Smoke rises from a Russian strike on the Azot chemical plant, Sievierodonetsk, eastern Ukraine, June 10, 2022 (Oleksandr Ratushniak/Reuters)

Saturday’s Coverage: Zelenskiy’s Office — “We Will Not Cede An Inch of Territory”

Source: Institute for the Study of War


Der Spiegel reports that Germany has blocked Spain from sending 40 Leopard tanks to Ukraine.

Citing anonymous German Government sources, the magazine writes that Berlin warned Madrid that it “would constitute a departure” from an alleged decision by western countries not to provide Western tanks to Kyiv.

Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles confirmed to El Pais on Wednesday, “The possibility of making this shipment is on the table.”

Citing government sources, El Pais said Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez made the offer to Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelensky during an April 21 visit to Kyiv, but the plans had then on hold because of the complexity of the operation.

The paper added that Spain offered to provide Ukrainian troops with necessary training, through 500 Spanish soldiers deployed in Latvia as part of NATO’s Enhanced Advanced Presence operation.

Spain obtained 105 Leopard 2s from Germany in 1995. Forty of them, deemed surplus, have been in storage for more than a decade in Zaragoza.


A Russian missile strikes on Saturday injured 22 people in Chortkiv in the Ternopil region in western Ukraine.

Ukrainian officials said the missiles hit civilian infrastructure sites and a natural gas pipeline.


Trying to cut off Sievierodonetsk, Russian troops have destroyed the second of three bridges to the city in eastern Ukraine.

Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said the Russains are shelling the last overpass.


The friend of Saaudun Brahim, a 21-year-old Moroccan national sentenced to death in a show trial by Russian proxies in eastern Ukraine, has spoken of the young man “who dreamed he could change things”.

Brahim was condemned alongside UK nationals Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner on Thursday by the “Donetsk People’s Republic”.

See also Ukraine War, Day 107: Russian Proxies Condemn 2 UK and 1 Moroccan Man to Death in Show Trial

Dmytro Khrabstov said Brahim joined the Ukrainian military last summer and has told friends that he wanted to “die as a hero” resisting the Russian invasion.

[He] is a bright and enthusiastic guy, dreaming about the technology of the future and how he could change things. He told me and a few other guys that he wants to die as a hero.

There is no place in this world for execution. It’s inhuman. I lost all words.

Brahim came to Ukraine to study at the Institute of Aerospace Technologies at the Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute.

Khrabstov said:

We met almost every weekend. It was common to take a car to a lake, with a company of 10 friends, have a BBQ, have some rest.

The moment he decided to join our military, I told him that I do not have any doubt you will survive, and that I will see you at least one more time, that we will meet each other and have a good party with all of our friends.

It’s not the thing [to do] when I’m 20 and you’re 21.


Journalist Stuart Lau notes a significant change in rhetoric, with a reaffirmation of China’s cautious position on Vladimir Putin’s invasion, in a speech by Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore:


Russian media have featured occupation authorities distributing Russian passports in Kherson and Melitopol in southern Ukraine.

Video showed 23 people receiving passports in Kherson. Vladimir Rogov, the Russian proxy head of the Kherson region, was given the first one.

Ukrainian sources said 25 people received passports and 30 in Melitopol. Ukrainian officials claimed that only Russian proxy officials and Russian collaborators were recipients.


In his nightly video address to the nation, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke of his discussion with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Kyiv on Saturday.

In this [diplomatic] marathon we are with the European Union in one team, and this team has to win.

I am sure that we will soon receive an answer on the candidate status for Ukraine [for EU membership]. I am convinced this decision will strengthen not only our country but also the entire European Union.

At a joint press conference, Von der Leyen said that the EU executive’s opinion on the Ukrainian request will be ready by the end of this week: “You have done a lot in strengthening the rule of law but there is still need for reforms to be implemented, to fight corruption, for example.”

Zelenskiy also spoke of progress in a Ukrainian counter-offensive in southern Ukriane, in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts. He added, with reference to Russia’s offensive in the east:

Do you remember how Russia hoped to capture the entire Donbas by early May? It is now the 108th day of the war… Donbas is holding on.

The losses suffered by the occupiers, including in this area, are extremely significant. In total, the Russian army today has about 32,000 dead souls. For what? What did it give you, Russia?


A UN commission arrived in Ukraine on Saturday to investigate Russian war crimes.

The Deputy Speaker of the Ukraine Parliament, Olena Kondratyuk, said:

I have assured the UN Independent International Commission that the Verkhovna Rada [Parliament] will contribute to the successful work of the mission! We discussed the work of the commission in Ukraine, which was established to record violations of human rights, international humanitarian law and other crimes related to Russian aggression. The major task is identify suspects, gather evidence, and prepare materials so that no one escapes punishment.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukrainian officials and commanders say their forces still hold part of Sieverodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, countering Russian disinformation that key points in the devastated city have fallen.

Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said the defenders remain in control of an industrial area, including the Azot chemical plant where about 800 civilians are sheltering. He said Russian shelling of the plant ignited a large fire after an oil leak.

Rejecting the claim of Russian proxies that they have surrounded Azot, trapping 300 to 400 defenders, Haidai said:

The information about the blockade of the Azot plant is a lie. Our forces are holding an industrial zone of Sievierodonetsk and are destroying the Russian army in the town.

Russian forces have been firing on chemical plants, despite the risk to the population of released toxins. Russian media reported a huge cloud of smoke on Saturday in Avdiivka, which has another chemical facility, in the Donetsk oblast to the west of Sievierodonetsk.

Russia’s Donbas offensive has tried for weeks to overrun Sieverodonetsk and Lysychansk, the two major cities still held by Ukraine in the Luhansk oblast. Each city had about 100,000 residents before Vladimir Putin’s invasion; 10,000 to 11,000 are trapped in Sievierodonetsk.

Haidai said on Telegram on Sunday:

No one can say whether and how many victims there have been in the last 24 hours in Sievierodonetsk, where intense fighting continues.

Yes, people have been constantly in the shelters, but the Russians are firing at residential areas for hours at a time, using large-caliber artillery.

Everyone wants to evacuate now, probably, but so far there is no such possibility.

He said, “Our soldiers are winning in street fights, but, unfortunately, the enemy’s artillery is simply dismantling — floor-by-floor — the houses used by our troops as shelters. So, when we push the enemy out of one street, they start using their tanks and artillery to destroy the area house-by-house.”

In Lysychansk, across the Siverskyi Donets River, a woman was killed by shelling which destroyed four houses and a shopping center.

Two civilians were killed and at least 10 wounded in the Donetsk oblast, said Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko.