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Latest Developments in Ukraine: June 12

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A view of the damaged Nika-Tera grain terminal, as Russia's attacks on Ukraine continues, in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, June 12, 2022.

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

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

11:37 p.m.: Protesters formed a human chain outside the European Commission building in Brussels in solidarity with Ukraine's bid to join the European Union, The Associated Press reported. Ukrainian officials have made various pleas in the past weeks for their country to be named a candidate for EU membership, a move that would bring the war-torn nation closer to the bloc without guaranteeing its admittance.

Protest organizer Yana Brovdiy told the AP that Ukraine had shown on "many occasions" it was a country that stood for "European values."

11:10 p.m.: The Interfax news agency, citing the Russian defense ministry, said Russian forces shot down three Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jets near Donetsk and Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, Reuters reported.

10:20 p.m.: It’s “unacceptable” for a Canadian official to have attended Russia Day celebrations at the country’s embassy in Canada, foreign affairs minister Melanie Joly said on Sunday.

A deputy protocol chief in Canada's global affairs department, Yasemin Heinbecker, attended Friday’s event, along with representatives of Egypt, Pakistan and some African nations, Reuters reported citing a report in the Globe and Mail newspaper.

“No Canadian representative will attend this kind of event again,” Joly said in a Twitter post.

Joly also reiterated Canada’s support for Ukraine against Russia’s invasion, which Moscow calls a “special military operation.”

Since the conflict began on February 24, Canada has imposed sanctions on more than 1,000 individuals and bodies with ties to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

9:40 p.m.: Ukraine has established two routes through Poland and Romania to export grain and avert a global food crisis although bottlenecks have slowed the supply chain, Kyiv's deputy foreign minister said, according to Reuters. Dmytro Senik said global food security was at risk because Russia's invasion of Ukraine had halted Kyiv's Black Sea grain exports, causing widespread shortages and soaring prices.

Ukraine is the world's fourth-largest grain exporter and it says there are some 30 million tonnes of grain stored in Ukrainian-held territory which it is trying to export via road, river and rail, Reuters reported.

8:35 p.m.: A pro-Russian separatist leader in eastern Ukraine said Sunday he would not alter the death sentences handed to two Britons and a Moroccan for fighting with the Ukrainian army, Agence France-Presse reported. “They came to Ukraine to kill civilians for money. That's why I don't see any conditions for any mitigation or modification of the sentence," Denis Pushilin, the leader of the separatist Donetsk region, which tried them, told reporters. Pushilin said the court had "issued a perfectly fair punishment" to the three fighters, according to AFP.

On Friday, Johnson's spokesman said he was "appalled" by the death sentences handed down to Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner and Moroccan Brahim Saadun.

7:20 p.m.: Amnesty International on Monday accused Russia of war crimes in Ukraine, saying attacks on Kharkiv, many using banned cluster bombs, had killed hundreds of civilians, Agence France-Presse reported. "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 on Ukraine's second biggest city.

6:18 p.m.:

5:40 p.m.: Kremlin-installed officials in occupied southern Ukraine celebrated Russia Day and began issuing Russian passports to residents in one city who requested them, as Moscow sought to solidify its rule over captured parts of the country, The Associated Press reported. At one of the central squares in the city of Kherson, Russian bands played a concert to celebrate Russia Day, the holiday that marks Russia's emergence as a sovereign state after the collapse of the Soviet Union, according to Russia's state news agency RIA Novosti. In the neighboring Zaporizhzhia region, Moscow-installed officials raised a Russian flag in Melitopol's city center, AP reported. ​

4:16 p.m.: In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy discussed Russian strikes on his country and the need for missile defense systems: “Today is the 109th day of a full-scale war, but it is not the 109th day as we tell our partners a simple thing: Ukraine needs modern missile defense systems. The supply of such systems was possible this year, last year and even earlier. Did we get them? No. Do we need them? Yes. There have already been 2606 affirmative answers to this question in the form of various Russian cruise missiles that have hit Ukrainian cities. Our cities, our villages for the period from February 24. These are lives that could have been saved, these are tragedies that could have been prevented if Ukraine had been listened to.” ​

3:25 p.m.: An exhibition has opened in Ukrainian capital Kyiv showcasing the paraphernalia of the war underway in the country, where civilians that haven't been witness to open warfare can view what has affected their lives so prominently, The Associated Press reported.

From captured vehicles and collected remnants of missiles, all the way to slippers, toothbrushes and burner phones that the Russian military used and left behind have been put on display at the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War, the AP reported.

Dmytro Hainetdinov, head of the museum's educational department, told the AP that many of the objects were collected by the museum's own staff visiting freshly liberated territories, where they would either find the things themselves or would be given to them by locals.

2:01 p.m.: A former British soldier has been killed fighting for Ukraine in the city of Sievierodonetsk, his family said on social media. Jordan Gatley left the British Army in March, his family said, and went to Ukraine to help in the fight against the Russian invasion. Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak praised Gatley as a “true hero.” “We will always remember his contribution to the protection of Ukraine and the free world," Podolyak wrote in a Twitter post.

1:40 p.m.: Russia could soon mount a push to completely encircle the Ukraine city of Sievierodonetsk, said the governor of Luhansk, the region that includes the city, the New York Times reported. Russian forces continued to press their advantage in numbers and longer-range weapons to wrest momentum in the grinding war in eastern Ukraine. The Luhansk governor said Russia could cut off Sievierodonetsk within days.

12:22 p.m.: Russian forces have blown up a bridge linking the embattled eastern Ukraine city of Sievierodonetsk to another city across the river, cutting off a possible evacuation route for civilians, local officials said on Sunday. Reuters reported that Russian forces have taken most of the city but Ukrainian troops remain in control of an industrial area and chemical plant where hundreds of civilians are sheltering. Sievierodonetsk continues to be the epicenter of the battle for control over Ukraine's eastern region of Donbas.

11:50 a.m.: On Sunday, hundreds of people in Moscow streamed into the new McDonald’s of Russia on opening day. Now under new Russian ownership and with a new name, which translates as “Tasty and that’s it,” there are plans to reopen hundreds of the restaurants soon after the iconic fast-food chain suspended its operations in Russia three months ago. The logo is different, but still evokes the golden arches: a circle and two yellow oblongs — representing a beef patty and french fries — configured into a stylized M.

10:44 a.m.: Russian forces fired cruise missiles to destroy a large depot containing U.S. and European weapons in western Ukraine's Ternopil region, according to Interfax, an independent Russian news agency. The governor of the Ternopil region said a rocket attack on the city of Chortkiv fired from the Black Sea had partly destroyed a military facility, injuring 22 people. A local official said there were no weapons stored there.

10:21 a.m.: The leader of the Russian-backed separatist Donetsk region of Ukraine said on Sunday there was no reason to pardon two British nationals who were sentenced to death last week after being captured while fighting for Ukraine, Reuters reported.

A court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic on Thursday found Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner - and Moroccan Brahim Saadoun - guilty of “mercenary activities” seeking to overthrow the republic.

Britain says Aslin and Pinner were regular soldiers and should be exempt under the Geneva Conventions from prosecution for participation in hostilities. The pro-Russian separatists who control Donetsk say they committed grave crimes and have a month to appeal.

Two British citizens Aiden Aslin, left, and Shaun Pinner, right, and Moroccan Saaudun Brahim, center, sit behind bars in a courtroom in Donetsk, in the territory which is under the Government of the Donetsk People's Republic control, eastern Ukraine, June 9, 2022.
Two British citizens Aiden Aslin, left, and Shaun Pinner, right, and Moroccan Saaudun Brahim, center, sit behind bars in a courtroom in Donetsk, in the territory which is under the Government of the Donetsk People's Republic control, eastern Ukraine, June 9, 2022.

9:56 a.m.: Ukrainian and British officials are warning that Russian forces are relying on weapons that can cause mass casualties, as they try to make headway in capturing eastern Ukraine, reports the Associated Press.

Russian bombers have likely been launching heavy 1960s-era anti-ship missiles in Ukraine, the U.K. Defense Ministry said. The missiles were primarily designed to destroy aircraft carriers using a nuclear warhead. When used in ground attacks with conventional warheads, they “are highly inaccurate and therefore can cause severe collateral damage and casualties,” the ministry said.

9:35 a.m.: Russia is using its overmatch in force ratio and artillery to gradually seize territory in and around Ukraine's Sieverodonetsk, Britain's Defense Ministry said on Sunday, according to Reuters.

Russia has likely started preparing to deploy the third battalion from some combat formations in recent weeks, the ministry said in its latest intelligence update posted on Twitter.

9:19 a.m.: Sri Lanka may be compelled to buy more oil from Russia as the island nation hunts desperately for fuel amid an unprecedented economic crisis, the newly appointed prime minister said during an interview with the Associated Press.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he would first look to other sources but would be open to buying more crude from Moscow. Western nations largely have cut off energy imports from Russia in line with sanctions over its war on Ukraine.

8:27 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said no one knows how long the war in his country will last but that Ukrainian forces are defying expectations by preventing Russian troops from overrunning eastern Ukraine where the fighting has been fiercest for weeks.

In his nightly video address, Zelenskyy said he was proud of the Ukrainian defenders managing to hold back the Russian advance in the Donbas region, which borders Russia and where Moscow-backed separatists have controlled much of the territory for eight years.

“Remember how in Russia, in the beginning of May, they hoped to seize all of the Donbas?” the president said late Saturday. “It’s already the 108th day of the war, already June. Donbas is holding on.”

8:18 a.m.: The bodies of scores of Ukrainian fighters killed during the siege of the Azovstal steelworks in the southern city of Mariupol are still awaiting retrieval, the former commander of Ukraine's Azov National Guard regiment said on Sunday.

He said that under the terms of a recent exchange, around 220 bodies of those killed in Azovstal had already been sent to Kyiv but "just as many bodies still remain in Mariupol,” Reuters reported.

"Talks are continuing about further exchanges, to return home all the bodies. Absolutely all bodies must be returned and this is something we will work on," the former commander added in a video posted on his Telegram channel.

6:30 a.m.: Ukraine has established two routes through Poland and Romania to export grain and avert a global food crisis although bottlenecks have slowed the supply chain, Kyiv’s deputy foreign minister said on Sunday, according to Reuters.

Dmytro Senik said global food security was at risk because Russia's invasion of Ukraine had halted Kyiv’s Black Sea grain exports, causing widespread shortages and soaring prices. Ukraine is the world’s fourth-largest grain exporter, and it says there are some 30 million tons of grain stored in Ukrainian-held territory which it is trying to export via road, river and rail.

Ukraine was in talks with Baltic states to add a third corridor for food exports, Senik said. He did not give details on how much grain has already moved or would be moved through these routes. “Those routes are not perfect because it creates certain bottlenecks, but we are doing our best to develop those routes in the meantime,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of an Asian security summit in Singapore.

5:58 a.m.: At least 22 people were wounded when Russia struck the western Ukrainian town of Chortkiv, according to Agence France-Presse.

The strike was a rare attack in the west of the country.

"Yesterday at 19:46 (1645 GMT) Chortkiv was hit by four missiles, all fired from the Black Sea," regional governor Volodymyr Trush said in a Facebook post.

He said all 22 people wounded, who included seven women and a 12-year-old, had been hospitalized.

4 a.m.: The first 15 restaurants of former McDonald's Corp will reopen in Moscow on Sunday under new ownership and a new name, "Vkusno & tochka," which means "Tasty & that's it," the company said, Reuters reported.

Another 50 restaurants will be open on Monday, the company added. Sunday marks a new dawn for Russia’s fast-food lovers as restaurants formerly run by the hugely popular Western fast-food chain reopen under new branding and with renamed burgers, more than three decades after McDonald’s first opened in Moscow.

3:30 a.m.: Russian gas producer Gazprom said its supply of gas to Europe through Ukraine via the Sudzha entry point was seen at 41.9 million cubic meters on Sunday, unchanged from Saturday, according to Reuters.

An application to supply gas via another major entry point, Sokhranovka, was rejected by Ukraine, Gazprom said.

3 a.m.: Ukraine said Sunday that it remains in control of the Azot chemical plant in Sievierodonetsk where hundreds of civilians are sheltering, Reuters reported citing the region’s governor.

“Azot is not blocked, fighting is going on in the streets next to the plant,” Serhiy Gaidai said on Ukraine’s television. Gaidai said Russian forces will continue to try and capture the city on Sunday or on Monday.

2:35 a.m.: The European Commission will provide a clear signal next week on Ukraine's EU candidate status bid, Agence France-Presse reports.

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen, who made a surprise visit to Kyiv on Saturday, said talks she held with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "will enable us to finalize our assessment by the end of next week" -- the first time the bloc has publicly given a sense of timing.

Zelensky has pressed for rapid admission into the EU to reduce Ukraine's geopolitical vulnerability.

1:40 a.m.: Bitter fighting raged in the eastern Ukraine city Sievierodonetsk, but the region's governor said Ukraine remained in control of an industrial area and chemical plant where hundreds of civilians are sheltering from incessant Russian shelling, Reuters reported.

A Russia-backed separatist group on Saturday claimed 300 to 400 Ukrainian fighters were also trapped at the Azot plant.

Governor Serhiy Gaidai earlier conceded Russian forces now controlled most of the small city in Luhansk province, and said Russian shelling of the plant had ignited a big fire after an oil leak. It was not known if the fire was still burning on Sunday.

12:44 a.m.: A man was killed by an explosion while visiting a beach on the Black Sea, where mines are a growing concern, according to the Associated Press.

The Odesa city council said via Telegram that the man was there with his wife and son despite warnings to stay away from beaches. He was testing the water's temperature and depth when the explosion erupted.

Russia and Ukraine each have accused the other of laying mines in the Black Sea.

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

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