July 4 (Reuters) – Ukraine’s forces have withdrawn from the bombed-out city of Lysychansk, prompting Russia to claim full control of the eastern Luhansk region, a key Kremlin war goal, but President Volodymyr Zelenskiy vowed to regain the lost territory. Read full story
* Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu informed President Vladimir Putin of the “liberation” of the Luhansk region by Moscow and its allies, the ministry said. Read full story
* Six people were killed in Sloviansk after the eastern Ukrainian city was hit by powerful shelling from Russian multiple rocket launchers, local officials said. Read full story
* At least three people were killed and dozens of residential buildings damaged in the Russian city of Belgorod near the Ukraine border, regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said, after reports of several blasts in the city. Read full story
* Ukrainian forces hit a Russian military logistics base with over 30 strikes in the occupied southern city of Melitopol, the city’s exiled mayor said. A Russian-installed official confirmed that strikes had hit the city. Read full story
* Far from the eastern fighting, Russia said it had hit army command posts in Mykolaiv near the Black Sea port of Odesa, where the mayor had reported powerful explosions.
* Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield accounts.
DIPLOMACY AND ECONOMY
* The president of Belarus — Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin’s closest ally — said on Sunday his ex-Soviet state stood fully behind Russia in its military drive in Ukraine as part of its longstanding commitment to a “union state” with Moscow. Read full story
* For foreign companies still working out what to do with their stranded Russian assets, President Vladimir Putin’s seizure of a major oil and gas project is a powerful warning: Move fast or else. Read full story
* Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany was discussing security guarantees for Ukraine with its allies, in preparation for a time after the war. But these will not be the same as for a member of NATO, he told broadcaster ARD. Read full story
* Turkish customs authorities have detained a Russian cargo ship carrying grain which Ukraine says is stolen, Ukraine’s ambassador to Turkey told Ukrainian national TV. Read full story
* Russia may continue to suspend gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline beyond a planned maintenance shutdown this month, said German Economy Minister Robert Habeck. Read full story
* “The sound was so strong that I jumped up, I woke up, got very scared and started screaming … All the windows in our house were shattered, the doors came out of alignment,” a resident of Belgorod told Reuters about the 3 a.m. blasts.
(Compiled by Catherine Evans & Simon Cameron-Moore)