Ukraine war latest: Ukraine to let murderers into army as prisoners offered freedom – Sky News

Ukrainian convicts are being offered their freedom in exchange for their service in the war against Russian invaders – including murderers. Those convicted of rape, sexual assault, murdering two or more people, or crimes against Ukraine’s national security aren’t eligible.
Monday 1 July 2024 14:05, UK
Sebastian Coe, the head of World Athletics (WA), has met Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.
Coe, the British double Olympic gold medallist, met the Ukrainian president on Friday before attending the Ukraine athletics championships in Lviv.
WA said on Monday that Coe “underscored World Athletics’ unwavering support for the people and athletes of Ukraine as they defend themselves against ongoing Russian aggression”.

He has also committed to the continued support of Ukrainian athletes through the Ukraine Fund.
The fund provides support to professional athletes, ensuring they can continue to train, qualify for and participate in World Athletics Series events and the World Athletics Championships.
The International Olympic Committee has suggested that Russian and Belarusian sportsmen and women could compete at the Paris Olympics as neutrals without flags, emblems or anthems.
But WA is standing firm on a blanket ban.
A civilian has been killed in Ukrainian shelling of Russia’s Belgorod region, according to the local governor. 
Vyacheslav Gladkov claimed Ukraine had attacked an agricultural facility. 
Belgorod, which borders Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, has come under regular attack since Russia started its invasion. 
Rishi Sunak has claimed that multi-year support from the UK to Ukraine would be at risk if Labour were to come into power this week.
The UK prime minister told reporters three days ahead of the general election that his Conservative Party was backing up “words with actions” and “investing more in defence”.
“You have to have strength to signal to your adversaries that we’re not going anywhere. That’s why under the Conservatives we’re increasing defence spending to 2.5% of GDP. If Keir Starmer is in charge those plans are going to be cut,” he said.
The Labour Party has pledged to raise defence spending to 2.5% of GDP – but has not set a timescale for doing so – and to undertake a strategic defence review within the first year of government.
Sir Keir has said his party will keep supporting Ukraine.
Dozens of glide bombs used by Russia to hammer Ukrainian frontline regions have mistakenly fallen on its own territory, according to a report.
An internal Russian document seen by the Washington Post reveals at least 38 of the bombs came down in the Belgorod border region between April 2023 and April 2024 – including at least four on Belgorod city itself.
Most of the bombs did not explode, according to the report. However, one detonated when it hit a road in Belgorod last year, causing a 65ft wide crater and causing damage to buildings and cars, the paper said.
The Washington Post cited experts as saying the Soviet-era munitions “often fail – resulting in impacts on Russian territory”.

The internal report said most of the bombs were discovered by civilians, and in the majority of cases the Russian defence ministry could not identify when they’d been launched.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy said yesterday that Russia has used over 800 glide bombs against Ukraine in the past week alone.

“A certain percentage of Russian bombs is defective,” military expert Ruslan Leviev told the Post. He said it was believed the “accidental releases” were caused by the “unreliability” of the guidance systems they’d been retrofitted with.
However he noted that “only a fraction” of the bombs fail, meaning their overall effectiveness for Russia is not affected.
Russian forces have taken control of two villages in eastern Ukraine, the Russian defence ministry has claimed.
In a statement, it said Russian troops had taken over Stepova Novoselivka in the northeastern Kharkiv region, and Novopokrovske in Donetsk, in the east.
Kyiv has not yet responded to the claims.
It comes after Moscow said yesterday that its forces had seized two further villages east of the city of Donetsk (see 6.22 post).
Supermarket staff are working to remove debris caused by a Russian missile strike on the Ukrainian city of Dnipro this morning.
Regional governor Serhiy Lysak said earlier that a ballistic missile attack on the central city injured seven people, including a teenage boy.
The attack also damaged a supermarket and nearby homes, he said.
Ukraine is “ramping up the production of drones” and other weapons in the face of increasing Russian attacks.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy said “everything” was needed on the battlefield to save lives “through the power of technology”.
In a post on social media, he said the war showed technology was an “effective defence against aggression”.
Kyiv has increased its production of drones, “certain types of weapons, ammunition, equipment, demining machines and many other essential items”, the president said.
Ukraine has dismissed reports it is reinforcing troops along its border with Belarus, saying the claims are part of an “information operation”.
The defence ministry in Minsk said recently it had information showing Kyiv had been moving more troops, weapons and military equipment to its northern Zhytomyr region.
The Kremlin responded a short time ago saying it was concerned by the reports.
“It is not the first time Belarus offers information about Ukraine presenting a threat and strengthening itself… this is another part of the information operation conducted by Belarus with support by Russia,” Ukrainian border guard spokesman Andriy Demchenko told national TV.

He said the border with Belarus remained “threatening” and Kyiv had necessary forces there to prevent provocations.
Belarus is a close ally of Russia and served as a launchpad for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
The US is not ready to invite Ukraine to join NATO, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said.
In a new interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Ukrainian president said the White House under Joe Biden was “not yet ready to give us the invitation”.
He also noted recent comments by presidential hopeful Donald Trump, who recently suggested that Kyiv’s proposed accession into NATO provoked Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Unfortunately, this is the policy of one step forward, two steps back,” Mr Zelenskyy told the US news outlet. 
“I don’t think this is the policy of world leaders. These are the very cautious steps of my de-miners in the minefield.”
The Ukrainian leader suggested Kyiv’s NATO membership could benefit Russia by giving it “security”.
US officials have said the prospect of Ukraine joining the alliance can only be considered when the war is over.
“If the United States is afraid to annoy Putin, and this is the reason why we are not invited, then we ask our strategic partners to give us what would protect us: Patriots, a substantial number of F-16s, and the opportunity to use weapons [inside Russia],” said Mr Zelenskyy.
Two people have been killed and eight more are wounded after a Russian shelling in the eastern Donetsk region, an official has said.
Vadym Filashkin, head of the regional state administration, said Russian forces “bombarded” a residential area of a city early this morning, leaving two women aged 65 and 70 dead.
He said 10 high-rise buildings and an administrative building were also damaged.
“We are establishing the final consequences of the shelling,” he said on Telegram.
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