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Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 126 of the invasion

  • Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused Russian leader Vladimir Putin Tuesday of becoming “a terrorist” leading a “terrorist state” and urged Russia’s expulsion from the United Nations. In a virtual address to the UN security council, Zelenskiy urged the UN to establish an international tribunal to investigate “the actions of Russian occupiers on Ukrainian soil” and to hold the country accountable.

  • Zelenskiy said urgent action was needed “to make Russia stop the killing spree,” warning that otherwise Russia’s “terrorist activity” will spread to other countries, singling out the Baltic states and Poland.

  • The Ukraine president also called for the United Nations to visit the site of a missile strike on a shopping mall in the city of Kremenchuk. “I suggest the United Nations send either a special representative, or the secretary-general of the United Nations … so the UN could independently find out information and see that this indeed was a Russian missile strike,” he said of Monday’s attack which killed at least 18 people.

  • Rescuers continued to work through the devastation left behind by the strike in Kremenchuk, with dozens of people still missing.

  • The Russian army claimed Tuesday it had hit a nearby weapons depot with the explosion sparking the blaze at the shopping centre, which according to Moscow was “not operational” at the time.

  • All 15 Security Council members, including Russia, stood for a moment of silence after Zelenskiy asked them to “commemorate all the Ukrainians who have been killed in this war.”

  • Russia’s deputy UN ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy told the council that Zelenskiy’s appearance via video had undermined the authority of the body. “The UN security council should not be turned into a platform for a remote PR (public relations) campaign for president Zelenskiy in order to get more weapons from participants of the Nato Summit,” Polyanskiy said.

  • During the Nato summit, Turkey, Finland and Sweden signed a trilateral memorandum, paving the way forward for the two Nordic countries to join the alliance. Jens Stoltenberg, Nato’s secretary general, said on Tuesday evening: “I am pleased to announce that we now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join Nato.”

  • The agreement involves Finland and Sweden lifting their arms embargo, amending their laws on terrorism, supporting Turkey in its conflict with the Kurdistan Workers’ party (YKK) and stop supporting the party’s Syrian affiliate People’s Protection Forces (YPG)

  • World leaders welcomed the trilateral agreement. US president Joe Biden described the deal as “a crucial step towards a Nato invite to Finland and Sweden, which will strengthen our alliance and bolster our collective security.” Boris Johnson tweeted: “Fantastic news as we kick off the Nato Summit. Sweden and Finland’s membership will make our brilliant alliance stronger and safer.”

  • Ukrainian forces will try to hold the line against Russia in the east from the vantage point of the city of Lysychansk, buying time for the arrival of western weapons and the region’s defenders to prepare fortifications, Luhansk province’s governor said.

  • Russia again shelled Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, hitting apartment buildings and a primary school, the regional governor said. The shelling killed five people and wounded 22 including children.

  • Russia-installed officials in Ukraine’s Kherson region said their security forces had detained Kherson city mayor Ihor Kolykhayev on Tuesday after he refused to follow Moscow’s orders, while a Kherson local official said the mayor was abducted, Reuters reported. “I can confirm that Kolykhayev was detained by the commandant’s (military police) office,” Ekaterina Gubareva, the Moscow-appointed deputy head of the Kherson region, said on the Telegram messaging app. The reports could not be immediately independently verified and there was no official confirmation from Ukrainian authorities.

    Reuters, Agence France-Presse and Associated Press contributed to this report

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