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Latest Developments in Ukraine: June 11


This photograph taken on June 10, 2022, shows the regional government building destroyed by a Russian missile strike in March 2022, in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

The latest developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT.

11:55 p.m.: A senior U.S. defense official told The Washington Post that Russia is likely to seize control of the entire Luhansk region of Ukraine within a few weeks. The unnamed official said the cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk could fall to Russian forces within a week.

If Russia captures all of Luhansk, The Post said, it would leave Russia short of its initial goal for the invasion: controlling all of Ukraine's eastern Donbas region. But it would create a new front line in the ongoing war that could last for some time.

10:27 p.m.: Ukraine remains in control of the Azot chemical plant in Sievierodonetsk where hundreds of civilians are sheltering, the region's governor said Saturday, after a Russia-backed separatist claimed 300 to 400 Ukrainian fighters were also trapped there.

"The information about the blockade of the Azot plant is a lie," Serhiy Haidai, governor of the Luhansk region partially controlled by pro-Russian separatists, said on the Telegram messaging app.

"Our forces are holding an industrial zone of Sievierodonetsk and are destroying the Russian army in the town," he wrote.

Ukraine has said some 800 people were hiding in several bomb shelters underneath the Azot plant, including about 200 employees and 600 residents of Sievierodonetsk.

9:43 p.m.: An adviser to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy pushed back on remarks made by U.S. President Joe Biden that the Ukranian leader "didn't want to hear" about U.S. intelligence reports that said Russia would attack Ukraine in the days ahead of the February invasion.

Mykhailo Podoliak, an adviser to the head of the President's Office, wrote Saturday that Kyiv was aware of Russia's development of various invasion scenarios, according to Interfax Ukraine.

"Volodymyr Zelenskyy constantly had analysis on the table based on high-quality intelligence ... The question was always: What will be the scope of the invasion?"

"Ukraine understood the intentions of the Russians, expected one or another aggressive scenario, and prepared for it, which sharply broke the original Russian plans," Podoliak wrote.

9:19 p.m.: A Ukrainian governor accused Russia of using incendiary weapons in a village in Ukraine's eastern Luhansk province, southwest of the fiercely contested cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, The Associated Press reported.

While the use of flamethrowers on the battlefield is legal, Serhiy Haidai, governor of Luhansk province, alleged the overnight attacks in Vrubivka caused widespread damage to civilian facilities and an unknown number of victims.

"At night, the enemy used a flamethrower rocket system - many houses burnt down," Haidai wrote on Telegram on Saturday. The accuracy of his claim could not be immediately verified.

8:56 p.m.: Ukraine's first lady, Olena Zelenska, praised the impact Ukrainian women are having in the fight against Russia's invasion at an international conference in Brussels this week, according to The New York Times.

In a virtual address to the event, titled "Women in Conflicts," Zelenska hailed the actions of a history teacher who was the first Ukrainian woman to lead an artillery unit, a nurse who worked for the war effort until she lost both of her legs to a land mine, and a 15-year-old who drove wounded people to safety despite having gunshot wounds herself.

She also acknowledged the importance of those whose work is done away from the front lines of the conflict.

"They cannot be called passive victims, each of them has her own story of resistance,” Zelenska said. “Most of our doctors are women. Fifty percent of our entrepreneurs are women, and they work to support the economy."

7:49 p.m.: Russian-installed officials in Ukraine's southern Zaporizhzhia region have set up a company to buy up local grain and resell it on Moscow's behalf, a local representative told the Interfax news agency on Saturday.

Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of stealing Ukraine's grain and causing a global food crisis that could cause millions of deaths from hunger.

Yevgeny Balitsky, the head of Zaporizhzhia's pro-Russian provisional administration, said the new state-owned grain company has taken control of several facilities.

He said, "the grain will be Russian" and "we don't care who the buyer will be."

It was not clear if the farmers whose grain was being sold by Russia were getting paid. Balitsky said his administration would not forcibly appropriate grain or pressure producers to sell it.

7:23 p.m.: In Mariupol, an additional 24 deaths of children were reported by Ukraine's Prosecutor General's Office on Saturday, CNN reported, following Russian shelling during a months-long siege in the southern port city.

The blockade ended last month after Russian forces took control of the Azovstal steel plant where Ukrainian forces had holed up.

This brings the total death toll of minors during Russia's invasion of Ukraine to 287, the Prosecutor General's Office said in a Telegram post. More than 492 children have been injured during the war, according to the statement.

6:56 p.m.: The government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has authorized Russian troops, planes and ships to deploy to Nicaragua for purposes of training, law enforcement or emergency response, The Associated Press reported.

In a decree published this week, and confirmed by Russia on Thursday, Ortega will allow Russian troops to carry out law enforcement duties, "humanitarian aid, rescue and search missions in emergencies or natural disasters."

The Nicaraguan government also authorized the presence of small contingents of Russian troops for "exchange of experiences and training."

6:17 p.m.: Ukrainian and Russian forces duel with artillery in Lysychansk.

5:45 p.m.: Ukraine's state nuclear firm, Energoatom, said on Saturday it had helped restore an internet connection between the International Atomic Energy Agency and the servers of Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is occupied by Russian forces.

In a statement, Energoatom said the connection to the plant's servers was lost on May 30 but had been restored as of June 10, allowing the IAEA to resume monitoring data on the control of nuclear material at the plant, Reuters reported.

5 p.m.: More than 2.5 million Ukrainians have returned to their home country since the war started, reports Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. Research found the number of Ukrainians returning to Ukraine continues to exceed the number of people leaving the country. The agency said 5.5 million Ukrainian citizens have fled to the EU since the beginning of the war in February.

The study indicates Polish and Romanian border crossing points continue to observe the majority of the traffic. The pressure at the Polish and Romanian borders is exacerbated by the Russian blockage of seaport grain exports out of Ukraine as alternative land routes are being explored, reports Frontex.

4:40 p.m.: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is planning a visit to Kyiv alongside French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. They want to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Ukraine in June before the G-7 summit, reports the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

4:25 p.m.: Russian forces in control of territory in Ukraine’s south are moving forward with plans to hold a referendum on integrating the occupied areas into Russia, according to the mayor of the southern city of Kherson, reports Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty.

Ihor Kolykhayev, who continues running day-to-day operations in Kherson despite efforts by occupying forces to appoint their own mayor, said in an interview that a meeting recently took place in the city where Russian officials and local administrators appointed by them discussed when to hold a vote on whether the region would join Russia.

3:55 p.m.: President Volodymyr Zelenskyy insisted that Ukraine would prevail in its almost four-month-long war with Russia, reports Reuters.

As the fight for the Eastern region of the country worsens Russian forces have been trying to seize the city of Sievierodonetsk in an advance in the east, turning it into one of the bloodiest battles so far. Neither side has secured a knock-out blow in fighting that has pounded swathes of the city into rubble.

“We are definitely going to prevail in this war that Russia has started,” Zelenskyy told a conference in Singapore by videolink.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 global food prices have shot up. The United Nations said that as many as 19 million more people around the world could face chronic hunger in the next year because of the reduced exports of wheat and other food commodities.

3:30 p.m.: Ukraine said it had struck Russian military positions in the southern Kherson region where Kyiv's army is fighting to reclaim territory captured by Moscow early in the invasion, reports Agence France-Presse.

“Our aircraft carried out a series of strikes on enemy bases, equipment and personnel and field depots around five different settlements in the Kherson region," the defense ministry said.

2:25 p.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged international pressure to end a Russian naval blockade of Black Sea ports that has choked off his country's grain exports, threatening a global food crisis, reports Agence France-Presse.

Before the Russian invasion, Ukraine was the world's top producer of sunflower oil and a major wheat exporter, but millions of tons of grain exports remain trapped because of the blockade. The United Nations and some countries are pushing for a maritime corridor to be opened up to allow exports to resume.

1:35 p.m.: Ukraine is attempting to push back Russian troops in the east and south of the country as France offered help to ensure access to grain in the port city of Odesa, to help ease a global grain crisis, reports Agence France-Presse.

Fierce fighting continued in the eastern Donbas region. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Ukrainian forces were “holding on” despite increasing Russian firepower.

1:15 p.m.: Russian shelling of the Azot chemical plant in the embattled Ukraine city of Sievierodonetsk caused a powerful fire to break out after a leak of radiator oil, Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai said, Reuters reports.

Speaking on national television, Haidai did not say if the fire at the plant, where hundreds of civilians are sheltering, had been extinguished.

“Unfortunately, the enemy's artillery is simply taking apart, floor by floor, buildings that are being used as shelters," Haidai said.

12:50 p.m.: Ukrainian officials plead for more heavy weapons and ammunition. A top advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said about 200 Ukrainian soldiers are being killed in Dombas every day, reports Reuters.

12:20 p.m.: Residents in the Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk, in the country’s Luhansk region, describe a deteriorating situation with heavy street fighting between the Russian and the Ukrainian forces, reports Reuters.

Sievierodonetsk and its twin city, Lysychansk, are the last Ukrainian-controlled parts of Luhansk province, which Russia wants to seize. Sievierodonetsk Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk said about 10,000 civilians were still trapped in the city, roughly a tenth of its prewar population.

11:55 a.m.: Ukraine is in talks with other countries on providing more weapons. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he had spoken with his Polish counterpart, Zbigniew Rau, to discuss future deliveries of heavy weapons in a tweet Saturday. Kuleba said the two also talked about another round of EU sanctions on Russia.

On the battlefield, fierce fighting continued in the Donbas region, while Ukraine’s military launched several counterattacks in the Russian-occupied Kherson region in the south, reports Reuters.

10:50 a.m.: The U.S. defense secretary called on more international support for Ukraine Saturday, saying Russia’s aggression had wider implications for national sovereignty and the global order, reports the Associated Press

At a security summit in Singapore, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Russia’s invasion “is what happens when oppressors trample the rules that protect us all."

“It’s what happens when big powers decide that their imperial appetites matter more than the rights of their peaceful neighbors,” he added. “It a preview of a possible world of chaos and turmoil that none of us would want to live in.”

10:10 a.m.: A Ukrainian official said his country's army is running out of ammunition in its battles with Russian forces.

In the Mykolaiv region near the frontline in the south, the regional governor calls for urgent international military assistance, reports Agence France-Presse.

"Russia's army is more powerful, they have a lot of artillery and ammo. For now, this is a war of artillery ... and we are out of ammo," Vitaliy Kim said "The help of Europe and America is very, very important."

9:42 a.m.: Authorities in the Moscow-occupied city of Kherson in southern Ukraine handed out Russian passports to local residents for the first time on Saturday, reports Agence France-Presse.

Twenty-three Kherson residents received a Russian passport at a ceremony through a "simplified procedure" facilitated by a decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in May, Russia's TASS news agency reports.

"All our Kherson residents want to obtain a passport and (Russian) citizenship as soon as possible," the regional administration's pro-Moscow chief Vladimir Saldo was quoted by TASS.

9:17 a.m.: European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said her executive will “by the end of next week” finalize its opinion on whether Ukraine should be a candidate country to join the EU.

“The discussions Saturday will enable us to finalize our assessment by the end of next week,” she told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv during a surprise visit, reports Agence France-Presse

6:35 a.m.: Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said he had a productive meeting with British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace in Kyiv on Saturday and thanked the U.K for an “ironclad support” to his country.

6:20 a.m.: A lawmaker in Ukraine’s parliamentary security and defense committee said Saturday that his country is doing all it can to help save the three foreign nationals sentenced to death by authorities in Donbas for participating in the fight against Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking on national television, lawmaker Fedir Venislavskyi said government bodies in the defense ministry and intelligence, bodies dealing with “the exchange of prisoners, are taking all necessary measures to ensure these citizens of foreign states ... are saved," he said without giving further details, Reuters reported.

The foreign nationals, two British and a Moroccan, were accused of “mercenary activities” after they were captured Thursday, the Reuters report said.

4:50 a.m.:European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is in Kyiv Saturday for a meeting with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiyy and said she plans to discuss the country’s reconstruction and progress towards European Union membership in a Twitter post.

4:16 a.m.: Sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine are not having the impact experts expected, according to The New York Times. While inflation is high – about 17 percent – there are indications that manufacturing n Russia expanded in May. The Times says high energy prices are the main reason the Russian economy is (for now) weathering the sanctions.

3:30 a.m.: The British military intelligence report said Saturday that Russian bombers have likely been launching 1960s-era heavy, anti-ship missiles meant to destroy aircraft carriers with nuclear warheads against land targets in Ukraine.

The 5.5-ton Kh-22 missiles, when used in ground attacks with conventional warheads, are highly inaccurate and can cause severe collateral damage and casualties, the daily battleground intelligence report added.

3:00 a.m.: The office of Ukraine’s prosecutor general said on Saturday that it has learned about the deaths of 24 more children in Mariupol, the southeastern port that was besieged for weeks before Russian forces captured it in mid-May, Reuters reported.

In total, the office said that at least 287 children have died since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24th. More than 492 have been wounded.

“During the recording of criminal offenses, it has become known that 24 more children died in Mariupol, Donetsk region, as a result of the indiscriminate shelling by the Russian military,” the office said on the Telegram messaging app. “These figures are not final, as work is underway to establish them in places of active hostilities, in the temporarily occupied and liberated territories.”

Reuters reported that it was not able to independently verify the information.

2:58 a.m.:

1:41 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his country needs more heavy weapons from allies, because Russia aims to destroy every city in Ukraine's Donbas region, according to Al Jazeera.

"Every city – that’s not an exaggeration," Zelenskyy said in his nightly address. "Like Volnovakha, like Mariupol. All of these ruins of once-happy cities, the black traces of fires, the craters from explosions – this is all that Russia can give to its neighbors, to Europe, to the world."

"The Ukrainian troops are doing everything to stop the offensive of the occupiers, as much as is possible. As much as the heavy weapons, modern artillery – all that we have asked for and continue to ask for from our partners – allow them," he said.

12:33 a.m.: U.S. President Joe Biden told donors at a Democratic fundraiser Friday that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy "didn’t want to hear it" when U.S. intelligence gathered information that Russia was preparing to invade, according to The Associated Press.

"Nothing like this has happened since World War II," Biden said. "I know a lot of people thought I was maybe exaggerating."

"There was no doubt,” Biden said. "And Zelenskyy didn't want to hear it."

Although Zelenskyy has inspired people with his leadership during the war, his preparation for the invasion — or lack thereof — has remained a controversial issue.

In the weeks before the war began on Feb. 24, Zelenskyy publicly bristled as Biden administration officials repeatedly warned that a Russian invasion was highly likely.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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