Russia has lost 30,000 troops in Vladimir Putin’s war, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence has claimed.
The West is also working to break the Russian blockade on Ukrainian ports in order to stop a global food crisis by releasing millions of tons of grain.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke on Saturday morning with President Volodymyr Zelensky about international efforts to put a stop to the ‘despicable blockade’ of Odesa, Ukraine’s major southern port on the Black Sea.
Zelensky said they spoke on the phone about ‘strengthening defence support for Ukraine, intensifying work on security guarantees and supplying fuel’.
He added: ‘We must work together to prevent a food crisis and unblock Ukrainian ports.’
The conversation between the leaders comes after Mr Johnson revealed this week that the West was supporting the Ukrainians to demine the Black Sea and reopen international shipping lanes.
Ukraine was known as the ‘breadbasket of Europe’ and was one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat, corn and sunflower oil.
But the Russian invasion and Moscow’s mining of the access to the southern ports has halted much of that flow, endangering world food supplies.
It came as Ukraine has admitted it may have to retreat from its last post in the Luhansk region as Russian forces continue their relentless march.
Putin’s forces – now into their fourth month of the invasion – have concentrated on the east of the country in recent weeks.
Ukrainian soldiers leaving Luhansk will be a blow to the country, due to its symbolic significance in the war.
Putin wants both Luhansk and Donetsk regions in full and their capture was one of his earliest objectives in the deranged despot’s so-called ‘special military operation’.