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News Item: War in Ukraine: Latest developments

Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

– End war by year end: Zelensky –

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urges world leaders gathered at the G7 summit to do their utmost to end Russia’s invasion of his country by the end of the year.

He also calls on the G7 to “intensify sanctions” against Russia, a G7 source says.

In his address via video link to the gathering in the German Alps, Zelensky says battle conditions will make it tougher for his troops as they mount their fightback.

He urges G7 nations to “not lower the pressure and to keep sanctioning Russia massively and heavily”, in addition to the multiple rounds of sanctions that Western allies have already unleashed on Moscow.

– G7 to up pressure on Putin, vows solidarity –

The G7 vows solidarity with Ukraine “for as long as it takes”, in a statement issued after Zelensky’s video address.

The host of the group’s summit in Germany, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, says the G7 will “increase pressure” on Russian President Vladimir Putin over the invasion of Ukraine.

“This war has to come to an end,” Scholz tweets.

The G7 also tells Russia it must allow grain shipments to leave Ukraine to avoid exacerbating a global food crisis.

It tells Moscow it must allow Ukrainians taken to Russia against their will to return home at once.

And it expresses “serious concern” over Russia’s plans to deliver missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads to Belarus in the coming months.

– New G7 sanctions take shape –

A senior US official says the G7 is making progress in talks on capping the amount of money that Russians can get for their key oil exports.

The White House also unveils new measures to hamper Russia’s ability to resupply the weaponry used in its onslaught against Ukraine.

The G7 also plans to turn funds raised in recently imposed trade tariffs on Russian exports into assistance for Ukraine.

– Finland, Sweden to meet Erdogan on NATO bids –

The leaders of Finland and Sweden will discuss their stalled bids to join NATO with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday at the start of an alliance summit in Madrid, the Finnish presidency tweets.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 saw the two Nordic countries abandon decades of military non-alignment by applying for NATO membership in May.

But the joint membership bid, initially believed to be a speedy process, has been delayed by opposition from Ankara, which accuses them of providing safe haven to Kurdish militants.

– Kremlin denies default report –

The Kremlin insists there are “no grounds” to say that Russia has defaulted on its foreign currency sovereign debt, as Western sanctions over its Ukraine offensive bite.

“These claims about default, they are absolutely wrong,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells reporters after a key payment deadline expired on Sunday. He says Russia settled the debt in May.

Bloomberg News reported earlier on Monday that Russia defaulted on its foreign currency sovereign debt for the first time in more than a century, after the grace period on some $100 million of interest payments due Sunday had expired.

– US anti-aircraft missiles for Ukraine –

The United States is planning to send Ukraine sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles to defend against Russian attacks, a source familiar with the process tells AFP.

An announcement is “likely this week” on the purchase of NASAMS, an “advanced medium- to long-range surface-to-air missile defence system”, as well as other weaponry to help Ukraine fight Russia’s invasion.

Zelensky has pleaded for more powerful defences against Russian air attacks since the start of the invasion in February.

– Putin to visit Tajikistan, Turkmenistan –

Putin will travel to Tajikistan on Tuesday, the Kremlin says, his first trip abroad since Moscow launched its “special military operation” in Ukraine.

He is also expected in Turkmenistan on Wednesday for a summit of countries bordering the Caspian Sea.