Russia-Ukraine war live news: US to send $550m of new weapons; three killed in minibus evacuating Kherson, officials say | Ukraine

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US to send $550m of new weapons to Ukraine: US official

The US announced Monday a new tranche of weapons for Ukraine’s forces fighting Russia, including ammunition for increasingly important rocket launchers and artillery guns.

The $550m package will “include more ammunition for the high mobility advanced rocket systems otherwise known as Himars, as well as ammunition” for artillery, national security council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

The assistance includes 75,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition, a statement from the Pentagon said.

The security assistance to Ukraine 🇺🇦 continues, this time in the form of a $550m package including tens of thousands of rounds of artillery ammunition. We remain committed to providing Ukraine with the capabilities they need to defend their homeland. pic.twitter.com/NmKMAi5zTo

— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) August 1, 2022

“To meet its evolving battlefield requirements, the US will continue to work with its allies and partners to provide Ukraine with key capabilities,” the statement said.

This brings the total of military assistance committed to Ukraine since President Joe Biden took office to more than $8.8bn, according to the Pentagon.

Previous weapons assistance from Washington to Kyiv has included counter-artillery radars, Javelin anti-tank missiles, Soviet-made helicopters, shells and light armoured vehicles.

The new military aid package from 🇺🇸 is another investment in the security of NATO’s eastern flank&support for democracy in EU. Our artillerymen are ready to turn night into day to expel the russian invaders from 🇺🇦!Thank you @POTUS & @SecDef for your leadership & all 🇺🇸 people! pic.twitter.com/C4qaz5LxY4

— Oleksii Reznikov (@oleksiireznikov) August 2, 2022

Key events

Summary of the day so far …

  • The US announced Monday a new tranche of weapons for Ukraine’s forces fighting Russia, including ammunition for increasingly important rocket launchers and artillery guns. The $550m package will “include more ammunition for the high mobility advanced rocket systems otherwise known as Himars, as well as ammunition” for artillery, national security council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.
  • Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu has said that Russia had destroyed six US-made Himars missile systems since the beginning of the latest Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  • Three people have reportedly been killed by Russian shelling while evacuating in a minibus near Kherson, Ukraine’s military is reporting. Ukraine’s Operational Command “South” reported that three people died from the attack on the bus near Dovhove.
  • Turkey’s representative at the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in Istanbul has said that the first ship carrying Ukrainian grain to world markets was expected to anchor at Istanbul on Tuesday night. At a briefing held at the JCC, general Özcan Altunbulak said the course of the ship was going as planned. Another official said “The plan is for a ship to leave every day. If nothing goes wrong, exports will be made via one ship a day for a while.”
  • Ukraine’s state security service says it is investigating 752 cases of treason and collaboration. According to the agency, the greatest amount of cases have been documented in the regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson.
  • The United Nations’ secretary general, António Guterres, has warned that a misunderstanding could spark nuclear destruction, as the US, Britain and France urged Russia to stop “its dangerous nuclear rhetoric and behaviour”.
  • Sabina Higgins, the wife of Ireland’s president, Michael D Higgins, has triggered a political row in Ireland by urging Russia and Ukraine to call a ceasefire and enter negotiations. Critics said the intervention amounted to Kremlin propaganda because it appeared to equate Moscow’s aggression with Kyiv’s fight for survival.
  • The US has accused Russia of using Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant as a “nuclear shield”. US secretary of state Antony Blinken said Washington was “deeply concerned” that Moscow was now using the plant as a military base and firing on Ukrainian forces from around it and called Russia’s actions around the plant “the height of irresponsibility”.

That is it from me, Martin Belam, for now. I will be taking over our live coverage of reaction to the death of Ayman al-Zawahiri. Nicola Slawson will be here with you shortly to continue our Ukraine coverage.

Rory Carroll

Sabina Higgins, the wife of Ireland’s president, Michael D Higgins, has triggered a political row in Ireland by urging Russia and Ukraine to call a ceasefire and enter negotiations.

Critics said the intervention amounted to Kremlin propaganda because it appeared to equate Moscow’s aggression with Kyiv’s fight for survival.

Sabina Higgins made the call in a letter to the Irish Times that was published last week – and also posted on the president’s official website.

After an outcry from Ukrainians – including a member of Ukraine’s parliament – the letter disappeared from the website but the president has resisted a clamour to publicly disown the letter or clarify his views on it.

A spokesperson for the president on Monday said he had been “unequivocal” in condemning Russia’s invasion as illegal, immoral and unjustifiable. “He has called for an immediate Russian withdrawal and end to the violence.”

Irish politicians said the statement was insufficient and that Higgins – and the government – needed to explicitly distance the Irish state from the letter.

“This is very concerning. Diplomats are watching very closely what is being said,” Paul Kehoe, a lawmaker and former government chief whip told reporters. Malcolm Byrne, a senator, said Sabina Higgins was entitled to her opinions but that the Kremlin viewed her her letter as a propaganda tool.

Ireland’s presidency is an independent and largely ceremonial post.

Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu has said Russia has destroyed six US-made Himars missile systems since the beginning of the latest Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Interfax reports that Shoigu also claimed that five anti-ship Harpoon missile launch systems had been destroyed. The claims have not been independently verified.

There is a further update on the grain export deal that Turkey brokered between Ukraine, Russia and the UN. An official, speaking anonymously to the Reuters news agency, has said that they expect exports to start daily.

“The plan is for a ship to leave every day,” the senior official said, referring to Odesa and two other Ukrainian ports covered by the deal. “If nothing goes wrong, exports will be made via one ship a day for a while.”

Turkey’s representative at the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in Istanbul has said that the first ship carrying Ukrainian grain to world markets was expected to anchor at Istanbul on Tuesday night.

At a briefing held at the JCC, Reuters reports general Özcan Altunbulak said the course of the ship was going as planned.

Here are some of the latest images to reach us from Ukraine over the news wires.

Pedestrians walk in front of the city hall building in the city of Okhtyrka, Sumy.
Pedestrians walk in front of the city hall building in the city of Okhtyrka, Sumy. Photograph: Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images
A woman pushes her bicycle past a sign which reads I love Okhtyrka in front of the destroyed city hall in the city.
A woman pushes her bicycle past a sign which reads I love Okhtyrka in front of the destroyed city hall in the city. Photograph: Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images
This picture taken and released by the Ukrainian emergency service shows firefighters working to put out a fire in a destroyed house after shelling in the Kharkiv region.
This picture taken and released by the Ukrainian emergency service shows firefighters working to put out a fire in a destroyed house after shelling in the Kharkiv region. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
A passenger looks out of a city bus window during a rain shower in Dnipro on Monday evening.
A passenger looks out of a city bus window during a rain shower in Dnipro on Monday evening. Photograph: David Goldman/AP
A Ukrainian gunmen prepares charges on the front line in the Kharkiv region.
A Ukrainian gunmen prepares charges on the front line in the Kharkiv region. Photograph: Sergey Bobok/AFP/Getty Images

The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has claimed that one person was killed and four civilians injured by Ukrainian shelling on territories that the DPR occupies. The DPR is recognised as a legitimate authority by only three UN member states, including Russia.

Ukraine’s ministry of defence quoted Scots poet Robert Burns’ Scots Wha Hae this morning while issuing what it claims are the latest casualty figures that it has inflicted on Russian forces.

They claim to have killed approximately 41,170 Russian troops, as well as destroying more than 1,750 tanks, 4,014 armoured combat vehicles, 223 jets and 191 helicopters. The claims have not been independently verified.

“Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty’s in every blow!—
Let us do or die!”
Robert Burns

Total combat losses of the enemy from Feb 24 to Aug 2: pic.twitter.com/q3kmd4QVpX

— Defence of Ukraine (@DefenceU) August 2, 2022

The Agence France-Presse news agency is carrying some quotes this morning from people in occupied areas of Ukraine. It says that all have had their names changed to protect them from retribution, and AFP was unable to verify their accounts independently.

One person spoken to was “Oleksandr”, a 25-year-old teacher in a village close to Kherson city. He told the agency:

Liberating the city is one thing, but liberating the whole Kherson region is something else. We know it won’t happen now, but still have hope.

The roads of the region are dotted with numerous checkpoints, and you can always hear bombing raids. There are many soldiers in the cities.

In Kherson itself, it is very depressing. There is no more medicine at all and many elderly people have died because of lack of treatment. For the elderly, it’s hell.

If I had to describe the situation in one word, I would say ‘difficult’. There is a total collapse of public services. The ruble is not circulating. Passports are not being issued – nobody wants them anyway.

We have enough food, although there is very little delivery of humanitarian aid. Many people are left without work, and often only unskilled labourers are left.

In the first weeks of the occupation, a lot of activists were kidnapped. There were big demonstrations against the occupation, but after a month it stopped, because there is no internet, no communication.

And all the activists are either hiding or have been kidnapped or killed, I don’t know.

If the Russians hear you speaking Ukrainian, they think you are a Nazi. They check social networks, tattoos, if you have Ukrainian symbols on your body, you are in trouble. I know that some people have had their tattoos removed.

Zelenskiy warns against ‘illusion’ that Russia will not disrupt Ukrainian exports

A ship carrying Ukrainian grain left the port of Odesa for the first time since the start of the Russian invasion on Monday under an internationally brokered deal to unblock Ukraine’s agricultural exports and ease a growing global food crisis.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy described the shipment as “the first positive signal that there is a chance to stop the development of a world food crisis” while the Kremlin called the departure “very positive” news.

Zelenskiy’s said that while it is “too early to draw any conclusions”, the shipment was the “first positive signal” to curb a global food crisis in his latest national address.

The implementation of the initiative on the export of Ukrainian grain and other agricultural products from our ports in the Black Sea began today. The first vessel carrying 26,000 tons of corn left the port of Odesa.

As of now, it is too early to draw any conclusions and predict further events. But the port started working, the export traffic started, and this can be called the first positive signal that there is a chance to stop the spread of the food crisis in the world.

Currently, everything depends on the implementation of the security parameters of the initiative, which is the responsibility of the partners, primarily the United Nations and Turkey.

We cannot have the illusions that Russia will simply refrain from trying to disrupt Ukrainian exports.

US to send $550m of new weapons to Ukraine: US official

The US announced Monday a new tranche of weapons for Ukraine’s forces fighting Russia, including ammunition for increasingly important rocket launchers and artillery guns.

The $550m package will “include more ammunition for the high mobility advanced rocket systems otherwise known as Himars, as well as ammunition” for artillery, national security council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

The assistance includes 75,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition, a statement from the Pentagon said.

The security assistance to Ukraine 🇺🇦 continues, this time in the form of a $550m package including tens of thousands of rounds of artillery ammunition. We remain committed to providing Ukraine with the capabilities they need to defend their homeland. pic.twitter.com/NmKMAi5zTo

— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) August 1, 2022

“To meet its evolving battlefield requirements, the US will continue to work with its allies and partners to provide Ukraine with key capabilities,” the statement said.

This brings the total of military assistance committed to Ukraine since President Joe Biden took office to more than $8.8bn, according to the Pentagon.

Previous weapons assistance from Washington to Kyiv has included counter-artillery radars, Javelin anti-tank missiles, Soviet-made helicopters, shells and light armoured vehicles.

The new military aid package from 🇺🇸 is another investment in the security of NATO’s eastern flank&support for democracy in EU. Our artillerymen are ready to turn night into day to expel the russian invaders from 🇺🇦!Thank you @POTUS & @SecDef for your leadership & all 🇺🇸 people! pic.twitter.com/C4qaz5LxY4

— Oleksii Reznikov (@oleksiireznikov) August 2, 2022

The reported strike on the Russian Black Sea fleet headquarters in Sevastopol on Navy Day is the latest setback for the Black Sea Fleet in the five-month-old war against Ukraine, which included the loss of its flagship, the cruiser Moskva, in April, according to the UK Ministry of Defence.

World ‘one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation’, UN chief says

The United Nations’ secretary general, António Guterres, has warned that a misunderstanding could spark nuclear destruction, as the United States, Britain and France urged Russia to stop “its dangerous nuclear rhetoric and behaviour”.

At the opening of a key nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) conference in New York, Guterres warned that the world faced “a nuclear danger not seen since the height of the cold war”.

Today, humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation.

The Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is an opportunity to agree on the measures that will help avoid certain disaster. pic.twitter.com/Ht4mm7RFMj

— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) August 1, 2022

Citing Russia’s war with Ukraine and tensions on the Korean peninsula and in the Middle East, Guterres said he feared that crises “with nuclear undertones” could escalate.

“Today, humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation,” Guterres told the 10th review conference of the NPT, an international treaty that came into force in 1970 to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

“We have been extraordinarily lucky so far. But luck is not a strategy. Nor is it a shield from geopolitical tensions boiling over into nuclear conflict,” he added, calling on nations to “put humanity on a new path towards a world free of nuclear weapons”.

Here are some of the latest images out of Ukraine to come through our news wires today.

Rescue workers work in the aftermath of shelling at Mykolaiv Regional Skin and Venereal Diseases Dispensary, in Mykolaiv, Ukraine.
Rescue workers work in the aftermath of shelling at Mykolaiv Regional Skin and Venereal Diseases Dispensary, in Mykolaiv, Ukraine. Photograph: Emergency Service Of Ukraine/Reuters
Firefighters extinguish a fire that broke out after the shelling in the Donetsk region, Ukraine on 1 August.
Firefighters extinguish a fire that broke out after the shelling in the Donetsk region, Ukraine on 1 August. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Firefighters working to put out a fire after shelling at an industrial building in Kharkiv region.
Firefighters working to put out a fire after shelling at an industrial building in Kharkiv region. Photograph: UKRAINIAN EMERGENCY SERVICE/AFP/Getty Images
Ukrainian servicemen fire a M777 howitzer at a position on a front line in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, on 1 August.
Ukrainian servicemen fire a M777 howitzer at a position on a front line in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, on 1 August. Photograph: Reuters
Ukrainian servicemen rest at a position on a front line in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine.
Ukrainian servicemen rest at a position on a front line in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine. Photograph: Ukrainian Armed Forces/Reuters

Ukraine investigating 752 cases of treason

Ukraine’s state security service says it is investigating 752 cases of treason and collaboration.

According to the agency, the greatest amount of cases have been documented in the regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson.

Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office also released a statement, saying:

An investigation is underway into more than 600 prosecutor’s office employees who crossed the border after February 24, 2022.

The work of detecting traitors during the war is a question of the security of our state.”

The office added that five prosecutors and three public officials have so far been reported of suspicion.

Ukraine has also opened 1,451 criminal proceedings investigating crimes against children, deputy prosecutor general Igor Mustetsa said.

At least 668 of the opened proceedings involve violence against children and include injury, murder and sexual violence. Another 777 cases regard attacks on facilities that concern children, Mustetsa added.

⚡️ SBU: Ukraine investigates 752 cases of treason, collaboration.

Ukraine’s Security Service reported that, as of Aug. 1, the greatest amount of cases of treason and collaborationism have been opened in Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson oblasts.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) August 2, 2022

Three killed while evacuating in bus near Kherson – reports

Three people have reportedly been killed by Russian shelling while evacuating in a minibus near Kherson, Ukraine’s military is reporting.

Ukraine’s Operational Command ‘South’ reported that three people died from the attack on the bus near Dovhove.

The minibus was reportedly carrying seven people evacuating from the temporarily occupied village of Starosillia in the Kherson region.

The remaining survivors have been hospitalised, according to local media reports.

⚡️ Update: Death toll due to Russian shelling of evacuating minibus rises to 3.

Ukraine’s Operational Command “South” reported that three people have now died from the Russian attack on a minibus near Dovhove, Kherson Oblast.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) August 2, 2022

Summary and welcome

Hello and welcome back to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine.

I’m Samantha Lock and I will be bringing you all the latest developments for the next short while.

Three people have reportedly been killed by Russian shelling while evacuating in a minibus near Kherson, Ukraine’s military is reporting.

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said it is “too early to draw any conclusions” after a ship carrying Ukrainian grain left the port of Odesa for the first time since the start of the Russian invasion on Monday.

“We cannot have the illusions that Russia will simply refrain from trying to disrupt Ukrainian exports,” he cautioned.

It is 8.30am in Ukraine. Here is everything you might have missed:

  • The United Nations chief has warned that nuclear annihilation is just one miscalculation away. At the opening of a key nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) conference in New York, António Guterres warned that the world faced “a nuclear danger not seen since the height of the cold war.” “Humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation,” he said citing the war in Ukraine as a significant factor.
  • On Monday Russian President Vladimir Putin said there could be “no winners” in a nuclear war and it should “never be unleashed” in a letter sent to attendees of the NPT conference. In February, Putin pointedly referred to Russia’s nuclear arsenal and warned outside powers that any attempt to interfere would “lead you to such consequences that you have never encountered in your history”. Days later, he ordered Russia’s nuclear forces to be put on high alert.
  • The US will send $550m in a new tranche of weapons to Ukraine, including ammunition for increasingly important rocket launchers and artillery guns. Ukraine received a batch of four more US-made high mobility artillery rocket systems (Himars), Ukraine’s defence minister said on Monday.
  • The US has accused Russia of using Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant as a “nuclear shield”. US secretary of state Antony Blinken said Washington was “deeply concerned” that Moscow was now using the plant as a military base and firing on Ukrainian forces from around it and called Russia’s actions around the plant “the height of irresponsibility”.
  • A ship carrying Ukrainian grain left the port of Odesa for the first time since the start of the Russian invasion on Monday under an internationally brokered deal to unblock Ukraine’s agricultural exports and ease a growing global food crisis. The Sierra Leone-flagged ship Razoni was carrying 26,000 tons of corn and destined for Lebanon. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy described the shipment as “the first positive signal that there is a chance to stop the development of a world food crisis” while the Kremlin called the departure “very positive” news.
  • The daily gas production of Russia’s Gazprom dropped in July to its lowest level since 2008, figures suggest, amid fears that Moscow could cause an energy crisis in Europe by shutting off supply. The state-owned energy firm pumped 774m cubic metres a day last month – 14% less than in June – according to analysis by Bloomberg of data released on Monday. Overall total output for the year was 262.4bn cubic metres, a 12% fall compared with the same period last year.
  • Food inflation has soared across much of the developing world since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has trapped several richer countries in a cycle of rising prices, a report by the World Bank has found. The organisation said the war would hit many countries with an increase in food bills worth more than 1% of their annual national income (GDP), while others would fail to contain the impact and be plunged into a full-blown debt crisis.
  • France will donate a mobile DNA lab to Kyiv authorities in a bid to ensure war crimes by Russian forces in Ukraine do not go unpunished, President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday.
  • Spanish businesses, restaurants, museums and public transport will be required to adhere to strict temperature requirements under emergency measures the government announced on Monday to save energy. The plan establishes a minimum temperature of 27C (80F) in summer and a maximum of 19C (66F) in winter.
  • The Russian economy has been deeply damaged by sanctions and the exit of international business since the country invaded Ukraine, according to a new report by Yale University business experts and economists. Largely unpublished data shows that much of its domestic economic activity has stalled since the invasion. “Not only have sanctions and the business retreat worked, they have thoroughly crippled the Russian economy at every level,” the 118-page report read. “Russian domestic production has come to a complete standstill with no capacity to replace lost businesses, products and talent.”
A firefighter extinguishes a burning hospital building hit by a Russian missile strike in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, on 1 August.
A firefighter extinguishes a burning hospital building hit by a Russian missile strike in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, on 1 August. Photograph: Reuters

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