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Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 98 of the invasion

Sievierodonetsk mostly under Russian control; Kremlin further cuts gas supplies to Europe; seed bank in Kharkiv at risk

A man walks amid debris of a residential building in Sievierodonetsk, Ukraine.
A man walks amid debris of a residential building in Sievierodonetsk, Ukraine. Photograph: Serhii Nuzhnenko/Reuters
A man walks amid debris of a residential building in Sievierodonetsk, Ukraine. Photograph: Serhii Nuzhnenko/Reuters
  • Russian forces now control of most of the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk. Serhiy Gaidai, the local governor, said in an online post late on Tuesday that Russian shelling had made it impossible to deliver humanitarian supplies or evacuate people. Civilians were told to stay underground.

  • President Zelenskiy has blasted the “madness” of bombing a chemical plant in Sievierodonetsk. “Given the presence of large-scale chemical production in Sievierodonetsk, the Russian army’s strikes there, including blind air bombing, are just crazy.” Local officials said a nitric acid tank was hit and posted images of pink smoke billowing.

  • Zelenskiy said Ukraine’s military forces have had some successes near Kherson and in parts of the Kharkiv region.

  • Ukraine welcomed EU sanctions but criticised the “unacceptable” delay. Speaking alongside Slovakia’s President Zuzana Caputova in Kyiv, Zelenskiy noted that 50 days had passed between the fifth and sixth sanction packages.

  • Ukraine was working on an international UN-led operation with naval partners to ensure a safe trade route for food exports, according to Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, who said Russia was playing “hunger games with the world by blocking Ukrainian food exports”.

  • Ukraine’s giant seed bank is in danger of being destroyed. The genetic code for nearly 2,000 crops rests in underground vaults based in Kharkiv, north-eastern Ukraine, which has come under intense bombing. Read more of the Guardian’s coverage how vital seed banks are in the climate crisis here and here.

  • The African Union warned EU leaders that Moscow’s blockade of Ukraine’s ports risked “a catastrophic scenario” of food shortages and price rises. Senegal’s president, Macky Sall, who chairs the union, said “the worst is perhaps ahead of us” if current global food supply trends continued.

  • Ukraine would prosecute 80 suspected war criminals, said the prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova. Representatives of a group of countries investigating Russian war crimes have met with the international criminal court prosecutor, Karim Khan, at The Hague.

  • A senior Russian lawmaker has suggested kidnapping a Nato defence minister. Oleg Morozov from the United Russia party said on Rossiya-1 state TV he had a “fantastical plot” that a Nato war minister would travel to Kyiv and wake up in Moscow.

  • Sanctions against Russia are directed at ordinary citizens and motivated by hatred, the former president, Dmitry Medvedev, has said. Medvedev, who advises Vladimir Putin on national security, said on Telegram that the “endless tango of economic sanctions” won’t touch the political elite but have brought losses for big business.

  • Russia has further cut off gas supplies to Europe. Gazprom turned off the taps to a top Dutch trader and halted flows to some companies in Denmark and Germany. The intensification follows the EU’s decision to place an embargo on most Russian oil imports.