Ukraine round-up: Putin vows to continue war and the mood in a shelled Russian city

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Image shows Russian flag waving from balconyImage source, Russian Defence Ministry
Image caption,
Moscow's defence ministry distributed this video showing a Russian flag being flown from a balcony in Lysychansk

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his defence minister to continue the war in Ukraine according to "previously approved plans".

His televised comments came as Ukrainian officials said their troops had withdrawn from Lysychansk, leaving Russian forces in control of the whole of Luhansk - one of the two regions which make up the Donbas.

Mr Putin said he hoped forces on other fronts would have as much success as those in Luhansk region, while urging those that took part in the campaign to "rest and develop their combat capabilities".

But the BBC's Joe Inwood says that both sides may find something to celebrate in this apparent Russian victory.

And as the focus of the conflict moves to Donetsk region, our correspondent asks what Mr Putin's plans will be now.

Rebuilding Ukraine

As the fighting rages on in eastern Ukraine, dozens of countries and international organisations are meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, to draw up a plan for the rebuilding of Ukraine after the war.

The reconstruction effort has been likened to the US-led Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War Two.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, who is at the conference, told attendees that his country needed $750bn (£620bn) for a recovery plan.

Image caption,
The site of the blast in Belgorod

Fear and denial in Russian border city

After the city of Belgorod, near Russia's border with Ukraine, was hit by explosions killing four civilians on Sunday, BBC Russia editor Steve Rosenberg travelled there to gauge the mood.

Many local residents are calling for harsher measures against Ukraine.

"Russia needs to give a proper response to this, so that there is no more shelling and so they stop scaring our people," says Vadim. "Firing a missile back at Kyiv would have made them think."

But another resident, Lidiya, points out that there was no shelling in Belgorod six months ago, and our correspondent says the emergency has completely undermined Moscow's claim that it ordered Russian troops into Ukraine to make Russia safer.

Ukraine has denied firing at Belgorod, describing the blasts as a Russian false flag operation.

Image source, Reuters

Where have Ukraine's refugees gone?

At least 12 million people have fled their homes since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the UN says.

As of 4 July, more than five million have left for neighbouring countries, while seven million people are still thought to be displaced inside Ukraine itself and hundreds of thousands have returned home.

Of these just short of 1.5 million have gone to Russia and 1.2 million to Poland, with hundreds of thousands more going to other EU states like Germany, Czech Republic and Italy.

Image source, Getty Images

Russian cosmonauts celebrate Luhansk capture

International Space Station cosmonauts Denis Matveyev, Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Korsakov have been pictured celebrating Russia's capture of Luhansk.

The Roscosmos space agency posted pictures of the three men smiling as they held up flags of Russia's proxies in eastern Ukraine, the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic and Donetsk People's Republic.

But the pictures seem to jar with footage from March which showed the trio wearing yellow and blue, the colours of Ukraine, as they boarded the station.

At the time Roscosmos denied this was a gesture of support for Kyiv, saying "sometimes yellow is just yellow".