- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his forces “had no choice” but to “counterattack and destroy the offensive potential of Russian troops” as the battle moved from Luhansk to nearby Donetsk.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Russian troops on the “liberation” of the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine.
- Ukrainian troops retreating from Lysichansk are now holding the line between Bakhmut and Slovensk, preparing to fend off further Russian attacks, Luhansk Governor Sheryl Heyday revealed.
- Zelensky said Ukraine is negotiating with Turkey and the United Nations to ensure food exports from Ukrainian ports are secured.
- Rebuilding Ukraine is expected Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has said it will cost $750 billion, adding that the seized Russian assets should be used to pay for the recovery.
Here are the latest updates:
A 1711 letter from Zelensky to the King of Sweden recognizing the independence of the early Ukrainian people
Prime Minister of Sweden Magdalena Andersson to Zelenskyy, a 1711 letter to King Charles XII – previously kept in her country’s national archives – in which the king wasInstructs the Swedish ambassador to Constantinople to recognize Zaporozhye as an independent state.
The Zaporizhzhian Sich was a semi-autonomous quasi-state of the Cossacks, an eastern Slavic group mainly originating from the Ukrainian steppe, existing between the 16th and 18th centuries. It is centered on the area that spans the lower Dnieper River, where the current Zaporozhye region of Ukraine is located.
According to a statement from his office, Volodymyr Zelenskyy showed the letter to reporters and read out a snippet he thought was relevant:
“… Execute as soon as possible the article on the will of Ukraine and all Cossacks, that all Ukrainian and Zaporozhye armies, under the current commander Pylyp Orlyk, regain their ancient freedom, own their lands and former borders, so that from now on this nation will be an independent nation, no longer subject to or under the protection of the king.”
Ukraine in talks with Turkey and UN on food exports: Zelensky
Zelensky said Ukraine is negotiating with Turkey and the United Nations to ensure food exports from Ukrainian ports are secured.
“There are actually talks now going on with Turkey and the UN [and] Our representatives are responsible for the security of grain leaving our ports,” Zelensky said at a news conference with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson.
“It’s a very important thing that someone keeps ships in this or that country safe — except for Russia, which we don’t trust. So we need to provide security for those ships that are going to come here to load food.”
Zelensky said Ukraine was working “directly” with UN Secretary-General António Guterres to resolve the issue and that the group was “playing a leading role, not as a mediator.”
Ukraine did not lose the war: Luhansk governor
The governor of Ukraine’s Luhansk region, Serchy Heyday, acknowledged that his entire province is now effectively in Russian hands, but told Reuters: “We need to win the war, not the battle for Lysychansk… It’s painful, but it won’t lose the war.”
Ukrainian troops retreating from Lysichansk now hold the line between Bakhmut and Sloveniask, ready to fend off further Russian attacks, Heyday said.
Russia seized the city of Lysichansk in eastern Ukraine on Sunday, ending one of the biggest battles in Europe in generations and completing the conquest of Luhansk province, which Russia has demanded from Ukraine to the Donbas region. One of the two areas ceded by the separatists.
Ukraine could have withdrawn from Luhansk a few weeks ago, but chose to continue fighting to exhaust the invading force. It hopes the intense battle will exhaust the Russians, unable to reap the benefits elsewhere.
‘We need to break them’, Zelensky says after Putin congratulates his troops
Zelensky said Ukraine’s armed forces were undeterred as they worked to “break” Moscow’s willingness to fight a nearly five-month war as Russia’s Vladimir Putin praised his troops in Luhansk Victory in hard battles.
“There have been no major changes on the battlefield in the past 24 hours,” Zelensky said in his nightly video message.
“Day in and day out the Ukrainian armed forces respond, repel and destroy the offensive potential of the occupiers. We need to break them. It’s a difficult task. It takes time and superhuman effort. But we have no choice.”
Earlier on Monday, Putin congratulated Russian troops on “victory in the direction of Luhansk” after his troops captured the town of Lysychansk, Ukraine’s last stronghold in the region. The Russian president said in a brief video conference with the defense minister that while troops in other regions continued to fight, the participants in the battle should “absolutely rest and restore their military readiness”.
Swedish Prime Minister meets Zelensky in Kyiv
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson visited Kyiv on Monday to meet the Ukrainian president and the two sides signed a joint statement on defense and energy cooperation.
“This is the first document of its kind in the history of bilateral relations. The joint statement sets out key issues for our two countries. This applies in particular to defence cooperation, sectoral cooperation in the field of nuclear energy, energy efficiency and financial support for Ukraine,” Ze Lenski said in a statement.
Zelensky also thanked Sweden for its humanitarian support to Ukraine.
“There are 100,000 Ukrainian citizens in Sweden, and Sweden supports them. We will remember your sincere concern for Ukrainian citizens during this difficult time of the Russian war,” he said.
Read all updates from July 4th here.