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Ukraine is expected to be accepted as a candidate for European Union membership on Thursday, a move that will boost the country’s morale as Russian assaults wear down defenders in two towns in the eastern Donbass region. nL4N2YA07Q]

STRUGGLE

* Ukrainian troops may have to withdraw from the eastern frontline town of Lysychansk to avoid encirclement after Russian forces captured two settlements to the south, regional governor Serhiy Gaidai said.

* Ukrainian troops in the eastern city of Sievieorodonetsk, adjacent to Lysychansk, can still receive weapons and evacuate their wounded despite damage to supply routes, a senior Ukrainian military official said in an online briefing.

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* According to the UK MoD, Russian forces have most likely advanced more than 5km (3.11 miles) towards the southern approaches to Lysychansk since June 19.

* Three cruise missiles hit the southern Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv, while air defenses shot down two more missiles near the southern city of Odessa, the armed forces said Ukrainians. The Russian Defense Ministry said it used high-precision weapons to hit Ukrainian army fuel tanks and military equipment near Mykolaiv, the Interfax news agency reported.

* Reuters was unable to independently verify the situation on the ground.

Two Britons and a Moroccan who were captured fighting for Ukraine and sentenced to death by a court in the self-declared, Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) are preparing to appeal, the TASS news agency, citing one of their lawyers. .

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MILITARY HELP

* Ukraine said it had received US supplies of High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), a powerful long-range weapons system that Kyiv hopes can help turn the tide of the Russian invasion.

ECONOMY AND DIPLOMACY

* European Union leaders will formally accept Ukraine as a candidate for EU membership on Thursday, a bold geopolitical move sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

* Wealthy Group of Seven democracies will seek to demonstrate their long-term support for Ukraine against the Russian invasion at a summit beginning on Sunday, even as the war’s growing impact on the global economy tests their determination.

* Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara was investigating allegations that Ukrainian grain had been stolen by Russia and shipped to countries such as Turkey, but added that investigations had not reached ‘now found no stolen cargo. Russia has previously denied the theft allegations.

* A dozen European Union countries have now been hit by gas supply cuts from Russia, the EU’s climate policy chief says as the bloc faces a growing energy stalemate with Moscow.

QUOTATION

“Harry Potter is better than Voldemort, and we know who Voldemort is in this war, and who Harry Potter is, so we know how the war will end.” -Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, speaking to a student in Canada who compared him to the fictional boy wizard. (Compiled by Mark Heinrich)

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