Russian forces destroyed key infrastructure in Ukraine’s southern city of Kherson before fleeing, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday, as his counterparts in Russia and Iran vowed to deepen economic, political and trade ties.
* Kherson residents held flowers and kissed Ukrainian soldiers who were moving into the right bank of the Dnipro River on Saturday after Russia’s stunning retreat.
* Britain said on Saturday that Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson, the only regional capital in Ukraine that it had captured since invading in February, was another humiliation for its army but that Moscow continued to pose a threat.
BATTLES IN DONETSK REGION
* “There it is just hell – there are extremely fierce battles there every day,” Zelenskiy said in a video address on Saturday of the eastern Donetsk region. “But our units are defending bravely – they are withstanding the terrible pressure of the invaders, preserve our defense lines.”
* Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the West was “militarizing” southeast Asia in a bid to contain Russian and Chinese interests, setting the stage for a confrontation between Russia and Western leaders at this week’s G20 summit in Bali.
* Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi emphasized “further enhancing cooperation in the political, trade and economic fields, including the transport and logistics sector” during a phone call, the Kremlin said on Saturday.
* Ukraine will decide the timing and contents of any negotiation framework with Russia, according to a readout of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Phnom Penh on Saturday.
* Turkey is committed to seeking a peace dialog between Russia and Ukraine, Turkish media quoted President Tayyip Erdogan as saying on Saturday, as he accused the United States and other Western countries of provoking Moscow.
* Russia said on Saturday there was no agreement yet to extend a deal allowing Ukraine to export grain via the Black Sea, repeating its insistence on unhindered access to world markets for its own food and fertilizer exports.
* Renowned graffiti artist Banksy unveiled a work in the Ukrainian town of Borodyanka, which had been occupied by Russia until April and heavily damaged by fighting in the early days of Moscow’s invasion. (Compiled by William Mallard and Frances Kerry)