Russian forces strike arms depot in Chortkiv, Ternopil region, western Ukraine
Russian forces destroy Sievierodonetsk-Lysychansk bridge
Amnesty International accuses Russia of war crimes in Kharkiv
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Zelenskyy says the cost of the fighting has been ‘very high’
“The price of this battle for us is very high. It’s just scary,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his daily address on Monday that was published on the presidential website.
His message, marking the 110th day of the war, pointed to the victories that Ukrainian forces have had over Russian troops, but warned of their firepower in the east and in the Black Sea.
Zelenskyy pledged to “free our entire territory” and to “drive out the occupiers of all our regions.”
“And although now the width of our front is already more than 2.5 thousand kilometers, it is felt that the strategic initiative is still ours.”
He also promised to take back Crimea — the Ukrainian peninsula that has been occupied by Russia since 2014. “Of course, we will liberate our Crimea as well,” he said.
Zelenskyy urges Germany against ‘balancing act’ between Ukraine and Russia
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said although Germany’s support for Ukraine has solidified in recent weeks, Chancellor Olaf Scholz needs to take concrete steps rather than rhetoric.
“We need assurances from Chancellor Scholz that Germany supports Ukraine,” Zelenskyy told German public broadcaster ZDF in an interview in Kyiv.
“He and his government must decide — they cannot attempt to do a balancing act between Ukraine and relations with Russia.”
Scholz has not yet made an official visit to Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24. Zelenskyy that if he were to come, however, he should bring concrete offers for defense aid as well as Germany’s solid support for Ukraine’s EU membership bid.
“With concerns to weapons deliveries, Germany joined in later than some of our neighboring countries. That is a fact,” Zelenskyy said.
“At the beginning of the war, we didn’t need politics — we needed help,” he added.
Russian troops destroy all main bridges in Sievierodonetsk, says local official
The Russian military destroyed all three main bridges in the frontline Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk, the local governor said on Monday.
In posts on social media, Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said the destruction of the bridges means it will now be nearly impossible for humanitarian aid deliveries to get through — and the city’s remaining residents are also unable to be safely evacuated.
The governor added that despite gains in targeting key infrastructure, Russian troops are not yet in full control of the city, and that some “access” remains.
Around 10,000 civilians remain in the city, Haidai told the Associated Press.
The capture of Sievierodonetsk would open up the way for Russian troops to advance on other key towns in the region.
Ukrainian officials have said that there has been intense fighting to take control of the streets of Sievierodonetsk
People from ‘all parts of the world’ active in the Ukrainian international legion
Citizens from 55 countries have traveled to Ukraine to join the international legion fighting against Russia, according to Damien Magrou, spokesperson for the International Legion for the Defense of Ukraine, who spoke to journalists at a press conference on Monday.
“We have representatives from all parts of the world, from all continents, even as far as Brazil, South Korea, Australia,” Magrou said, adding that the majority are from the US and UK, followed by people from Poland and Canada — especially people with Ukrainian roots.
Magrou also expressed concern for legionnaires who have been captured by Russian forces and called for Russia to work with the International Community of the Red Cross (ICRC), in line with the Geneva Convention, to check on the situation in which international prisoners are being held.
NATO chief welcomes Swedish compromises amid spat with Turkey
“I welcome that Sweden has already started to change its counterterrorism legislation and that Sweden will ensure that the legal framework for arms export will reflect their future status as a NATO member with new commitments to allies,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said during a meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson on Monday.
The move from Sweden is seen as an attempt to placate Turkey which has so far blocked an attempt by both Sweden and Finland to join the alliance.
However, Stoltenberg added that Sweden “is in a better place now” in terms of security given that several NATO members had given assurance to protect Sweden during its application process.
Ukraine says civilians under fire in Sievierodonetsk chemical plant
The Azot chemical plant, where hundreds of civilians from the embattled town of Sievierodonetsk have sought refuge, has come under fire from Russian artillery, regional governor Serhiy Haidai said on Monday.
Russian forces have also made advances in the city, now controlling about 70% according to Haidai.
“Russians continue to storm the city, having a significant advantage in artillery they have somewhat pushed back the Ukrainian soldiers,” he said on social media.
“About 500 civilians remain on the grounds of the Azot plant in Sievierodonetsk, 40 of them are children. Sometimes the military manages to evacuate someone,” the regional governor added.
Presidential advisor Mykhailo Podalyak also turned to social media to repeat calls for heavy weapons from Ukraine’s western partners.
“Being straightforward — to end the war we need heavy weapons parity,” he wrote on Twitter.
The capture of Sievierodonetsk would open up the way for Russian troops to advance on other key towns in the region.
Ukrainian forces are fighting for “every town and village where the occupiers came,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Monday.
“We are once again fighting for it and all of Ukraine,” he added. His comments came during a ceremony to commemorate the recapture of Mariupol in 2014 from Russian forces.
Ukraine bans exports of gas, coal and liquid fuel
The Ukrainian government has suspended exports of fossil fuels due to the Russian invasion.
A resolution published on the government’s website on Monday said that the export ban was connected with “the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and the imposition of martial law in Ukraine.”
The International Energy Agency estimates that Ukraine had around 9 billion tonnes of oil equivalent in fossil fuel reserves before it lost access to Crimea, following Russia’s occupation in 2014.
Ukrainian police say over 12,000 civilians killed since invasion
Ukraine’s Chief of Police Ihor Klymenko told the news agency Interfax Ukraine on Monday that more than 12,000 civilians have been killed since Russia invaded the country on February 24.
Three-quarters of the victims were men, another 23% were women and 2% were children, he said. Some 1,200 have not yet been identified.
“These are civilians, these people had nothing to do with the army or law enforcement,” Klymenko told Interfax Ukraine.
According to the UN’s own tally, there have been 4,300 officially recorded civilian deaths since the war began, however, this number is lower due to their high standards of death confirmation.
UK report says Russia river crossing ops could prove decisive
The UK Ministry of Defence says it expects Russia’s river-crossing operations to be one of “the most important determining factors” in the war over the coming months.
The ministry reports that for Russia to make gains in the central sector of its frontline in Donbas, its forces must be able to carry out “ambitious flanking actions” or conduct river crossings under fire.
The British report says Ukrainian forces have managed to demolish bridges before making withdrawals. It also notes that Russian forces have “struggled to put in place the complex coordination necessary to conduct successful, large-scale river crossings under fire.”
Finland: Both sides using heavier weapons
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto has said that according to the latest intelligence, both Russia and Ukraine were using heavier weapons than before in the most recent stages of the war. In Russia’s case, Niinisto said during security policy talks, this meant thermobaric bombs.
“We are supporting Ukraine with increasingly heavy weaponry. And on the other hand, Russia has also begun to use very powerful weapons, thermobaric bombs that are in fact weapons of mass destruction,” Niinisto said.
Thermobaric bombs, also known as vacuum bombs, are much more devastating than conventional explosives. Niinisto’s comments echo earlier accusations made by Ukraine and NATO.
After decades of declining to join NATO, Finland has recently entered a formal bid to join the alliance due to concerns of aggression from its eastern neighbor following the invasion of Ukraine.
Scholz won’t confirm Ukraine trip
German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit has refused to comment on media reports implying that Chancellor Olaf Scholz may visit Kyiv as part of a contingent of European leaders traveling to the Ukrainian capital this Thursday.
Hebestreit said he could “not confirm” reports from Italian daily La Stampa and Germany’s Bild am Sonntag that Scholz would be joining Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Scholz has not been to Kyiv since the war began, a decision that has garnered criticism at home and abroad, even as he has sent high-level deputies such as Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.
The decision not to travel to Ukraine has also been part of accusations that Berlin is not showing adequate leadership in the face of a crisis after Scholz’s caution in supplying Ukraine with heavy weapons.
German exports to Russia drop
Germany’s exports to Russia in April were down 64.1% compared to the same month last year, the government’s statistics agency said in figures published on Monday.
This is because of the EU sanctions imposed in light of the conflict, hitting core exports like machinery and chemical products.
Meanwhile, the value of German imports from Russia rose markedly. This is not because of an increase in the volume of exports, but rather as a result of the rapidly rising prices of natural gas and oil.
Read the full article here.
Russia earns €93 billion from fossil fuel exports, says report
Russia earned €93 billion ($98 billion) from fossil fuel exports during the first 100 days of its war in Ukraine, according to a report released Monday by the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air.
The European Union accounted for 61% of that, worth about €57 billion, according to the Finland-based organization.
The top importing countries were China at €12.6 billion, Germany at €12.1 billion, and Italy at €7.8 billion. India, which has upped imports of cheap Russian oil since February, ranked eighth, at €3.4 billion.
The European Union last month agreed to block Russian oil imports by the end of 2022. The bloc also says it aims to reduce gas shipments by two-thirds this year as well although it’s yet to formalize this at all.
Canadian Foreign Minister condemns attendance of official at Russian embassy on Russia Day
Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said Monday it was “unacceptable” for a Canadian official to have attended Sunday’s Russian National Day celebrations at the country’s embassy in Canada.
Yasemin Heinbecker, a deputy protocol chief in Canada’s Global Affairs department, attended the event with representatives of Egypt, Pakistan and some African countries, The Globe and Mail newspaper reported.
“No Canadian representative should have attended the event hosted at the Russian embassy and no Canadian representative will attend this kind of event again,” Joly tweeted, emphasizing Canadian support for Ukraine in the war.
Russia Day takes place on June 12 each year, the anniversary of the official formation of modern-day post-Soviet Russia in 1990.
Ukraine ‘still in control’ of Sievierodonetsk steel plant — Defense Ministry advisor
Yuri Sak, an advisor to Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, told DW that the Ukrainian army remains in control of a steel plant sheltering civilians in Sievierodonetsk.
“The situation in terms of the humanitarian crisis is very, very difficult. But Ukrainian armed forces are still in control of the industrial part of Sievierodonetsk,” Sak said.
The Azot plant in Sievierodonetsk is still under Ukrainian control, according to defense ministry advisor Yuri Sak
“Another one of Russia’s blitzkrieg has failed because of the resistance and resilience of the Ukrainian armed forces,” the advisor said.
“It’s a situation of street-to-street fighting. The Ukrainian army is even counter-attacking in some places,” Sak said, adding that this could be done more efficiently the faster Ukraine receives heavy weapons.
Ukraine has received NATO-standard 155 mm artillery systems, but needs more, according to Sak.
“The US has said they will provide Ukraine with four systems of HIMARS. The UK said they will be providing Ukraine with MLRS systems… Ukraine currently needs about 100 such systems to be able to conduct a counteroffensive and to be able to liberate our land.”
Amnesty accuses Russia of war crimes in Kharkiv
Amnesty International has accused Russia of war crimes in the northeastern Ukrainian city in Kharkiv.
The organization said that attacks in Kharkiv killed hundreds of civilians.
“The repeated bombardments of residential neighborhoods in Kharkiv are indiscriminate attacks which killed and injured hundreds of civilians, and as such constitute war crimes,” the rights group said in a report. “This is true both for the strikes carried out using cluster (munitions) as well as those conducted using other types of unguided rockets and unguided artillery shells.”
Amnesty said that it had uncovered proof of the repeated use of 9N210 and 9N235 cluster bombs and scattered land mines by Russian forces. Such weapons are banned under the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), which 110 countries have joined.
While neither Russia nor Ukraine are parties to the CCM, they are obliged to respect a ban on inherently indiscriminate weapons that forms part of customary international humanitarian law.
“The continued use of such inaccurate explosive weapons in populated civilian areas, in the knowledge that they are repeatedly causing large numbers of civilian casualties, may even amount to directing attacks against the civilian population,” the report said.
Russian forces strike depot in western Ukraine
Russian forces said they struck an arms depot in the town of Chortkiv in Ukraine’s western Ternopil region.
The weapons at the site were US and EU-supplied, according to Russian forces.
Ternopil regional governor Volodymyr Trush said that the strike left 22 people injured. A military installation and four residential buildings were damaged in the strike, according to Trush.
“This strike made no tactical or strategic sense, just like the absolute majority of other Russian strikes. It is terror, just terror,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said of the strike on Chortkiv.
Zelenskyy went on to make a plea for Western countries to supply Ukraine with modern missile defense systems. “These are lives that could have been saved, tragedies that could have been prevented if Ukraine had been listened to.”
Russian strikes in western regions of Ukraine are rare compared to the country’s east, where fierce fighting rages between Ukrainian and Russian forces.
Russian forces destroy bridge out of Sievierodonetsk — local officials
Russian forces have blown up a bridge linking the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk to neighboring Lysychansk, local officials said.
Lysychansk lies southwest of Sievierodonetsk on the other side of the Siverskyi Donets river. The destruction of the bridge has cut off a possible evacuation route for civilians. Only one of three bridges is still standing.
Sievierdonetsk has become the site of some of the fiercest fighting over Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. Luhansk regional governor said that Ukrainian and Russian forces are still fighting street-by-street in Sievierdonetsk.
“The key tactical goal of the occupiers has not changed: they are pressing in Sievierodonetsk, severe fighting is ongoing there — literally for every meter,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address
What happened in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Sunday
Denis Pushilin, the leader of the pro-Russian separatist Donetsk region, said Sunday he would not alter the death sentences handed to two Britons and a Moroccan for fighting with the Ukrainian army.
The UK Defense Ministry said Russia was using its overmatch in force ratio and artillery to “gradually seize territory in and around Sievierodonetsk” from Ukrainian control.
Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister said the country was exporting grain through Poland and Romania rather than by sea, but that bottlenecks had slowed the supply chain.
The number of Ukrainian refugees entering into Poland passed the four-million mark. It is impossible to say how many of the incoming refugees have stayed in Poland and how many have traveled further into Europe.
The replacement for McDonald’s in Russia opened its first 15 restaurants in Moscow. The company said the new name of the chain, “Vkusno & tochka” means “Tasty & that’s it.”
Serhii Haidai, the governor of the Luhansk region, said Ukraine remained in control of the Azot chemical plant in Sievierodonetsk, where hundreds of civilians are said to be sheltering.
You can revisit our updates from Friday, June 10, here.
ab, rm, sdi, es/aw (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)