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Latest Developments in Ukraine: June 9

A Ukrainian soldier walks near a post warning about landmines in a field on the outskirts of Kyiv, June 9, 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.

10:45 p.m.: Senegalese President and African Union Chair Macky Sall urged Ukraine to demine waters around its Odessa port to ease much needed grain exports from the war-torn country, Agence France-Presse reported. Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Western sanctions have disrupted grain deliveries from the two countries, fueling fears of hunger around the world.

Cereal prices in Africa -- the world's poorest continent -- have surged because of the slump in exports, sharpening the impact of conflict and climate change and sparking fears of social unrest, AFP reported. If wheat exports do not resume from Ukraine, Africa "will be in a situation of very serious famine that could destabilize the continent", Sall told French media outlets France 24 and RFI.

Russia and Ukraine produce 30 percent of the global wheat supply, AFP reported.

10:15 p.m.: Ukraine's interior minister said Thursday there was no imminent risk of Russians marching on Kyiv, more than 100 days after Russia invaded, but the capital would not let its guard down.

"There is no concentration of troops near the Belarusian border, but we understand that any scenarios are possible tomorrow," Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky told Agence France-Presse, dressed in a black military sweater, a Ukrainian flag on its right sleeve.

"Therefore, serious training is under way -- preparation of the line of defense, training of troops who will remain" in Kyiv and around the city.

The minister also said Russian air strikes could hit at any time.

9:30 p.m.: One of two breakaway eastern Ukrainian regions backed by Moscow on Thursday said it would soon start rail shipments to Russia of grain that its troops had "liberated," Tass news agency reported, according to Reuters.

Yuri Pronko, agricultural minister of the self-declared Luhansk People's Republic, said that until now, the grain had been sent by truck in relatively small amounts.

Tass said grain elevators "in the liberated part" of the Luhansk republic contained around 300,000 metric tons of winter wheat and 200,000 metric tons of sunflower seeds, which it referred to as the remains of previous harvests. It did not give details.

9:15 p.m.: In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, “There are many discussions in Ukraine today about what the economic policy of the state should be both during the war and when we restore peace. I want to emphasize one detail. And this detail is fundamental. We have to get used to the fact that there can be only two parts of society - those who defend our independence and those who work in a way to ensure that defense. And this is not a question of one or another economic doctrine, not a question of one or another political position. We simply cannot afford to leave the shadow part of economic life in the country.”

8:55 p.m.: Russia may be getting more revenue from its fossil fuels now than shortly before its invasion of Ukraine, U.S. energy security envoy Amos Hochstein told lawmakers on Thursday, Reuters reported.

The United States and the European Union banned imports of Russian oil and imposed escalating sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

While those moves put a chill on global trade in Russian fossil fuels, they also helped to trigger a surge in global prices of oil and gas.

At the same time, Russia has been able to sell more cargoes to other buyers, including major energy consumers China and India, by offering it at a discount to oil from other origins.

8:12 p.m.: Oleksii Hromov, deputy head of main operational directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said Russia continues to use Belarus for to launch airstrikes against Ukraine, The Associated Press reported.

7:34 p.m.: Ukrainian military have been blowing up and removing shells and mines removed from farm fields in the Kyiv vicinity, The Associated Press reported.

Brigadier general Valeryi Yembakov, who supervised the disposal, accused Russia of deliberately mining roads, bridges and farms. There are fears that up to 30% of Ukraine's farmland could be affected by mines, the AP reported.

6:26 p.m.: Poland’s government is lifting a state of emergency along the border with Belarus on July 1 as it completes a border wall aimed at stopping migrants, The Associated Press reported. However, Poland will still ban people from getting within 200 meters of the border with Belarus as workers install electronics onto the 5.5-meter-high (18-foot-high) steel wall.

5:50 p.m.: U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric, responding to the death sentences given three foreign men by pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine who say the men fought for Ukrainian forces, said: “First of all, we stand against the death penalty. We always have and we always will. We would call on all of the combatants who have been detained, to be afforded international protection and to be treated according to the Geneva Conventions.”

5:02 p.m.:

4 p.m.: Mechanics are adapting demolition derby cars and working with a former paddleboat maker to create vehicles for use by Ukrainian troops at the front. Volunteers in Zaporizhzhya show off a Lada, explaining how seats and an escape hatch will be added, while other cars offer power, speed and enhancements. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty have this report.

3:53 p.m.: One of two breakaway eastern Ukrainian regions backed by Moscow on Thursday said it would soon start rail shipments to Russia of grain that its troops had "liberated," Tass news agency reported, according to Reuters.

Yuri Pronko, agricultural minister of the self-declared Luhansk People's Republic, said that until now, the grain had been sent by truck in relatively small amounts. "Tomorrow is a historical moment - the first wagons of grain will go Russia, 50 wagons, more than 3,000 tonnes," Tass cited him as saying.

Ukraine had previously accused Russia of stealing its grain from the territories Moscow occupied since launching what it calls a special military operation in February. Tass said grain elevators "in the liberated part" of the Luhansk republic contained around 300,000 tonnes of winter wheat and 200,000 tonnes of sunflower seeds, which it referred to as the remains of previous harvests.

3:41 p.m.: Why is Russia's "underperforming" military still making gains in Ukraine? To find out more, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty spoke with George Barros, an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington-based think tank.

3:32 p.m.:

3:07 p.m.: In eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region, residents of Novoluhanske live in basements, cook over open fires, and ask for evacuation and help. There is no gas, electricity, or regular water supply. Russian troops shell the town daily with artillery as around 2,000 people there fight to stay alive. Maryan Kushnir with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Ukrainian Service has this story.

2:52 p.m.: The Ukrainian army says Kyiv's forces continue to frustrate Russian attempts to take the fiercely contested eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, The Associated Press reported.

"The occupiers, with the help of motorized rifle units and artillery, conducted assault operations in the city of Sievierodonetsk. They were not successful; the fighting continues," the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a regular operational update Thursday evening.

It added that Ukrainian forces had successfully repelled a Russian attack on the village of Toshkivka, on the northwestern outskirts of Sievierodonetsk. The Ukrainian governor of the eastern Luhansk region, where Sievierodonetsk is located, said Thursday that "fierce battles" continue to engulf the city.

2:45 p.m.:

2:35 p.m.: With incessant Russian shelling and no electricity or running water, life in the eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiyivka is a dangerous daily struggle. About 3,000 civilians remain in the city, down from a population of 20,000 at the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Ukrainian Service correspondent Roman Pahulych visited the damaged town located near the front lines in Ukraine's Donetsk region and spoke to those who refuse to flee.

2:13 p.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin says foreign companies that have left Russia will regret their decision, The Associated Press reported. "In today's conditions, when someone jumped off somewhere, left, chose to stop some activity here, they will regret it," he declared at a meeting with young entrepreneurs in Moscow.

"They will regret it, not because we threaten anyone," Putin continued. "They will regret it because Russia is a country with great potential, really." Putin also appeared to claim that the exodus of foreign firms from Russia was evidence of U.S. domination over other Western states and economies.

"Many regret that they have to leave. This is all a manifestation of the internal state of these countries that cannot make sovereign decisions," he added. He then reiterated that Russia is "a sovereign country that should be looking to the future."

1:53 p.m.:

1:39 p.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin paid tribute on Thursday to Tsar Peter the Great on the 350th anniversary of his birth, drawing a parallel between what he portrayed as their twin historic quests to win back Russian lands, Reuters reported.

"Peter the Great waged the Great Northern War for 21 years. It would seem that he was at war with Sweden, he took something from them. He did not take anything from them, he returned (what was Russia's)," Putin said after visiting an exhibition dedicated to the tsar.

In televised comments on day 106 of his war in Ukraine, he compared Peter's campaign with the task facing Russia today. "Apparently, it also fell to us to return (what is Russia's) and strengthen (the country). And if we proceed from the fact that these basic values form the basis of our existence, we will certainly succeed in solving the tasks that we face."

1:27 p.m.: The U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) tweeted on Thursday about setting up a center to help displaced families in Ukraine with protection and social services.

1:06 p.m.: Russian forces are sending messages on a variety of platforms including SMS, Telegram, Viber, Signal and WhatsApp threatening to harm Ukrainian soldiers or their family members, the Institute for the Study of War says in its most recent report, quoting Ukrainian intelligence officials. "Ukrainian military expert Dmytro Snegirov additionally noted that Russian propagandists are conducting informational and psychological campaigns to spoil the morale of Ukrainian troops by disseminating information that the battle for Severodonetsk will become the 'next Mariupol,'" the report says.

12:52 p.m.: A Russian rocket attack hit a school in the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine's Donetsk region on June 8, turning part of the building into a pile of rubble and shredding textbooks. The school was empty at the time of the attack. Correspondent Borys Sachalko with Current Time, a co-production of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and VOA, visited the site and has this report.

12:37 p.m: A U.S. diplomat says the Ukraine war has brought a "sea change" in views about Russia. VOA's Eastern Europe bureau chief Myroslava Gongadze discusses the situation in Ukraine with Ambassador Michael Carpenter, U.S. permanent representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

12:15 p.m.: The European Commission announced Thursday that it is supporting Ukraine's technology sector by providing financial assistance to at least 200 startup companies.

12:06 p.m.: An artist in Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg, who was arrested for using price tags in a city store to distribute information about Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, has been forcibly committed to a psychiatric clinic for examination, a move that echoes a Soviet-era practice to silence dissidents. Aleksandra Skochilenko's lawyer, Yana Nepovinnova, said on Thursday that officials noted the examination may take up to three weeks, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

11:51 a.m.: Russia warned the West on Thursday that cyberattacks against its infrastructure risked leading to direct military confrontation, and that attempts to challenge Moscow in the cyber sphere would be met with targeted countermeasures, Reuters reported. The warning comes after Russia's housing ministry website appeared to be hacked over the weekend, with an internet search for the site leading to a "Glory to Ukraine" sign in Ukrainian.

11:45 a.m.:

11:23 a.m.: A resolution urging NATO to quickly admit Finland and Sweden won easy passage in the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday, in a signal of bipartisan support from lawmakers, The Associated Press reported. Democrats and Republicans on the committee approved the measure supporting the expansion and urging other NATO states to swiftly admit the two Nordic states by voice vote, with no voiced objections. Thursday's vote had been seen as a test of Republican lawmakers' stand on the expansion, which President Joe Biden has thrown his support behind.

11:04 a.m.: Finland's government plans to amend border legislation to allow the building of barriers on its eastern frontier with Russia, it said Thursday, in a move to strengthen preparedness against hybrid threats, Reuters reported. Finland, which is currently applying for membership in the Western military alliance NATO, has a history of wars with Russia, although currently the forest-covered border zone between the two countries is marked merely with signs and plastic lines for most of its 1,300-km (810-mile) length.

10:56 a.m.: The U.N. World Health Organization said Thursday on Twitter that it is providing assistive technology — such as wheelchairs, walkers, canes and scooters — to patients in Ukrainian hospitals to help in their recovery from war-related injuries.

10:42 a.m.: Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Britain on Thursday there was no quick fix to the instability prompted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine but that the economic consequences of the war would abate over time, Reuters reported. In a speech in the northern town of Blackpool, Johnson said now was not the time to stop supporting Ukraine and even though prices for gas, oil, grain and fertilizers had risen, the West could not force Kyiv to accept peace terms dictated by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

10:21 a.m.: European Union Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, visited Ukraine on Thursday to meet humanitarian organizations and high-level Ukrainian government officials to help coordinate the EU's crisis response on the ground, according to a statement. "In this moment of crisis, our duty is to stand by the most vulnerable. We have swiftly responded by considerably scaling up our presence in Ukraine," Lenarčič said, announcing another €205 million in humanitarian assistance from the EU. "With this funding our humanitarian partners are providing food, water, healthcare, shelter, protection and cash assistance," he added.

10:08 a.m.: Surging food prices are fueling protests across developing world. The war in Ukraine and drought fueled by climate change has sent global prices for grains, cooking oils, fuel and fertilizer soaring. Reuters has compiled a list, in alphabetical order by country, of more than a dozen protests that have erupted over food prices over the past few months.

9:40 a.m.: In the run-up to Thursday's anniversary, Russian social media has been full of commentary wondering what happened to Peter the Great's vision. Inspired by time spent abroad, Russia’s Peter I made huge efforts to modernize his vast and under-developed nation during his rule from 1682 to 1725, most famously building Saint Petersburg as Russia's "window to Europe." With ties between Russia and the West shattered by Moscow's military intervention in Ukraine, authorities are downplaying Peter's affinity for Europe, instead focusing on his role in expanding Russian territories and consolidating state power, Agence France-Presse reported.

9:32 a.m.: The Kremlin said on Thursday that no agreement had been reached to sell grain from Ukraine to Turkey - which Ukraine says Russia has stolen from it - but that work on a deal was continuing, Reuters reported. Moscow denies stealing the grain but the United States says there are credible reports that Russia is "pilfering" it.

9:07 a.m.:

9 a.m.: The Russian government added 551.4 billion rubles ($9.5 billion) to its emergency reserve fund on Thursday as the Kremlin steps up its stimulus package in a bid to protect the economy from the impact of Western sanctions and its actions in Ukraine, Reuters reported. The reserves boost came from extra profits generated by Russia's vital oil and gas exports, which are bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars a day to the budget despite Western sanctions.

8:50 a.m.: Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Thursday suggested an EU-wide scheme to protect citizens from higher energy costs resulting from Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Agence France-Presse reported. "We must consider replicating some of the joint tools that have helped us recover swiftly from the pandemic," Draghi told delegates gathered in Paris for a meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

He highlighted that inflation in the eurozone single currency area reached 8.1 percent in May -- much of it driven by higher prices for energy including oil and gas following Moscow's assault on its neighbor. "Rising inflation is not wholly the sign of overheating (in the economy), but largely the result of a series of supply shocks," Draghi said.

8:43 a.m.: Ukrainian rapper-turned-volunteer soldier Otoy is putting the war into words and thumping baselines, tapping out lyrics under Russian shelling on his phone, with the light turned low to avoid becoming a target. It helps numb the nerve-shredding stress of combat, The Associated Press reported.

8:24 a.m.: Russia’s defense ministry says it used air-launched missiles to destroy a Ukrainian military base where foreign fighters allegedly were being trained, The Associated Press reported. Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Thursday that the training center was in the Zhytomyr region of central Ukraine, about 125 kilometers (75 miles) west of Kyiv. There was no immediate comment from Ukraine to the Russian claims. Russia refers to foreign fighters who joined Ukrainian troops in the war as ‘mercenaries.’ Konashenkov said Russian missiles also destroyed an ammunition depot and an anti-aircraft system elsewhere in Ukraine.

8:13 a.m.: In Ukraine's Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Regions, residents are struggling under Russian occupation. Increasingly isolated from their home country, residents fear being annexed by or even forced to fight for the Russians. VOA’s Maxim Moskalkov has this report.

Ukraine's Kherson, Zaporizhzhia Regions Struggle Under Russian Occupation
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8 a.m.: Ukrainian troops claimed to have pushed forward in intense street fighting in the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk but said their only hope to turn the tide was more artillery to offset Russia's massive firepower, Reuters reported.

In the south, Ukraine's defense ministry said it had captured new ground in a counter-attack in Kherson province, aiming at the biggest swath of territory Russia has seized since its invasion in February.

7:53 a.m.:

7:49 a.m.: The director of a Russian college in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk has quit after saying he would not punish or exclude students fined by the authorities for publicly objecting to the war in Ukraine. In a Facebook post, Sergei Chernyshov said he had resigned as director of Novosibirsk City Open College on June 7 and is starting up a new "autonomous" college. Speaking to Current Time, a co-production of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and VOA, before he announced his resignation, Chernyshov said he would not be leaving Russia, because he felt "responsible" for his students.

7:34 a.m.:

7:17 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia’s invasion of his country is a threat to the environment and could lead to dangerous pollution in the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea, The Associated Press reported. Zelenskyy made the comments at a ministerial meeting of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. He used the platform to impress on ministers the need to wean states off Russian natural gas in favor of green energy. The Black Sea and the Sea of Azov border both Ukraine and Russia. The Black Sea also borders Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania and Turkey.

7:00 a.m.: Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says 'Russian aggression', not sanctions, is fueling the global grain crisis.

6:50 a.m.: Spiraling costs for farm inputs like fertilizer could deter growers from expanding production and worsen food security in poorer countries facing record import bills, the United Nations' food agency said on Thursday. An index of input costs for farmers was running at a record high and had climbed more steeply than food prices in the past year, suggesting low prices in real terms for many farmers, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a report.

6:42 a.m.: The governor of eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk province says Russian forces are employing “scorched-earth tactics” against the city of Sievierodonetsk, hitting it with rockets, artillery and mortars. Serhiy Haidai also told The Associated Press on Thursday that neighboring Lysychansk is enduring “day and night shelling.” Russians are trying the storm the key road connecting Lysychansk and the city of Bakhmut but have failed to gain control of it, he said.

Haidai says Ukraine still “remains able to deliver humanitarian supplies to the region by a relatively safe route.” Haidai said there were two attacks on a chemical plant and “fierce battles” continue in Sievierodonetsk. “Street battles are taking place with varied success in city blocks,” the governor said. “The army of Ukraine is fighting for every street and house.”

6:30 a.m.: Polish President Andrzej Duda slammed the leaders of France and Germany over their phone calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying it was like having talks with Adolf Hitler during World War II, according to the German mass-selling daily Bild. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Macron have both held one-on-one phone calls with Putin since Russia launched a devastating invasion of Ukraine, with Macron in particular stirring Ukrainian ire by saying Russia must not be "humiliated" so as to preserve chances of a diplomatic solution.

6:17 a.m.: Long-range Western artillery systems could help the Ukrainian military push back Russian forces and retake control of the city of Sievierodonetsk within days, an official in eastern Ukraine said on Thursday. "As soon as we have long-range artillery to be able to conduct duels with Russian artillery, our special forces can clean up the city in two to three days," Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai said in an interview distributed on his official social media channels. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this story.

6 a.m.: Agence France-Presse reports from a Ukrainian town that was badly damaged in the war, and where residents are contemplating what comes next.

5:58 a.m.: The New York Times reports that the city of Sievierodonetsk "remains at the center of the fight for the Donbas region." Smoke hovers above the city, and soldiers battle in the streets.

4 a.m.: "We must use all our influence and leadership to protect freedom and ensure the defeat of tyranny." — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in a video address recorded for the Time100 Gala 2022.

2:45 a.m.: The United Kingdom's Ministry of Defense shares its latest Defense Intelligence update "on the situation in Ukraine."

1:30 a.m.: The body of French journalist Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff, who was killed in Ukraine, is repatriated, reports Agence France-Presse.

Loved ones of French journalist Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff, who was killed in Ukraine, gather at Le Bourget Airport, north of Paris, June, 9, 2022, for the repatriation of his body. Leclerc-Imhoff was killed in eastern Ukraine on June 1, 2022, while riding a bus with civilians feeling Russian bombardment.
Loved ones of French journalist Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff, who was killed in Ukraine, gather at Le Bourget Airport, north of Paris, June, 9, 2022, for the repatriation of his body. Leclerc-Imhoff was killed in eastern Ukraine on June 1, 2022, while riding a bus with civilians feeling Russian bombardment.

12:30 a.m.: Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Ukrainian retailers have lost almost $1.7 billion, according to a tweet by The Kyiv Independent.

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