Ukraine-Russia war – live: Ukraine strikes Russian missile systems in Crimea as Kyiv faces drone assault

Ukraine-Russia war – live: Ukraine strikes Russian missile systems in Crimea as Kyiv faces drone assault

Ukraine‘s military hit three Russian surface-to-air missile systems in Moscow-occupied Crimea overnight, its second reported strike on air defences on the peninsula this week.

Strikes targeted an S-300 system and two more advanced S-400 systems near Belbek and Sevastopol, Ukraine‘s general staff said today.

“As a result of the strikes, two radars of the S-300 and S-400 complexes were destroyed. Information about the third radar is being clarified,” it said on Telegram.

It comes as Ukraine repelled a major Russian attack as an onslaught of cruise, ballistic missiles and drones targeted Kyiv and five other regions overnight, including Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Poltava, Kharkiv, and Vinnytsia.

Serhiy Popko, head of Kyiv city military administration, said Ukraine’s air defence systems destroyed all weapons on their approach to the capital.

The debris caused a fire at an industrial facility in the Kyiv region, the governor said. One resident was injured after a private residence, a garage, a gas station and a storage unit were damaged, he added.

The Ukrainian military said it shot down five out of six missiles and all 24 drones launched during Russia‘s overnight attack.

Key Points

  • Ukraine says it hit three Russian air defence systems in occupied Crimea

  • Blasts over Kyiv as Ukraine stops major Russian missile attack

  • Zelensky renews call for weapon supplies following Kyiv overnight attack

  • US lifts weapons ban on Ukraine’s Azov Brigade

  • Two Indians killed fighting for Russian military in Ukraine

  • Russia and Belarus start second stage of tactical nuclear drills

Russia fires more missiles and drones at Ukraine ahead of diplomatic efforts to stop the war

20:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russian forces fired missiles and drones at the Kyiv region and five other areas of Ukraine in a nighttime attack, officials said Wednesday, ahead of several days of intense diplomatic activity around the war that is now in its third year.

Ukraine’s air force said it shot down 29 out of 30 air targets, including four cruise missiles, one Kinzhal ballistic missile, and 24 Shahed drones. Several people were injured, authorities said.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised the air force’s response, calling it a “daily achievement.” He has repeatedly appealed to Ukraine’s Western partners to provide more air defense systems, and the United States has agreed to send another Patriot missile system, two U.S. officials said late Tuesday.

Russia fires more missiles and drones at Ukraine ahead of diplomatic efforts to stop the war

The enemy within: How corruption and inefficiency are sabotaging Ukraine’s war effort

19:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The most senior Ukrainian official in charge of reconstruction has resigned, bitterly complaining that his position was deliberately undermined by the Zelensky government, writes Kim Sengupta – such instability could prove deeply damaging:

The enemy within: How corruption and inefficiency are sabotaging Ukraine’s war effort

Biden heads back to Europe for G7 summit to talk Ukraine support

18:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

President Joe Biden headed to Italy on Wednesday for a summit of the world’s leading democracies with an urgency to get big things done, including turning frozen Russian assets into billions of dollars to help Ukraine as it fights off Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war machine.

This year’s Group of Seven summit comes three years after Biden declared at his first such gathering that America was back as a global leader following the disruptions to Western alliances that occurred when Donald Trump was president. Now, there’s a chance this gathering could be the final G7 for Biden and other G7 leaders, depending on the results of elections this year.

Biden and his counterparts from Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan will use the summit to discuss challenges related to the spread of artificial intelligence, migration, the Russian military’s resurgence and China’s economic might, among other topics. Pope Francis, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are joining the gathering at the Borgo Egnazia resort in the Puglia region of southern Italy.

The summit, which opens Thursday, will play out after far-right parties across the continent racked up gains of surprising scale in just-concluded European Union elections. Those victories, coupled with upcoming elections in the United Kingdom, France and the United States, have rattled the global political establishment and added weightiness to this year’s summit.

 (AP)
(AP)

Germany proposes new voluntary military service to boost defence

17:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Germany’s defence minister presented a proposal for a new voluntary military service to boost its depleted armed forces in the face of tensions with Russia and following opposition from within the government to a return to conscription.

The proposal is part of Germany’s shift towards a more robust foreign and defence policy, announced by Chancellor Olaf Scholz as a “Zeitenwende” or “turn of era” in the days after Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Defence Minister Boris Pistorus said on Wednesday all men would be obliged to fill out a questionnaire to gauge their suitability for, and interest in, military service upon turning 18, while this would be optional for women.

It would then select a group for mustering before choosing the most suitable and motivated to undertake the six-month basic service - with an option to lengthen this by up to 17 months.

This new model aims to increase the number of young people undertaking voluntary military service per year by 5,000 to 15,000, the ministry said, boosting reserves so as to be able to quickly expand troop numbers in the event of war.

“The aim is to grow this number year by year to increase capacity,” Pistorius told reporters, adding the aim was to eventually achieve 200,000 more reservists.

The model is similar to the Swedish one, introduced in 2018, which aimed to enhance the status of military service through a degree of exclusivity.

Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz  with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

US cracks down on Hong Kong shell companies for sending chips to Russia

16:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The US treasury said it was targeting shell companies in Hong Kong for diverting semiconductors to Russia, taking steps that would affect nearly $100 million of high-priority items for Moscow including such chips.

“Today’ actions strike at their remaining avenues for international materials and equipment, including their reliance on critical supplies from third countries,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement.

“We are increasing the risk for financial institutions dealing with Russia’s war economy and eliminating paths for evasion, and diminishing Russia‘s ability to benefit from access to foreign technology, equipment, software, and IT services,” she said. “Every day, Russia continues to mortgage its future to sustain its unjust war of choice against Ukraine.”

US widens Russia sanctions and targets semiconductors sent via China

16:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The United States on Wednesday dramatically broadened sanctions on Russia, including by targeting China-based companies selling semiconductors to Moscow, as part of its effort to undercut the Russian military machine waging war on Ukraine.

Among the steps, the U.S. Treasury said it was raising “the risk of secondary sanctions for foreign financial institutions that deal with Russia‘s war economy,” effectively threatening them with losing access to the U.S. financial system.

It also said it was moving to restrict the Russian military industrial base’s ability to exploit certain U.S. software and information technology (IT) services and, with the State Department, targeting more than 300 individuals and entities in Russia and beyond, including in Asia, Europe and Africa.

Russian missile attack kills 6 and injures 11 in Ukraine’s Kryvyi Rih

15:43 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A Russian missile attack on Ukraine‘s city of Kryvyi Rih on Wednesday killed six people and injured 11 others, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky said.

“Every day and every hour, Russian terror proves that Ukraine, together with its partners, should strengthen air defences,” he said on the Telegram messaging app.

US Treasury widens sanctions to curb Russia's war production

15:35 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday announced new sanctions on over 300 entities and individuals aimed at cutting off Russia‘s access to products and services needed to sustain military production for its war in Ukraine, including dozens of Chinese suppliers.

U.S. officials have expressed increasing concern over Russia‘s ability to procure advanced semiconductors, optical equipment and other goods needed to produce advanced weapons systems despite prior sanctions.

The sanctions target third party firms and entities, including dozens of suppliers of electronics in China. The action stops short of imposing secondary sanctions on banks in China and other countries where Treasury has warned that dealings with Russian entities could cut institutions off from dollar access.

But the Treasury did say it was modifying the sanctions on previously targeted Russian banks, including VTB and Sberbank, to include branches and subsidiaries in China, India, Hong Kong, Kyrgyzstan and other locations.

Russian warships enter Havana harbor under Washington's watchful eye

15:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russian navy ships churned into Havana harbor on Wednesday, a stopover the U.S. and Cuba said posed no threat but which was widely seen as a Russian show of force as tensions rise over the Ukraine war.

Small groups of fishermen and curious onlookers lined the Malecon seafront boulevard in light rain to welcome the ships as they passed the 400-year old Morro castle at the harbor’s entrance.

The first to arrive was a fuel ship, the “Akademik Pashin” and a tug, the “Nikolay Chiker,” while a Russian navy frigate and nuclear powered submarine waited offshore and were expected to enter the harbor by mid-morning.

The frigate and submarine, part of the group of four Russian vessels that arrived off Cuba on Wednesday, had conducted missile drills in the Atlantic Ocean en route to the island, Russia‘s defence ministry said the previous day.

Cuba said last week that the visit was standard practice by naval vessels from countries friendly to Havana. The communist-run government’s foreign ministry said the ships carried no nuclear weapons, something echoed by U.S. officials.

“We have been monitoring the ships’ paths closely,” a U.S. official told Reuters on condition of anonymity late on Tuesday. “At no point have the ships or submarine posed a direct threat to the United States.”

US will send Ukraine another Patriot missile system after Kyiv's desperate calls for air defenses

14:46 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The United States will send Ukraine another Patriot missile system, two U.S. officials said Tuesday, answering Kyiv‘s desperate calls for more air defenses as it battles an intense Russian assault on the northeastern Kharkiv region.

The officials said President Joe Biden has approved the move. It would be the second Patriot system that the U.S. has given to Ukraine, although the Pentagon has routinely provided an undisclosed number of missiles for the system. Other allies, including Germany, also have provided air defense systems as well as munitions for them.

The two U.S. officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision has not been publicly announced. The decision was first reported by The New York Times.

US will send Ukraine another Patriot missile system after Kyiv's desperate calls for air defenses

Medvedev posts video showing whole of Ukraine as Russian territory

14:20 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev posted a video showing the whole of Ukraine as Russian territory in a post to mark Russia Day.

Ukraine plans record high power imports on Wednesday, energy ministry says

14:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Ukraine plans to import its largest amount of power on Wednesday after Russian missile strikes significantly damaged energy infrastructure, the Ukrainian energy ministry said.

Russian missile and drone attacks on Ukraine‘s energy sector have intensified since March, resulting in blackouts in many regions, forcing Kyiv to start large-scale electricity imports from the European Union.

The ministry said in a statement the country would import 29,796 megawatt hours on Wednesday, exceeding the previous record of up to 28,000 MWh earlier this month.

The national power grid operator Ukrenergo said in a separate statement that it would import electricity with a maximum technical capacity of 1,689 Mw per hour.

Russia continues to attack Ukrainian energy facilities almost daily. Ukrenergo said that an energy facility in northeastern Sumy region was damaged during the overnight drone attack.

The Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) analytical team said in a report that damages to the Ukrainian energy sector as of May 2024 amounted to more than $16.1 billion.

It said the worst damages were incurred from the destruction of electricity generation objects - $8.5 billion - transmission facilities - $2.1 billion - and oil and gas infrastructure - $3.3 billion.

Two Indians killed fighting for Russian military in Ukraine

13:40 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Two Indian men recruited by the Russian army have been killed in Ukraine, India’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

India said further recruitment of its nationals by Russia would “not be in consonance” with their bilateral partnership and demanded a “verified stop”.

The ministry urged its citizens to “exercise caution” while seeking employment in Russia amid reports that dozens of Indians had been duped by agents into fighting for the Russian military.

Two Indians killed fighting for Russian military in Ukraine

Hungary agrees not to veto NATO support to Ukraine as long as it's not forced to help out

13:20 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Hungary agreed on Wednesday not to veto NATO support for Ukraine but Prime Minister Viktor Orbán insisted that his government would provide neither funds nor military personnel for any joint assistance effort.

At a summit in Washington next month, U.S. President Joe Biden and his NATO counterparts are expected to agree on a new system to provide more predictable, long-term security help and military training to Ukraine’s beleaguered armed forces.

Ukraine’s Western allies are trying to bolster military support for Kyiv as Russian troops launch attacks along the more than 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) front line, taking advantage of a lengthy delay in U.S. military aid.

Hungary agrees not to veto NATO support to Ukraine as long as it's not forced to help out

German energy company Uniper says a tribunal awarded it billions in damages from Russia's Gazprom

13:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

German energy company Uniper said Wednesday that a tribunal has awarded it more than 13 billion euros (nearly $14 billion) in damages for gas that Russia‘s Gazprom hasn’t supplied since 2022.

Uniper said the arbitration tribunal based in Stockholm also ruled on June 7 that it has the right to terminate long-term gas supply contracts with state-owned Gazprom Export, and it is now formally ending the relationship.

The German government nationalized Uniper at the end of 2022 after Russia cut gas supplies to the country. Before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the company bought about half of its gas from Russia, which started cutting deliveries to Germany in June 2022 and stopped supplying it with gas altogether later that summer.

German energy company Uniper says a tribunal awarded it billions in damages from Russia's Gazprom

Russia fires more missiles and drones at Ukraine ahead of diplomatic efforts to stop the war

12:33 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russian forces fired missiles and drones at the Kyiv region and five other areas of Ukraine in a nighttime attack, officials said Wednesday, ahead of several days of intense diplomatic activity around the war that is now in its third year.

Ukraine’s air force said it shot down 29 out of 30 air targets, including four cruise missiles, one Kinzhal ballistic missile, and 24 Shahed drones. Several people were injured, authorities said.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised the air force’s response, calling it a “daily achievement.” He has repeatedly appealed to Ukraine’s Western partners to provide more air defense systems, and the United States has agreed to send another Patriot missile system, two U.S. officials said late Tuesday.

Russia fires more missiles and drones at Ukraine ahead of diplomatic efforts to stop the war

Zelensky renews call for weapon supplies following Kyiv overnight attack

12:22 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky renewed a call for weapons to fortify the country’s defence systems, following an overnight Russian attack on Kyiv and several other regions.

In a post on X, he wrote: “ Our air defenders responded effectively, shooting down five enemy missiles and more than 20 drones.

“Such a result in protecting lives can be our daily achievement if we have enough tools to repel terrorist attacks. I am grateful to all of our partners who understand this and work together with us to boost our resilience in this daily fight for life.”

Ukraine says it hit three Russian air defence systems in occupied Crimea

12:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Ukraine‘s military said it hit three Russian surface-to-air missile systems in Moscow-occupied Crimea overnight, its second reported strike on air defences on the peninsula this week.

Strikes targeted an S-300 system and two more advanced S-400 systems near Belbek and Sevastopol, Ukraine‘s general staff said on Wednesday.

“As a result of the strikes, two radars of the S-300 and S-400 complexes were destroyed. Information about the third radar is being clarified,” it said on Telegram.

Reuters could not verify the report independently.

11:40 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Hungary will not block NATO decisions on providing support for Ukraine but has agreed that it will not be involved, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Wednesday during a visit to Budapest by the alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Hungary has been at odds with other NATO countries over Orban’s continued cultivation of close ties to Russia and refusal to send arms to Ukraine, with Budapest’s foreign minister last month labelling plans to help the war-torn nation a “crazy mission”.

“Hungary made clear today that it will not block decisions by NATO which, although they differ from our rational assessment of the situation, are shared and advocated by the rest of the alliance,” Orban told a news conference.

Stoltenberg’s visit to Budapest came a day after a summit of leaders of eastern flank NATO states in the Latvian capital Riga. Hungary did not attend, in a sign of its differences with many of its neighbours over support for Ukraine.

“What the prime minister and I have agreed today is that Hungary will not block other allies to agree a pledge for financial support for Ukraine and for a leading role for NATO in coordinating the support for Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said.

“I am confident that when NATO leaders meet in Washington we will be able to finalise agreement on these issues.”

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (AFP via Getty Images)
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (AFP via Getty Images)

Ukraine troops say firing US weapons into Russia is working and could ‘turn Russian lives into a nightmare’

11:23 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A decision by Joe Biden to allow the use of weapons across parts of the border has had a ‘large psychological effect’ a colonel tells Askold Krushelnycky, who hears how Kyiv's forces are holding Putin's troops back around towns in the region of Kharkiv:

Ukraine troops say firing US weapons into Russia having drastic impact

Russia broadens tactical nuclear weapons drills

10:48 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russia said on Wednesday that soldiers and sailors from its northern Leningrad military district bordering NATO members Norway, Finland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania took part in drills to deploy tactical nuclear weapons.

The move appears to broaden the disclosed geography of the nuclear drills to include soldiers from military districts which cover almost all of Russia‘s European border, which stretches from the Arctic Ocean down to the Black Sea.

Vladimir Putin ordered the drills, which were announced last month to take place in the Southern Military district bordering Ukraine, after what Russia said were signals from Western officials that they would allow Ukraine to strike deep into Russia with Western weapons.

“The personnel of the Leningrad Military District missile unit are practicing combat training tasks,” Russia‘s defence ministry said in a statement about the drills.

These included obtaining special training ammunition for the Iskander-M operational-tactical missile system, equipping launch vehicles with them and covertly advancing to the designated position area for preparations for missile launches, it added.

“The crews of navy ships involved in the training will equip sea-based cruise missiles with special mock warheads and enter designated patrol areas,” the ministry said.

While many in the EU worry about far-right gains at the ballot box – those close to Russia crave security

10:24 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Mary Dejevsky travels to Finland, the Baltic states and Poland, where one issue stands above all others:

EU voters close to Russia crave one thing above all – security

Two Indians killed fighting for Russian military in Ukraine

09:50 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Two Indian men recruited by the Russian army have been killed in Ukraine, India’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

India said further recruitment of its nationals by Russia would “not be in consonance” with their bilateral partnership and demanded a “verified stop”.

The ministry urged its citizens to “exercise caution” while seeking employment in Russia amid reports that dozens of Indians had been duped by agents into fighting for the Russian military.

Two Indians killed fighting for Russian military in Ukraine

US lifts weapons ban on Ukraine’s Azov Brigade

09:29 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

This week, the US removed restrictions on the transfer of weapons and training to a high-profile Ukrainian military unit with an accusation of having far-right links.

The move will help the Azov Brigade, among Ukraine’s most effective and popular fighting units, move beyond its reputation as a far-right movement, a perception its commanders have been trying to dispel as Russian propaganda.

“This is a new page in our unit’s history,” the Azov Brigade wrote in a statement on Instagram. “Azov is becoming even more powerful, even more professional and even more dangerous for occupiers.”

“Obtaining western weapons and training from the United States will not only increase the combat ability of Azov, but most importantly, contribute to the preservation of the lives and the health of personnel,” the statement said.

Servicemen of the 12th Special Forces Brigade Azov of the National Guard of Ukraine fire a howitzer towards Russian troops, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Donetsk region (Reuters)
Servicemen of the 12th Special Forces Brigade Azov of the National Guard of Ukraine fire a howitzer towards Russian troops, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Donetsk region (Reuters)

North Korea's Kim hails Russia ties Russia as Putin reportedly plans a visit

09:12 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hailed the country’s expanding relationship with Russia on Wednesday, as reports suggest that Russian President Vladimir Putin will soon visit the country for his third meeting with Kim.

Military, economic and other cooperation between North Korea and Russia have sharply increased since Kim visited Russia last September for a meeting with Putin.

The US, South Korea and their partners believe North Korea has supplied artillery, missiles and other conventional weapons to Russia to support its war in Ukraine in return for advanced military technologies and economic aid.

North Korea's Kim hails Russia ties Russia as Putin reportedly plans a visit

Blasts over Kyiv as Ukraine stops major missile attack

08:47 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russia launched missile and drone attacks on Ukraine early on Wednesday, causing a fire at an industrial facility, damaging residences and injuring several people across six regions, local authorities said.

Ukrainian military said it shot down five out of six missiles and all 24 drones launched during Russia‘s overnight attack.

Ukraine‘s air defence systems destroyed all air weapons on their approach to the capital, Serhiy Popko, head of Kyiv city military administration said on the Telegram messaging app.

The debris damaged an industrial facility in the Kyiv region, causing a fire, Kyiv region governor said. Over 105 people were using 30 pieces of equipment to put out the fire as of Wednesday morning.

The attack injured one resident and damaged a private residence, a garage, a gas station and a storage unit, the governor said.

Dnipropetrovsk governor said the attack injured three people and damaged nine private residences, reporting that Ukrainian military shot down 11 drones over his region.

Air raid alerts lasted several hours across all of Ukraine, starting soon after 0000 GMT and including in regions bordering NATO-member Poland.

Kernel owner warns Kyiv to end exports dispute with EU, Financial Times says

08:30 , Barney Davis

The owner of Ukraine’s major agricultural companies Kernel has warned Kyiv against prolonging its dispute with the EU over food exports, saying it risks losing the bloc’s support in the war with Russia, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

Kernel is the world’s biggest exporter of sunflower oil and large exporter of other agricultural goods. Owner Andriy Verevskyi said feuding with EU member states at such a critical time was unwise.

“I think Ukraine should not fight with Poland or other European countries over import duties and the protection of the European market,” he said.

The EU curbs on Ukrainian goods announced in April followed extensive protests from farmers in the region, who said they faced unfair competition from producers outside the bloc such as Ukraine who do not face the environment-related regulations and bureaucracy they do.

“We have enough (other export) markets for Ukraine: I’m talking about India, Africa, Asia, China et cetera and I don’t think we should fight and escalate the relationship between Europe and Ukraine because of agricultural supply,” he said.

Russia launches 30 air strikes overnight

08:13 , Barney Davis

Overnight Russian forces launched a missile-aviation strike on Ukraine, using air and ground base missiles.

Ukraine’s air force command said they shot down 29 of the 30 in the Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Poltava, Kharkiv, and Vinnytsia regions and hailed it as “a victory” on Facebook.

Anti-aircraft missile units and electronic warfare units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces were involved in repelling the aerial attack which used rockets, winged and ballistic missiles.

Netherlands pledges €60m to buy drones for Ukraine

08:00 , Barney Davis

The Netherlands is contributing €60 million to offensive drone capacity for Ukraine.

The amount is intended, among other things, for maritime drones and so-called first-person view drones, where the ‘pilot’ watches from a distance.

Minister Kajsa Ollongren announced this during a visit to Ukraine. She visited the cities of Kyiv and Lviv.

She said: “With every visit I am impressed by the resilience of Ukrainian society and the people who are committed: military and civilian.

“The Netherlands can also learn a lot from the enormous innovative and creative power of the Ukrainian armed forces. It is good to share experiences with each other.”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Kyiv residents without power and water after Russian air raid attack

07:30 , Arpan Rai

When the power goes down and the elevator stops working, Ukrainian couple Maryna and Valeriy Tkalich leave the pushchair on the ground floor and carry their two-month-old son up the 12 flights of stairs to their apartment instead.

And once authorities in Kyiv have notified residents of upcoming scheduled electricity outages, the Tkaliches rush to bathe little Marian and prepare food for the family before the lights go out and taps run dry.

Such disruptions are becoming increasingly common for the city’s population of about three million people, after Russia began pummelling the country’s energy system in late March, cutting out half of its generating capacity.

In scenes reminiscent of the winter of 2023, streets are frequently plunged into darkness, the hum of private generators can be heard again across Kyiv streets and people carry flashlights to get around.

“The main challenge is the lack of water,” said Valeriy Tkalich, 34, speaking to Reuters at his Kyiv home where water pumps can’t reach the higher floors without electricity.

“For cooking, we also had to adjust and purchase a small gas camping stove to heat stuff up,” said the IT product manager. “With the baby, it seriously complicates our reality.”

Many Ukrainians fear things will get worse as winter approaches, with Russian forces seizing the initiative on the battlefield and intensifying missile and drone attacks on thermal and hydropower stations.

Russia loses nearly 1,000 soldiers and nine tanks in just 24 hours

07:01 , Arpan Rai

Russia lost at least 980 troops, including those killed and injured, on the frontline in Ukraine in just the past day, senior Ukrainian military officials said this morning.

Sharing a daily update, the General Staff of the Ukraine Armed Forces said: “Over the past day, the Russians lost 980 servicemen killed and wounded, nine tanks and 46 artillery systems on the battlefield.”

It said the total casualties of those killed and wounded in Russia’s full-scale invasion launched in February 2022 has now risen to 521,830.

Russia has not commented on the daily death toll shared by Ukrainian forces and authorities, nor has it separately issued its own death toll since the full scale invasion of Ukraine.

Additionally, new documents show that Russia’s Wagner mercenary group suffered more battlefield deaths than the Soviet Union lost in the decade-long invasion of Afghanistan, as almost 20,000 of its fighters were killed.

Last month Russian casualties were confirmed to have exceeded 465,000 troops, according to Nicholas Aucott, the senior military adviser of the UK Delegation to the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe.

China says it will oppose all unilateral sanctions

07:00 , Alexander Butler

China will resolutely oppose all unilateral sanctions following new warnings from G7 countries on small Chinese banks about their links to Russia, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

China will take all necessary measures to firmly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises, spokesperson Lin Jin said at a regular press conference.

It was reported yesteday that member countries of the G7 were set to send a tough new warning next week to smaller Chinese banks to stop assisting Russia in evading Western sanctions.

Leaders are gathering for the summit on June 13-15.

Russia fired 30 missiles and drones at Ukraine overnight

06:37 , Arpan Rai

Ukraine’s air defence forces destroyed at least five Russian missiles, including hypersonic and ballistic missiles, fired by Russian forces in a major overnight attack, the Ukrainian Air Force has said.

“On the night of 12 June, 2024, the occupiers launched a missile-air strike against Ukraine, using air and ground-based missiles, as well as attack UAVs,” the Air Force Commander Lieutenant General Mykola Oleschuk, said this morning.

He said Ukrainian air-defence intercepted 24 Shahed drones, all four air-launched cruise missiles and one “Kinzhal” hypersonic missile, in a statement this morning.

One Iskander-M ballistic missile was also fired but could not be intercepted, the Air Force Commander said.

The anti-aircraft defence worked in Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Poltava, Kharkiv, and Vinnytsia regions, he said on his official Telegram channel.

Kim Jong-un calls North Korea Russia's ‘invincible comrade-in-arms’

06:37 , Arpan Rai

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has described his country as an “invincible comrade-in-arms” to Russia in a message to Vladimir Putin, state media KCNA said today, amid speculation over Putin’s impending visit to North Korea.

Congratulating the Russian president on Russia’s National Day, Kim said his meeting with Putin at a Russian space launch facility last year elevated the ties of their “century-old strategic relationship”.

“Thanks to the significant meeting between us at the Vostochney Spaceport in September last year, the DPRK-Russia friendly and cooperative relations developed into an unbreakable relationship of comrades-in-arms and a long-standing strategic relationship and are steadily developing into the higher-level state relations,” he said, reported KCNA.

Putin is expected to visit North Korea and Vietnam in the coming weeks, according to Russia’s Vedomosti newspaper.

The North Korean leader also lauded Russia for achieving results on its efforts to build a strong country despite by “suppressing and crushing all the challenges and sanctions and pressures of hostile forces”. He also called Putin’s leadership “energetic and correct”.

An official in Vietnam said the Vietnam trip was planned for 19-20 June, but has not yet been confirmed.

Zelensky to meet Biden in Italy, says White House

06:25 , Arpan Rai

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky will be meeting Joe Biden in a guest appearance in Italy on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit, the White House has announced.

The two-day G7 summit will kickstart in Italy tomorrow in the southern province of Puglia.

Senior White House official John Kirby said Mr Biden and Mr Zelensky will meet tomorrow to “discuss the US’s support for Ukraine, both now and in the future”.

Mr Kirby added that Washington would demonstrate a clear commitment to support Ukraine during the G7 summit. The two will also hold a press conference, he said.

Russia and Belarus start second stage of tactical nuclear drills

06:00 , Alexander Butler

Russian and Belarusian troops have started the second stage of tactical nuclear drills in Russia, Russia’s defence ministry has said.

The ministry said the drills were aimed at ensuring that the two countries’ military personnel and equipment were ready to protect their sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“During the exercise, issues of joint training of units of the armed forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus for the combat use of non-strategic nuclear weapons will be worked out,” the defence ministry said.

US to give Ukraine another Patriot missile system for air defence

05:12 , Arpan Rai

Joe Biden has allowed sending one more Patriot missile system to war-hit Ukraine, two US officials said, answering Kyiv’s desperate calls for more air defences as it battles an intense Russian assault on the northeastern Kharkiv region.

It would be the second Patriot system that the US has given to Ukraine, although the Pentagon has routinely provided an undisclosed number of missiles for the system. Other allies, including Germany, also have provided air defence systems as well as munitions for them.

Volodymyr Zelensky late last month pleaded for additional US-made Patriot systems, arguing that they will help his forces fight the close to 3,000 bombs that he said Russia launches into the country every month.

“If we had these modern Patriot systems, (Russian) airplanes wouldn’t be able to fly close enough to drop the (glide) bombs on the civilian population and the military,” he had said on a bilateral trip to Spain.

The two US officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision has not been publicly announced.

US will send Ukraine another Patriot missile system after Kyiv's desperate calls for air defenses

One killed in Ukrainian shelling in Russia’s Belgorod

05:02 , Arpan Rai

At least one person was killed and three others were injured in Ukrainian shelling in the town of Shebekino in Russia’s Belgorod region, the governor of the region bordering Ukraine said this morning.

“The man died from his wounds on the spot before paramedics arrived,” Vyacheslav Gladkov said in a post on Telegram, adding that two wounded people were taken to local hospitals.

The shelling by multiple launch rocket systems also damaged six residential houses and 11 apartment buildings, he said.

Kyiv says its attacks on Russian territory are aimed at undermining Moscow’s war efforts by destroying military, energy and transport infrastructure.

Both sides deny targeting civilians in the war that Russia launched against its smaller neighbour in 2022.

Russian fighter-bomber crashes after ‘technical fault’

05:00 , Alexander Butler

A Russian military jet crashed during a training flight in North Ossetia, killing two people on board, the defence ministry said Tuesday.

The Sukhoi SU-34 jet crashed “in a mountainous zone” and there was “no damage on the ground”, the ministry said, adding that a technical problem appeared to have caused the crash.

It comes amid an increase in aircraft accidents in Russia, attributed to sanctions imposed on Russia leading to a shortage of necessary parts.

Ukraine says it has destroyed all Russian missiles and drones in overnight attack

04:26 , Arpan Rai

Ukraine’s air defence systems have destroyed all air weapons on their approach to Kyiv, the head of the city’s military administration said this morning.

In a rare large-scale attack which sent all of Ukraine under air-raid alert, Russia launched a missile and drone attack on Kyiv in the early morning, the Ukrainian military said.

Russia used a combination of cruise and ballistic missiles as well as drones in its attack, Serhiy Popko, the head of Kyiv’s military administration said, citing preliminary information.

The full scale of the attack was not immediately clear, he added. Witnesses said several blasts that sounded like air defence systems at work were heard in and around Kyiv.

The air raid alerts lasted several hours across all of Ukraine, starting soon after midnight GMT and including regions bordering Nato-member Poland.

Poland scrambles F-16 warplanes as Russia rains missiles on Ukraine

04:08 , Arpan Rai

Poland has scrambled its aircraft and air forces against Russia’s large-scale missile attacks targeting Ukraine’s central and western parts, the Operational Command of the Polish Armed Forces said this morning.

The Polish armed forces described its response as “defensive air activities”.

Warning of increased noise-levels due to Polish and allied aircraft operating in its airspace, it said: “Tonight we are observing the activity of long-range aviation of the Russian Federation, carrying out strikes using cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles of the Shahed type against objects located, among others, in the western territory of Ukraine.”

Poland, which lies on Ukraine’s west, said that the last such “intensified” Russian aggressive activity was recorded on Thursday and Friday night.

“All necessary procedures to ensure the safety of Polish airspace have been launched, and the RSZ Operational Command is monitoring the situation on an ongoing basis,” it said, referring to one of the two command bodies of the Polish Armed Forces.

Since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine more than two years ago, there have been a number of intrusions into Polish airspace, triggering worry in the European Union and Nato member state and reminding people of how close the war is.

Explosions hit Kyiv as Russia launches major missile attack

04:07 , Arpan Rai

Blasts were heard across Ukraine’s capital Kyiv this morning as Russian forces rained missiles on the war-hit nation, officials said.

Ukraine’s air defence systems are engaged in repelling the strikes, Kyiv’s military administration said on Telegram.

Many explosions were heard in and around Kyiv, according to witnesses.

The attack, coming after several weeks of quiet nights in Kyiv, saw all of Ukraine placed under blaring air raid alerts.

Pictured: Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska visits a wounded Ukrainian solider in a German military hospital

04:00 , Alexander Butler

Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska visits a wounded Ukrainian solider in a German military hospital (Getty Images)
Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska visits a wounded Ukrainian solider in a German military hospital (Getty Images)

‘There is more to do’ to avoid repeat of Second World War, warns army chief

03:00 , Alexander Butler

‘There is more to do’ to avoid repeat of WWII, warns army chief

Inside the escape from a Ukraine border village as Putin’s forces closed in: ‘Mummy, when will this war end?’

02:00 , Alexander Butler

Inside the escape from a Ukraine border village as Putin’s forces closed in

The Russian glide bombs changing the face of the war in Ukraine

01:00 , Alexander Butler

The Russian glide bombs changing the face of the war in Ukraine

Foreign investment in Ukraine reaches $4.25 bln in 2023

Wednesday 12 June 2024 00:01 , Alexander Butler

Foreign investment into the Ukrainian economy reached $4.25billion in 2023 despite the war with Russia, Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko said on Tuesday.

“The war does not mean an embargo on investment. In 2023, foreign investors committed $4.25billion to the Ukrainian economy, which exceeded the 2016-2017 levels.

“We should continue to increase this figure,” Svyrydenko said.

Ukraine is in a race against time to steel itself for a Russian summer assault

Tuesday 11 June 2024 23:00 , Alexander Butler

Ukraine is in a race against time to steel itself for a Russian summer assault

Ukraine says it struck one of Russia's most advanced warplanes

Tuesday 11 June 2024 22:00 , Alexander Butler

Ukraine says it struck one of Russia's most advanced warplanes

Russia, Belarus launch a second stage of drills to train troops in tactical nuclear weapons

Tuesday 11 June 2024 21:00 , Alexander Butler

Russia, Belarus launch a second stage of drills to train troops in tactical nuclear weapons

Pictured: Ukrainian soldier remotely operates drone in Dontesk

Tuesday 11 June 2024 19:00 , Alexander Butler

A Ukrainian soldier remotely controls an FPV drone in Dontesk, Ukraine (AFP via Getty Images)
A Ukrainian soldier remotely controls an FPV drone in Dontesk, Ukraine (AFP via Getty Images)

Zelensky warns pro-Russian rhetoric ‘dangerous’ for EU countries

Tuesday 11 June 2024 18:00 , Alexander Butler

Volodymyr Zelensky has warned of growing pro-Russian rhetoric in Europe, after far-right parties – some sympathetic to the Kremlin – made gains in European Union elections.

“It seems to me that the most important thing is that people did not choose pro-Russian populist rhetoric. But radical pro-Russian rhetoric is dangerous for your countries,” Mr Zelensky said in Berlin.

Zelensky warned of growing pro-Russian rhetoric in Europe after far-right parties made gains in EU elections (Getty Images)
Zelensky warned of growing pro-Russian rhetoric in Europe after far-right parties made gains in EU elections (Getty Images)

Finland sees first Nato deployment as its jets join mission in Romania

Tuesday 11 June 2024 17:00 , Alexander Butler

Finland has made its first deployment for Nato since joining the alliance in April 2023, sending seven F-18 fighter jets to a military base in southeastern Romania where they will conduct air shielding missions with Romanian and British jets.

A Finnish Air Force commander said the mission would help speed up Finland’s integration into Nato.

“I’m sure that during this enhanced air policing air shielding mission our integration into NATO will take a big leap forward,” Johan Anttila, commander of Finland’s Karelia Air Wing told soldiers on the tarmac at the Mihail Kogalniceanu base.

Ukraine appeals for help rebuilding shattered cities

Tuesday 11 June 2024 16:00 , Alexander Butler

Ukraine and its allies drummed up support to protect Ukrainian cities from Russian missiles today and urged international businesses to put their faith, and billions of dollars, into post-war reconstruction.

Kyiv hopes the recovery conference will cement its credentials as a future member of the European Union that is worthy of huge injections of reconstruction financing – even as Russian forces continue to make slow advances in Ukraine’s east.

Speaking alongside German chancellor Olaf Scholz, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia had already wiped out enough energy infrastructure to power the cities of Berlin and Munich combined.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the Bundestag on Tuesday (Getty Images)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the Bundestag on Tuesday (Getty Images)

Russian hybrid operations very concerning, say Romania, Poland and Latvia

Tuesday 11 June 2024 15:04 , Alexander Butler

Russia’s malign hybrid activities in Nato countries are a source of deep concern, the presidents of Romania, Poland and Latvia said on Tuesday in a statement released to coincide with a meeting of eastern members of the alliance.

Countries on Nato’s eastern flank say that Russia is using tactics ranging from sabotage and cyberattacks to illegal migration to destabilise them due to their support for Ukraine.

Russia has repeatedly denied accusations that it is behind such activities. “We are deeply concerned about Russia’s recent malignant hybrid activities on Allied territory, which constitute a threat to Allied security,” the presidents said in the statement.

US drops ban on controversial Ukrainian brigade

Tuesday 11 June 2024 14:18 , Alexander Butler

The United States had dropped a ban on arming a controversial Ukrainian fighting unit which has been criticised for recruiting fighters from far-right circles.

The Azov Brigade is among Ukraine’s most effective and popular fighting units, formerly based in Mariupol, has also been called out for some of its fighting tactics.

It has rejected accusations of extremism and any ties with far-right movements, and the US said it had found “no evidence” of human rights violations.

“This is a new page in our unit’s history,” the brigade said. “Azov is becoming even more powerful, even more professional and even more dangerous for occupiers.”

Russia says West may force it to amend nuclear doctrine

Tuesday 11 June 2024 13:15 , Alexander Butler

The actions of the West are making Russia think about amending its nuclear deterrence framework, the TASS news agency cited deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Tuesday.

Russian president Vladimir Putin spoke about Russia’s nuclear doctrine last week, saying that it was a “living instrument” which could be changed. On Tuesday, Ryabkov declined to say what exactly could change in the documents.

Russia destroyed half of Ukraine’s power generation capacity, says Zelensky

Tuesday 11 June 2024 12:45 , Alexander Butler

Russian strikes on Ukraine’s energy facilities have destroyed half of its electricity generation capacity since winter, Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday.

“As a result of the strikes of Russian missiles and drones, nine gigawatts of capacity have already been destroyed. The peak of electricity consumption last winter was 18 gigawatts. So half now doesn’t exist,” Mr Zelensky told a conference in Berlin.

Russian fighter-bomber crashes after ‘technical fault’

Tuesday 11 June 2024 12:15 , Alexander Butler

A Russian military jet crashed during a training flight in North Ossetia, killing two people on board, the defence ministry said Tuesday.

The Sukhoi SU-34 jet crashed “in a mountainous zone” and there was “no damage on the ground”, the ministry said, adding that a technical problem appeared to have caused the crash.

It comes amid an increase in aircraft accidents in Russia, attributed to sanctions imposed on Russia leading to a shortage of necessary parts.

File photo of Russian Su-34 jet (AFP via Getty Images)
File photo of Russian Su-34 jet (AFP via Getty Images)

Russian forces capture two villages in Ukraine

Tuesday 11 June 2024 11:33 , Alexander Butler

Russian forces have captured the village of Miasozharivka in Ukraine’s Luhansk region and the village of Tymkivka in the Kharkiv region, the TASS news agency cited Russia’s defence ministry as saying.

Russia and Belarus start second stage of tactical nuclear drills

Tuesday 11 June 2024 11:19 , Alexander Butler

Russian and Belarusian troops have started the second stage of tactical nuclear drills in Russia, Russia’s defence ministry has said.

The ministry said the drills were aimed at ensuring that the two countries’ military personnel and equipment were ready to protect their sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“During the exercise, issues of joint training of units of the armed forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus for the combat use of non-strategic nuclear weapons will be worked out,” the defence ministry said.

At Nato allies summit, Latvia touts coordinated Ukraine approach, without Hungary

Tuesday 11 June 2024 10:59 , Alexander Butler

Nato’s eastern flank leaders will have a more coordinated approach towards supporting Ukraine after the Hungarian president stayed away from their summit in Riga, Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics said.

The split emphasises diverging approaches to Russia and Ukraine among central European nations, amid Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban’s continued close ties to Russia and refusal to give arms to Ukraine.

Rinkevics said Hungary’s President Tamas Sulyok cancelled his trip to the summit of the Bucharest Nine, a group of European countries on the eastern edge of Nato, at the weekend.

China says it will oppose all unilateral sanctions

Tuesday 11 June 2024 10:05 , Alex Ross

China will resolutely oppose all unilateral sanctions following new warnings from G7 countries on small Chinese banks about their links to Russia, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

China will take all necessary measures to firmly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises, spokesperson Lin Jin said at a regular press conference.

It was reported yesteday that member countries of the G7 were set to send a tough new warning next week to smaller Chinese banks to stop assisting Russia in evading Western sanctions.

Leaders are gathering for the summit on June 13-15.

Ukraine’s recovery - problems within Kyiv government

Tuesday 11 June 2024 09:45 , Alex Ross

Among other immediate problems Ukraine faces, sustained Russian attacks on its power grid in recent weeks have forced leaders in Kyiv to institute nationwide rolling blackouts.

But on Monday, the head of the State Agency for Restoration of Ukraine, Mustafa Nayyem, announced his resignation on Facebook.

He cited “systemic obstacles that prevent me from exercising my powers effectively” and accused the government of bogging his agency down in red tape.

Ukraine hasn’t had a minister dedicated to reconstruction since Oleksandr Kubrakov was dismissed in May.

Mr Nayyem complained that Ukraine‘s prime minister barred him from attending the Berlin conference, starting on Tuesday

Ukraine’s bid to join EU - ‘we are pulling out all the stops’, says Germany’s foreign minister

Tuesday 11 June 2024 09:25 , Alex Ross

Ukraine applied to join the EU after the Russian invasion in February 2022, and last Friday, the European Commission said it had met the requirements for starting negotiations - so it’s now up to member countries to make it happen.

Speaking ahead of the two-day Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin, German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said: “We are pulling out all the stops so that Ukraine can soon take a seat at the table of the European Union - because, in addition to our military support, that’s the best protection there is.”

Task of supporting Ukraine’s recovery ‘too big to be tackled by governments alone'

Tuesday 11 June 2024 09:05 , Alex Ross

Ahead of the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin, where support will be gathered for Kyiv from governments and businesses, the German development minister Svenja Schulze has said governments need support of companies and civil societies.

It said assisting Kyiv in its short and long term recovery was “too big to be tackled by governments alone”

He added: “Even during the current times of war, Ukraine needs to continually rebuild houses, water pipelines, hospitals and power grids.

“People want to keep on living in their country, and to do so they need electricity, water and a roof over their heads.”

German development minister Svenja Schulze has called for support from companies and civil societies (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
German development minister Svenja Schulze has called for support from companies and civil societies (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

What’s happening today

Tuesday 11 June 2024 08:39 , Alex Ross

Germany is hosting a two-day conference to gather support for Ukraine’s recovery in a signal of solidarity witth Kyiv from today.

The two-day Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin comes before the Group of Seven summit of Ukraine‘s leading Western allies in Italy and a global peace summit in Switzerland this coming weekend.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who last week attended events marking the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in France, is expected at the gathering, which the German hosts say will bring together 2,000 people from politics, business and other areas.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, right, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speak ahead of the Germany Ukraine Recovery Conference (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, right, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speak ahead of the Germany Ukraine Recovery Conference (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Russia drops 500kg guided bomb on Ukrainian civilians overnight

Tuesday 11 June 2024 08:10 , Arpan Rai

At least five people were severely injured after Russian forces dropped a 500-kilogram guided bomb on a residential area of the city of Kostiantynivka in Donetsk oblast yesterday, Ukrainian officials said.

The guided bomb hit the area around 11.20pm last night, officials said.

The bomb hit a residential area where five local residents sustained physical injuries due to shattered glass and a powerful blast wave, reported Ukrainian news outlet Ukrainska Pravda. The injured civilians include a 65-year-old man and two women aged 63 and 88.

They were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries and multiple lacerations, the report added. The bombing also hollowed out 13 multi-storey buildings and shattered its windows and glass panes.

Russia does not acknowledge its missile and bombing attacks on Ukraine, especially civilian areas, although it claims it is targeting military hotspots. However, in its 27-month-old war, Russia has attacked schools, maternity wards, hospitals, shelters, villages, residential settlements, museums, churches among several other places.

90 countries to attend Swiss-hosted Ukraine peace summit that Russia is snubbing

Tuesday 11 June 2024 07:00 , Alexander Butler

90 countries to attend Swiss-hosted Ukraine peace summit that Russia is snubbing

Zelensky reaches Germany to meet Scholz

Tuesday 11 June 2024 06:49 , Arpan Rai

Volodymyr Zelensky said he arrived in Germany for a conference on Ukraine’s post-war recovery and would also hold talks with chancellor Olaf Sholz.

The Ukrainian war-time leader said he would prioritise measures concerning Ukraine‘s energy sector, shattered by Russian air attacks at the conference, an annual event.

His talks with Sholz would focus on continued military support, including air defences and joint manufacture of munitions, and the coordination of positions ahead of the “peace summit” to be hosted by Switzerland later in the week.

Russian bomber crashes in Caucasus, killing crew

Tuesday 11 June 2024 06:13 , Arpan Rai

A Russian SU-34 bomber crashed in the Caucasus mountains during a routine training flight likely due to a technical malfunction, killing the crew aboard, Russian news agencies reported today citing the defence ministry.

An unspecified number of crew members have been killed, officials said. It is not immediately known how many people were on board.

“The preliminary cause of the plane crash is a technical malfunction,” TASS state news agency cited the ministry’s representative as saying. The crash took place in the Ossetia region, the ministry said.

US does not expect EU's rightward shift to bring big foreign policy changes, official says

Tuesday 11 June 2024 06:00 , Alexander Butler

The United States does not expect any major foreign policy changes from the European Union, including on Ukraine, after a European Parliament election that saw far-right parties gain seats, a US official said on Monday.

The official said Washington expects Ursula von der Leyen will be able to stay on as EU president.

Russia undermining Finnish sovereignty with airspace violations, says think-tank

Tuesday 11 June 2024 05:30 , Arpan Rai

The Kremlin is continuing its mission to undermine Finland’s territorial and sovereign integrity by sending military jets into its airspace, a US-based think-tank said, after Russia violated the Nato nation’s airspace yesterday.

Shortly after breaching Finnish airspace yesterday morning, the Russian defence ministry said it conducted flights using Tu-95MS missile carriers and Tu-22M3 bombers over the neutral waters of the Baltic, Barents and Norwegian seas.

Noting that the Russian ministry of defence has not responded to Finnish reports, The Institute for the Study of War said: “This reported incursion likely forwards the ongoing Kremlin effort to undermine Finnish sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

It noted that the Russian defence ministry had proposed last month that the Russian government should “reassess Russia’s maritime borders in the Gulf of Finland, which some Western officials have warned may be part of an effort to revise maritime zones in the Baltic Sea”.

“The Kremlin has also been running a number of information operations aimed at portraying Finland as an enemy to Russia and Russians, ultimately setting information conditions to justify potential future aggression against Finland,” the ISW said.

90 countries to attend Ukraine peace summit that Russia is ignoring

Tuesday 11 June 2024 05:10 , Arpan Rai

Nearly 90 countries and organisations, half from Europe, have confirmed attending the Swiss-hosted Ukraine peace summit over the weekend despite Russia’s refusal to participate in the conference, Switzerland’s president has said.

Viola Amherd told reporters in the Swiss capital that the summit, on Saturday and Sunday, will aim to chart a path toward possible peace nearly 28 months after Russian forces invaded Ukraine and the war grinding on.

Some, including French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Olaf Scholz, are expected to attend the summit at the Buergenstock resort overlooking Lake Lucerne.

Brazil and China said they wouldn’t take part unless both sides – including Russia – were at the table, according to Swiss officials. Beijing has been one of the top supporters of Vladimir Putin since the war started.

“This is not propaganda,” said Amherd. “This is about the basis of humanitarian aid provided by Switzerland… and to initiate a dialogue.”

The Swiss president added that most participants — about half of which will be represented at the level of head of state or government — are country leaders, but “a handful” are from organisations like the United Nations.

Read more here:

90 countries to attend Swiss-hosted Ukraine peace summit that Russia is snubbing

Putin claims Russia may supply long-range weapons to enemies of West

Tuesday 11 June 2024 05:00 , Alexander Butler

Vladimir Putin has claimed Russia could retaliate in kind against those permitting Ukraine to target Russia with their long-range missiles – by providing such weapons to countries within striking distance of Western nations.

In wide-ranging remarks at his annual economic forum in St Petersburg, the Russian president sought to insist that Moscow “does not care” about the upcoming US election, claimed candidate Donald Trump’s hush money conviction was “political”, and dismissed fears that Russia wants to attack Nato as “nonsense”.

But he warned that the United States and Germany’s recent authorisation for Ukraine to use their weapons to hit specific Russian targets close to Kharkiv could lead to “very serious problems”, calling Berlin’s decision a “very dangerous step”.

Putin claims Russia could supply long-range weapons to West’s enemies

Russian warplane violates Finnish airspace

Tuesday 11 June 2024 04:39 , Arpan Rai

A Russian military plane breached Finnish airspace yesterday, officials in Helsinki said. This was the first such violation by Russian forces since Finland joined Nato last year.

The warplane entered Finland’s airspace for approximately two minutes on Monday morning, officials from Finland’s defence ministry said, confirming the breach of its air territory in the eastern Gulf of Finland.

The aircraft flew at least 2.5km into Finnish territory.

Finnish defence minister Antti Hakkanen said the country takes the “suspected territorial violation seriously and the investigation has been started immediately”.

This is not the first time Russia has violated Finland’s airspace. In August 2022, it sent two fighter jets inside the European nation’s airspace, sparking international condemnation over its reckless air operations.

Ukraine appoints commander of drone systems

Tuesday 11 June 2024 04:20 , Arpan Rai

The Ukrainian military has appointed a commander of drone forces in a newly created position, bolstering its most active air defence unit, as it continues to fight back against Russia’s 27-month-old war.

Ukraine has repeatedly underlined the importance of drone warfare in reconnaissance and combat operations it is carrying out against Russian forces. The drones have been used by Ukrainian forces in overwhelming numbers to strike positions on the frontline, bordering Russian villages and cities, and deep inside Russia.

A statement by the General Staff of the Armed Forces said Vadym Sukharevskyi, deputy armed forces commander, had been named to the post by order of defence minister Rustem Umerov. Sukharevskyi was appointed deputy commander in February with responsibility for drones.

Mr Zelensky had issued a decree in February calling for the creation of a separate branch of the armed forces devoted to drones and the order was endorsed last week by the government.

Ukraine will be producing a million of its own drones in the course of 2024, Mr Zelensky said. Alongside the Ukrainian military has ramped up its use of drones. Commander-in-chief Oleksandr Syrskyi has also met in recent days with the country’s most successful drone units.

Pictured: Belgian prime minister and Zelensky next to an F-16 fighter jet

Tuesday 11 June 2024 04:00 , Alexander Butler

Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, right, and Belgium's Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder, left, pose with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in front of an F-16 (AP)
Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, right, and Belgium's Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder, left, pose with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in front of an F-16 (AP)

Biden to lift ban on Ukrainian unit using US weapons – report

Tuesday 11 June 2024 03:57 , Arpan Rai

The Biden administration will lift its ban on allowing a controversial Ukrainian military unit to use American weapons, the Washington Post reported citing State Department officials.

The State Department reversed a decade-old prohibition on the Azov Brigade from using American training and weapons after a new analysis found no evidence of human rights violations by the unit, the Washington Post reported.

“After thorough review, Ukraine’s 12th Special Forces Azov Brigade passed Leahy vetting as carried out by the US Department of State,” the State Department said in a statement obtained by the newspaper.

The Leahy Law bars US military assistance to foreign units found to have committed such violations.

The Azov Regiment, which has far-right and ultra-nationalist roots, is part of Ukraine’s National Guard and evolved out of a battalion that was formed in 2014 and fought against Russian-backed separatists who carved out breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine.

The regiment is lionised in Ukraine for defending the country against Russia’s invasion and in particular the southern city of Mariupol, but they are reviled by Russian president Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin.