Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the nation in his nightly video message, June 1, 2022

Thursday’s Coverage: Russian Offensive Overruns 60% of Levelled Sievierodonetsk in East

Source: Institute for the Study of War


Two journalists for Reuters have been wounded and their driver killed in eastern Ukraine.

The journalists “sustained minor injuries” while travelling to the city of Sievierodonetsk, under assault by Russian forces. They were in a vehicle provided by Russian proxy officials, with the driver chosen by the proxy administration.

Russian forces have killed nine journalists so far during their invasion.


The European Union has formally adopted its sixth package of aid to Ukraine and sanctions on Russia, including a ban on most imports of Russian oil.

Among those on the sanctions list are Vladimir Putin’s long-time partner Alina Kabaeva and Russian military commanders such as Azatbek Omurbekov, who oversaw troops as they “killed, raped and tortured civilians” in February and March in Bucha, northwest of Kyiv, and Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev, who led the siege and bombardment of Mariupol in southern Ukraine which killed thousands of civilians.

Assistance to Ukraine includes €9 billion in immediate aid and the establishment of a recovery fund.


Dmitry Ivanov, a pro-democracy activist and computer science student who runs the “Protest at MGU [Moscow State University]” Telegram channel, is in pre-trial detention facility and faces up to 10 years in prison.

Ivanov was one of the Russian anti-war activists featured in a March article by The Guardian’s Pjotr Sauer. All of those interviewed are now detained, fined, or have left Russia.


The head of the African Union, Senegal President Macky Sall, has urged Vladimir Putin to consider the suffering in African countries from food shortages caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Sall visited Putin’s Black Sea residence in Sochi in southern Russia.

With Russia blockading Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, Sall asked Putin to “become aware that our countries, even if they are far from the theatre (of action), are victims on an economic level”.

Implicitly rebuffing the Russian line that it will only lift blockades if the international community removes sanctions on Moscow over the invasion, Sall said “everything that concerns food, grain, fertiliser” must be “actually outside” of sanctions.

“That really creates serious threats to the food security of the continent,” he emphasized.

In commments before reports, Putin did not refer to grain supplies but proclaimed that Russia is “always on Africa’s side”: “At the new stage of development, we place great importance on our relations with African countries, and I must say this has had a certain positive result.”

Sall said Putin “expressed a readiness” to permit movement of Ukrainian cereals with Russia “ready to ensure the export of its wheat and fertiliser”.

But Putin undid this with the denial that Russia is blocking any Ukrainian exports, saying that reports were a “bluff”.

He then offered the suggestion of an unusual route for the vital commodities such as wheat:

If someone wants to solve the problem of exporting Ukrainian grain – please, the easiest way is through Belarus. No one is stopping it. But for this you have to lift sanctions from Belarus.


The Ukraine military says it has held lines against Russia’s offensive in the east over the past 24 hours — and has made gains against the Russians in the south.

The latest report said Russian continues shelling and airstrikes on Sievierodonetsk; however, “[after] the enemy tried to carry out assault operations, [it] suffered losses and retreated to previous positions”.

Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzianyk said the Russians persisted in efforts to surround Ukrainian troops near Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, but Ukrainian units thwarted Russian efforts to seize the nearby towns of Metiolkine and Bilohorivka.

At least seven civilians were killed in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

The military said its counter-offensive in the Russian-occupied Kherson region in the south is ongoing, with the Russians failing to recover lost ground.


Ukraine has granted citizenship to Russian journalist Alexander Nevzorov, who fled Russia in March with his wife after he was threatened with prosecution for criticism of Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

Nevzorov used his YouTube channel, with more than 1.8 million subscribers, to report on Russia’s deliberate shelling of a children’s hospital and maternity ward in Mariupol in southern Ukraine in March. At least five women and children died as a result of the attack.

Russian authorities accused Nevzorov of spreading false information, a charge which carries up to 15 years in prison.

Anton Gerashchenko, an official in the Ukraine Interior Ministry, confirmed the offer of citizenship to to Nevzorov and his wife Lydia.

Nevzorov said, “I take the side of the victim. And I am damn grateful to those tormented, desperate, bloodied people of Ukraine who allowed me to take my place among them.”


Marking Day 100 of Russia’s invasion, Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskiy has issued a video message from in front of the Presidential office in Kyiv.

In a echo of his message from February 25, the day after the start of the Russian assault, Zelenskiy said:

The leaders of Parliamentary factions are here. The President’s Chief of Staff [Andriy Yermak] is here. Prime minister of Ukraine [Denys] Shmyhal is here. [Senior advisor Mykhailo Podolyak] is here. The President is here.

Our team is much bigger. The armed forces of Ukraine are here. Most importantly, our people, the people of our country, are here.

We have been defending Ukraine for 100 days. Victory shall be ours. Glory to Ukraine.


Ukraine Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov says NATO should consider granting Ukraine “de facto” rather than “de jure” membership, as the organization discusses its strategy for the next 10 years at an upcoming summit in Madrid, Spain.

Reznikov said by video link told the GLOBSEC 2022 Bratislava Forum:

I think that if we are talking about the membership of Ukraine with NATO de facto not de jure, it could be the good idea in this strategy.

Ukraine will be also part of the strategy because we also are the part of eastern flank of Europe, the eastern flank of NATO countries, eastern flank of the EU. I think it will be a win-win situation for all countries.


China is limiting its support for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, with Russian representatives making increasingly frustrated requests for assistance, according to Chinese as well as US officials.

A Chinese official said there were “tense” exchanges on at least two occasions. One official said Russian requests included maintenance of “trade commitments” and provision of financial and technological support amid US and international sanctions.

“A person in Beijing with direct knowledge of the discussions” said:

China has made clear its position on the situation in Ukraine, and on the illegal sanctions against Russia. We understand their predicament. But we cannot ignore our own situation in this dialogue. China will always act in the best interest of the Chinese people.

A US official said China has offered the consolation of military cooperation, including a joint flight of strategic bombers over the Sea of Japan and East China Sea last week while US President Joe Biden was in Tokyo.

He continued, ““What China is trying to do is to be with Russia, signal neutrality publicly and not be compromised financially. Many of those goals are contradictory. It’s hard to fulfill them at the same time.”


UK military intelligence does not believe Ukrainian forces can save Sievierodonetsk, nearby Lysychansk, or Ukraine’s remaining areas of control in the Luhansk region.

Russia controls over 90% of Luhansk Oblast and is likely to complete control in the next two weeks. Russia has achieved these recent tactical successes at significant resource cost, and by concentrating force and fires on a single part of the overall campaign.

However, the analysts note the limit of Russian advance: “Russia has not been able to generate manoeuvre or movement on other fronts or axes, all of which have transitioned to the defensive.”

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy sees positive signs of resistance against Russia’s invasion, including “some success” in the defense of Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine.

In his nightly video address to the nation, Zelenskiy began with the news of the European Union’s sixth package of aid to Ukraine and sanctions on Russia — including a phased cutoff of most imports of Russian oil — and of the US agreement to send advanced medium-range rocket systems to Kyiv.

See also EA on Australia’s ABC: Will US Rockets Help Ukraine Stop The Russians?

Then Zelenskiy addressed Sievierodonetsk, levelled by Russian shelling and with 60% occupied by the invaders: “We had some success in the battles in Sievierodonetsk. But it’s too early to tell,” he summarized.”

But he emphasized that the resistance is still facing Russia’s attempt to conquer with overwhelming force: “The situation there is the hardest now. Just as in the cities and communities

nearby – Lysychansk, Bakhmut and others. Many cities are facing a powerful Russian attack.”

The President concluded with his hope in the combination of Ukrainian resistance and international action to check Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

We have already started working on new sanctions packages against Russia. Step by step, we will deprive the Russian state of all the elements of the modern economy.

The occupiers will pay the full price for destroying the lives of neighbors. And no lobby in any country will help Russia.

Earlier in the day, in an address to the Luxembourg Parliament, Zelenskiy said Russian forces occupy about 20% of Ukraine’s territory.

He said frontlines stretch across more than 1,000 km (620 miles), with 100 Ukrainians killed and another 450-500 wounded each day.