• The centre of the fighting in Ukraine has switched to the road to Mariupol, where the Ukrainian offensive is slowly pushing back Russian forces, and British Challenger tanks are ready to join the battle, a minister in Kyiv has said. Hanna Maliar, a deputy defence minister, said the most active fighting was no longer around Bakhmut, in the eastern Donetsk region, but in the south, and specifically in the direction of the two coastal cities of Berdiansk and Mariupol. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said movement in the counteroffensive was “the most important thing”.

  • Vladimir Putin confirmed that Russia had deployed its first tranche of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. He said nuclear weapons would only be used in the event of a threat to the existence of the Russian state. Speaking at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday, the Russian president also said there was a “serious danger” that the Nato military alliance could be pulled further into the Ukraine war. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying Russia was ready for further talks on arms control. The US said there was no indication the Kremlin planned to use nuclear weapons to attack Ukraine.

  • A delegation of African leaders met with Zelenskiy in Kyiv and urged Russia and Ukraine to de-escalate and negotiate, hours after sheltering from missile strikes on the capital. The diplomatic team called their visit a “historic mission” and voiced concerns of a continent suffering from the fallout of the war, including rising grain prices. The South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, said both sides needed to stop fighting and “this war must be settled and there should be peace through negotiations”. Zelenskiy rejected any negotiations with Moscow, saying he had made clear to the African leaders that “permitting any talks with Russia now, when the occupier is on our land, means freezing the war, freezing pain and suffering”.

  • The head of the UN atomic energy agency has said the situation at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine is “serious” and that ensuring water for cooling was a priority of his visit, adding that the station could operate safely for “some time”. Rafael Grossi, of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), was inspecting the state of Europe’s largest nuclear plant following last week’s breach in the Kakhovka dam downstream on the Dnipro river. He said: “With the water that is here the plant can be kept safe for some time. The plant is going to be working to replenish the water so that safety functions can continue normally.”

  • The Ukrainian air force said it destroyed six Kinzhals, six Kalibr cruise missiles and two reconnaissance drones, with the chief of the Kyiv military administration stating they were all intercepted over the Kyiv region. Kyiv’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, said there was no damage in the capital and reported an explosion from air defence in the central Podil district.

  • The US has announced a further $205m (£163m) in humanitarian aid to Ukraine to help with shortages of food, drinking water and other needs. The aid, to be distributed via partner NGOs in the region, was also aimed at helping victims of the war maintain contact with family members who have been separated. The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said in a statement: “We continue to call for an immediate end to Russia’s war of aggression and for Russia to facilitate unhindered access to providers of humanitarian assistance in Ukraine and safe passage for those who seek to move to safer areas.”

  • Nato has launched a new centre for protecting undersea pipelines and cables after the unsolved Nord Stream attack. “The threat is developing,” said Lt Gen Hans-Werner Wiermann, who heads a special unit focused on the challenge, after Nato defence ministers gave the green light for the centre, located in Northwood, north-west London. “There are heightened concerns that Russia may target undersea cables and other critical infrastructure in an effort to disrupt western life.”

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