Ukraine said Russia had started creating a military strike force aimed at President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s hometown, while NATO moved closer to its most significant expansion in decades as it responds to the invasion of Ukraine.
- The US Senate and the Italian parliament both approved Finland and Sweden’s accession to NATO.
- Zelensky is seeking “direct talks” with Chinese leader Xi Jinping to help end the war with Russia, the South China Morning Post reported.
- The first grain ship to leave a Ukrainian port in wartime passed through the Bosphorus Strait en route to Lebanon for a delivery that foreign powers hope will be the first of many to help ease a global food crisis.
- Ukraine has to export a minimum of 10 million tonnes of grain to help bring down its budget deficit which is running at $5 billion a month, Zelensky said.
- The London insurance sector is preparing to cover Ukrainian grains and fertiliser shipments through a secure corridor, voyages that may need up to $50 million of insurance coverage per cargo, industry sources involved said.
- Governors of the Mykolaiv, Kharkiv, and Dnipropetrovsk regions reported that their regions had been shelled overnight, and civilian infrastructure and houses had been damaged.
- Russian offensive in the east is to force Ukraine to divert troops from the area that is truly a danger — Zaporizhzhia, said Ukrainian Presidential Adviser Oleksiy Arestovych.
- Reuters was not able to verify battlefield reports.