Destruction in Sievierodonetsk, the easternmost city hed by Russia, from Russian attacks
Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1619 GMT:
Amid the holdout of Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán, European Union leaders have failed to reach unanimous agreement on a phased cutoff of imports of Russian oil.
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said an agreement is expected at the EU’s next summit on June 23-24.
As expected, the draft EU text bans seaborne imports of Russian oil, but pipeline oil can be temporarily supplied to landlocked Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.
“There is no compromise for this moment at all,” said Orbán, who is close to Vladimir Putin. He said he could support an agreement if “there are solutions for the Hungarian energy supply security, [but] we haven’t got that now”.
Other provisions in the EU’s sixth package include €9bn euros (£7.67bn) in assistance to Ukraine, an international fund to rebuild the country after the war, measures to move Ukrainian grain amid a Russian blockade of Black Sea ports, and curbs on rising energy prices.
UPDATE 1615 GMT:
Russia says it will cut off gas to The Netherlands from Tuesday after the Dutch trader GasTerra refused to accede to Vladimir Putin’s ultimatum and pay Russian supplier Gazprom in roubles.
Currently, about 15% of Dutch gas is imported from Russia.
GasTerra, buys and trades on behalf of the Dutch Government, said it had anticipated” Russia’s step and has found other sources to cover the 2 billion cubic meters of gas expected from Gazprom through October.
The Rutte Government had already announced plans to stop using Russian oil and gas by the end of 2022.
UPDATE 1451 GMT:
Russian proxy officials in eastern Ukraine are threatening the death penalty for more than 1,700 Ukrainian POWs from the Azovstal steel works in the port city of Mariupol, occupied earlier this month after 12 weeks of Russian bombardment, siege, and ground attacks.
Yuri Sirovatko, the “Justice Minister” of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DNR), said:
The court will make a decision about them.
For such crimes we have the highest form of punishment in the DNR — the death penalty. All the prisoners of war are on the territory of the DNR.
Russian officials indicated at the time of the Azovstal surrender that the POWs would be used in show trials for Moscow’s propaganda about “extremists” and “neo-Nazis”.
Sirovatko claimed the proxy administration is holding more than 2,300 Azovstal fighters.
UPDATE 1359 GMT:
Russian forces have killed a ninth journalist during their invasion.
French reporter Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff, who worked for BFMTV, was slain when the Russians struck a minivan on its way to evacuate civilians near Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine.
Luhansk Governor Serhei Haidai said Leclerc-Imhoff was fatally wounded by shrapnel in his neck. Photos published on Telegram showed the reporter’s body splayed on the road and his press accreditation card.
Haidai said the evacuation had been halted by the attack.
Ukraine Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said, “We strongly condemn this killing. The list of Russian crimes against media workers in Ukraine keeps expanding.”
The fatal assault came as French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna visited Ukraine, meeting Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba and touring site where civilians have been killed by Russian troops.
— Catherine Colonna (@MinColonna) May 30, 2022
UPDATE 0851 GMT:
Russia has lost 63 troops to a Ukrainian counter-attack in southern Ukraine, according to local defense official Oleksandr Vilkul.
Vilkul wrote on Sunday that the Russians were advancing from the occupied Kherson region when the counterattack — south of Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s hometown — destroyed T-72 tanks, helicopters, and a Grad multiple rocket system.
Ukraine’s General Staff said their forces have driven Russian troops into “unfavourable positions” around the villages of Andriyivka, Lozovo, and Bilohorka in the Kherson region.
The command tweeted, “Kherson, hold on. We’re close!”
UPDATE 0818 GMT:
As Russian forces blockade Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, exacerbating global food shortages, they are shipping grain from the occupied coastal city of Kherson to Russia.
Kirill Stremousov, the deputy head of the Russia proxy administration in Kherson, said, “We have a lot of grain here. People are now partially taking it out, having agreed with those who buy it from the Russian side.”
He said the proxy administration is working on supply of sunflower seeds to local and Russian processing plants.
Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted on Saturday:
Sanctions on Russia have no connection to the unfolding global food crisis. The sole reason for shortages, rising prices, and threat of hunger is the Russian military physically blocking 22 million tons of Ukrainian food exports in our seaports. Demand Moscow to end its blockade.
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) May 28, 2022
UPDATE 0808 GMT:
Two civilians have been killed and five wounded by shelling as Russian forces invade the outskirts of the city of Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine.
Luhansk military governor Serhiy Haidai wrote on Monday morning of “heavy battles” with Russian entering the southeastern and northeastern areas of Sievierodonetsk.
The enemy has used all possible weapons, uses aircraft. However, our military is firmly defending itself to prevent the enemy from entering.
Russian shells killed two Sievierodonets residents and wounded five others. Most of them are residents of one block in the old part of the city. They were preparing food in the yard when the shelling suddenly started. Two residents of Sirotyn were seriously injured.
He said at least 12 houses were destroyed in Sievierodonetsk and 18 in neighboring Lysychansk.
UPDATE 0735 GMT:
Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana says NATO is no longer bound by past commitments to refrain from deployment of forces in eastern Europe.
Geoana said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “voided of any content” the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, in which both sides committed “prevent any potentially threatening build-up of conventional forces in agreed regions of Europe, to include Central and Eastern Europe”.
Speaking in Lithuania’s capital of Vilnius, Geoana said:
They took decisions, they made obligations there not to aggress neighbours, which they are doing, and to have regular consultations with NATO, which they don’t.
So I think that in fact this founding act is basically not functioning because of Russia….
Now we have no restrictions to have robust posture in the eastern flank and to ensure that every square inch of NATO’s territory is protected by Article 5 [for collective defense and our allies.
UPDATE 0724 GMT:
The European Union has failed again to confirm a sixth package of sanctions on Russia, with Hungary continuing to block a phased cutoff of imports of Russian oil.
With Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán — who is close to Vladimir Putin — holding out, the EU has proposed an exemption for Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic to continue receiving oil via a Soviet-era pipeline.
Diplomats said they will continue efforts ahead of a summit on Monday and Tuesday. EU foreign policy head Josep Borrell summarized, “We need to decide unanimously. There were tough talks yesterday [Sunday] afternoon, as well as this morning. I think that this afternoon, we will be able to offer to the heads of the member states an agreement.”
But Germany’s Economy Minister Robert Habeck expressed concern:
After Russia’s attack on Ukraine, we saw what can happen when Europe stands united. With a view to the summit tomorrow, let’s hope it continues like this. But it is already starting to crumble.
UPDATE 0713 GMT:
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has fired the head of state security in the Kharkiv regime for failing to defend the city in the initial phase of Russia’s invasion.
Zelenskiy explained after a visit to Ukraine’s second city on Sunday, “I came, figured out, and fired [him] for the fact that he did not work on the defense of the city from the first days of the full-scale war, but thought only about himself.”
He added, “On which motives? The law enforcement officers will figure it out.”
ORIGINAL ENTRY: President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says Russia’s forces have destroyed the city of Sievierodonetsk, as the Russian offensive tries to seize more territory in eastern Ukraine.
In his nightly video address to the nation, Zelenskiy said:
As a result of the Russian strikes at Sievierodonetsk, the entire critical infrastructure of the city has already been destroyed. 90% of houses are damaged. More than 2/3rds of the city’s housing stock has been completely destroyed. There is no mobile connection. Constant shelling.
Capturing Sievierodonetsk is a fundamental task for the occupying contingent. And they don’t care how many lives they will have to pay for this attempt to raise the Russian flag.
Along with its twin Lysychansk across the Siverskyi Donets River, the city is the largest held by the Ukrainians in the Luhansk oblast.
Luhansk military governor Serhiy Haidai said on Sunday, “The situation has extremely escalated.” Witnesses spoke of Russian bombing “200 times an hour”, as officials said it is not possible to confirm all casualties and damage amid the intense assault. Regional officials reported fighting street by street, knocking out power and mobile phone services.
Some witnesses said the situation was reminiscent of Mariupol, the southeast port city that withstood 12 weeks of bombardment, siege, and ground attacks until Russia occupied it. Sievierodonetsk Mayor, Oleksandr Striuk has spoken of 1,500 residents — from a pre-war population of about 100,000 — slain by Russian attacks or dying from a lack of medicine and medical care.
“Russia Has Lost Not Only The Battle But Also Its Future”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared that Russian occupation of the Donbas — the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts — is an “unconditional priority” for the Kremlin.
At the same time, he appeared to concede that Moscow will not return to its original objective of seizing most of Ukraine and overthrowing the Zelenskiy Government, saying that other Ukrainian territories should decide their future on their own.
Zelenskiy toured Ukraine’s second city of Kharkiv on Sunday, his first trip outside the Kyiv area since the Russian invasion on February 24. He thanked troops, viewed the destruction of the city, and noted, “Kharkiv suffered terrible blows from the occupiers….One third of the Kharkiv region is still under occupation.”
But Zelenskiy noted in his nightly address:
Russia lost not only the battle for Kyiv and the north of our country. It lost its own future and any cultural ties to the free world.