Day 495: war is not over as long as Crimea is occupied by Russia, Zelenskyi says

A Russian drone strike hits an apartment building in the center of Sumy, killing two. The war is not over as long as Crimea is occupied by Russia, Zelenskyi says. Ukrainian troops conduct offensive operations along six fronts.

Russian drone strike hits apartment building in center of Sumy, killing two

On July 3, Russian forces launched a drone attack on Sumy, killing two and injuring 19 others. Russia used four Shahed-136 drones in the attack.

“As of 10:49 a.m. four Shahed-136 drones have hit targets in the center of Sumy,” the Sumy regional military administration said on Facebook. 

An official building and two apartment buildings were damaged in the attack, the message said.

Ukrainian troops on offensive along six fronts

Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted counteroffensive operations in six sectors of the front on July 2 and made gains in some of these areas, the Institute for the Study of War said in a report on Sunday. 

A Ukrainian operation near the Antonivskyi bridge in Kherson region became a problem for Russian propaganda as, contrary to official Russian reports, some Russian milbloggers said that fighting near the Antonivskyi bridge is still ongoing and that Ukrainian forces maintained some positions near the bridge as of July 2.

The Russian Ministry of Defense and other Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations in the Lyman direction, in the Bakhmut area, along the Avdiyivka-Donetsk City front, in western Donetsk Oblast, on the administrative border between Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk oblasts, and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast, the Institute for the Study of War said.

Ukrainian Eastern Group of Forces Spokesperson Colonel Serhiy Cherevaty reported on July 2 that Ukrainian forces are continuing to make unspecified advances on the flanks around Bakhmut. A Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces made unspecified gains southwest of Klishchiivka (7km southwest of Bakhmut). Geolocated footage published on July 1 indicates that Ukrainian forces advanced northeast of Volodymyrivka (12km southeast of Vuhledar) in western Donetsk Oblast. Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations south and southwest of Orikhiv in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Zaporizhzhia Oblast occupation deputy Vladimir Rogov claimed that Ukrainian forces advanced towards Russian trench positions near Robotyne (12km south of Orikhiv) and that there is ongoing close combat in these trenches.

Some Russian sources continue to describe these Ukrainian counteroffensive operations as smaller tactical operations than earlier Ukrainian counteroffensive operations, the report said.

War is not over as long as Crimea is occupied by Russia, Zelenskyi says

If Ukraine does not restore sovereignty over Crimea, peace in the war with Russia will not be victory, President Zelenskyi said in an interview with CNN.

While the thrust of Ukraine’s efforts have focused on recapturing territory in the south and east of the country, Zelenskyi told CNN’s Erin Burnett that his ultimate goal was to liberate Crimea, the peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014 in violation of international law.

“We cannot imagine Ukraine without Crimea. And while Crimea is under the Russian occupation, it means only one thing: the war is not over yet,” he said. Asked whether there was any scenario under which there could be peace without Crimea, Zelensky said: “It will not be victory then.” 

Fearing Ukraine’s advance, Russian forces in Crimea built defensive lines that stretch from Ukraine’s administrative border with the peninsula down to Dzhankoy.

Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze on EU accession and Fighting Corruption. Ukraine in Flames #475

Ukraine’s accession to the EU is gaining momentum as Ukrainian MPs and independent anti-corruption structures diligently work on implementing the recommendations provided by the EU. However, the recent arrest of Vsevolod Kniaziev, the former head Supreme Court Judge in Ukraine, highlights that there is still work to be done. Despite this setback, our next guest on the show, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, expresses the heartbreak at such occurrences, especially amidst the ongoing war. Nevertheless, she remains optimistic as this incident demonstrates that the necessary structures are in place and actively fulfilling their responsibilities. For a more comprehensive understanding of Ukraine’s position in its EU accession journey and the remaining tasks at hand, take a look at episode #475 of “Ukraine in Flames.”


  • Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze – former Vice-Prime-Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, MP of Ukraine, and Board member to UCMC