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Live Reporting

Edited by Chris Giles

All times stated are UK

  1. Thanks for joining us

    Today's reporting was brought to you by: Jack Burgess, George Wright, Laura Gozzi, James Clarke and Chris Giles.

    For more on today's main story, you can find it here.

  2. What's been happening?

    A view of a crater after Russian shelling in the Zaporizhzhia region
    Image caption: A view of a crater after Russian shelling in the Zaporizhzhia region

    We're drawing our coverage to a close for the day. But before we go here's a round-up of the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

    • Foreign ministers from the G7 group of nations say Russia must immediately hand back control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to Ukraine
    • They accused Moscow's forces of putting the entire region in danger.
    • Ukraine says Russia has turned the site into a military base, launching attacks from there knowing that Ukrainian forces are unlikely to retaliate
    • Ukraine's Air Force command said about a dozen Russian warplanes may have been destroyed in explosions at an airfield in Russian-occupied Crimea on Tuesday
    • Ukraine has denied any responsibility for the blasts and Russia's defence ministry said ammunition detonated at the base
    • Russian shelling in central Ukraine killed at least 16 people. The governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region said 13 died in the town of Marhanets
    • The Ukrainian military reported a bridge in the occupied part of Kherson region was rendered unusable after being struck by artillery earlier in the week. Ukraine has mounted a counteroffensive in the area
    • Russian investigators have launched a criminal inquiry against journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, who denounced Russia's invasion on live TV
  3. Knock-on effects of war see cathedral go dark

    Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollern Bridge illuminated
    Image caption: Before 23:00 Cologne's cathedral remains lit up...

    The war in Ukraine has been impacting on other parts of the world in various ways since the invasion began in February.

    Germany's reliance on Russia for gas and oil has seen it introduce measures to try to reduce energy use amid concerns over whether it can rely on those supplies continuing to arrive at affordable prices - or at all.

    In Cologne, the city council has this week begun dimming lights on public buildings and structures and the city's most famous landmark - its huge skyline-dominating cathedral close to the banks of the River Rhine - is now having its spotlights turned off at 23:00.

    The council says it's one of more than 130 sites with a total of over 1,000 spotlights that will be switched off to save energy. Others include the historic town hall and pylons outside FC Cologne's football stadium.

    Meanwhile, Germany's economy ministry says it has no new information on whether a turbine that Russia says is holding back gas supplies to Europe is on its way to Russia.

    Russian gas exporter Gazprom has said sanctions prevent the equipment needed for the key Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline from being shipped back to Russia.

    Cologne Cathedral with its lights turned out after 23:00
    Image caption: ...but after the clock strikes 11 the lights go out
  4. Ukraine FM calls for end of visas to Russians

    Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba is asking international bodies to stop issuing visas to Russians.

    Kuleba echoes calls by President Zelensky, who earlier this week said the most important sanctions Europe could impose include closing its borders to Russians "because the Russians are taking away someone else’s land."

    Zelensky said Europe should ban all Russian holidaymakers "until they change their philosophy".

    View more on twitter
  5. Ukraine asks Switzerland to represent its interests in Russia

    Ukraine has asked Switzerland to represent it diplomatically in Russia, although the Alpine nation has stressed that Moscow would need to accept the arrangement for it to go ahead.

    Switzerland is known for its neutrality and it has offered to provide diplomatic assistance and to mediate between Russia and Ukraine ever since the launch of the invasion on 24 February.

    Today, the Swiss foreign ministry said that Ukraine has asked Switzerland to "assume a protecting power mandate" for Kyiv in Russia and to maintain low-level relations and provide consular assistance for its citizens.

    But a foreign ministry spokeswoman said Russia is yet to to give its consent. Moscow has been angered by Bern's decision to follow the European Union in imposing sanctions on Russia, reportedly questioning whether Switzerland could still be considered neutral.

    Switzerland has a long tradition of acting as a protecting power, first playing the role during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870-71.

    It now represents US interests in Iran, and Iran's interests in Canada and Saudi Arabia, among others. It also represents Russian interests in Georgia and vice versa.

  6. US 'main instigator' in Ukraine - Chinese ambassador to Moscow

    Zhang Hanhui and Putin in 2020
    Image caption: Zhang Hanhui and Putin in 2020

    China has called the United States the "main instigator" in the Ukraine war.

    In an interview with the Russian state news agency Tass, China's ambassador to Moscow, Zhang Hanhui, said Nato expansion and supporting pro-EU over pro-Moscow forces had backed Russia into a corner.

    "As the initiator and main instigator of the Ukrainian crisis, Washington, while imposing unprecedented comprehensive sanctions on Russia, continues to supply arms and military equipment to Ukraine," Zhang was quoted as saying.

    "Their ultimate goal is to exhaust and crush Russia with a protracted war and the cudgel of sanctions."

    Nato expansion is one of the justifications rolled out by Moscow for invading its neighbour.

    Relations between Moscow and Beijing had entered "the best period in history", he said.

    Zhang also criticised US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit last week to Taiwan.

    Washington was trying to apply the same tactics in Ukraine and Taiwan to "revive a Cold War mentality, contain China and Russia, and provoke major power rivalry and confrontation", he said.

  7. UK looking into Crimea explosions - defence secretary

    Jonathan Beale

    BBC defence correspondent

    Video content

    Video caption: Crimea beachgoers run after airfield explosion

    UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has told the BBC that the UK is still trying to find out what caused large explosions at a Russian airbase in Crimea.

    On Tuesday, a series of explosions rocked the Saky military base near Novofedorivka, in the west of Crimea - which is near seaside resorts popular with Russian tourists.

    Russia's defence ministry insisted the blasts were down to ammunition that had exploded in a store and Ukraine has denied involvement.

    Wallace said that it was “unlikely” that Western-supplied weapons were the cause of the explosion. He also said the UK had “dismissed most of the Russian excuses”, adding “it’s clear it’s not something that happens by dropping a cigarette”.

    Wallace said it was still early days in trying to establish the facts. But he said the airbase in Crimea was “absolutely a legitimate target" for Ukraine as it had been used to conduct Russian airstrikes on Ukraine.

    Wallace is in Copenhagen where he will be meeting with Ukraine’s defence minister later today.

  8. Crimea difficult for Ukraine to take back - Rusi defence expert

    Justin Bronk - a senior research fellow at defence think tank Rusi - has been speaking to the BBC about President Volodymyr Zelensky's aim to return Crimea to Ukrainian control.

    Bronk believes the Crimean peninsula is "particularly difficult for Ukraine to take back" from Russia because there's "a very narrow isthmus of land that connects Crimea to the rest of mainland Ukraine", which he says is extremely flat and has very little cover.

    "It's an ideal place for Russia to create a bottleneck and hold that with a lot of artillery firepower," he adds

    Quote Message: It's probably one of the most difficult targets for [Ukraine] to liberate from Justin Bronk Senior research fellow, Rusi
    Justin BronkSenior research fellow, Rusi

    Bronk says if the Kerch Strait Bridge - a 19km (12-mile) bridge from Crimea to Russia - remains intact then Russia can continue to bring troops, munitions and equipment into Crimea.

    In 2014, Kremlin-backed forces seized control of the Crimean peninsula, and the territory, which has a Russian-speaking majority, voted to join Russia in a referendum Ukraine and the West deem illegal.

    A map showing the location of the Crimean peninsula in southern Ukraine
  9. Steven Seagal visits camp where Ukrainian PoWs were killed

    Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with US action hero actor Steven Seagal after presenting a Russian passport to him during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on 25 November 2016
    Image caption: Seagal - shown visiting Moscow in 2016 - has praised Putin as a great world leader

    American actor Steven Seagal has been seen visiting a Russian prison camp in Ukraine where more than 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war (PoWs) died in an attack in occupied territory.

    Seagal was granted Russian citizenship in 2016 and has praised President Vladimir Putin as a great world leader.

    In a video showing him at the camp, Seagal calls Ukrainian forces "Nazis" - echoing a recurring theme of Russian rhetoric during the war - and blames Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for ordering the attack.

    Exactly what happened at the prison camp in Olenivka, which is controlled by the Russian-backed self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DNR), remains unclear.

    Prison camp in Olenivka
    Image caption: The BBC has blurred some of this photograph showing the building after it was attacked

    Ukraine says the site was targeted by Russia in an effort to destroy evidence of torture and killing. President Volodymyr Zelensky described the incident as a "deliberate Russian war crime."

    For its part, Russia said the camp was hit by Ukrainian precision rockets.

    Those detained at the prison are said to have included members of the Azov battalion, who were captured defending the southern city of Mariupol in May and whom Russia has sought to depict as neo-Nazis and war criminals.

    After the prison attack, the Russian embassy in the UK tweeted that Azov "militants deserve execution, but death not by firing squad but by hanging, because they're not real soldiers. They deserve a humiliating death".

    Born in the US, Seagal gained international fame for roles in 1980s and '90s films such as Under Siege.

    He was banned from Ukraine for five years in 2017 "on the basis of Ukrainian national security".

  10. Is Russia struggling to find troops for Ukraine?

    Vitaliy Shevchenko

    BBC Monitoring

    A pro-Russian soldier in Mariupol

    There are indications the Kremlin is running out of troops for its war with Ukraine.

    Regional authorities in Russia are pursuing a campaign to recruit volunteer fighters, but it is not getting much traction, one report says.

    According to independent Russian website Media Zona, at least 25 Russian regions are now trying to form volunteer battalions.

    "The local authorities are sparing no effort in advertising the battalions or reporting about them in the media, but the results of their efforts fail to impress," Media Zona says.

    Local administrations are offering lavish payments for fighting in Ukraine, but some have found only a fraction of the fighting force they are trying to assemble, the report says.

    Earlier today, the UK Ministry of Defence said the volunteer battalions being raised across Russia will likely form a large part of a new army corps. However, "given very limited levels of popular enthusiasm for volunteering for combat in Ukraine", it will probably be difficult for Russia to find the required number of troops, the British military said.

    Several independent Russian media outlets said last week the private military company known as Wagner was trying to recruit fighters for Ukraine among inmates at Russian jails.

  11. Quarter of Ukrainian refugee hosts want to stop, survey suggests

    Ukrainian family

    A quarter of sponsors of refugees as part of the UK's Homes for Ukraine scheme do not want to continue the arrangement beyond six months, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found.

    Launched in March, it has seen around 75,000 people arrive in the UK.

    Sponsors agreed to provide accommodation in their own home for a minimum of six months.

    But there are concerns at what will happen when those arrangements reach the end of that time.

    That scheme was set up by the government to help those fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and worked alongside the Ukraine Family Scheme - which allowed refugees to join relatives already living in the UK.

    An ONS survey of Homes for Ukraine hosts found 26% want to end their sponsorship after six months or less.

    Six out of 10 sponsors say they are happy to accommodate their Ukrainian guests for more than the agreed minimum, with almost a quarter saying they would be prepared to continue the arrangement for more than a year.

    The ONS research has also found 18% of those signed up for the scheme are still waiting for guests to move in.

    Of those who do not wish to accommodate Ukrainians for more than six months, just under a quarter say their decision was down to the rising cost of living.

    Read more here

  12. Criminal probe launched into anti-war journalist, lawyer says

    Former Russian state TV employee Marina Ovsyannikova attending a court hearing in Moscow in July

    More now on former Russian TV journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, who received global media attention in March after protesting against the Ukraine war during a live broadcast on Russia's state-controlled Channel 1 news.

    A criminal probe has been launched by investigators in Russia against Ovsyannikova and she has been detained, AFP reports her lawyer Dmitry Zakhvatov as saying.

    Zakhvatov says "a criminal case has been launched" and they are waiting for pre-trial measures to be decided by investigators.

    Ovsyannikova has two children and had been hopeful she wouldn't be placed in pre-trial detention, AFP says.

  13. In pictures: A view from Ukraine's front line

    This is the view from the front line in the Kharkiv region with Ukrainian troops, who are using ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft cannon.

    Kharkiv is in north-eastern Ukraine near the Russian border and the region has seen fierce fighting throughout the conflict.

    A Ukrainian serviceman with a ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft cannon near a front line in Kharkiv region
    Ukrainian servicemen next to a ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft cannon near a front line in Kharkiv region
    Ukrainian servicemen next to a ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft cannon near a front line in Kharkiv region
  14. Kherson bridge unusable, Ukraine army says

    Map of Kherson region

    The Ukrainian military reports a bridge in the occupied part of Kherson Region has been rendered unusable after being struck by artillery earlier in the week.

    In a Facebook update, Operational Command South says: "Our fire control over transport and logistical routes in the temporarily occupied territory of Kherson has rendered the bridge near the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant unusable. The strike was delicate but effective."

    The head of the press service of Ukraine's Southern Defence Forces said on Monday the strategic Antonivskyy Bridge in Kherson and the bridge near the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant had been hit by artillery the previous night.

  15. Russian anti-war journalist says her house has been raided

    Video content

    Video caption: Ukraine war: Demonstrator disrupts Russia's flagship evening news broadcast

    A former Russian TV journalist who made headlines around the world when she held a protest against the Ukraine war during a live broadcast on a state-controlled news channel, says Russian security services have raided her home.

    Last month Marina Ovsyannikova was fined 50,000 roubles ($800) over comments she made about the war.

    Ovsyannikova wrote on Telegram that 10 officers from the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, a powerful federal body similar to the FBI, broke into her house, scaring her young daughter.

    Dmitry Zakhvatov. a lawyer for media human rights group OVD-Info, says she was detained under a law on disseminating false information about the country’s armed forces, which carries 15 years in prison.

    Ovsyannikova says the raid is linked to a solo protest in Moscow last month, when she held a banner calling Vladimir Putin a "murderer".

    In April, Ovsyannikova was hired by a German media outlet to report on Ukraine and Russia.

  16. Three Ukrainian warplanes shot down in Mykolaiv - Russia

    Russia's defence ministry says it has shot down three Ukrainian warplanes in the Mykolaiv region, along with seven Himars missiles in the neighbouring Kherson region.

    It also claims to have destroyed a German-supplied Gepard anti-aircraft system that was being used by Ukrainian forces in Mykolaiv.

    The BBC has been unable to independently verify the reports.

    US-supplied Himars multiple rocket launchers arrived in Ukraine at the end of June.

    It is far more accurate than Russia's equivalent systems and have been credited with attacks deep into Russian-held territory.

  17. Emergency UN meeting to be held tomorrow

    Mikhail Ulyanov

    Russia's representative to international organisations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, says Russia has requested an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the situation at the Zaporizhzhia power plant. The meeting will be held tomorrow in New York.

    Ulyanov also accuses Kyiv of creating "artificial obstacles and difficulties" to a potential International Atomic Energy Agency mission to the nuclear power plant.

  18. What's the latest?

    A handout picture made available by the Ukrainian National Police's press service shows the experts inspect a damaged private building after shelling in Marhanets of Dnipropetrovsk area, Ukraine, 10 August 2022.
    Image caption: Thirteen people have been killed by strikes in the Dnipropetrovsk region

    Just joining us or need a recap? Here are the latest developments in the Ukraine war:

    • Foreign ministers of the G7 nations have called on Russia to immediately hand back full control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to Ukraine
    • They say the actions of Russia's armed forces are significantly raising the risk of a nuclear accident or incident and endangering the population of Ukraine, neighbouring states and the international community
    • Russian shelling in central Ukraine overnight has killed at least 16 people, Ukrainian officials say
    • Thirteen of the victims were in the Dnipropetrovsk region, two died in the Donetsk region, and a woman was killed in the Zaporizhzhia region
    • Ukraine's Air Force command says "about a dozen" Russian warplanes may have been destroyed in explosions at an airfield in Russian-occupied Crimea on Tuesday
    • Ukraine has denied any responsibility for the explosions and Russia's defence ministry said ammunition detonated at the base
    • Russian security forces have raided the home of TV journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, a media human rights group says
    • Ovsyannikova made international headlines in March when she held a protest against the Ukraine war during a live broadcast on state-controlled Channel 1 news
  19. Attack marks escalation around nuclear plant

    Hugo Bachega

    Reporting from Kyiv

    The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

    The latest attack marks an escalation in an already tense situation in the region around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, in southern Ukraine.

    Valentyn Reznichenko, the head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional administration, said Russian forces used Grad missiles to hit Marhanets, a town near the city of Nikopol, overnight.

    Russian forces, he said, fired 80 rockets that were “directed at residential areas”, “deliberately and sneakily hitting people when they were sleeping in their homes”.

    Apartment blocks and administrative buildings were damaged, he added, and several thousand people were without power. Russia hasn’t commented, but it denies targeting civilians.

    Nikopol sits on the Dnipro river opposite the Zaporizhzhia complex, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant which has been under Russian occupation since early March.

    Ukrainian officials say Russia has turned the site into a military base, launching attacks from there knowing that Ukrainian forces are unlikely to retaliate with force because of the risk of a nuclear accident.

    Petro Kotin, the head of Enerhoatom, Ukraine’s nuclear power operator, told me earlier this week that about 500 Russian soldiers were at the site, using it as a nuclear shield. He said the threat was grave, but that the plant remained safe.

    It wasn’t immediately clear whether the recent attacks came from the plant. But they happened days after Russian and Ukrainian officials blamed each other for attacking the complex, raising fears around the world about the safety of the plant.

    Map showing locations of Marhanets and Zaporizhzhia
  20. Russian armed forces significantly raising nuclear risks, says G7

    More now on the joint statement from foreign ministers of the G7 nations.

    The G7 have said they remain "profoundly concerned by the serious threat" posed by Russia's actions around Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

    They say the actions of Russia's armed forces are significantly raising the risk of a nuclear accident or incident and endangering the population of Ukraine, neighbouring states and the international community.

    The G7 reiterate their "strongest condemnation" of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which they call an "unprovoked and unjustifiable war of aggression".

    They say Russia's actions also undermine the ability of the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor the safety of nuclear activities in Ukraine.