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Latest Developments in Ukraine: June 6


Smokes raises from a railway service facility hit by a Russian missile strike in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, June 5, 2022.
Smokes raises from a railway service facility hit by a Russian missile strike in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, June 5, 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

11:05 p.m.: Japan’s foreign ministry said Tuesday that it will freeze the assets of two more Russian banks and one more Belarusian bank as part of additional sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported.

10:20 p.m.: In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged others to “not forget that business, culture and ordinary people can also do a lot to keep Ukraine at the top of global attention.”

Zelenskyy “congratulated the journalists on their professional holiday. During the war, the word ‘holiday’ sounds very unnatural, but every year on this day, June 6, greetings are heard for the people on whom, of course, we all depend. On the information they spread. On the speed at which they work.”

9:05 p.m.: The United States accused Russia of trying to "intimidate" Moscow-based American correspondents who were summoned by the Russian foreign ministry and threatened with reprisals because of U.S. sanctions, Agence France-Presse reported.

"The Russian Ministry of Foreign affairs summoned your colleagues to quote 'explain to them the consequences of their government's hostile line in the media sphere,'" State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters in Washington, AFP reported. "Let's be clear, the Kremlin is engaged in a full assault on media freedom, access to information and the truth.” He called it "a clear and apparent effort to intimidate independent journalists."

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova threatened at the end of May to expel Western media if YouTube continued to block the department's weekly briefings, AFP reported.

8:15 p.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there are "credible reports" that Russia is "pilfering" Ukraine's grain exports to sell for profit, Reuters reported. Speaking during a virtual roundtable with philanthropies, non-governmental organizations and private sector entities, Blinken said the alleged theft was part of broader Russian actions during its war in Ukraine that have hit Ukraine's ability to export its wheat crop and worsened a global food security crisis.

Ukraine has accused Russia of shipping Ukrainian grain to countries including Turkey and Syria, Reuters reported. European Council President Charles Michel, in front of the 15-member U.N. Security Council, accused Moscow of fueling a global food crisis with its invasion of Ukraine, causing Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia to storm out.

7:05 p.m.: Russia has begun turning over the bodies of Ukrainian fighters killed at the Azovstal steelworks in the destroyed city of Mariupol where their last-ditch stand became a symbol of resistance against Moscow's invasion, The Associated Press reported. Dozens of the dead taken from the bombed-out mill's now Russian-occupied ruins have been transferred to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, where DNA testing is underway to identify the remains, according to both a military leader and a spokeswoman for the Azov Regiment, the AP reported.

6:18 p.m.: Ukraine’s president is asking for a secure corridor for Ukrainian vessels to be able to ship out grain and prevent food shortages in Africa and Asia, The Associated Press reported. Volodymyr Zelenskyy told a news conference on Monday that Kyiv is in talks with countries like Turkey and the U.K. about security guaranties for Ukrainian ships.

“It is important for us that there is a security corridor ... that the fleet of this or that country ensures the shipping of the grain,” Zelenskyy said. Zelenskyy adds that “if now we have 22-25 million tons blocked there, in the fall we might have 75 (million tons).”

“What are we going to do? he asked. ”That’s why we can’t do without the ports.” The issue of blocked grain will be on the agenda on Wednesday during Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to Turkey. Ankara is involved in efforts by the United Nations to reach an agreement for the shipment of Ukrainian grain amid an escalating food crisis.

5:24 p.m.: The U.N. envoy on sexual violence in conflict says sexual violence in Ukraine especially against women and girls remains prevalent and underreported, and the humanitarian crisis in the war-torn country is turning into “a human trafficking crisis,” The Associated Press reported. Pramila Patten told the U.N. Security Council Monday that there is a gap between its resolutions aimed at preventing rape and other sexual attacks during conflicts and the reality on the ground for the most vulnerable — women and children.

As of June 3, she said, the U.N. human rights office had received 124 allegations of conflict-related sexual violence — 97 against women and girls, 19 against men, 7 against boys and 1 gender unknown. Verification of these cases is on-going, she said.

Patten said Ukraine’s prosecutor general informed her during a visit in May that a national hot line reported the following forms of conflict-related sexual violence between Feb. 24, when Russian troops invaded the country, and April 12: “rape, gang rape, pregnancy following rape, attempted rape, threats of rape, coercion to watch an act of sexual violence committed against a partner or a child, and forced nudity.” ​

4 p.m.: Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia stormed out of a U.N. Security Council meeting on Monday as European Council President Charles Michel addressed the 15-member body and accused Moscow of fueling a global food crisis with its invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported. Michel had also accused Russian troops of war crimes and crimes against humanity, specifically citing reports of sexual violence — the focus of the Security Council meeting — and describing it as "a tactic of torture, terror and repression."

3:38 p.m.:

3:16 p.m.: While Ukrainian forces battle for control of the key eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, Russian artillery bombardments continued in the region. Ukrainian officials report at least one person was killed in Druzhkivka. Residents of the town, to the west of Sievierodonetsk, report waking up to the sound of missiles and shattering glass. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty put together this photo essay about the people of Druzhkivka who suffer under Russian artillery bombardment.

3:05 p.m.:

2:58 p.m.: There has been no change in U.S. Embassy posture in Kyiv, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters, after Russian missiles on Sunday hit Kyiv for the first time in more than a month. The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv resumed operations last month, nearly three months after removing its diplomats and suspending work there over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported.

2:39 p.m.:

1:52 p.m.: Ukraine's president says Russian forces intend to capture the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia, a move that could severely weaken Ukraine's standing and allow the Russian military to advance closer to the center of the country, The Associated Press reported.

"In the Zaporizhzhia region ... there is the most threatening situation there," Volodymyr Zelenskyy told reporters on Monday. He added that part of the region already has been taken and Russia wants to take the city next.

In the south of Ukraine, Russia has already seized large cities of Kherson and Mariupol. The Zaporizhzhia region, with a population of 1.6 million people, is one of the biggest industrial hubs of Ukraine's southeast. The city itself has 722,000 people.

1:36 p.m.:

1:18 p.m.: The president of Ukraine's separatist Donetsk People's Republic says the region's supreme court is opening the trial of three British men alleged to have been mercenaries for Ukrainian forces, The Associated Press reported. If convicted on the charges, including of trying to seize power, the men could face the death penalty. Separatist leader Denis Pushilin on Monday said "the crimes they committed were monstrous," according to separatist news agency DAN. They are also charged with committing crimes against groups of people. Two of the men, Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, were members of regular Ukrainian military units in Mariupol. The affiliation of Andrew Hill, who was captured in the Mykolaiv area, is unclear.

1:07 p.m.:

12:43 p.m.: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty correspondent Roman Pahulych, embedded with a Ukrainian mortar team on June 2 in the Donetsk region, witnessed how they target Russian troops, including their counterparts using similar weapons against them. "Usually, it's the third shell that hits it. The first one is ranging fire, the second is adjustment fire, and the third one usually hits the target," according to one member of the Ukrainian unit.

12:37 p.m.: President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Monday ordering the payment of 5 million rubles ($81,500) to the families of members of Russia's National Guard who died in Ukraine and Syria, Reuters reported. The decree amounted to official recognition that members of the guard, known as Rosgvardia, are among the casualties of the war in Ukraine that Russia describes as a special military operation. The force, which answers directly to Putin, was created in 2016 to fight terrorism and organized crime, and has been used domestically to crack down on peaceful anti-government protests.

12:20 p.m

12:04 p.m.: The phones of Ukrainian officials have been targeted by hackers as Russia pursues its invasion of Ukraine, a senior cybersecurity official said Monday, according to Reuters. Victor Zhora, the deputy head of Ukraine's State Special Communications Service, said that phones being used by the country's public servants had come under sustained targeting. "We see a lot of attempts to hack Ukrainian officials' phones, mainly with the spreading of malware," Zhora told journalists at an online news conference meant to mark the 100 days since Russian forces poured across the border. Zhora said his service had, so far, not seen any evidence that Ukrainian devices had been compromised.

11:56 a.m.:

11:26 a.m.: The Moscow region's prosecutor's office has started the process to strip an activist who has protested against the war in Ukraine of his Russian citizenship, even though he has lived almost his entire life in Russia and would be stateless if his passport is revoked. Arshak Makichyan, a 28-year-old musician who is currently traveling in Germany, said in a video statement on Twitter on June 6 that he had lived in Russia for the past 27 years and accused the authorities of punishing him "for not being silent." He obtained his citizenship in 2004. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this story.

11:13 a.m.: Investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov, known for his coverage of Russian security agencies, said on Monday that Russian authorities had placed him on a wanted list and frozen his bank accounts, Reuters reported. Soldatov, who co-founded the website, wrote on Twitter: "My Monday: my accounts in Russian banks are under arrest, plus I'm placed on Russia's wanted list."

11:05 a.m.:

11:02 a.m.: Reuters reported Monday that the U.S.-funded broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) has been fined 20 million rubles ($325,000) in Russia for failing to delete what Moscow calls "fake" news about its military operation in Ukraine, the Interfax news agency reported on Monday.

According to Interfax, Radio Liberty refused to delete reports that included a tally of deaths among civilians and Russian service personnel "as well as extremist statements about Russians." Russia has not provided military casualty figures since March. RFE/RL said in March that it had been targeted for telling the truth, and that it planned to continue reporting on Russia from outside the country.

RFE/RL, which also runs a news website, has been given a slew of fines in recent months and said in March that it was suspending operations in Russia after it was declared bankrupt and police pressure against its journalists intensified. A hearing on its appeal against the bankruptcy ruling is scheduled for Wednesday.

11:01 a.m.:

10:58 a.m.: Russia’s ambassador in Rome has been summoned to the Italian foreign ministry following anti-Italy remarks by Russian government officials, The Associated Press reported. The foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday that Ambassador Sergey Razov was summoned on instructions on Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and “in concert” with the office of Italian Premier Mario Draghi. Last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov derided Di Maio’s peace plan, which had been relayed to the United Nations. Lavrov described the plan, which called for incremental cease-fires as well as humanitarian corridors in Ukraine, as not serious. Lavrov also insinuated that Di Maio was out for “self-promotion” to gain votes.

10:56 a.m.:

10:42 a.m.: "Sorry, that was the last bottle of Czech beer we had," said a waiter at a central Moscow restaurant, a month after Russia sent troops into Ukraine and the West imposed sweeping sanctions, Reuters reported. More than 100 days into what Russia calls a special military operation in Ukraine, foreign alcohol is still available in Moscow pubs, but the once ample reserves are dwindling.

10:38 a.m.:

10:12 a.m.: Ukraine's harvested crops risk rotting in silos or on ships after Russia's February invasion, triggering fears of worsening global hunger, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported. Before the war, Ukraine exported more than 5 million metric tons of grain every month, most of it via its ports on the Black Sea. But now Russian warships block those ports, making such shipments impossible, and dealing a blow to global food supplies, not to mention Ukraine's agricultural sector.

Ukraine, its neighbors, and the EU, are now scrambling to find other routes to get Ukrainian grain to market, with rail emerging as a viable option despite a legion of logistical challenges. Ukraine also accuses Russia of looting its grain and trying to sell it to other countries, and the U.N. says there is anecdotal evidence backing that charge.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has proposed creating a naval mission involving a "coalition of the willing" to escort Ukrainian ships across the Black Sea. So far, that idea remains just that, amid fears of an escalation of the conflict.

9:59 a.m.: The U.N. World Food Program on Monday tweeted a short video explaining how the conflict in Ukraine is affecting global food security.

9:51 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Monday that Russian forces had the numerical advantage in the battle for the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, but that Ukraine's forces had "every chance" of fighting back, Reuters reported. Zelenskyy told reporters at a briefing in Kyiv that the situation would become very difficult for Ukraine if Russia breaks through in the eastern region of Donbas.

9:38 a.m.: With Ukraine's capital squarely back in the sights of Russian missile launchers for the first time in weeks, many residents are bracing for more of the bombing that killed civilians and left hundreds of buildings damaged or destroyed before the Russians pulled back from the outskirts of Kyiv in April, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

Ukrainian military planners repeated warnings this week that the chances are "high" that Russian President Vladimir Putin's forces will launch a second assault on the city, as they reportedly grind out gains further east, especially in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko told a Davos forum last week that at least 120 Kyiv residents had been killed and 300 wounded since the large-scale Russian invasion began on February 24.

9:22 a.m.: The Ukraine Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees tweeted Monday that in 100 days of war in Ukraine, over 7.1 million have been forced to flee their homes as fighting continues.

9:07 a.m.: Russia's foreign minister has warned the West that if it provides Ukraine with long-range rockets, Moscow will respond by taking over larger areas of Ukraine, The Associated Press reported. Speaking during an online news conference Monday, Sergey Lavrov said that “the longer the range of weapons you supply, the farther away the line from where neo-Nazis could threaten the Russian Federation will be pushed.”

The U.S. and Britain have announced they will provide Ukraine with multiple rocket-launchers capable of striking targets at distances of up to 80 kilometers (50 miles). The systems are capable of firing longer range rockets that can hit areas of up to 300 kilometers (186 miles) away, but the U.S. said it wouldn’t supply that type.

Asked how Moscow would respond if the U.S. and its allies changed their mind and provided Ukraine with long-range rockets, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in televised comments Sunday that Moscow will “draw appropriate conclusions and use our strike means, which we have plenty of, in order to hit the facilities that we haven’t struck yet.”

8:40 a.m.:

8:25 a.m.: A regional governor in Ukraine says that the situation in a key eastern town has worsened, according to The Associated Press. Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai said Monday that fierce fighting was continuing in the city of Sievierodonetsk in the epicenter of the Russian offensive. He described the combat situation as “quite dynamic.”

“Our defenders managed to conduct counteroffensive and free nearly half of the city, but the situation has worsened again now,” Haidai told the AP. “Our guys are defending the positions in the industrial zone on the outskirts of the city.” He said, “The shelling of Sievierodonetsk has intensified, (the Russians) are destroying everything in line with their scorched earth tactics.”

Haidai said that the Russians have continued intensive bombardment also of nearby Lysychansk. The Russians “have an enormous amount of equipment and personnel, they have pulled up a lot of reserves,” he said. He added that they had shelled a humanitarian center in Lysychansk and destroyed a bakery, and that 98 people had left the town over the past 24 hours. Haidai said that a key highway between Bakhmut and Lysychansk has been under constant shelling even though it remains in Ukrainian hands.

8:19 a.m.: Volunteers from Georgia, France, Australia, Brazil, and other countries are fighting on the front line in the battle for the eastern Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Ukrainian Service correspondent Maryan Kushnir accompanied a unit of men who say they have come from abroad to help defend Ukraine against Russian occupation.

8:06 a.m.: Ukraine has concentrated enough forces to repel Russian attacks in the frontline eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, but neither side is preparing to withdraw and street fighting rages, mayor Oleksandr Stryuk told Ukrainian television. "(We) have focused enough forces and resources there to beat back attacks on the city," Stryuk said. In separate comments, Defence Ministry spokesperson Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told a briefing that Russia was not sparing troops or equipment in its push to capture Sievierodonetsk, the largest remaining Ukrainian-controlled city in Luhansk region, Reuters reported.

7:44 a.m.: Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had strong words about the war in Ukraine at a ceremony Monday commemorating the 78th anniversary of D-Day, The Associated Press reported. Speaking in the American Cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer, overlooking Omaha Beach, Milley said that “Kyiv may be 2,000 kilometers away from here, they too, right now, today, are experiencing the same horrors as the French citizens experienced in World War II.”

He spoke in the presence of more than 20 World War II veterans and several thousand people who came to pay tribute to those who fell that day. “The world has come together in support of the defense of Ukraine against a determined invader. The fight in Ukraine is about honoring these veterans of World War II,” he said.

“It’s about maintaining the so-called global rules-based international order that was established by the dead who are buried here at this cemetery.” Milley recalled the principle underlined in that order that “strong countries cannot just invade small countries. Each country is sovereign and each country has the right to territorial integrity.”

7:20 a.m.:

7:03 a.m.: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has been forced to cancel a trip to Serbia after some of its Balkan neighbors refused to open their airspace to the minister's plane over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

"The countries around Serbia have closed the channel of communication by refusing to authorize the overflight of the plane of Sergey Lavrov, who was headed to Serbia," ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova was quoted by Russian state news agencies as saying Monday.

Zakharova did not mention the specific countries that closed their airspace to Lavrov, but the Interfax news agency quoted a senior Foreign Ministry official as saying Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Montenegro -- all members of the NATO security alliance -- were the countries involved.

6:49 a.m.: The Kremlin said on Monday that it is interested in talks with the United States over nuclear arms but said that negotiations were unlikely to take place at this time, Reuters reported. "We are interested and believe that continued negotiations and discussions on this topic, given the tectonic shifts that we are seeing... the whole world needs these kinds of talks", Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

6:31 a.m.: The British government said Monday that the multiple-launch rocket systems it is offering to Ukraine will bring “a significant boost in capability” for the country’s efforts to resist Russia’s invasion, The Associated Press reported.

“If the international community continues its support, I believe Ukraine can win” its war against Russia, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement. The statement came after comments Sunday by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who warned the West against sending longer-range rocket systems to Ukraine. The British government described the M270 weapon system as a “cutting edge” military asset which can strike targets up to 80 kilometers (50 miles) away “with pinpoint accuracy.”

The United Kingdom pledged last week to send the weapons. It gave no details about delivery dates. The U.S. last week announced plans to deliver $700 million in additional security assistance for Ukraine, including four precision-guided, medium-range rocket systems, as well as helicopters, Javelin anti-tank systems, radars, tactical vehicles and more. The Pentagon said last week that it will take at least three weeks to get the U.S. weapons onto the battlefield.

6:12 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Monday that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed a new package of U.K. military aid to Ukraine in a call between the two leaders. Zelenskyy added that he and Johnson were "looking for ways to avoid the food crisis & unblock (Ukraine's) ports," referring to Russia's naval blockade of Ukraine which has left the latter unable to export much of its agricultural commodities.

5:57 a.m.: Russia should not close the U.S. embassy despite the crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine because the world's two biggest nuclear powers must continue to talk, the U.S. ambassador to Moscow was quoted as saying on Monday. In a clear attempt to send a message to the Kremlin, John J. Sullivan, the U.S. ambassador appointed by President Donald Trump, told Russia's state TASS news agency that Washington and Moscow should not simply break off diplomatic relations, according to Reuters. "We must preserve the ability to speak to each other," Sullivan told TASS in an interview.

5:45 a.m.: Food supplies have shifted rapidly from surplus to shortage, and the United Nations has again warned about the heightened risks of world hunger, Reuters reported. With shipping disrupted in the Black Sea, wheat exports from Russia and Ukraine, respectively the first and fifth largest producers, continue to be severely curtailed.

Even though supply disruptions in many parts of the world are severe and policy solutions are challenging, Western governments do have the opportunity to reverse the rising cost of food through the simple scrapping of biofuel mandates. This would remove a very large non-food demand for crops and turn the current grain shortage to a surplus, easing the pressure on inflation.

5:40 a.m.: The International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi said Monday that the U.N. nuclear watchdog is “developing the modalities” to dispatch an international mission of experts to Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as requested by Ukraine, Reuters reported. There are indications from Ukraine regarding their concern about interruptions in the supply chain of spare parts to Zaporizhzhia, Grossi said.

3:10 a.m.: As fighting continues between Russian forces and Ukraine, explosions were heard Monday in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, Reuters reported, citing Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych’s post on the Telegram messaging service.

3:05 a.m.: Russia’s gas producer Gazprom said its supply of gas to Europe through Ukraine via the Sudzha entry point was seen at 40.1 million cubic meters (mcm) on Monday, unchanged from 40.1 mcm on Sunday, Reuters reported.

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

2:30 a.m.: After making gains in recent days, Ukrainian fighters fighting in the city of Sievierodonetsk have lost some ground back to Russian forces, the region’s governor said.

“Our defenders managed to undertake a counterattack for a certain time; they liberated almost half of the city. But now the situation has worsened a little for us again,” Serhiy Haidai, governor of the Luhansk region that includes Sievierodonetsk, said Monday.

1:45 a.m.: Britain’s defense ministry said that early on Sunday Russian air-launched cruise missiles struck rail infrastructure in Ukraine capital Kyiv.

Heavy fighting continues in the city of Sievierodonetsk and Russian forces are pushing towards Sloviansk, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in a Twitter update.

President Vladimir Putin has warned he would strike new targets in Ukraine if western nations supplied the country with longer-range missiles. In Sievierodonetsk, the main battlefield in the east, where Russia has concentrated its forces recently, Ukraine officials said a counterattack had retaken half of the city.

1:20 a.m.: Russia’s government commission on agriculture matters recognized the measures taken by the government to curb the growth of prices for mineral fertilizers as effective and supported extension of export quotas for fertilizers until May 31, 2023, Reuters reported Monday citing the Interfax news agency.

In May, Russia extended quotas for fertilizer exports for July through December, saying the measure aimed to secure sufficient supply for domestic farmers.

12:10 a.m.: The United Nations estimates Ukraine is now one of the most mined countries in the world. In territories no longer occupied by Russian troops, experts from the country’s emergency services are now defusing hundreds of mines a day. VOA’s Lesia Bakalets has the story, narrated by Anna Rice.

12:01 a.m.: The Kyiv Independent reports that, in response to Russia’s attacks on Kyiv, the United Kingdom pledges to provide Ukraine with long-range missiles.

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

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