Russia-Ukraine war live: Zelenskiy set to meet key Nato leaders as Russia strikes Kyiv for second night in a row

Zelenskiy set to meet key Nato leaders

Zelenskiy will hold a series of bilateral meetings with Nato leaders today, after they declared his country’s future lay inside the alliance but rebuffed his call for a timeline to membership.

Zelenskiy will join the Nato leaders on the second day of their summit in Vilnius for an inaugural session of the Nato-Ukraine council, a body established to upgrade relations between Kyiv and the 31-member transatlantic military alliance.

He will also meet separately with the US president, Joe Biden, as he seeks more arms and ammunition from the United States and other Nato nations to fight the war triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

The US, Britain, France and Germany are expected to issue assurances to Kyiv of long-term security support in the form of advanced weaponry, training and other military aid, possibly soon after the summit ends, according to officials.

Key events

The UK prime minister, Rishi Sunak, and Volodymyr Zelenskiy have held a meeting at the Nato summit, Ukraine’s president has confirmed. He posted to Telegram to say:

Meeting with Rishi Sunak. Third meeting and third success for Ukraine at the summit today. Defence, politics, our common security. We thanked for the weapons, in particular long-range weapons and strong support for Ukraine on the way to Nato. And we are preparing security guarantees for Ukraine on the way to Nato. A very good meeting!

Germany to send additional Patriot launchers and missiles to Ukraine – Zelenskiy

Volodymyr Zelenskiy has thanked Germany on his Telegram channel for agreeing to send more Patriot launchers and missiles to Ukraine after speaking with Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the Nato summit in Vilnius. In a message, Ukraine’s president posted:

We continued the conversation about security guarantees for Ukraine on the way to Nato with Chancellor Scholz. Thank you for your support!

There is an agreement on additional Patriot launchers and missiles for them from Germany. This is very important for protecting life in Ukraine from Russian terror!

I am grateful for Germany’s readiness for long-term, long-term support of Ukraine and our defence of freedom. Long-term support programmes are the best signal to everyone in the world that our Europe will remain a space of security and peace.

Amy Hawkins

The Guardian’s senior China correspondent, Amy Hawkins, reports:

Nato appears to have shelved, at least for now, plans to open a liaison office in Tokyo.

A joint communique published on Tuesday did not mention plans for the office, which had been discussed as part of the alliance’s plans to deepen cooperation with partners in the Asia-Pacific.

For the second year running, heads of state from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea attended the summit, which is increasingly concerned with the threat of China alongside Russia.

France had openly opposed the plans for a Nato liaison office in Tokyo, concerned that it would antagonise China and be interpreted as territorial overreach.

On Wednesday, the Chinese mission to the EU said it was “deeply concerned” about Nato’s “ambition of seeking expansion” and “eastward movement into the Asia-Pacific”.

The joint communique said that China’s “stated ambitions and coercive policies challenge our interests, security and values” and expressed concern about its “deepening strategic partnership with Russia”.

Russia’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, has criticised Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, over his comments about Ukraine’s potential membership of Nato, and sarcastically suggested he should attend the distance education programme of the diplomatic academy of the ministry of foreign affairs of Russia.

In a Telegram post, she referred to Kuleba’s comments about unclear next steps in Ukraine joining the alliance. She wrote:

Stupid. You need to learn the rules before the game begins, not after.

So be it, I will tell you. This is the “rules-based world order” invented by westerners. The smartest don’t participate in it, since there are no rules, they are invented on the go and changed if the game does not bring the desired result. The alternative is international law, which is supported by the majority of sane people.

All this is taught at the diplomatic academy of the ministry of foreign affairs of Russia, the distance education programme of which will help even Kuleba figure it out.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy has posted to social media to say that he has begun a meeting with Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz. Ukraine’s president said: “Dialogue will be meaningful as always. We expect good news regarding the protection of the lives of Ukrainians and our defence.”

The US will soon begin negotiations with Ukraine on providing long-term security assistance after western countries announce on Wednesday a broader international framework to support Ukraine, Reuters reports.

Echoing the statement from the UK government reported earlier [see 8.17 BST], a White House official told reporters “G7 leaders agree to enter bilateral negotiations with Ukraine to provide long-term security assistance and ensure they have a capable fighting force to deter Russian aggression in the future and provide support for Ukraine’s good governance reforms and strengthen Ukraine’s economy.

“The US will begin its negotiations with Ukraine soon,” they added.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy has used his social media channels to outline his priorities for the second day of the Nato summit in Vilnius. Ukraine’s president said on Telegram:

We have three priorities on today’s agenda.

The first is new support packages for our army on the battlefield.

The second, I believe, is an invitation to Nato. We need your understanding that we have this invitation for when the security situation allows it.

We want to discuss all these things with our partners.

And thirdly, today we will discuss security guarantees for Ukraine on the way to Nato.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, speaking yesterday at a ceremony during which a Ukrainian flag from the frontline of the war was delivered to Vilnius by activists.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, speaking yesterday at a ceremony during which a Ukrainian flag from the frontline of the war was delivered to Vilnius by activists. Photograph: Kacper Pempel/Reuters

Roman Abramovich on Wednesday will challenge European Union sanctions imposed on him after start of the war in Ukraine, arguing the restrictions were imposed simply because he is a well-known Russian, a source familiar with the matter has told Reuters.

His lawyers will argue that the EU sanctions are baseless and were imposed purely because he is a famous Russian businessman

In February last year, Abramovich was vehemently disputing reports suggesting his alleged closeness to Vladimir Putin and Russia, or that he has done anything to merit sanctions being imposed against him. By March 2022 he was attending the initial round of peace talks in Turkey aimed at ending the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Russian businessman Roman Abramovich (L) attends the peace talks between delegations from Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul in March 2022.
Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, left, attends the peace talks between delegations from Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul in March 2022. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty

G7 to announce ‘international framework for Ukraine’s long-term security arrangements’ – UK government

G7 countries are expected to announce an “international framework for Ukraine’s long-term security arrangements” on the margins of the Nato summit in Vilnius on Wednesday, the UK government said in a statement.

Reuters reports the statement matched a similar announcement by the White House.

“The joint declaration, expected to be signed by all members of the G7, will set out how allies will support Ukraine over the coming years to end the war and deter and respond to any future attack,” the UK statement said.

The prime minister, Rishi Sunak, said: “As Ukraine makes strategic progress in their counteroffensive, and the degradation of Russian forces begins to infect Putin’s frontline, we are stepping up our formal arrangements to protect Ukraine for the long term.”

Ukrainian forces again claim some progress near city of Bakhmut

Ukraine’s armed forces have this morning claimed some progress near Bakhmut in the fighting in the Donetsk region, and also claim to have shot down 11 drones overnight.

The latest update on Facebook from the general staff reads:

The defence forces of Ukraine continue to conduct offensive operations in the Bakhmut, Melitopol and Berdiansk directions.

In the Bakhmut direction, our troops continue offensive actions north and south of Bakhmut city. In the directions of Bila Hora-Andriivka and Bila Gora-Kurdyumivka there was success. They are entrenched at the achieved boundaries

On the night of 12 July 2023 Russia attacked Ukraine from the north-east direction, from Kursk with suicide drones of the Iranian production type “Shahed”.

A total of 15 kamikaze drones were involved in the strike. 11 of them were destroyed.

The claims have not been independently verified.

The all clear has been given in Nikopol.

Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of the Belgorod region in Russia, has published his daily operational message on Telegram. He lists several areas that have been subject to cross-border shelling by Ukrainian forces, but lists no casualties or significant consequences beyond damage to some power lines.

The claims have not been independently verified.

Here is a reminder of the key lines from yesterday’s Nato communique that relate to Ukraine. Dan Sabbagh reported that the language reflects opposition from Germany and the US that too firm a commitment could prompt an escalation from Russia and, if Ukraine were allowed to join the alliance while the conflict continued, it could ultimately bring Nato into a war against Moscow.

In its communique, Nato said:

  • Russia bears full responsibility for its illegal, unjustifiable, and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine, which has gravely undermined Euro-Atlantic and global security and for which it must be held fully accountable.

  • Russia must immediately stop this illegal war of aggression, cease its use of force against Ukraine, and completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its forces and equipment from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders, extending to its territorial waters.

  • We welcome the strong support in the UN general assembly for efforts to promote a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in Ukraine. We welcome and support President Zelenskiy’s commitment in setting out the principles for such a peace through his peace formula. We are committed to achieving a just and lasting peace that upholds the principles of the UN charter.

  • We reaffirm our unwavering solidarity with the government and people of Ukraine in the heroic defence of their nation, their land, and our shared values.

  • We fully support Ukraine’s right to choose its own security arrangements. Ukraine’s future is in Nato. We reaffirm the commitment we made at the 2008 Summit in Bucharest that Ukraine will become a member of Nato, and today we recognise that Ukraine’s path to full Euro-Atlantic integration has moved beyond the need for the “membership action plan”. Ukraine has become increasingly interoperable and politically integrated with the Alliance, and has made substantial progress on its reform path.

  • The security of Ukraine is of great importance to allies and the alliance. To support Ukraine’s further integration with Nato, today we have agreed a substantial package of expanded political and practical support.

  • The continued delivery of urgently needed non-lethal assistance to Ukraine by Nato through the Comprehensive Assistance Package (CAP) remains a priority.

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