Russia has said it now controls 97 percent of Luhansk — one of the two Ukrainian provinces that make up the Donbas.
The Kremlin has made taking the eastern region its number one objective in this phase of the war – and has been bombarding the city of Sievierodonetsk and surrounding areas. Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy says his forces are putting up a fierce defense and inflicting a heavy toll on Russia’s military.
Meanwhile, talks in Istanbul between Russia and Turkey’s top diplomats on how to get grain out of Ukraine have not yielded a breakthrough. Ukraine was not represented.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was ready to ensure the safety of ships leaving Ukrainian ports. But Ukraine says it will not remove mines from waters around Odesa, citing the threat of Russian attacks.
Tens of millions of tons of wheat, corn and sunflower oil are trapped, after Russia blockaded Ukraine’s coastline three months ago. Both sides blame each other for laying sea mines off the Black Sea coast.
Our DW Correspondent Dorian Jones in Istanbul follows this meeting and had this update on possible outcomes of the talks.
00:00 Russia claims 97% of Luhansk under its control
02:46 Nataliya Pipa Ukrainian MP
06:50 DW’s Nick Connolly in Odesa
10:35 Grain talks in Turkey end in stalemate
12:00 DW’s Dorian Jones follows the meeting in Istanbul
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