Ukrainian soldiers describe what life is like in the trenches
Vladimir Putin’s top defence official has asked Ukrainian fighters trapped in a chemical plant in Sievierodonetsk to “stop their senseless resistance and lay down arms” from 8am Moscow time (0500 GMT)” as Russia tries to secure the key city.
Russia says it will allow civilians to leave via a humanitarian corridor, Mikhail Mizintsev, head of Russia’s National Defence Management Centre, told the Interfax news agency, as the final stages of the battle for Sievierodonetsk appeared to follow a similar path to the fighting in the port city Mariupol last month.
It comes as a Pentagon official said Mr Putin still likely has designs to capture all of Ukraine for Russia, though he has had to narrow his objectives in the current war.
Moscow has now focused its might on the eastern region of Donbas, where it has occupied large swathes of land.
Facing fierce resistance from the time Russia launched its invasion in late February, Moscow had to abandon offensives on several Ukrainian cities around one month into the conflict after failing to make significant progress.
Russian tactics causing extensive collateral damage in key Donbas city, says UK
The British defence ministry has claimed that the urban warfare tactics deployed by Russian forces have caused major collateral damage throughout the key Donbas city Sievierodonetsk.
“After more than a month of heavy fighting, Russian forces now control the majority of Sievierodonetsk. Russia’s urban warfare tactics, which are reliant on heavy use of artillery, have generated extensive collateral damage throughout the city,” the British MoD said in its latest intelligence update.
The ministry confirmed that the “elements of Ukrainian Armed Forces, along with several hundred civilians, are sheltering in underground bunkers in the Azot Chemical Plant, in the city’s industrial zone.”
“Russian forces will likely be fixed in and around Azot whilst Ukrainian fighters can survive underground. This will likely temporarily prevent Russia from re-tasking these units for missions elsewhere,” the ministry said.
According to the ministry, it is “highly unlikely that Russia anticipated such robust opposition, or such slow, attritional conflict during its original planning for the invasion”.
Arpan Rai15 June 2022 06:25
Defence ministers from nearly 50 countries to meet today; to discuss Ukraine’s weapon needs
Defence ministers from dozens of Nato nations and other parts of the world will discuss weapon deliveries to Ukraine today in Brussels as the besieged country faces a tough battle in the eastern region.
Ukraine has added more weapons to its wishlist to fight Russian military forces and asked for 1,000 howitzers, 500 tanks and 1,000 drones among other heavy weapons, the country’s presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Monday.
Bolstering support for Kyiv, western nations have vowed to help Ukraine with Nato-standard weapons, including advanced US rockets.
Wednesday’s discussion will be led by US defence secretary Lloyd Austin, more than a month after a similar discussion was held in Germany.
This is the third time nearly 50 countries are coming together to discuss military and other possible aid to Ukraine.
Arpan Rai15 June 2022 06:23
Putin’s troops tell Ukraine to surrender arms in battered Sievierodonetsk
The Ukrainian forces stuck in the chemical plant in Sievierodonetsk have been asked by Russian fighters to put down their arms by early Wednesday in a grim reminder of the battle in Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant.
Fighters should “stop their senseless resistance and lay down arms” from 8am Moscow time (0500 GMT),” Mikhail Mizintsev, head of Russia’s National Defence Management Centre, said, reported the Interfax news agency.
The top defence official added that Russia will allow civilians to leave via a humanitarian corridor.
This comes at a time when authorities have confirmed that Russia has captured around 80 per cent of the key Donbas city and is looking to gain more advantage in the area.
More than 500 civilians are trapped in addition to the soldiers inside the Azot chemical factory, Ukrainian officials have said as the country’s fighters have countered Russian bombings and missile strikes which have flattened Sievierodonetsk.
Arpan Rai15 June 2022 05:26
Donbas battle to decide domination of Russia or Ukraine, says Zelensky
The battle for the Donbas region between Russian and Ukrainian forces will be key in determining who will dominate the ongoing war in Europe, president Volodymyr Zelensky said late on Tuesday.
“Over the past day no drastic changes have taken place in the battle in Donbas. The fiercest fighting is in Sievierodonetsk and in all cities and communities nearby – as before. The losses, unfortunately, are painful. But we have to hold on. This is our state,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly address.
He added that it is “vital” for Ukraine to hold on in Donbas. “The more losses the enemy suffers there, the less power they will have to continue the aggression. Therefore, the Donbas direction is key to determining who will dominate in the coming weeks,” he said.
“We also have painful losses in the Kharkiv region, where the Russian army is trying to strengthen its position. The battles for this direction continue, and we still have to fight hard for complete security for Kharkiv and the region,” the wartime president said.
Mr Zelensky said his troops will continue to put pressure on Russian soldiers engaged in the fierce battle in the southern part of the country.
“The key goal is the liberation of Kherson, and we will move towards this step by step,” he said.
Arpan Rai15 June 2022 05:16
Aerial view shows bombed houses flattened in Donbas
Arpan Rai15 June 2022 05:15
Ukraine ‘cut the wings’ of Russian missiles, says Zelensky
Volodymyr Zelenksy has said his country’s air defence units intercepted Russian missiles and managed to “save lives”, but that only some of the missiles were successfully targeted.
“Today, our air defence units managed to ‘cut the wings’ of Russian missiles. Some of the missiles fired by the occupiers at our cities were shot down. And these are saved lives. This is saved infrastructure,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly address late on Tuesday.
“But we managed to shoot down only part of them. Unfortunately, there are victims, there is destruction,” Mr Zelensky said.
Talking about the increased Russian attacks in parts of Ukraine, Mr Zelensky said: “Today, the Lviv and Ternopil regions were hit. And we keep telling our partners that Ukraine needs modern anti-missile weapons.”
Pressing for more artillery, he added: “Our country does not have it at a sufficient level yet, but it is our country in Europe that needs such weapons most right now. Delay with its provision cannot be justified. I will constantly emphasise this when talking to our partners.”
Arpan Rai15 June 2022 04:32
Russia controls 80 per cent of key Donbas city
The city of Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine has not yet been blocked off by Russian troops, but they control about 80 per cent of the area and have destroyed all three bridges leading out of it, an official said.
“There is still an opportunity for the evacuation of the wounded, communication with the Ukrainian military and local residents,” Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai told the Associated Press.
He acknowledged that Ukrainian forces have been pushed out to the industrial outskirts of the city because of “the scorched earth method and heavy artillery the Russians are using”.
Matt Mathers15 June 2022 03:00
Putin still wants all of Ukraine despite setbacks, says Pentagon
Vladimir Putin likely still plans to capture all of Ukraine but has had to narrow his objectives in the current war, a senior Pentagon official said today.
Russia abandoned its offensives on several Ukrainian cities around one month into its invasion after failing to make significant progress. Russian officials claimed it was because they had achieved their objectives but western officials pointed to the huge losses of troops and equipment suffered by Russia.
Moscow has since focused on the eastern region of Donbas, where it has now taken swathes of land.
Many commentators have suggested that Mr Putin longs for Ukraine and other former parts of the Russian empire to return to Moscow’s control.
Speaking on Tuesday at an event hosted by the Centre for New American Security, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl said: “I still think he has designs on a significant portion of Ukraine, if not the whole country. That said, I do not think he can achieve those objectives.
“They may make tactical gains here and there. The Ukrainians are holding up. I do not think the Russians have the capacity to achieve those grandiose objectives.”
Liam James15 June 2022 02:00
US Open to allow Russian players
The US Open will allow tennis players from Russia and Belarus to compete this year despite the ongoing war in Ukraine, which prompted Wimbledon to ban those athletes.
US Tennis Association (USTA) CEO and executive director Lew Sherr, whose group runs the tournament, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that the USTA Board decided to let Russians and Belarusians enter the tournament because of “concern about holding the individual athletes accountable for the actions and decisions of their governments”.
Mr Sherr said athletes from Russia and Belarus will play at Flushing Meadows under a neutral flag – an arrangement that’s been used at various tennis tournaments around the world, including the French Open, which ended 5 June.
Since Russia began its attacks on Ukraine in February, Russian athletes have been prevented from taking part in many sports, including the football World Cup qualifying playoffs. Belarus has aided Russia in the war.
Liam James15 June 2022 01:00
Top Putin critic transferred from penal colony to high security prison
Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, has been abruptly moved from the prison where he was serving an 11 and a half year sentence to a high-security penal colony farther from Moscow.
Mr Navalny, by far Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, casts Vladimir Putin’s Russia as a dystopian state run by thieves and criminals where wrong is cast as right and judges are in fact representatives of a doomed elite.
His top aide, Leonid Volkov, shared news of the transfer on the Telegram app on Tuesday.
Mr Volkov said when Mr Navalny’s lawyer visited the prison camp near Moscow where the opposition was thought to be held he was told: “There is no such convict here.”
Regional prison observer Sergey Yazhan later said Mr Navalny had been taken to the IK-6 penal colony at Melekhovo near Vladimir, about 155 miles east of Moscow.
Just last month, Mr Navalny lambasted Mr Putin via video link in a Russian court, casting the Kremlin chief as a madman who started a “stupid war” that was butchering the innocent people of both Ukraine and Russia.
Liam James15 June 2022 00:00