Ukraine news – live: Battle for eastern cities ‘entering fearsome climax’, says Kyiv

Ukrainian drone strikes major Russian oil refinery

The battle for the east Ukrainian cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk is “entering a sort of fearsome climax”, one of president Volodymyr Zelensky’s advisers has said.

Oleksiy Arestovych made the comment as Ukrainian forces try to cling onto this part of Luhansk province in the face of fierce Russian attacks.

The Kremlin’s troops have recently captured more territory in the industrial Donbas region, taking control of the settlements of Loskutivka and Rai-Oleksandrivka to the south of Lysychansk, according to the Luhansk governor Serhiy Gaidai.

In its latest report on the battle for the Donbas, the British Ministry of Defence said on Thursday that Russian soldiers had most likely advanced 3 miles towards Lysychansk from the south since Sunday.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky spoke of the massive Russian strikes in the east of the country. “The goal of the occupiers in this direction remains the same – they want to destroy the whole Donbas step by step,” he said in his late night address.

This comes as the EU is set to decide whether to grant Ukraine candidacy status.


Russian gas cuts have affected 12 EU countries, says bloc’s climate policy chief

A dozen EU members have been affected by Russia cutting its gas supply, the bloc’s climate policy chief has said.

Speaking on Thursday, Frans Timmermans said 10 nations had issued an “early warning” about a potential crisis in gas supply.

Every member must have plans in place to deal with supply disruption.

Rory Sullivan23 June 2022 08:55


ISW on the battle for the Donbas

Russia’s air-defence systems in eastern Ukraine are stymieing the use of Ukrainian drones, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has said.

In its latest update on the situation in Ukraine, the US think tank also has this detailed map of the battle for the Donbas:

Rory Sullivan23 June 2022 08:34


Britons and Moroccan to appeal against death sentences in DPR

Two Britons and a Moroccan who were sentenced to death by pro-Russian separatists for fighting for Ukraine will appeal against their verdicts, one of their lawyers has said.

The development was reported by Russia’s Tass news agency.

A court in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), which is not internationally recognised, found Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner and Brahim Saadoun guilty of “mercenary activities” earlier this month.

The trial was condemned as a “sham” trial by British politicians including the foreign secretary Liz Truss.

Rory Sullivan23 June 2022 08:18


Don’t underestimate Russian military, Estonian PM tells west

The west should not underestimate Russia’s military capabilities, Estonia’s prime minister has warned.

Speaking to the Associated Press on Wednesday, Kaja Kallas said Moscow was in the war for the long haul.

“I’ve heard talks that, you know, there is no threat anymore because they have exhausted themselves. No, they haven’t,” she said of the Russian military.

“They have plenty of troops still who can come (to fight) — They are not counting the lives that they are losing. They are not counting the artillery that they are losing there. So I don’t think that we should underestimate them in the longer term to still keep this up,” she added.

As well as praising European unity against Russia, Ms Kallas said those guilty of committing war crimes in Ukraine must be punished.

Rory Sullivan23 June 2022 07:58


Battle for Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk reaching ‘fearsome climax’, says Kyiv

The battle for the east Ukrainian cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk is “entering a sort of fearsome climax”, one of president Volodymyr Zelensky’s advisers has said.

Oleksiy Arestovych made the comment as Ukrainian forces try to cling onto this part of Luhansk province despite fierce Russian attacks.

The Kremlin’s forces continue to make steady progress, after capturing Loskutivka and Rai-Oleksandrivka to the south.

Rory Sullivan23 June 2022 07:38


‘Wind of change’ in Europe as Ukraine to receive candidacy status

European leaders will formally back Ukraine as a candidate to join the bloc, four months after Vladimir Putin invaded the country.

“History is on the march,” said Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission, ahead of a two-day summit.

“I am not just talking about Putin’s war of aggression,” she said. “I am talking about the wind of change that once again blows across our continent. With their applications, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia are telling us that they want change.”

The process of joining the EU takes time, with countries including North Macedonia and Montenegro waiting for more than a decade so far.

Rory Sullivan23 June 2022 07:24


Ukraine controls nearly 45 per cent of Donetsk, says official

Ukrainian forces control less than 50 per cent of the Donetsk Oblast , regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Wednesday.

Ukraine remains in control of nearly half (45 per cent) of the heavily damaged eastern industrial city, which is backed by Moscow, Mr Kyrylenko said, talking to the Radio Free Europe, reported The Kyiv Independent.

The rest of the 55 per cent territory, including Mariupol and Volnovakha, is held by Russia and its proxies.

Arpan Rai23 June 2022 07:05


Russia captures two settlements near Ukraine’s Lysychansk

Russian soldiers have gained control over two settlements in Ukrainian cities Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk, regional governor Serhiy Gaidai said on Thursday morning.

The two settlements are Loskutivka and Rai-Oleksandrivka.

Mr Gaidai said that the Ukrainian forces were continuing to defend Sievierodonetsk and the nearby settlements of Zolote and Vovchoyrovka.

On Wednesday evening, the governor had said that Russian soldiers were mounting their reserves in the key city of Donbas as they tried to encircle Ukrainian troops.

But he had said that the “battles are continuing” and rejected Russian charges that its military has gained control of the city.

Arpan Rai23 June 2022 06:51


Russia increasing pressure in Donbas but efforts stalled in Donetsk, says British MoD

The British defence ministry said that the Russian fighters are increasing their grip in Ukraine’s eastern cities Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk but the efforts appear stalled in other parts.

“Russian forces are putting the Lysychansk-Sieverodonetsk pocket under increasing pressure with this creeping advance around the fringes of the built-up area,” the British MoD said in its latest intelligence update on Thursday.

It added that the Russian “efforts to achieve a deeper encirclement to take western Donetsk Oblast remain stalled”.

According to the ministry, in the last four days, “Russian forces have highly likely advanced over 5km towards the southern approaches of the Donbas city of Lysychansk”.

“Some Ukrainian units have withdrawn, probably to avoid being encircled. Russia’s improved performance in this sector is likely a result of recent unit reinforcement and heavy concentration of fire,” the ministry said.

Arpan Rai23 June 2022 06:24


Russia claims it has captured village in Sievierodonetsk

Pro-Moscow separatists said they have captured another village outside Sievierodonetsk, their latest territorial gain in Ukraine’s eastern region, reported Russian news agency Tass.

Officials in Kyiv have not confirmed the loss of territory to Moscow.

Meanwhile, the Russian forces continued their military assault on Ukraine’s second biggest city Kharkiv.

Kharkiv’s governor Oleh Synehubov said: “There is no letup in the shelling of civilians by the Russian occupiers.

“This is evidence that we cannot expect the same scenario as in Chernihiv or Kyiv, with Russian forces withdrawing under pressure,” he said.

Kharkiv has witnessed a spike in shelling and strikes from Russian forces, which comes just a month after Ukrainian troops had regained control on the city after pushing Moscow’s troops out.

Arpan Rai23 June 2022 05:16

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