, and Kryvyi Rih, because they will understand that war can break out at any moment, and these are the main industrial centers [of Ukraine]. We are getting the collapse of industry, Ukraine wonʼt receive investments. We are also losing our agricultural potential. That is, we get a completely destroyed country, which also gave up part of its territories. We will lose statehood in the very, so to speak, near future. So the question is: why do we need this? We live here, in our own state. I understand that when you sit somewhere in Southern Europe, you donʼt care whether to give the territory to Russia. But it doesnʼt work that way. There is a clear analysis of the consequences of what we are doing. In 2014-2019, a group of people who talked a lot but analyzed little, led us to accept some territorial concessions."
On his reasons for publicizing a defined “wish list” for weapons assistance: “It defines a certain corridor of the negotiation process. You know what the problem is: we voiced the request for a certain amount [of the weapons] during the war, which was the first two months. Now the Russians have moved here much more machinery than in the first days. In the early days there was a lot of armored vehicles, and now a lot of artillery in certain places and directions. Therefore, it is a question of changing priorities within the war, a dialogue corridor in communication with our partners.”
On the state-of-play for negotiations between Ukraine and Russia: “They are on pause. There is only a humanitarian subsection, which is connected with the exchange of prisoners, humanitarian corridors, evacuation from the zone of hostilities of our citizens. As for the political-diplomatic section, it makes no sense, because intense fighting continues in the east of the country. Russia is betting that it will be able to gain some tactical military victory due to a significant numerical advantage. It makes no sense to negotiate with such an opponent, because it will irrationally respond to all counter-offers.”
On Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich’s role in the negotiations: “Roman Abramovich is not a member of the delegation, heʼs a middleman. Accordingly, his participation is present only as mediation. He is not a member of the delegation on either side. My attitude to him is simply neutral. There is a person who deals with mediation, the establishment of some corridors, the possibilities of the negotiation process--nothing more.”
As reports emerge of Ukrainian employment of U.S.-supplied HIMARS, Russian forces execute missile strikes on residential areas in Kyiv--the first against the capital city in three weeks. Deputy Mayor Mykola Povoroznyk reports that one person was killed and six wounded after four missiles hit an apartment building and an elementary school.
First responders recover a 7-year old girl from the rubble following Russian missile strikes, 26 June 2022 (photo via Twitter @Podolyak_M)
Ukrainian MP and lead negotiator David Arakhamia calls out Georgian officials for aiding Russia in evading sanctions. His denouncement comes as reports emerge of a Russian oil tanker being discovered in the Georgian port of Batumi. Arakhamia states, “Data on transactions abroad and accounts of many pro-government deputies and ministers from Georgia will soon become available. And, of course, about the ties of [former Prime Minister Bidzina] Ivanishvili, who is very deeply involved in helping the country that sponsors terrorism [Russia] to circumvent sanctions.”
Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths discusses food security with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin via phone call. During the call, the Russian side claims that it is ready to allow the flow of exports–especially grains and fertilizer–but that the only obstacles are international sanctions and Ukrainian mines. Currently, the United Nations and Turkish government are attempting to negotiate the opening of maritime corridors with Russia and Ukraine.
At the G7 summit, leaders extensively discuss the Russia-Ukraine War. They reiterate their support to Ukraine and intent to sanction Russia until a negotiated settlement becomes achievable. Importantly, the G7 members commit to postwar security guarantees for Ukraine, asserting via their joint statement, “With a view to a viable post-war peace settlement, we are ready to reach arrangements together with interested countries and institutions and Ukraine on sustained security commitments to help Ukraine defend itself, secure its free and democratic future, and deter future Russian aggression.”
Russia defaults on foreign loans for the first time since 1918 when it was unable to service debt on a $100 million Eurobond payment. The Russian government contends that the default is artificial, as it has the resources available but sanctions are blocking the means for payment. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov states, “These allegations of a default are absolutely unjustified, because back in May, the obligatory payment in the currency was fulfilled, and the fact that Euroclear withheld this money, or did not deliver it to the recipients is no longer our problem.”
Russian forces continue attacks against civilian infrastructure, striking a shopping mall in Kremenchuk (Poltava Oblast in central Ukraine). Ukrainian officials report that there were over 1000 people inside the mall at the time of the strike, at least 13 of which perished in the attack.
Aftermath of the Russian missile strike against a shopping mall in Kremenchuk, 27 June 2022 (via Telegram)
In an interview with Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, Turkish Presidential Director of Communications Fahrettin Altun explains that his government will establish an operations center for transporting grain from Ukraine: “We took on the role of an intermediary, and as a result of contacts, a consensus was reached on the establishment of an operations center in Istanbul. We hope that ships loaded with grain will be withdrawn as soon as possible. We attach great importance to the safe execution of this process and the prevention of any accidents.”
Turkey lifts its objection to Swedish and Finnish accession into NATO. Leaders from Turkey, Sweden, and Finland conclude negotiations on counter-terrorism cooperation, signing a new agreement in Madrid ahead of the NATO Summit. The Memorandum provides that "Finland and Sweden will investigate and interdict any financing and recruitment activities of the PKK and all other terrorist organizations and their extensions, as well affiliates or inspired groups or networks...Finland and Sweden will address Turkiye's pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects expeditiously and thoroughly, taking into account information, evidence and intelligence provided by Turkiye, and establish necessary bilateral legal frameworks to facilitate accordance with the European Convention on Extradition." In response to the conclusion of these negotiations, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg states, “I’m pleased to announce that we now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO…In NATO, we are always shown that whatever our differences, we can always sit down, find common ground, and resolve issues.”
The leaders of Finland, Sweden, and Turkey sign an agreement on counterterrorism cooperation, 28 June 2022 (photo via Twitter @jensstoltenberg)
The two sides conduct another prisoner exchange. The Ukrainian Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War conducts the exchange, returning 15 Russian prisoners for 17 Ukrainians–16 soldiers and one civilian. [Note: The Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War is composed of officials from the Ministry of Defense, Security Service of Ukraine, Ministry of Reintegration, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health, National Police, State Border Guard Service, National Guard, Armed Forces, and the National Security and Defense Council.
The Ukraine side receives prisoners during a negotiated exchange, 28 June 2022 (photo via the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War)
Russia and Ukraine conduct another exchange of bodies in the Zaporizhia region. The Ukraine side returns 40 bodies for 46 fallen Ukrainians. As with the prisoner exchanges, the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War leads the exchange for the Ukraine side.
Russian officials deny that Russian forces struck a shopping mall in Kremenchuk. Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy claims that it was staged, stating that there were, “Many inconsistencies in Kremenchuk, looks like a provocation a la Bucha.” Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov states, “"The strike targeted the hangar that received European and American weapons and ammunition. The ammunition detonation set fire to the nearby empty shopping mall.” In a separate press briefing, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Lieutenant-General Igor Konashenkov argues, “The detonation of the stored ammunition for Western weapons caused a fire at a defunct shopping mall located close to the factory’s territory.”
Head of Ukraine's Presidential Office Andriy Yermak announces the establishment of a "Strategic Group" and a "Defence Coordination Center." Regarding the Strategic Group, he states, "To improve the coordination of the Ukrainian army with foreign allies, the military-political leadership of Ukraine has created the Strategic Group. The group will include representatives of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, as well as representatives of the USA, the Great Britain, and other key partner countries." On the Defense Coordination Center, Yermak notes, "Every day we face many complex organizational, logistical, technological and other problems. Therefore, at the initiative of the Office of the President, the Coordination Center for Defence of Ukraine has also started working. It is a key part of the security assistance system."
At its summit in Madrid, NATO invites Finland and Sweden to become members of the treaty alliance and agrees to sign the Accession Protocols. It is unprecedented for NATO to complete both invitation and signing of accession protocols at once, indicating the speed of progress. The final step is ratification in NATO members’ home legislatures of the expansion of treaty commitments.
Russia and Ukraine conduct the largest prisoner exchange since the outbreak of hostilities. 144 Ukrainians are returned for 144 Russian soldiers. Of the 144, 59 are soldiers of the National Guard, 30 Navy, 28 Armed Forces of Ukraine, 17 State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, 9 Territorial defense, and 1 National Police of Ukraine. 95 were captured when the besieged Azovstal steel complex fell.
Ukrainian officials conduct the largest prisoner exchange of the war, 29 June 2022 (photo via the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War)
Indonesian President Joko Widodo conveys a message from Volodymyr Zelensky to Vladimir Putin. After visiting Ukraine on 29 June, he traveled to Moscow for meetings in the Kremlin and expresses during a press conference, “I have passed the message from President Zelensky to President Putin…the situation is still very difficult, but it’s necessary to head toward a peaceful settlement and start a dialogue.” Indonesia will host President Putin along with other world leaders during the G20 summit on 15-16 November this year.
Ukrainian Armed Forces liberate Snake Island (of "Russian Warship, go f*** yourself" fame). This sparks competing narratives from Russian and Ukrainian officials, as illustrated below:
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov: "On June 30, in a goodwill move Russia’s Armed Forces completed their tasks on Snake Island and withdrew the garrison stationed there, thus demonstrating to the world community that Russia does not interfere with the UN efforts to create a humanitarian corridor for the export of farm produce from Ukraine…This decision will not let Kiev indulge in insinuations over an impending food crisis or argue it is impossible to export grain due to Russia's total control of the northwestern part of the Black Sea…The ball is now in Kiev’s court. To this day Ukraine has done nothing to clear the Black Sea near its shores, including seaports’ areas, of naval mines."
Head of Ukraine's Presidential Office Andriy Yermak: "In Russia, they talk about the alleged withdrawal of troops from Snake Island and present it as a 'gesture of goodwill'. Similarly, Russia does not interfere with humanitarian corridors for the export of Ukrainian grain. But all this is completely fake. First, Ukrainian Armed Forces drove the Russians out of Snake Island. Second, the Russians are shelling warehouses with our grain. In the morning, a warehouse in the Dnipropetrovsk region was fired upon. Russia continues to provoke a food crisis and lie. They are still blocking our ports and destroying grain. They need a global Holodomor."
Ukrainian soldiers raise the flag over Snake Island (photo via Andriy Yermak)
Vladimir Putin speaks with Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi via telephone. The readouts from both the Kremlin and Indian Ministry of External Affairs are light on details, but both acknowledge the importance of bilateral trade in energy, agricultural goods, fertilizers, and other products. On the Russia-Ukraine War, Modi reiterates India's long-standing position favoring dialogue and diplomacy, while Putin underscores the “dangerous and provocative nature of the approach of the Kiev regime and its Western patrons to escalate the crisis and torpedo efforts to resolve it by political and diplomatic methods.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov raises the possibility of a UN Security Council P5 summit. "Back before the pandemic…President Putin proposed holding a summit of the permanent members of the UN Security Council so that an honest discussion be held on how to run things globally for the world to be equal and just, with UN Charter provisions put to life…The invitation--the proposal--is still on the table. I hope we will be able to return to it as soon as the West regains its senses.” Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the UN Secretary General, acknowledges the proposal: “Obviously, I think for us any dialogue that would help lessen the tensions…within the P5 is always welcome in whichever format they will choose.”
Head of Ukraine’s Presidential Office Andriy Yermak attends the first meeting of the new “Group on International Security Guarantees” chaired by former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Yermak reports on Ukraine’s positions during the initial discussions:
On joining NATO: “The development of a system of security guarantees is not an alternative to Ukraine joining NATO. The course towards the Alliance is enshrined in our Constitution.”
On avoiding half-measures: “We must stop the Russian Federation, fully restore the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, and deprive Russia of the possibility of continuing the game of historical reconstruction in the future. We don’t need Budapest 2.0. We need effective guarantees to deter future aggression from the Russian Federation–military, political, diplomatic, institutional, financial, etc.”
On improving Ukraine’s ability to defend itself: “Ensuring Ukraine’s ability to realize the right to self-defense is key. This block of guarantees will include the continued provision of modern conventional weapons and military equipment without any restrictions or politically motivated obstacles. We will need annual financial assistance to develop the defense sector.”
On legal formats: “It is necessary to build a system of bilateral and/or multilateral agreements which will provide for detailed mechanisms of guarantors’ actions in case of aggression against Ukraine.”
On sanctions: “[Sanctions] should become an effective tool for preventing the recurrence of aggression. The effect of the implemented packages of sanctions and restrictive measures should continue until Russia provides adequate guarantees that aggression against Ukraine will not be repeated and provides full compensation for the damage to our state and citizens.”
On the basic principle for security guarantees: “Volodymyr Zelensky’s idea is that security guarantees for Ukraine will in the future become the basis of a new global security system. “United 24” is a kind of rescue service for countries, a club of responsible states that provide security assistance within 24 hours–military-technical, economic, political, humanitarian, and also impose sanctions against the aggressor.”
A report from Reuters reveals that Ukraine had requested the government of Turkey to detain the Russian-flagged cargo ship Zhibek Zholy. Ukrainian officials delivered a letter dated 30 June to the Turkish government citing that the Russian vessel was carrying between 4,500 to 7,000 tons of Ukrainian grain from the Russian-occupied port of Berdyansk. There has been no published response from Turkish authorities.
The BBC publishes a report identifying water issues between Ukraine and Russian-occupied Crimea. Ukraine had ceased the supply of water from the Dnipro River to Crimea following the 2014 Russian annexation, and almost immediately after the invasion began, Russian forces destroyed a key dam to enable the flow of water to the North Crimean Canal. Ukrainian officials speculate that the loss of water is resulting in millions of dollars in economic impacts.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko claims that Ukrainian forces attempted to strike targets in Belarus: "We are being provoked. I have to tell you that three days ago, or maybe a bit earlier, there was an attempt to hit military facilities on Belarusian territory from Ukraine. Thank God, the Pantsyr air defense systems were capable of intercepting all the missiles fired by Ukraine’s Armed Forces." He notes that Belarusian forces will respond if attacked, stating, "I want to tell those who are worried whether Lukashenko will be fighting there or not. Listen, we will fight - I say it again - only in one case, if you cross that last meter of our land and invade our land...If you kill our people, we’ll respond." These comments come a week after Lukashenko's last meeting with Vladimir Putin on 25 June in St. Petersburg. The Defence Intelligence of Ukraine states that likelihood of Belarusian involvement in the war remains low, but notes that at least seven Belarusian battalions remain positioned near the border.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov comments on the prospects for negotiation, noting that western powers are inhibiting the negotiating process but that eventually they will resume: "Now the demand for initiatives to pacify the situation has declined. But we have no doubt that sooner or later common sense will prevail and once again the turn of negotiations will come." He notes that prior to returning to the negotiating table, the Ukraine side will need to revisit the Russia side's last proposal: "[Ukraine must] once again understand Moscow's conditions. Agree to them. Sit down at the table. And just formalize the document that has already been agreed in many respects."
Leader of the breakaway "Luhansk People's Republic" Leonid Pasechik declares that with the Russian capture of Lysychansk, it has been completely liberated. He announces that July 3 will be labeled as a new "Great Victory Day." That same day, Russian Minister of Defense and General of the Army Sergey Shoigu reports to Vladimir Putin on the liberation of the region.
Russian officials accuse Ukrainian forces of attacking civilian infrastructure in Belgorod, Russia. Three missiles landed in the city overnight, damaging 11 apartment buildings and 39 private houses according to Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov. Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov claims that the missile strike "had been intentionally planned and was launched at the civilian population of Russian cities." In response to those accusations, Presidential adviser and negotiator Mikhail Podolyak claims that this was a self-inflicted attack to curb western provision of weapons: "We perfectly understand the logic of the actions of the Russian command…attacking their cities (when did Russians feel sorry for their compatriots?) with their own missiles as a provocation to accuse Ukraine of shelling Russian cities and disrupt the supply of Western weapons. Primitive, but absolutely in the style of modern Russian idio-propaganda." [Note: one of the concerns associated with western provision of weapons was that Ukraine would employ them against targets in Russian territory.]
Turkish authorities reportedly detain the Russian vessel Zhibek Zholy in Karasu. The vessel has been anchored off port since 1 July and will reportedly undergo investigation on 4 July. The Turkish government offers no formal comment on the matter.