(Reuters) – A Ukrainian counteroffensive was underway near the Russian-held town of Izium, but Ukraine’s military said Russian forces were advancing elsewhere in the key Donbas region.
* British military intelligence said Russia’s offensive in the Donbas “has lost momentum and fallen significantly behind schedule”, with a dramatic acceleration unlikely over the next 30 days.
* Refugees from bombed-out Mariupol spoke of devastation as they reached Ukrainian-controlled Zaporizhzhia in a large convoy of cars and vans after waiting days for Russian troops to let them leave.
* White, brightly burning munitions were shown cascading down on the Azovstal steel works in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol in what a British military expert said looked like an attack with phosphorus or incendiary weapons.
* Russia said its forces had hit Ukrainian command posts, ammunition depots and other military equipment including in the Donbas, killing at least 100 Ukrainian “nationalists”.
* Russian neighbour Finland will apply for NATO membership, President Sauli Niinisto said, in a major policy shift prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
* Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats were poised to come out in favour joining NATO, paving the way for an application soon after and abandoning decades of military non-alignment.
* Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he met U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Berlin and that “more weapons and other aid is on the way to Ukraine”.
* G7 foreign ministers vowed to reinforce Russia’s economic and political isolation, continue supplying weapons to Ukraine and work to ease global food shortages stemming from the war.
“We had a victory: today in Eurovision, but soon we will have a victory in Ukraine-Russian war,” Tetyana, a military medic, said after Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra won the popular song contest.
(Compiled by Stephen Coates)