Russia investing ‘significant effort’ in eastern offensive; Zelenskyy says Kremlin defeat is obvious. Follow our live updates

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Russia investing ‘significant effort’ in bid to achieve eastern Ukraine breakthrough, UK says

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Russian forces are investing “significant effort” around the Ukrainian cities of Izium and Severodonetsk in an attempt to achieve a breakthrough toward the eastern regions of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk, the UK’s Ministry of Defense has said.

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In its latest intelligence update, the UK ministry says the Kremlin’s primary objective is to envelop Ukrainian forces in the Joint Forces Operation area, referring to the eastern line of contact between the separatist-held areas of Donetsk and Luhansk.

It said Ukrainian forces had successfully prevented an attempted Russian river crossing in the Donbas, noting that such a maneuver is “highly risky” in a contested environment and speaks to the pressure Russian commanders are under to make progress in eastern Ukraine.

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— Sam Meredith

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy says Russia lacks courage to admit ‘obvious’ strategic defeat

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia’s strategic defeat is already obvious, saying in his nightly address that the Kremlin “simply lacks [the] courage to admit it.”

Zelenskyy accused Russian forces of being “cowards,” adding that they are seeking “to hide the truth behind missile, air and artillery strikes.”

Russia’s embassy in London was not immediately available to comment.

— Sam Meredith

G7 foreign ministers meet to discuss Ukraine war, impact

Top diplomats from the Group of Seven wealthy nations gathered in northern Germany for a three-day meeting centered on Russia’s war against Ukraine and the wider impact it is having around the world, particularly on food and energy prices.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, the meeting’s host, said the conflict already had become a “global crisis” because shipments of staple crops are stuck in Ukraine, a major agricultural exporter.

“Twenty-five million tons (27.5 million US tons) of grain are currently blocked in Ukrainian ports, particularly Odesa,” Baerbock said. “Grain that’s food for millions of people around the world, and which is needed particularly urgently in African countries and the Middle East.”

“That’s why we are discussing how the grain blockade exerted by Russia can be unblocked, how we can get the grain out to the world,” she added.

— Associated Press

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

Ukraine warns countries about buying its stolen grain; US $40 billion aid to Ukraine faces delay


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