Ukraine war latest: Chinese troops arrive in Belarus - as countries launch military drills on Polish border (2024)

Key points
  • China and Belarus launch joint military drills near Polish border on eve of NATO summit
  • Day of mourning follows Russian attack on Kyiv children's hospital and four other cities, killing 41 and injuring 150
  • Russia used 'new and noteworthy' tactic in deadly wave of missile strikes
  • Ukraine attacks several Russian regions with dozens of drones
  • NATO leaders to be warned of North Korean threat to Europe
  • Deborah Haynes analysis:Russia sending a message to NATO
  • Your questions answered:Has the West been honest about Ukraine's failures?| Is Kyiv next?
  • Live reporting by Brad Young


Claims Russia did not hit children's hospital are false, say analysts

The Kremlin claims it was Ukrainian anti-missile fire, not Russian missiles, that struck achildren's hospital in Kyiv yesterday.

Spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not provide any evidence for the assertion.

"I insist, we do notconduct strikes on civilian targets," he said.

Various false Russian narratives deflecting blame have emerged that are contrary to all available evidence since it launched a huge wave of attacks on five Ukrainian cities, the Institute for the Study of War says.

It said Russian military bloggers published misleading posts falsely claiming a Ukrainian air defence missile hit the hospital, but the trajectory and the visible turbojet engine under its hull match a Russian Kh-101 missile.

The missile in the video does not appear to be damaged by air defence interceptors, it said.

The Ukrainian security service reported the serial numbers of the missile components matched those of other Russian Kh-101s.

Regardless, even if Russian claims were true, it would not absolve them of responsibility as the aggressor state under the Geneva Convention, to which it is a signatory, the ISW said.


Russia used 'new and noteworthy' tactic in deadly wave of missile strikes

Russia's deadliest wave of missile strikes in months deployed a "new and noteworthy tactic" to maximise damage, according to war analysts.

Its military launched cruise missiles at extremely low altitudes, giving air defence systems no time to respond before they were within close range of their targets, said the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

Former Ukrainian air forces spokesperson Colonel Yuriy Ihnat said some of the rockets flew at just 50 metres above the ground.

"Russian forces may have innovated their tactics and/or technology somewhat to inflict maximum damage on Ukrainian infrastructure," the ISW said.

"Russia has consistently adapted the strike packages it uses against Ukraine to take advantage of Ukraine's air defence shortages, and the 8 July strikes represent a new and adapted strike package that Ukraine will need to learn to respond to with requisite levels of Western-provided air defence systems."


'Debris fell into open chests during surgery': Day of mourning follows Russian attack on children's hospital

Kyiv is observing a day of mourning after devastating Russian missile strikes killed 41 people and injured more than 150 others across Ukraine yesterday.

Ukraine's largest children's hospital, Okhmatdyt, was hit in the capital, causing debris to fall into heart patients' open chests in the middle of surgery, said health minister Viktor Liashko.

Young cancer patients had their beds wheeled into parks and onto the streets to continue treatment.

"Among the victims were Ukraine's sickest children," said Volker Turk, the UN human rights commissioner.

The bombardment struck seven of the city's ten districts, killing at least seven people including two hospital staff members.

Rescuers searched for victims under the rubble of a partially collapsed, two-story cancer wing of the facility overnight.

They formed a line, passing bricks and other debris to each other as they sifted through rubble.

The intensive care unit, operating theatres and oncology departments all were damaged, officials said.

Kyiv city has lowered its flags and prohibited entertainment events today.

It was just one of five cities attacked in Russia's daylight barrage, which saw 40 missiles kill civilians across the country, according to Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Russia denied attacking the hospital and said the strikes hit military targets.


Putin and Indian PM feed horses and drive buggy before talks begin

Back in Russia, and Vladimir Putin has been showing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi around his suburban residence ahead of official talks today.

The Russian president offered Mr Modi tea, berries and sweets and took him on a tour of the grounds in a motorised cart yesterday.

The pair also visited theresidence's stable and watched a show with performing horses.

But far more serious matters will be the subject of conversations between the leaders today, not least securing the discharge of Indian citizens who were "misled" into fighting in the Ukraine war.

A top Indian official said last week that fixing India'strade imbalance with Russia would also be top of Mr Modi's priorities.

Mr Modi is expected to seek to continue close relations with Russia, a major defence supplier for India.

India has neither condemned nor condoned Russia's invasion and has instead called for negotiations to end the war.


NATO leaders to be warned of North Korean threat to Europe

NATO leaders will be warned of the distinct threat North Korea poses to Europe by deepening military ties with Russia when its leaders meet in Washington tomorrow.

South Korean President YoonSuk Yeol will warn that Moscow must choose between the twoKoreas.

Seoul will decide on weapons support for Ukraine based on how a new military pact between Moscow and Pyongyang plays out, he said.

"Military co-operation between Russia and North Korea posesa distinct threat and grave challenge to the peace and securityon the Korean peninsula and in Europe," Mr Yoon said.

"North Korea is clearly a menace to the international society.

"I hope that Russia will sensibly decide which side - the South or the North - is more important and necessary for its own interests."

He added: "The future of ROK-Russia relations depends entirely on Russia's actions," referring to South Korea by its official name, the Republic of Korea.

Russia said it "fully disagreed" with Mr Yoon's comments calling on it to choose between North and South Korea.

Moscow supports building good relations with its neighbours but South Korea has imposed sanctions on Russia while North Korea is a partner, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Russia has previously called South Korea "the most friendly among unfriendly countries", with Vladimir Putin saying it would be making "a big mistake" if it decided to supply arms to Ukraine.


Explained: What is the NATO summit and why is Starmer going?

Just days into his premiership, Sir Keir Starmer is heading to the US for a meeting with NATO leaders.

We take a look at why he is taking the trip and what might happen when he is there.

Why is the prime minister going to Washington?

NATO - or the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation - regularly holds meetings where its 32 member countries, 30 from Europe and two in North America, come together to discuss the issues they are facing in the world.

This meeting in Washington is slightly different, however, as it is the 75th anniversary of the founding of the defensive alliance, which came to fruition in the aftermath of the Second World War.

The US Department of State said the meeting would celebrate "the most successful and enduring alliance in history and set the course for the Alliance's evolution to meet future challenges".

What are the issues being discussed?

Top of the agenda will be the ongoing war in Ukraine and the West's support for Kyiv, with the grim framing of the latest Russian attack - this time on a children's hospital, killing at least 41 people.

Ukrainian representatives will attend the meeting for a joint council with NATO, and further commitments to the cause from members are expected to be made.

Read more on the summit here...


China and Belarus launch joint military drills near Polish border on eve of NATO summit

China and Belarus have started jointmilitary exercises just a few miles from the Polish border.

The manoeuvres, codenamed Falcon Assault, will last until 19 July and are taking place at a training ground near the city of Brest, the Belarusian defence ministry said.

The drills are taking place on the eve of a NATO summit in Washington, where its 32 member countries - including Poland - will meet to discuss further military and financial support for Ukraine.

Remember,Belarus - perhaps Russia's closest ally - allowed Moscow to use its territory as one of thelaunchpads for its of Ukraine in 2022.

"Events taking place in the world are alarming, thesituation is uneasy, therefore we are going to practice newforms and methods of performing tactical tasks," said Major GeneralVadim Denisenko, chief of Belarusian special operations command.

As part of the "anti-terrorist exercises", Chinese and Belarusian military personnel will work out issues of night landing, overcoming water barriers, and conducting operations in a populated area, the Belarusian defence ministry said.

Chinese troops could be seen disembarking from a plane and offloading equipment in photos it posted on Telegram.

The Chinese defence ministry said Belarus held a "a grand welcome ceremony" for the Chinese troops on Thursday.

"The joint training aims to enhance the coordination capabilities of the participating troops, and deepen practical cooperation between the two armies," the ministry said

It was not clear how manytroops were involved in the drills.


Ukraine attacks several Russian regions with dozens of drones

Ukraine launched tens of drone attacks on several Russian regions overnight, according to local officials.

One person was killed, while twopower substations and an oil depot caught fire.

Russia says its air defence systems destroyed 38 drones, including21 over the southern region of Rostov and seven over Kursk, bothof which border Ukraine.

The deadliest attack was in the Belgorod region, also bordering Ukraine, where a man died, two people were injured and several homes were damaged, its governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said.

Explosions were also heard in the town of Kalach-on-the-Don inthe southern region of Volgograd, according to the Baza Telegramchannel.

Firefighters are still battling the blaze at an oil depot in Volgograd, but the power sub-stations were no longer in flames, said regional governor Andrei Bocharov.

"There is no threat to residential buildings," he added.

The Russian defence ministry did not list Volgograd among the regions where drones had been destroyed.

Russian officials rarely disclose the full extent of damage inflicted by Ukrainian attacks. Sky News cannot independently verify these battlefield reports.

The attacks come in the wake of Russia's deadliest wave of airstrikes in months, killing 41 Ukrainian civilians and hitting the main children's hospital in Kyiv in broad daylight.


Good morning

Welcome back to our live coverage of the war in Ukraine, as the UN Security Council prepares to meet in the wake of devastating Russian strikes.

We'll be bringing you updates and analysis throughout the day - but first, here's a recap of the key developments over the course of the last 24 hours.

  • At least 41 civilians were killed in a wave of Russian strikes across Ukraine;
  • A children's hospital was among the sites hit, collapsing a wing treating young cancer patients;
  • World leaders and senior politicians expressed outrage, including Keir Starmer and Foreign Secretary David Lammy;
  • Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi began a two-day visit to Russia - his first since the invasion began.


Wave of Ukrainian drones ignite fire in Russian region

Ukrainian attack drones have caused a fire at an oil depot and power substation in Russia's Volgograd, the local governor has confirmed.

Vasily Golubev, said Ukraine launched "tens" of drones into the southern region bordering Ukraine.

"As a result of an air attack in the Rodionovo-Nesvetayskydistrict, two transformers caught fire at a power substation," Mr Golubev said, adding airdefence systems destroyed tens of drones.

Ukraine war latest: Chinese troops arrive in Belarus - as countries launch military drills on Polish border (2024)


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