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Russia-Ukraine war live updates U.S. urges end to grain export blockade as Russian shelling continues

Russian rockets fell on the Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk on July 7, leaving at least one dead and six injured. (Video: Wojciech Grzedzinski/The Washington Post)

This live coverage has ended. For Saturday’s live updates, click here.

At the Group of 20 meeting on Friday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Russia to end its blockade of Ukrainian grain exports, while Russian forces continue to shell the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine, the region’s governor said Friday.

Hours after the G-20 session, where Russia’s foreign minister accused Western diplomats of “rabid Russophobia,” the Pentagon announced a new shipment of four multiple-launch rocket systems to Ukraine as part of a $400 million package that also included additional ammunition and other supplies.

Russia appears to control all of the Luhansk province, after late last month seizing the city of Severodonetsk, which is facing a “humanitarian disaster,” according to Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai.

Here’s what else to know

  • Moscow is continuing to crack down on dissenting voices, with a municipal lawmaker jailed for seven years on Friday after describing Russia’s war against Ukraine as a war, which is forbidden.
  • Moscow’s chief rabbi, who left Russia over his opposition to the war, has stepped down after almost three decades, saying he does not want to endanger the city’s Jewish community.
  • Blinken said he would not relent until “wrongfully detained” WNBA star Brittney Griner is freed from Russian detention. She pleaded guilty to carrying cannabis oil during a trial in Moscow on Thursday.
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National and breaking news reporter
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky opened his nightly video address with kind words for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who stepped down as leader of his Conservative Party on Thursday. Few leaders have tied themselves to Ukraine the way Johnson has in recent months. Through Johnson’s multiple visits and several phone conversations, the two leaders have forged a close bond during the war, and Britain has been a reliable supplier of weapons and financial assistance for Kyiv. Using Johnson’s first name, Zelensky said Britain will continue to support Ukraine no matter who lives at 10 Downing Street.“Both Boris and all our friends in the United Kingdom assured me of this,” he said.

War in Ukraine: What you need to know

The latest: Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees Friday to annex four occupied regions of Ukraine, following staged referendums that were widely denounced as illegal. Follow our live updates here.

The response: The Biden administration on Friday announced a new round of sanctions on Russia, in response to the annexations, targeting government officials and family members, Russian and Belarusian military officials and defense procurement networks. President Volodymyr Zelensky also said Friday that Ukraine is applying for “accelerated ascension” into NATO, in an apparent answer to the annexations.

In Russia: Putin declared a military mobilization on Sept. 21 to call up as many as 300,000 reservists in a dramatic bid to reverse setbacks in his war on Ukraine. The announcement led to an exodus of more than 180,000 people, mostly men who were subject to service, and renewed protests and other acts of defiance against the war.

The fight: Ukraine mounted a successful counteroffensive that forced a major Russian retreat in the northeastern Kharkiv region in early September, as troops fled cities and villages they had occupied since the early days of the war and abandoned large amounts of military equipment.

Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground from the beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.

How you can help: Here are ways those in the U.S. can support the Ukrainian people as well as what people around the world have been donating.

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