Ukraine Live Briefing: At least 140,000 residential buildings destroyed, 3.5 million Ukrainians homeless, Kyiv says

President Vladimir Putin, left, speaks with gymnast Alina Kabaeva at a banquet in Moscow in 2004. (AP/ITAR-TASS/Presidential Press Service)
President Vladimir Putin, left, speaks with gymnast Alina Kabaeva at a banquet in Moscow in 2004. (AP/Itar-Tass/Presidential Press Service)

The war in Ukraine has been measured in lives lost and money spent. But on Tuesday, Kyiv released a new figure to calculate the conflict’s terrible toll: at least 140,000 houses, apartments and other residential buildings have been destroyed since Russia invaded, leaving more than 3.5 million Ukrainians homeless, the country’s defense ministry said.

Authorities are bracing for more devastation, and this week they began coordinating mandatory civilian evacuations from the eastern region of Donetsk, where some of the war’s fiercest fighting is now raging. An estimated 200,000 people must make the trip west, racing Russian advances.

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

Key developments

  • The United States and Canada on Tuesday announced new rounds of sanctions on Russian business elites, a yacht and the majority owner of one of the world’s largest steel producers. Canada’s measures target 43 military officials and 17 entities “that are complicit in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s senseless bloodshed,” including atrocities in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha in March.
  • Included on the Treasury Department’s list of sanctioned Russian nationals: Putin’s reported romantic partner, Alina Kabaeva. The 39-year-old retired Russian gymnastics star has been linked to Putin for more than a decade. The Kremlin has long denied that Putin and Kabaeva have a romantic relationship. The Biden administration signaled in April that it was considering sanctioning Kabaeva.
  • The first ship to leave Ukraine carrying grain arrived safely in Turkish waters Tuesday evening, the country’s defense ministry said. The cargo vessel, carrying more than 26,000 metric tons of corn, is en route to Lebanon under a deal brokered by the United Nations. On Tuesday, it anchored at the Black Sea entrance to the Bosporus strait, which it will pass through on its way to Lebanon. A second ship, carrying 50,000 tons of grain, will sail to Turkey.
  • Brittney Griner appeared in a Moscow court Tuesday for the first time since news broke of a possible prisoner swap between the United States and Russia to bring the WNBA player home. The countries’ top diplomats have discussed the proposal, but have not made any major breakthroughs. Griner is likely to be convicted, but her lawyers have urged a lenient sentence, arguing that she unwittingly brought a cannabis product into the country.
  • Russia’s Supreme Court designated the Ukrainian Azov Battalion as a terrorist group, Russian state media reported. The designation paves the way for Russian authorities to charge some of the fighters captured from Mariupol with terrorism, which could lead to longer prison sentences, according to the Associated Press. The regiment protested the ruling and urged countries to declare Russia a terrorist state.

Battlefield updates

  • Russian shelling hit a minibus carrying civilians near Dohove, Kherson, killing at least three, Ukraine’s military said Tuesday. Local media reported that the bus was carrying people fleeing the village of Starosillia in the Kherson region. The village is under Russian control.
  • Mykolaiv came under fresh shelling early Tuesday. Russian rocket attacks destroyed a student dormitory and damaged other civilian buildings, Oleksandr Senkevych, the city’s mayor, said in a Telegram post. The southern port city has come under heavy bombardment in recent days.
  • Ukrainian agriculture magnate Oleksiy Vadatursky and his wife, Raisa, were killed in an earlier strike on Mykolaiv, when a missile hit their home over the weekend. On Tuesday, the region’s governor said the couple may have been killed inadvertently since a military base was previously located at the site of their house, local media reported, but prosecutors have not ruled out the possibility that it was premeditated.
  • Russian forces may be stopping their campaign to take the eastern city of Slovyansk for now so that they can concentrate on defending occupied areas in southern Ukraine, according to an analysis by the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War. The report, citing Ukrainian military intelligence, says Russian forces continue to move troops from the northern Donetsk region to the south.

Global impact

  • The Kremlin expressed “solidarity” with China over U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, another example of the two American rivals increasingly supporting one another’s aims. Calling the trip “purely provocative,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused the United States of choosing “the path of confrontation.”
  • The top diplomats of Russia and the United States will once again be in the same room this week as they attend a conference of southeast Asian nations, but it is unclear whether they will meet or even communicate through intermediaries. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will both attend the event as talk of a potential prisoner swap became public and tensions between the two countries continue to run high.
  • Russia’s Foreign Ministry has banned 39 British politicians, business executives and journalists from entering the country, adding the names of Labour Party leader Keir Starmer and former prime minister David Cameron to its “stop list.” In a statement, the ministry accused London of “hostile” actions and confirmed it has also banned television presenter Piers Morgan.
  • Three British men accused by Russia of being mercenaries will stand trial in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, a breakaway region of Ukraine. John Harding, Dylan Healy and Andrew Hill are being tried alongside two men from Sweden and Croatia, according to Russian media reports.

From our correspondents

Ukraine’s youths are holding cleanup raves. In what’s left of a school in Yahidne, Ukraine, the scene is jovial and familiar. Young people with multicolored hair don printed crop-tops and bop to the shallow beats of synthetic drums. They’re Ukraine’s formerly self-designated “party-makers,” but now, instead of planning parties and guiding tourists, they’re trying to bring joy to the process of cleaning up the destruction of war, The Post’s Leila Barghouty writes.

“It’s like you don’t think about everything,” said Tetiana Burianova, an organizer with the group. “You just move and feel the music.”

Burianova is an organizer with the volunteer group Repair Together, a primarily Kyiv-based operation that ramps up the somber task of clearing rubble from Ukrainian neighborhoods by organizing “cleanup raves.” The group brings DJs on-site to spin techno music while volunteers and residents shovel and sweep.

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