Latest from Ukraine: Russia stage assaults to capture Sievierodonetsk

Ukrainian drone hits major Russian oil refinery

Russian forces are seeking to encircle the besieged city of Lysychansk in eastern Ukraine and are launching assaults on the city of Sievierodonetsk to establish full control of it, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman said on Friday.

The eastern city has been the scene of weeks of heavy shelling and street fighting and if lost by Russian forces it would be a major setback for Ukraine.

Earlier, Governor Serhiy Gaidai said troops in the city had already been ordered to move to new positions, but he did not say whether they had already done so or where exactly they were going.

“Staying in shattered posts for several months just to stay there doesn’t make sense,” Gaidai told Ukrainian television.

Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk declined to comment on the governor’s remarks and told reporters at a briefing in Kyiv that the information was “closed” to the public.

The battle is essential for Russia to establish control of the last Ukrainian-held slice of Lugansk province, which together with Donetsk constitutes the Donbass region, Ukraine’s industrial heartland.

Meanwhile, at least four people have been killed after a Russian military cargo plane crashed in the western Moscow city of Ryazan, the Interfax news agency reported.

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Ukraine will need at least 10 years to clear its territory, official says

Ukraine will need at least a decade to clear all mines and explosives from its territory and territorial waters once the war with Russia is over, an emergency services official said today.

Ukraine managed to clear 620 square kilometers of land littered with thousands of explosive devices, including 2,000 bombs dropped from the air, but nearly 300,000 square kilometers are still considered “contaminated”, the official said.

It is an area about half the size of Ukrainian territory and about as large as Italy.

An unexploded 500 kg bomb removed from an apartment building in Kharkiv, March 2022

(Reuters)

“Up to 10 years is the optimistic figure. Because we don’t know what is happening in the territories where active fighting is going on at the moment,” said Oleksandr Khorunzhiy, spokesman for the Ukrainian state emergency service.

“Just imagine the number of bombs that were dropped on us by the enemy,” the official said at a press conference.

The first priority is to clear mines from infrastructure, residential areas and roads, but it will take longer to clear woods, rivers and coastlines, he said.

ReutersJune 24, 2022 6:00 p.m.

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First trial of Russian soldier accused of rape opens in Ukraine

The first trial of a Russian soldier accused of raping a woman during the invasion of Ukraine has begun.

Mikhail Romanov, 32, will be tried in absentia because he is not in custody.

He is also accused of murdering a civilian in the Kyiv capital region on March 9 and then repeatedly raping the man’s wife, according to court records.

Read the full story here by Maia Oppenheim

Lamiat SabinJune 24, 2022 5:30 p.m.

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Ukrainian police ‘seize Rosatom building in Kyiv’

Ukrainian national police reportedly seized a building in Kyiv belonging to the Russian nuclear energy company Rosatom.

The building has an area of ​​nearly 1,000 square meters worth UAH 60 million (£1.6 million), according to Ukrainian news agency Interfax.

He was seized after a decision by a judge of the Pechersky District Court.

The police department reportedly said: ‘To hide information about the owner of these premises, the relevant information has not been entered into the public register of titles to immovable property, but has only been reflected in the documents of the Office of technical and registration inventory of the city of Kyiv. ownership of real estate.

Lamiat SabinJune 24, 2022 4:42 p.m.

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Russia unable to prevent Western arms flow into Ukraine, says US defense official

Russia is trying but has been unable to target Western weapons entering Ukraine, including longer-range systems that Kyiv hopes will be decisive on the battlefield, a senior US military official said on Friday. defense.

The official also appeared to play down the importance of Russian advances in Ukraine and said a Ukrainian withdrawal from Sievierodonetsk would allow them to take a better defensive position.

“By bringing the Ukrainian Armed Forces back from Sievierodonetsk, what they are doing is putting themselves in a position where they can better defend themselves,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Joe MiddletonJune 24, 2022 3:11 p.m.

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Russian forces launch assaults on the city of Sievierodonetsk

Russian forces are seeking to encircle the besieged city of Lysychansk in eastern Ukraine and are launching assaults on the city of Sievierodonetsk to establish full control of it, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman said on Friday.

The region’s governor said earlier that Ukrainian troops “should be withdrawn” from Sievierodonetsk and that they had been ordered to take up new positions.

Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk declined to comment on the governor’s remarks and told reporters at a briefing in Kyiv that the information was “closed” to the public.

Joe MiddletonJune 24, 2022 2:15 p.m.

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Russia’s war with Ukraine will starve 50 million people

Russia’s war on Ukraine, not Western sanctions, will add 40 or 50 million more people to the ranks of the hungry, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in Berlin.

“There is no other reason than Russia’s blockade of Ukraine and Russia’s refusal in many cases to export its own grain for political reasons,” Blinken said during a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Friday.

Baerbock said international partners were working together to counter Russia’s “cynical” and potentially destabilizing grain war and related propaganda.

Joe MiddletonJune 24, 2022 1:55 p.m.

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Rescuers remove a 500 kg bomb from the roof of Kharkiv

Joe MiddletonJune 24, 2022 1:40 p.m.

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Ukrainian troops ‘will be withdrawn’ from key city of Sievierodonetsk as street fighting rages

Ukrainian troops “will have to be withdrawn” from the city of Sievierodonetsk which has seen heavy fighting with Russian forces in recent weeks, the regional governor announced on Friday.

The key eastern city saw some of the heaviest fighting of the war and street-by-street battles raged for a month as Russia slowly advanced.

“Staying in shattered posts for several months just to stay there doesn’t make sense,” Governor Serhiy Gaidai said on television.

Joe MiddletonJune 24, 2022 1:09 p.m.

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Volodymyr Zelensky makes surprise video appearance at Glastonbury Festival

Volodymyr Zelensky makes surprise video appearance at Glastonbury Festival

Joe MiddletonJune 24, 2022 12:17 p.m.

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World faces food shortage ‘catastrophe’, warns UN chief

The world is facing a “catastrophe” because of growing food shortages, the UN chief warned on Friday.

In his strongest words yet on a growing crisis, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said a combination of factors was causing an “unprecedented global hunger crisis” already affecting hundreds of millions of people.

Mr Guterres said the war in Ukraine has compounded problems caused by climate change, the coronavirus pandemic and inequality.

Joe MiddletonJune 24, 2022 11:32 am

Christi C. Elwood