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Latest Developments in Ukraine: June 21

Workers stand outside a partially destroyed educational and laboratory building of a college hit the day before by a rocket in Kharkiv on June 21, 2022.
Workers stand outside a partially destroyed educational and laboratory building of a college hit the day before by a rocket in Kharkiv on June 21, 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:

11:30 p.m.: Recent fighting has favored Russia because of its huge edge in artillery firepower, a fact Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy acknowledged in a late Tuesday night address, Reuters said.

"Thanks to tactical maneuvers, the Ukrainian army is strengthening its defenses in the Luhansk region," he said. "That is really the toughest spot. The occupiers are also pressing strongly in the direction of Donetsk."

Luhansk and Donetsk provinces combined are known as the Donbas, where Russian-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces since 2014 following Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

"And just as actively as we are fighting for a positive decision by the European Union on Ukraine's candidate status, we are also fighting every day for modern weaponry for our country. We don't let up for a single day," Zelenskyy said, urging those nations supporting his country to speed up arms deliveries

10:45 p.m.: A court in Moscow on Tuesday extended the arrest of a municipal legislator charged with discrediting the country's military after his criticism of Russia's military action in Ukraine, The Associated Press reported.

Alexei Gorinov, a member of the municipal council of Moscow's Krasnoselsky District, has remained in jail since his arrest in April. He was accused of discrediting the country's military after speaking out against Russia's military action in Ukraine during the council's session in March.

Addressing the court on Tuesday, Gorinov rejected the charges and insisted that he was merely expressing his own political views.

He may face a fine or a prison term of up to 10 years if convicted.

His lawyers, noting he suffers from tuberculosis, asked the court to place him under house arrest, but the court dismissed the appeal and ruled Gorinov should remain in jail until November 19.

9:15 p.m.: Estonia summoned the Russian ambassador on Tuesday to protest an "extremely serious" violation of its airspace by a Russian helicopter, the second time in less than two weeks that Tallinn has reprimanded Moscow's envoy.

It also expressed solidarity with fellow Baltic nation Lithuania, which Moscow says will be punished for banning the transit of some goods to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

The Estonian foreign ministry said the helicopter had flown over a point in the south-east without permission on June 18.

"Estonia considers this an extremely serious and regrettable incident that undoubtedly causes additional tensions and is completely unacceptable," it said in a statement, repeating calls for Russian troops to leave Ukraine.

8:43 p.m.: Cyberattacks, disinformation and other forms of information warfare being waged in Ukraine are a "crystal ball" for future problems elsewhere, a Google executive told the U.N. Security Council Tuesday.

"States must find a way to turn the volume down and settle on some kind of deterrence doctrine for the cyber domain," Jared Cohen said at a council meeting on hate speech, incitement and atrocities in Ukraine. "There is no magical algorithm or single fix for this," he said.

Cohen heads Jigsaw, a part of Google that aims to build technology to combat disinformation, censorship and extremism online.

8 p.m.: The United Nations, along with its humanitarian partners, were able to deliver on Monday 12 trucks of critical supplies to help nearly 64,000 people in the cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Sloviansk, which is just 10 kilometers from the front line, has experienced intense shelling over the past weeks. Previously home to about 100,000 people, about a quarter of the population remains, mostly the elderly.

The people there have no piped water, and electricity is quite limited, Dujarric said, and basic supplies are limited. Monday’s humanitarian convoy reached Sloviansk with water purification tablets and vital hygiene supplies to cover the needs of 20,000 people, critical household items for around 2,000 people and enough food to feed around 5,000 people for a month.

In Kramatorsk, kits to purify water and hygiene supplies will be provided for more than 20,000 people, along with food assistance for at least 10,000.

7:15 p.m.: On Sharm el-Sheikh's sandy beaches many of the sun loungers lie empty. At a central promenade packed with shops, cafes and nightclubs, crowds are thinner than usual.

The resort on the southern tip of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula is reeling from the impact of the war in Ukraine, which has seen Ukrainians and Russians - previously among the town's top visitors - virtually disappear, tourism sector workers say.

Their absence has delivered the latest in a series of shocks to a sector that accounts for up to 15% of gross domestic product and generates sorely needed foreign currency.

6:34 p.m.: Poland’s foreign minister said Tuesday the current security crisis on the continent shows that Europe can’t defend itself without the United States, but that NATO members in the region should take more responsibility for their own protection, The Associated Press reported.

“Poland perceives the engagement of the United States in European security as a fundamental condition of peace in Europe,” Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau told a gathering of Polish ambassadors, in comments carried by the state news agency PAP.

He credited U.S. leadership in NATO as being key to a decision for a “rapid and effective adaptation to the Russian threat in 2016.”

It was then that NATO increased its presence on the eastern flank of NATO following Russia’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula in 2014 and its support for pro-Moscow insurgents in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

5:56 p.m.: Turkey’s military delegation will travel to Russia this week to discuss a possible safe sea corridor in the Black Sea to export Ukrainian grain, Turkish presidency sources told Agence France-Presse on Tuesday.

Russia's February 24 invasion of Ukraine halted Kyiv's Black Sea grain exports, causing global food shortages, though Moscow blames Western sanctions for the crisis.

The sources said a four-way meeting between Turkey, Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations would be held in Istanbul in the coming weeks, possibly with the participation of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The sources said the plan envisaged creating three corridors from Ukraine's Black Sea port city of Odesa under Kyiv's supervision, and that both Ukrainian and Russian food products would be shipped from there.

They said 30-35 million metric tons of grain could be shipped from there in the next six to eight months.

5 p.m.: Lviv buried Artemiy Dymyd, 27, who died while defending Donbas from Russian occupiers. His mother sings to him a last lullaby in the Lviv Garrison Church, according to Euromaidan Press.

4:23 p.m.: A Russian pilot died Tuesday when his fighter plane crashed near the border with Ukraine, according to the press service of the southern military district.

According to preliminary information, a technical malfunction could have caused the crash and a team from the Russian Aerospace Forces was rushed to the Rostov region to investigate.

The pilot was the only one on board, according to the Interfax agency.

3:45 p.m.: Italian Premier Mario Draghi secured Senate backing Tuesday to continue supporting Ukraine against Russia, following calls from the 5-Star Movement leadership for Italy to stop sending weapons and focus more on diplomacy.

Draghi outlined Italy’s Ukraine policy, and briefed senators on his recent visit to Kyiv alongside the French and German leaders, ahead of the European Council later this week. While providing no new information on the weaponry Italy had sent, Draghi thanked senators for their united support for the government line.

The government has provided no information on the specific armaments it has provided Ukraine, citing state secrecy.

3:10 p.m.: The United States said Tuesday it stood firmly behind Lithuania and NATO commitments to defend it after Russia warned the European Union member country over restrictions on rail transit.

"Specifically our commitment to NATO's Article Five -- the premise that an attack on one would constitute an attack on all -- that commitment on the part of the United States is ironclad," State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

2:30 p.m.: The U.N. World Food Program’s Executive Director David Beasley on Tuesday welcomed action by members of the World Trade Organization to allow humanitarian food aid to be purchased without any export restrictions. Beasley has repeatedly expressed concern about growing global food security challenges as a result of the war in Ukraine and the resulting disruption to agricultural supplies and trade.

2:18 p.m.: A White House official said on Tuesday it is "appalling" that a public official in Russia would suggest the death penalty for Americans captured in Ukraine, Reuters reported.

The Kremlin said on Tuesday that the U.S. citizens captured in Ukraine were subject to court decisions and did not rule out that they could face the death penalty.

"It's appalling that a public official in Russia would even suggest the death penalty for American citizens ... in Ukraine," said John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications.

2:06 p.m.: Russian soldiers opened fire on them with a cannon, machine guns and assault rifles. Twins Yevhen and Bohdan Samodiy and their friend Valentyn Yakymchuk were killed while walking down the street in their home village of Mokhnatyn, in northern Ukraine, on March 14, Dmytro Dzhulay with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Ukrainian service, has this report. (WARNING: viewers may find the content of this video disturbing.)

1:55 p.m.: The State Department is confirming the death of a U.S. citizen in Ukraine who is believed to be only the second American to have been killed in the conflict there, The Associated Press reported.

The department said Tuesday that Stephen Zabielski had died in Ukraine and that it is in touch with his family to provide consular support and assistance. “Out of respect to the family during this difficult time, we have nothing further,” it said.

The department did not provide a date or the circumstances of his death but an obituary published in his hometown newspaper said Zabielski, 53, had died on May 15. The Recorder in Amsterdam, New York, where Zabielski had lived until 2018, said he had been killed while fighting in the village of Dorozhniank, Ukraine.

Zabielski is at least the second American to have been killed in combat in Ukraine. In late April, Willy Joseph Cancel, a 22-year-old former Marine from Tennessee was killed fighting in Ukraine. In brief comments about Zabielski, the State Department reiterated longstanding advice it has given to Americans not to travel to Ukraine for any reason due to the fighting.

1:31 p.m.:

1:22 p.m.: One of the largest employers in Maine is permanently closing a Russian subsidiary and ceasing business in the country, The Associated Press reported. Westbrook-based Idexx Laboratories, a leader in veterinary medicine, disclosed its decision with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week, the Portland Press Herald reported.

The company said in a disclosure to investors that it was providing transition support to Russian employees affected by the closure. It said it is liquidating the Russian subsidiary. Idexx had 18 staff workers in Moscow before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the newspaper reported. Many other U.S. and international companies already had pulled out of the country since the invasion.

Idexx, which has more than 1,000 employees in Maine, is a leader in the veterinary diagnostics and software fields. The company reported more than $3.2 billion in revenue last year. Russia accounted for less than 1% of consolidated revenue, the company said.

1:16 p.m.:

1:07 p.m.: FIFA, world soccer's governing body, says it has extended its employment rules to help players, coaches and teams impacted by the war in Ukraine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

The association said in a statement on Tuesday that the move, which extends the right of foreign players and coaches to suspend contracts with clubs in Russia and Ukraine until June next year, will help bring players and clubs stability given the uncertainty surrounding Ukraine as it fights to repel Russia's unprovoked invasion.

"These provisions give players and coaches the opportunity to train, play and receive a salary, while protecting Ukrainian clubs and facilitating the departure of foreign players and coaches from Russia," the statement said.

The rule was first introduced on March 7, less than two weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine. FIFA has also banned Russian teams from all international competitions.

12:49 p.m.:

12:38 p.m.: U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland pledged during a visit to Ukraine on Tuesday to help prosecute war crimes committed since the Russian invasion in late February, Agence France-Presse reported.

"I'm here to express the unwavering support of the United States for the people of Ukraine in the midst of the unprovoked and unjust Russian invasion," Garland told reporters after meeting with Ukraine's Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova near the Polish-Ukrainian border.

"I'm here to continue our discussions, myself and the prosecutor general, of the actions that the United States is taking to assist the Ukrainian authorities in holding accountable those responsible for the atrocities or the war crimes that the entire world has seen," he said in remarks broadcast on Fox News.

"The United States is sending an unmistakable message - there is no place to hide," Garland said. "We and our partners will pursue every avenue available to ensure that those who are responsible for these atrocities are held accountable." Venediktova thanked Garland for his support, calling it "very important."

12:26 p.m.:

12:10 p.m.: Russia's ambassador in London said on Tuesday that Britain had asked for Moscow's help in connection with two British citizens sentenced to death in a Russian-backed separatist region for fighting for Ukraine.

A court in the breakaway Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine this month sentenced Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner and Moroccan Brahim Saadoun to death for "mercenary activities."

Their families deny that the trio, who were contracted by the Ukrainian armed forces, are mercenaries. Britain says its citizens were regular soldiers and should be exempt under the Geneva Conventions from prosecution for participation in hostilities.

"There was an approach by the British to us - they sent us a note but the note was so full of such arrogant and didactic expressions that it really didn't produce any desire in us to cooperate in these questions," Ambassador Andrei Kelin told Russia-24 TV.

11:44 a.m.:

11:28 a.m.: When television reporters Tikhon Dzyadko and Ekaterina Kotrikadze left Russia with other colleagues in March, they left the country without one of its few major non-government media outlets, Reuters reported.

The pair - leading journalists at independent TV channel Dozhd - have been broadcasting a current affairs show on their joint YouTube channel from neighboring Georgia since Dozhd went off air but are now preparing a formal relaunch from abroad.

A live stream they did last week had more than 92,000 views, allowing them to connect with some of their audience on one of the few online platforms that has not been blocked by the authorities.

11:17 a.m.: Russian forces attacked the eastern Ukrainian village of Moshchun leaving residents to pick through the resulting rubble, VOA’s Eastern Europe bureau chief Myroslava Gongadze reported Tuesday on Twitter.

11:03 a.m.: German self-propelled howitzers have arrived in Ukraine in the first delivery of heavy weapons promised by Berlin, Ukraine's defense minister said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Ukraine has pleaded with the West to send more and better artillery as the country runs out of ammunition for its existing Soviet-era arsenal, which is dwarfed by Russia's.

"We have replenishment!...The German Panzerhaubitze 2000 with trained Ukrainian crews joined the Ukrainian artillery family," Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on social media.

10:54 a.m.:

10:49 a.m.: Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel says his country will support local and international investigations of "war crimes" committed in Ukraine to ensure that those responsible are "identified, prosecuted, and punished," Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported. After touring the towns of Bucha and Borodyanka, Bettel said in a series of tweets on Tuesday that the destruction wrought by Russian forces during their invasion of Ukraine stands as a "symbol of senseless cruelty and violence."

10:34 a.m.: U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland visited Ukraine on Tuesday where he will discuss efforts to identify, arrest and prosecute those involved in war crimes and other atrocities committed during Russia's invasion, Reuters reported, quoting a Justice Department official.

Garland is slated to meet with Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, the department official told reporters.

Speaking to reporters in Ukraine as he entered the meeting, Garland said: "I'm here to express the unwavering support of the United States for the people of Ukraine in the midst of the unprovoked and unjust Russian invasion.

10:12 a.m.: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty published this photo essay on Twitter Tuesday, showing how citizens and first responders reacted to the destruction caused by recent Russian attacks on the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

10:00 a.m.: The U.N. Security Council was scheduled to meet on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. at headquarters in New York City to discuss Ukraine, VOA’s U.N. Correspondent Margaret Besheer reported. The meeting was requested by Albania under the agenda item “Maintenance of Peace and Security of Ukraine.” The focus will be on “Incitement to violence leading to atrocity crimes” and the main briefer will be Alice Nderitu, Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide. Two civil society briefers are also expected to participate.

9:33 a.m.: Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen addressed Ukraine’s parliament on Tuesday, expressing solidarity with the people of Ukraine. “For 117 days you have been defending yourselves against a brutal and shameless aggressor,” Frederiksen said. “Words cannot describe what you have suffered. Attacks against civilians, thousands of lost lives, millions of families forced to flee,” she added.

9:04 a.m.: The Kremlin said on Tuesday it did not know the location of two Americans captured while fighting in eastern Ukraine, but that they were mercenaries and could be sentenced to death in Russian-backed breakaway territories, Reuters reported.

Americans Alexander Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27, went missing this month while fighting near Kharkiv. Russian state media later showed video interviews with the pair, saying they had been captured by Russian-backed forces. Citing an unidentified source, the Interfax news agency reported that the men were in the separatist self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine.

Britons Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin and Moroccan citizen Brahim Saadoun were sentenced to death by a DPR court this month after being captured fighting with the Ukrainian army.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in a call with reporters that Moscow could not rule out that the two captured men, both from Alabama, would also be sentenced to death if put on trial in a separatist territory.

8:47 a.m.: Ukraine’s government has been urging its citizens to pay attention to air raid sirens and seek shelter as appropriate, as Russia continues its assault on the eastern city of Kharkiv, VOA’s Eastern Europe bureau chief Myroslava Gongadze reported Tuesday.

8:28 a.m.: Tay, a 3-year-old Belgian shepherd, likes his work sniffing out explosives left behind by Russian forces who once occupied the Ukrainian city of Trostyanets. He's among a number of dogs belonging to sapper teams who treat the search for deadly mines as a game. Their masters sometimes express disbelief at what the Russian troops have left behind, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

8:13 a.m.: Ukraine has detained a senior government official and a business leader suspected of being part of an alleged Russian spy network, Reuters reported Tuesday, quoting the Security Service of Ukraine.

The Security Service (SBU) did not name the two suspects but identified them as a senior official in the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers and a department head at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a business lobby. It said in a statement on the Telegram app that it had carried out a "multi-stage special operation" to neutralize the alleged spy ring.

"As a result: in Kyiv, the head of a department of the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers and the head of one of the directorates of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry were detained," the SBU said. "These officials passed on various intelligence information to the enemy: from the state of our defense capability to arrangements at the state border and personal data of Ukrainian law enforcement officers."

8:06 a.m.:

7:51 a.m.: One of President Vladimir Putin's top allies warned Lithuania on Tuesday that Russia would respond to a halt in the transit of EU-sanctioned goods to the exclave of Kaliningrad in such a way that the citizens of the NATO and EU member would feel the pain,Reuters reported.

Nikolai Patrushev, a former KGB spy who is now the secretary of Russia's Security Council, said Lithuania's "hostile" actions showed that Russia could not trust the West.

"Russia will certainly respond to such hostile actions," Patrushev was quoted as saying by state news agency RIA. "Appropriate measures are being worked out in an interdepartmental format and will be taken in the near future," he was quoted as saying. "Their consequences will have a serious negative impact on the population of Lithuania."

7:32 a.m.: Russia says it has reconfigured communications infrastructure in Ukraine's Kherson region and is now broadcasting Russian television channels to the region as Moscow continues to impose control on the southern area near Crimea, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

7:16 a.m.: “Africa is actually taken hostage” in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine amid catastrophically rising food prices, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the African Union continental body during a closed-door address, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

It took weeks of requests for Zelenskyy to address African nations June 20, many of whom retain close ties to Russia and failed to support a U.N. General Assembly resolution condemning the invasion earlier this year.

Official reaction to Zelenskyy’s speech was muted. African Union Commission chair Moussa Faki Mahamat, one of those who met with Putin, tweeted that African nations “reiterated the AU position of the urgent need for dialogue to end the conflict.” Current AU chair and Senegalese President Macky Sall tweeted that Africa respects “the peaceful resolution of conflicts and the freedom of commerce.”

Russia is the largest weapons exporter to sub-Saharan Africa, and Moscow emphasizes its long ties with African nations dating to the Soviet Union. Some African leaders, meanwhile, are exasperated by global powers’ efforts to choose one side or another.

7:04 a.m.: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday announced more aid to avert economic shock and a food crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.

6:57 a.m.: Ukraine is engaged in “complex” negotiations to free its ports from a Russian naval blockade, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said after the EU's top diplomat accused Russia of committing a "real war crime" by blocking grain exports from the ports, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

There has been no progress yet on “complex multilevel negotiations to unblock our Ukrainian ports,” Zelenskyy said, warning that the current global grain crisis would last as long as Russia's "colonial war."

Zelenskyy made the comments in a video address to the African Union June 20. Earlier on June 20, Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief, commented on the grain export situation at the start of a meeting of the bloc's foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

6:46 a.m.: Satellite images bolster accusations that Russia is transporting huge quantities of stolen Ukrainian grain to Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Ukrainian Service has documented a series of shipments through the largest grain terminal in Russian-occupied Crimea and published this investigative report.

6:34 a.m.: European Union leaders aim to maintain pressure on Russia at their summit this week by committing to further work on sanctions, a draft document showed, with gold among assets that may be targeted in a possible next round of measures The EU has adopted six packages of sanctions against Russia and Belarus since the start of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine on February 24, but several sectors including gas remain largely untouched as EU governments avoid measures that could damage their own economies more than Russia's, Reuters reported.

6:21 a.m.: It’s not a summer heat wave that’s making European leaders and businesses sweat. It’s fear that Russia’s manipulation of natural gas supplies will lead to an economic and political crisis next winter. Or, in the worst case, even sooner. The Associated Press on Tuesday published this explainer about the energy pressure game over the war in Ukraine.

6:15 a.m.: Germany will send weapons to Ukraine for as long as needed, said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, adding that since his trip to Kyiv last week, it had become only clearer that Ukraine belongs to Europe.

“One thing is clear: we will continue to support Ukraine, also with weapons, for as long as Ukraine needs our support,” Scholz said in a speech to German industry association BDI's Industry Day.

He underscored at the Tuesday event that Germany stood resolutely at the side of Lithuania and other eastern allies.

“Now is the time when everyone around the world who defends democracy and freedom, human rights and a liberal society has to join hands,” he said.

6 a.m.: The Baltic states on Tuesday asked for more financial support from the EU to handle Ukrainian refugees, the Lithuanian president’s office said.

“We must share the financial burden, which at the moment is unproportionally assigned to national budgets. EU solidarity is very important to assure proper support to war refugees from Ukraine,” Lithuania's president Gitanas Nauseda said in a statement.

5:30 a.m.: Ukraine reported heavy strikes Tuesday in the Sievierodonetsk region as Russian forces push to gain full control of the eastern city.

A spokesman for the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said at a daily briefing that fighting in Sievierodonetsk was fierce, with Russia conducting both airstrikes and shelling on Ukrainian positions.

Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai reported heavy fighting at the Azot chemical plant in Sievierodonetsk, where Ukrainian fighters and about 500 civilians are taking shelter.

Haidai also said Russian forces had brought “catastrophic destruction” to the city of Lysychansk, located just across a river from Sievierodonetsk.

5:15 a.m.: European countries are united in their support for granting Ukraine the status of European Union member candidate, Luxembourg’s foreign affairs minister said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

“We are working towards the point where we tell Putin that Ukraine belongs to Europe, that we will also defend the values that Ukraine defends,” Jean Asselborn told reporters before a meeting with other EU ministers.

5:05 a.m.: The website of British newspaper The Telegraph has been blocked in Russia following a request from the prosecutor general, data from state communications regulator Roskomnadzor showed on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Since sending troops into Ukraine in February, Russia has cracked down on media coverage of the conflict, introducing 15-year prison sentences for journalists who spread intentionally “fake” news about what it calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine.

4:30 a.m.: Reuters reported that the European Union ambassador to Russia has arrived at the Russian foreign ministry, the RIA news agency said on Tuesday.

The governor of Kaliningrad region said on Monday that the ministry would summon EU ambassador to Moscow Markus Ederer over Lithuania’s ban on the transit of goods under EU sanctions through Kaliningrad.

4:10 a.m.: Two Americans who were captured in Ukraine are currently located in the Russian-backed Ukrainian region of Donetsk, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing the Interfax news agency.

On Monday, the Kremlin said that two Americans detained in Ukraine were mercenaries not covered by the Geneva Conventions who should face responsibility for their actions.

“They were involved in firing and shelling our military personnel,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “They were endangering their lives.” When asked what crimes the Americans had committed, Peskov didn’t give specifics but said, “those crimes have to be investigated.”

3:45 a.m.: American actor and U.N. goodwill ambassador Ben Stiller met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to discuss “ways of further cooperation of the Ukrainian authorities with UNHCR,” according to a statement issued by the president’s office following their meeting.

2:45 a.m.: Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said on Tuesday that his country is committed to joining NATO, but must solve its territorial problems with Russia before that, according to Reuters.

He made the statement while attending an economic conference in Qatar.

2:10 a.m.: Ukrainian forces last week claimed their first successful use of Western-donated Harpoon anti-ship missiles to engage Russian forces, the British Military Intelligence said on Tuesday.

“The target of the attack was almost certainly the Russian naval tug Spasatel Vasily Bekh, which was delivering weapons and personnel to Snake Island in the north-western Black Sea,” the defense ministry said in its daily Twitter update.

The war has entered a brutal attritional phase in recent weeks, with Russian forces concentrating on Ukrainian-controlled parts of the Donbas, which Russia claims on behalf of separatists.

1:30 a.m.: Denmark’s energy agency declared a first level “early warning” alert over worries of its gas supply, due to uncertainty on energy imports from Russia because of the ongoing war in Ukraine, Agence France-Presse reported.

12:30 a.m.: Dmitry Muratov, editor of one of Russia’s last independent newspapers, auctioned off his 2021 Nobel Peace Prize medal on Monday, bringing in a record-shattering $103.5 million to benefit children displaced by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Organizer Heritage Auctions did not identify the winning bidder of the auction, which took place on World Refugee Day. The money is going to UNICEF’s humanitarian response for displaced Ukrainian children. Muratov was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with journalist Maria Ressa of the Philippines for their work to preserve free speech in their countries.

The previous record price paid for a Nobel Prize medal was $4.76 million in 2014.

Muratov said after Monday’s auction that he hoped “there was going to be an enormous amount of solidarity, but I was not expecting this to be such a huge amount.”

12:01 a.m.: European Council President Charles Michel said he would invite the EU to give Ukraine and Moldova candidate status to join the bloc at a summit this week, Agence France-Presse reported. The comments come after the European Commission recommended granting Ukraine candidate status last week ahead of an EU Council gathering in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

“Now is the time to acknowledge that the future of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia lies within the EU. I will invite you to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova,” Michel wrote in an invitation letter to council members, AFP reported.

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