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Latest Developments in Ukraine: June 25

A Ukrainian serviceman looks at the ruins of the sports complex of the National Technical University in Kharkiv, Ukraine, June 24, 2022, damaged during a night shelling.
A Ukrainian serviceman looks at the ruins of the sports complex of the National Technical University in Kharkiv, Ukraine, June 24, 2022, damaged during a night shelling.

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

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

10:18 p.m.: Ukraine will win back all the cities it has lost to Russia, including Sievierodonetsk, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Saturday, admitting the war was becoming tough to handle emotionally, Reuters reported.

In a late-night video address, he also said Ukraine had been hit by 45 Russian missiles and rockets over the previous 24 hours, which he described as a cynical but doomed attempt to break his people's spirits.

"Therefore all our cities — Sievierodonetsk, Donetsk, Luhansk — we'll get them all back," he said.

It was the only time in the address that he mentioned Sievierodonetsk, which finally fell to Moscow's forces earlier in the day after weeks of brutal fighting.

"At this stage of the war it's spiritually difficult, emotionally difficult ... we don't have a sense of how long it will last, how many more blows, losses and efforts will be needed before we see victory is on the horizon," he said.

The relentless missiles attacks confirmed that sanctions against Russia were not enough to help Ukraine, which needed more weapons, he said.

"The air defense systems -- the modern systems that our partners have -- should not be on training grounds or in storage, but in Ukraine, where they are needed now, needed more than anywhere else in the world," he said.

9:10 p.m.: When Russian troops abandoned a BTR-82A armored personnel carrier, they dropped a grenade inside to render it unusable. Or so they thought. A Ukrainian soldier explains how they repaired the damage to put the APC back into the fight on their side. Watch this report from RFE/RL.

8 p.m.: As the war in Ukraine entered its fifth month, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday urged fellow G-7 leaders not to "give up" and he pledged fresh financial support for Kyiv, Reuters reported.

"Ukraine can win and it will win. But they need our backing to do so. Now is not the time to give up on Ukraine," Johnson said in a statement on the eve of a Group of Seven wealthy nations summit in the Bavarian Alps.

Britain stands ready to provide another $525 million in loan guarantees, the statement from Downing Street said, warning that the Ukrainian government fears it could run out of cash by autumn without fresh cash injections.

The pledge raises the total amount of British financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine this year to around $1.8 billion.

7:22 p.m.: Russian shelling damaged a nuclear research facility in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Saturday, the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate said.

The strike damaged some of the site's buildings and infrastructure but did not affect the area housing nuclear fuel and radiation levels there are within a normal range, it said in an online post.

Reuters could not independently verify the inspectorate's account of the incident.

6:58 p.m.: Ukraine's intelligence service said missiles were fired from Belarusian territory into a northern border region in an attempt by Russia to pull Belarus into the war, Agence France-Presse reported.

Ukraine says it suffered a "massive bombardment" from inside neighboring Belarus, a Russian ally not officially involved in the conflict.

6:27 p.m.: Russia's defense ministry said on Saturday that its troops have killed "up to 80" Polish fighters in "precision strikes" on the Megatex zinc factory in Konstantinovka (Kostyantynivka in Ukrainian), in the eastern Donetsk region, Agence France-Presse reported.

The region, claimed by Russia, has been the theater of combat since Moscow began its offensive in Ukraine in late February.

5:56 p.m.: Ukraine should see "visible results" of its counteroffensive in the Russian-occupied region of Kherson in Ukraine's south by August, the head of Ukraine's military intelligence agency said on Saturday.

In an interview in Kyiv, Kyrylo Budanov, head of the Defense Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, told Reuters that the counteroffensive there would be difficult, but that it was possible.

".. from August we should expect visible results of military activity from Ukraine. Just wait a bit and we'll see what it brings," he said, when asked about plans for a counteroffensive in Kherson.

5:16 p.m.: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told Sweden's prime minister he has not seen any tangible moves to address Turkey's concerns about her country joining NATO, Erdogan's office said Saturday, The Associated Press reported.

Sweden and Finland applied to join the Western military alliance in May following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Turkey, which is a NATO member, has so far blocked the applications, citing what Ankara considers to be a soft approach to organizations such as the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.

Turkey is demanding that Sweden and Finland grant extradition requests for individuals who are wanted in Turkey. Ankara claims the countries are harboring PKK members as well people it says are linked to a failed 2016 coup.

Turkey also wants assurances that arms restrictions imposed by the two countries over Turkey's 2019 military incursion into northern Syria will be removed.

4:48 p.m.: Russia will supply Belarus with Iskander-M missile systems within a few months, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a televised meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Saturday.

At the meeting, Reuters reported, Lukashenko asked for help to make Belarus's military aircraft nuclear-capable.

Putin said Belarus's Russian-built Su-25 jets could if necessary be upgraded in Russian factories.

And he promised to supply the Iskander-M, a mobile guided missile system codenamed "SS-26 Stone" by NATO, which replaced the Soviet "Scud." Its two guided missiles have a range of up to 500 km (300 miles) and can carry conventional or nuclear warheads.

4:17 p.m.:

3:32 p.m.: Ukraine is regrouping its forces from the city of Sievierodonetsk to higher ground in neighboring Lysychansk to gain a tactical advantage over Russia, the head of Ukraine's military intelligence agency said on Saturday.

In an interview with Reuters in Kyiv, Kyrylo Budanov said Ukrainian forces would continue their defense of that front from Lysychansk after it became impossible to hold the line in Sievierodonetsk.

"Russia is using the tactic ... it used in Mariupol: wiping the city from the face of the earth. Given the conditions, holding the defense in the ruins and open fields is no longer possible. So the Ukrainian forces are leaving for higher ground to continue the defense operations," he said.

Asked if he meant Lysychansk, he said: "Yes, this is the only higher ground."

2:50 p.m.: Russian forces have established full control over the city of Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, as well as the nearby town of Borivske, a senior defense ministry official said in a statement on Saturday.

"As a result of successful offensive operations, units of the people's militia of the LPR, with the support of Russian troops ... completely liberated the cities of Severodonetsk and Borivske," Russian defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

He said the attack had thwarted what he called a Ukrainian attempt to turn the city's Azot chemical plant into a stubborn center of resistance.

Konashenkov said LPR fighters now controlled the plant, where several hundred citizens had been sheltering. He made no mention of their fate.

2:30 p.m.: The New York Times reports that a secretive network of U.S. Special Operations forces is coordinating the flow of weapons into Ukraine.

The report cites current and former officials who say that CIA agents continue to operate in the country, mostly in Kyiv, directing much of the intelligence the United States is sharing with Ukrainian forces.

In addition, the Times says that "a few dozen commandos" from other NATO countries, including Britain, France, Canada and Lithuania, are working inside Ukraine, training and advising Ukrainian troops and providing an on-the-ground conduit for weapons and other aid. Commando Network Coordinates Flow of Weapons in Ukraine, Officials Say - The New York Times (

2:15 p.m.: U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo traveled to Turkey this week where he discussed Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the enforcement of “unprecented multilateral sanctions” imposed on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, the Treasury Department said in a statement on Saturday.

Adeyemo visited Turkey on June 22 to 24, the Treasury said, meeting with officials from the ministries of foreign affairs and of treasury and finance in Ankara and speaking with financial institutions in Istanbul. READOUT: Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo’s Visit to Turkey | U.S. Department of the Treasury.

1:45 p.m.: U.S. President Joe Biden and his G7 counterparts will agree on an import ban on new gold from Russia as they broaden sanctions against Moscow for its war against Ukraine, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Saturday.

According to the source, the U.S. Treasury Department will issue a determination to prohibit the import of new gold into the U.S. on Tuesday, in a move aimed at further isolating Russia from the global economy by preventing its participation in the gold market.

The U.S. Treasury Department declined to comment.

Western sanctions on Russia have not directly targeted commercial gold shipments but many banks, shippers and refiners stopped dealing with Russian metal after the conflict in Ukraine began.

Gold is a crucial asset for the Russian central bank, which has faced restrictions on accessing some of its assets held abroad because of Western sanctions.

12:35 p.m.: The mayor of Ukraine's capital has warned that an imposter is posing as him and communicating with other officials. Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko told German daily newspaper Bild that “several mayors in Europe have been contacted by a fake mayor of Kyiv who has been saying absurd things.” The mayors of Berlin, Madrid and Vienna all confirmed having video calls with someone claiming to be Klitschko. The office of Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey says she cut short a call with the reputed Kyiv mayor after his comments and questions made her suspicious. On Saturday, Giffey called the use of a phony Klitschko “a means of modern warfare,” referring to Russia’s four-month war on Ukraine.

11:45 a.m.: Russian authorities have removed a Polish flag from a memorial in the Katyn Forest marking the area where the mass killings of Polish officers by Soviet forces took place in April-May 1940, RFE/RL reports.

Local officials on June 25 confirmed that the flag had been removed amid tensions between Russia and Poland, which has vocally backed Kyiv and provided assistance following the Kremlin’s decision to invade Ukraine.
Andrei Borisov, the mayor of Smolensk, said on social media the decision was made by the Ministry of Culture.

“There can be no Polish flags on Russian memorials! And after the frank anti-Russian statements of Polish politicians, even more so,” he posted on the social media platform VKontakte, along with a photo. “The Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation made the right decision by removing the Polish flag. Katyn is a Russian memorial." Russia Removes Polish Flag From Katyn WWII Memorial Amid Tensions Over Ukraine Invasion (

11:00 a.m.: Ukraine’s security officials say YouTube, at Ukraine’s request, has blocked almost 500 pro-Russian channels with a total of more than 15 million subscribers, the Kyiv Independent reports.

10:45 a.m.: The mayor of Sievierodonetsk says Russian forces have fully occupied the strategic frontline city in eastern Ukraine after weeks of fighting and bombardment.

"The city is now under the full occupation of Russia. They are trying to establish their own order, as far as I know they have appointed some kind of commandant," Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk said on national television.

10:20 a.m.: The New York Times reports that Russian President Vladimir V. Putin today will meet Belarus President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko in St. Petersburg on Saturday, as the Belarusian Armed Forces are once again holding “mobilization” drills in the area bordering Kyiv, dispatching 3,500 to 4,000 soldiers to the area.

According to the Times, Ukrainian officials and Western observers think it is highly unlikely that Belarus will directly join the war at this time, as it could provoking social unrest at home and undermine Lukashenko’s grip on power.

9:20 a.m.: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday that he fears Ukraine could face pressure to agree a peace deal with Russia that would not be in its interests due to the economic consequences of the war in Europe.

"Too many countries are saying this is a European war that is unnecessary ... and so the pressure will grow to encourage - coerce, maybe - the Ukrainians to a bad peace," he told broadcasters in the Rwandan capital Kigali, where he is attending a Commonwealth summit.

Johnson said the consequences of Russian President Vladimir Putin being able to get his way in Ukraine would be dangerous to international security and "a long-term economic disaster".

8:45 a.m.: Ukrainian defense intelligence says overnight airstrikes on Ukraine from Belarus represent an attempt by Russia to draw Belarus into war, the Kyiv Independent reports.

Russia launched 12 missiles from Belarus territory, targeting Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Sumy oblasts overnight on June 25. Ukraine’s military intelligence notes this is the first airstrike on Ukraine conducted directly from Belarus, adding that it is Russia’s “provocation” to draw Belarus into its war against Ukraine.

8:20 a.m.: Western intelligence and military experts are predicting that Russia’s military will soon exhaust its combat capabilities and be forced to halt its offensive in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, the Washington Post reports.

The Post cites chatter on Russian Telegram channels and Ukraine’s deputy defense minister Anna Malyar, which suggest the Russian military is under pressure to bring all of Luhansk under Russian control by Sunday. But this will require using up artillery at a rate almost no military in the world could sustain for long, according to a senior Western official.

“There will come a time when the tiny advances Russia is making become unsustainable in light of the costs and they will need a significant pause to regenerate capability,” he said.

And at least one Russian analyst agrees.

“Russia does not have enough physical strength in the zone of the special military operation in Ukraine …. taking into account the almost one thousand kilometer (or more) line of confrontation,” the Post quotes Russian military blogger Yuri Kotyenok, writing on his Telegram account.

7:45 a.m.: RFE/RL reports Ukraine's top general has told his U.S. counterpart that his country desperately needs "fire parity" with Moscow to “stabilize" the situation in Ukraine's eastern Luhansk region, where Russia's artillery advantage has led Ukraine to begin evacuating troops from the key battleground city of Syevyerodonetsk.

"We discussed the operational situation and the delivery flow of international technical assistance," General Valeriy Zaluzhniy wrote in an online posting after holding a phone call on June 24 with General Mark Milley, the U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.Ukrainian General Calls For 'Fire Parity' As Troops Withdraw From Key Battleground City (

Kyiv has received billions of dollars in aid from its Western partners since Moscow’s invasion began on February 24. But Ukrainian leaders say much more is needed as Russia continues its grinding advance focused on encircling Ukraine's last pocket of resistance in the Luhansk region.

The Kyiv Independent reports that Ukrainian and German Finance Ministries Saturday signed an agreement for 1 billion euros funding "to finance priority social and humanitarian expenditures during martial law," according to a Ukrainian Finance Ministry statement. Ukraine has previously requested $5 billion per month in assistance from other countries. The Kyiv Independent - News from Ukraine, Eastern Europe

7:30 a.m.: The mayor of Ukraine's Sievierodonetsk said Ukrainian troops had "almost left" the strategic frontline city after holding out for weeks against advancing Russian forces.

Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk did not confirm whether a full withdrawal was underway. On Friday, regional authorities said Ukraine was set to pull back its troops there.

"Unfortunately, they have almost left the city," Stryuk said on national television.

5:43 a.m.: The New York Times reports Russia fired more than 40 rockets at Ukraine on Saturday, including some fired from Belarusian airspace.

5:22 a.m.: Al Jazeera reports that Russian missiles have hit the Yavoriv military base near Lviv. Maksym Kozytskyy, Lviv's governor, said six missiles were fired from the Black Sea, and four hit the base. The other two were intercepted, he said.

4:51 a.m.: The latest intelligence update from the U.K. defense ministry says Ukraine is likely reconfiguring its defense of the Sieverodonetsk-Lysychansk sector. It also notes that Russia has removed several generals from key positions. The next commander for the Southern Group of Forces is likely to be Colonel-General Sergei Surovikin, whose career "has been dogged with allegations of corruption and brutality," the update says.

4:07 a.m.: The Institute for the Study of War, a U.S. think tank, says Russian forces will likely prioritize encircling Ukrainian troops in Lysychansk before turning to Slovyansk.

In its latest assessment of the war in Ukraine, the group notes that Ukrainian troops continue to fight in Kherson. Additionally, Ukrainian partisans are attacking Russian collaborators in Kherson.

2:02 a.m.: The New York Times reports that the Ukrainian city of Mariupol is in desperate circumstances under Russian rule.

In a Telegram post, the Times said, the city's mayor, Vadym Boychenko, said there is no working sewage system or drinking water, and that garbage is burying the streets. Some 120,000 people remain in the city, and the mayor says Mariupol could be edging toward a health disaster driven by cholera and dysentery.

12:02 a.m.: The Kyiv Independent, citing Ukraine's military, reports that Ukrainian troops destroyed two Russian tanks, one horowitzer and seven armored vehicles. Ukraine also says it killed 46 Russian troops.

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