Latest Developments in Ukraine: June 7 | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

The latest developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT.

10:30 p.m.: The U.S. Treasury Department has banned U.S. money managers from buying any Russian debt or stocks in secondary markets, on top of its existing ban on new-issue purchases, in its latest sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reports.

Despite Washington’s sanctions in recent months, Americans were still allowed to trade hundreds of billions of dollars in assets already in circulation on secondary markets.

The Treasury said in guidance published on its website on Monday that the ban extends to all Russian debt and that all Russian firms’ shares are affected, not just those of ones specifically named in sanctions.

9:37 p.m.: Ukraine’s further success in the war against Russia and the deoccupation of its territories depend not only on the unity of the Ukrainian people and the strength of its military, but also on the weapons supplied to us by partner states, political support and consistent Western sanctions policy, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an interview with the Financial Times.

“The advancement, the deoccupation of our territories depends on powerful weapons, political support from the West and a clear, strong sanctions policy. It depends not only on the unity of our people, government and the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said.

8:32 p.m.: Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska called on the world, and in particular the United States, not to get used to Russia’s war against Ukraine, because if that happens, the war will never end, according to a statement on President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s website said. Zelenska made the comments in an interview with the American TV channel ABC, which she gave in Kyiv.

The conversation was interrupted for 40 minutes by an air alarm – this episode was also seen by American viewers.

“I really want the whole world, and Americans as well, not to get used to this war. Yes, it is far from you, it lasts long, and you can get tired of it, but please do not get used to it, because if everyone gets used to it, this war will never end. Don’t get used to the pain. And when you start thinking that there may be some reason for this war, it means that you are in the zone of Russian propaganda. Be careful, hear the truth,” she said.

7:37 p.m.:

7 p.m.: More than 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers who surrendered in the city of Mariupol have been transferred to Russia for investigation, Tass news agency reported on Tuesday, citing a Russian law enforcement source.

If confirmed, the news could undermine already troubled peace talks between the two sides.

“More than 1000 people from Azovstal were brought to Russia. Law enforcement organs are working with them closely,” Tass quoted the source as saying. It did not give details about what might happen next.

The source also told Tass that more Ukrainian prisoners would be sent to Russia.

6:07 p.m.: Russia has returned to Kyiv the bodies of 210 Ukrainian fighters, most of whom who died defending the city of Mariupol from Russian forces at a vast steel works, the Ukrainian military said Tuesday.

“The process of returning the bodies of the fallen defenders of Mariupol is under way. To date, 210 of our troops have been returned – most of them are heroic defenders of Azovstal,” Ukraine’s defense intelligence directorate said on Twitter.

Ukrainians were holed up in the Azovstal steelworks for weeks as Russia tried to capture the city. The Ukrainian soldiers eventually surrendered last month and were taken into custody by Russia.

There has been little information about the fate of the estimated 2,000 Azovstal defenders, Reuters reported. Kyiv wants all of its soldiers handed over in a prisoner swap, but some Russian lawmakers want some of the soldiers put on trial.

5:22 p.m.: Mykola Kulychenko says a Russian soldier placed a gun to his mouth and tried to execute him, but that he jerked his head as the trigger was pulled. He points to what he says are entry and exit wounds where a bullet passed through his face. He shows a pit that had been prepared for him and says his two brothers were shot dead, with one falling on top of him. When the Russians departed, Kulychenko climbed out. Correspondent Anna Brovko with Current Time, a co-production of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and VOA, has this story.

4:47 p.m.: Radiation detectors in the Exclusion Zone around Ukraine’s defunct Chornobyl nuclear power plant are back online for the first time since Russia seized the area on February 24, and radiation levels are normal, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Tuesday, according to Reuters. “Most of the 39 detectors sending data from the Exclusion Zone … are now visible on the IRMIS (International Radiation Monitoring Information System) map,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement. “The measurements received so far indicated radiation levels in line with those measured before the conflict.”

4 p.m.:

3:44 p.m.: Growing food shortages may represent the same health threat to the world as the COVID-19 pandemic, a leading global health figure has warned, according to Reuters. Rising food and energy prices, in part sparked by the war in Ukraine, could kill millions both directly and indirectly, Peter Sands, the executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday. “Food shortages work in two ways. One is you have the tragedy of people actually starving to death. But second is you have the fact that often much larger numbers of people are poorly nourished, and that makes them more vulnerable to existing diseases,” he said.

3:39 p.m.: As Russian forces continue to advance in parts of eastern Ukraine, they have been pushed back from other areas where residents are returning to what’s left of their homes. VOA’s Anna Kosstutscheko has this report.

3:26 p.m.: The U.S. military has begun training Ukrainian forces on the sophisticated rocket systems that the Biden administration agreed last week to provide, but that Russia has said could trigger wider airstrikes in Ukraine, The Associated Press reported.

Marine Lt. Col. Anton Semelroth, Pentagon spokesman, said Ukrainian troops are training on the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, at Grafenwoehr training base in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

The U.S. agreed to send four of the medium-range, precision rocket systems to Ukraine as part of a $700 million package approved last week, and officials said it would take about three weeks of training before they could go to the battlefront. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Sunday that any Western deliveries of longer-range rocket systems would prompt Moscow to hit “objects that we haven’t yet struck.”

3:09 p.m.: Ukrainian marine Oleksandr Pykuy lost both his lower arms in the battle for Mariupol. He was evacuated to the Azovstal steel plant from where the Ukrainian military flew him out by helicopter. On returning to safety, he married his girlfriend, Tetyana. Current Time, a co-production of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and VOA, has this story.

2:57 p.m.: Ukraine’s ambassador is urging Israel to sell its Iron Dome rocket interception system and provide anti-tank missiles to defend civilians against Russia’s invasion, The Associated Press reported.

Yevgen Korniychuk on Tuesday stopped short of accusing Israel of blocking the sale of the missile defense system. But he wants the Israeli government to back up its verbal support for Ukraine with military assistance. At a news conference in Tel Aviv, he said Ukraine wants to buy the Iron Dome system, contending that the United States would not oppose such a sale.

The United States has been financially supporting Israel’s Iron Dome for about a decade, providing about $1.6 billion for its production and maintenance, according to the Congressional Research Service. The system is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets fired into Israel.

2:48 p.m.:

2:34 p.m.: The chairman of the opposition Parnas party’s local branch in Russia’s southwestern region of Astrakhan has fled the country fearing for his safety after he openly criticized the Kremlin for its ongoing unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Mikhail Doliyev told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on Tuesday that he is currently in Germany with his wife and children and plans to apply for political asylum there. Doliyev was detained several times at unsanctioned rallies protesting the war in Ukraine in recent weeks.

2:16 p.m.:

2:03 p.m.: Japanese and NATO officials agreed Tuesday to step up military cooperation and joint exercises as they shared concerns that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is causing a deterioration of the security environment in Europe and Asia, The Associated Press reported.

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said at the beginning of his meeting with NATO Military Committee chief Rob Bauer that Japan hopes to strengthen its ties with European countries and welcomes NATO’s expanded involvement in the Indo-Pacific region.

“The security of Europe and Asia are closely intertwined, especially now with the international community facing serious challenges,” Kishi said.

1:54 p.m.: The Russian and Turkish defense ministers discussed a potential grain exports corridor from Ukraine as well as northern Syria in a call on Tuesday, Turkey’s defense ministry said, as Ankara and Moscow gear up for talks between their foreign ministers. NATO member Turkey shares a sea border with both Russia and Ukraine in the Black Sea, and has been working to mediate in their war. It has supported Kyiv, but refused to impose sanctions on Moscow, Reuters reported.

1:40 p.m.:

1:12 p.m.: Ukrainian forces are finding it hard to stave off Russian attacks in the center of Sievierodonestk, but Moscow’s forces do not control the city, the governor of Luhansk region said on Tuesday. In an online post, Serhiy Gaidai also said Russian troops were constantly shelling Sievierodonetsk’s twin city Lysychansk, which lies across the Siverskiy Donets river, Reuters reported.

12:55 p.m.: The World Bank slashed its growth estimate for the global economy to 2.9 percent, 1.2 percentage points below the January forecast, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine which has caused a severe downturn, Agence France-Presse reported.

“The world economy is expected to experience its sharpest deceleration following an initial recovery from global recession in more than 80 years,” the bank said Tuesday in its Global Economic Prospects report. “The war in Ukraine, lockdowns in China, supply-chain disruptions, and the risk of stagflation are hammering growth. For many countries, recession will be hard to avoid,” said World Bank President David Malpass.

The war is compounding the damage from the Covid-19 pandemic, magnifying the slowdown in the global economy, “which is entering what could become a protracted period of feeble growth and elevated inflation,” according to the report. “This raises the risk of stagflation, with potentially harmful consequences for middle- and low-income economies alike.”

12:41 p.m.: Russian shelling destroyed the warehouses of one of Ukraine’s largest agricultural commodities terminals in the Black Sea port of Mykolaiv over the weekend, authorities and the facility’s owner and authorities said on Tuesday. The attack came at a time Turkey is trying to develop a U.N.-backed plan to start grain exports from Ukraine’s ports, and ahead of meetings on Wednesday by the foreign ministers of Russian and Turkey to discuss safe shipping, Reuters reported.

12:26 p.m.: Refugees from the war in Ukraine who were given shelter in Bulgaria are being forced out of their accommodations on the Black Sea coast. The government slashed subsidies for hotels housing them ahead of the summer tourist season. Teodora Barzakova and Yana Stoie with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty have this story.

12:08 p.m.: The world must “widen its gaze from the war in Ukraine” to prevent Somalia sliding into famine, the United Nations’ children’s agency said on Tuesday, warning only a third of the $250 million needed to stave off catastrophe had so far been raised. Four consecutive rainy seasons have failed in the Horn of Africa – the worst drought spell in more than 40 years – and a fifth in October-December also looks likely to do so, Reuters reported.

11:47 a.m.: Human Rights Watch on Tuesday released a report documenting the unequal treatment that refugees, migrants and asylum seekers get at the Polish border. “It’s unacceptable that an EU country is forcing people, many fleeing war and oppression, back into what can only be described as hellish conditions in Belarus,” said Lydia Gall, senior Europe and Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The unlawful pushbacks of migrants to Belarus and subsequent abuse they face there stands in stark contrast to Poland’s open door policy to people fleeing the war in Ukraine.”

11:16 a.m.: The Russian State Duma on Tuesday passed a pair of bills ending the European Court of Human Rights’ jurisdiction in Russia, after Russia announced plans to exit the court amid the conflict in Ukraine, Reuters reported. The Russian parliament approved two bills, one removing the country from the court’s jurisdiction and a second setting March 15 as the cut-off point, with rulings against Russia made after that date not to be implemented.

11:01 a.m.: NATO said it is conducting training exercises for allied air defense forces in the Baltic Sea Region this week. “Given the current security situation following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, large-scale training exercises like this are, now, more important to NATO than ever,” said General Jeff Harrigian, Commander Allied Air Command. Fighters and Surface Based Air and Missile Defense units are training June 6-10 in Poland and the Baltic States, NATO said.

10:49 a.m.: Allegations that Russia is stealing grain from a wide variety of areas in Ukraine are very serious and must be investigated immediately, British farming minister Victoria Prentis said on Tuesday, according to Reuters. Prentis, speaking at an International Grains Council (IGC) conference in London, said she had heard allegations of grain theft by Russia first-hand from sources in the Kherson region in south Ukraine. Russia has previously denied allegations of stealing wheat from Ukraine.

10:35 a.m.: The U.N. World Health Organization on Tuesday updated its count of how many health care facilities have been attacked since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.

10:18 a.m.: The leader of Moscow-backed separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region has confirmed reports that another senior Russian military commander, Major General Roman Kutuzov, was killed by Ukrainian forces during clashes with Russian troops. Denis Pushilin, the head of a separatist group in Donetsk, wrote on Telegram on June 7 that “today we are bidding farewell” to Kutuzov, who was killed during fighting in the Luhansk region, parts of which is also controlled by separatists. Two days earlier, several pro-Kremlin journalists reported that Kutuzov was killed near the village Mykolayivka in the Popasna district of the Luhansk region. That information has yet to be confirmed by either Ukrainian or Russian authorities. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this story.

10:06 a.m.: Using unusually crude language, a top associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin has castigated Moscow’s opponents, reflecting heightening tensions between Russia and the West amid the fighting in Ukraine, The Associated Press reported. Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian president who now serves as the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, explained his harsh criticism of Russia’s foes on his messaging app channel by saying: “I hate them. They are bastards and scum.” He went on, saying that “they want that Russia and all of us die” and adding that “as long as I’m alive, I will do everything to make them disappear.”

9:57 a.m.: The United States won a legal battle on Tuesday to seize a Russian-owned superyacht in Fiji and wasted no time in taking command of the $325 million vessel and sailing it away from the South Pacific nation, The Associated Press reported. The court ruling represented a significant victory for the U.S. as it encounters obstacles in its attempts to seize the assets of Russian oligarchs around the world. While those efforts are welcomed by many who oppose the war in Ukraine, some actions have tested the limits of American jurisdiction abroad.

9:43 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Tuesday that Kyiv would not settle for a battlefield stalemate with Russia and that it aimed to regain control of all its territory occupied by Moscow, Reuters reported. “We have already lost too many people to simply cede our territory,” he said by video link at an event hosted by FT Live, in which he added that a stalemate was “not an option” for Kyiv. “We have to achieve a full de-occupation of our entire territory,” Zelenskyy said. Kyiv has previously said that Russian forces now occupy about 20% of Ukrainian territory, including swathes of its east and south.

9:28 a.m.: Ukraine said on Tuesday that it opposed any visit by the head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog to its nuclear plant at Zaporizhzhia while it is under Russian occupation, Agence France-Presse reported. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, said on Monday his agency was preparing an expert mission to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, the largest in Europe and now occupied by Russian forces. Grossi said on Twitter the visit was arranged after Ukraine had “requested” it. But Ukraine’s nuclear agency, Energoatom on Tuesday accused Grossi of lying and said it did not greenlight the visit.

9:06 a.m.: Several Russian online newspapers have been forced to take down a list of the country’s military personnel killed in Moscow’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine after a court ruled the information was banned from being distributed, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported. The court justified the decision by saying that “revealing the number of military losses during a war or special military operation in a peaceful period” can be classified as revealing military secrets, which could be considered a crime.

8:32 a.m.: The Russian military says it has destroyed several artillery systems provided by the West in the latest series of strikes on Ukrainian targets, The Associated Press reported. Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Tuesday that the Russian artillery hit a howitzer supplied by Norway and two other artillery systems given to Ukraine by the United States. He said that the Russian artillery barrage destroyed other Ukrainian equipment in the country’s east while the Russian air force hit Ukrainian troops and equipment concentrations and artillery positions. Konashenkov’s claims couldn’t be independently confirmed.

8:18 a.m.: The Ukrainian military has started to actively use the 155-millimeter M777 howitzer, delivered by the United States. The long-range artillery has already made an impact during the exchange of fire with Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty correspondent Maryan Kushnir visited Ukrainian frontline positions and talked to soldiers fighting Russian troops in the Donetsk region.

8:02 a.m.: Russia has prosecuted around a dozen army officers after hundreds of conscripts were sent to fight in Ukraine, a military prosecutor said on Tuesday, according to Reuters. President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly denied that Russia is using conscripts, young men who are drafted by the state to serve in the army, saying only professional soldiers and officers are taking part in its military operation. However, the defense ministry acknowledged in March that some had been mistakenly sent to fight. The officers who allowed this to happen have faced disciplinary proceedings including the prospect of dismissal, he said, without giving any more details.

7:48 a.m.:

7:34 a.m.: Russia claimed Tuesday it has occupied large swathes of eastern Ukraine after a relentless, weeks-long barrage and the recent deployment of more troops, The Associated Press reported. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow’s forces have “liberated” 97% of the Luhansk region.

Shoigu claimed that Russian forces have seized the residential quarters of Sievierodonetsk and are fighting to take control of an industrial zone on its outskirts and the nearby towns. Sievierodonetsk, the administrative center of the Luhansk region, has recently been the focus of the Russian offensive. Sievierodonetsk and nearby Lysychansk are the only two Donbas cities holding out against the Russian invasion, which is being helped by local pro-Kremlin forces.

Shoigu added that the Russian troops were pressing their offensive toward the town of Popasna and noted that they have taken control of Lyman and Sviatohirsk and 15 other towns in the region.

7:23 a.m.: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is due to visit Turkey on Wednesday for talks, including on creating a Black Sea corridor to allow Ukrainian grain to access world markets as global food prices soar. The talks come as Ankara faces pressure to open the Black Sea to NATO ships to break Russia’s blockade of Ukraine. VOA’s Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul.

7:08 a.m.: Russia’s defense minister said on Tuesday the Ukrainian ports of Berdyansk and Mariupol, seized by Russian forces, have been de-mined and are ready to resume grain shipments, Reuters reported. “The de-mining of Mariupol’s port has been completed. It is functioning normally, and has received its first cargo ships,” Sergei Shoigu said in televised comments.

Agricultural exports from southern Ukraine have been blocked since Russia invaded the country in late February, driving grain prices higher. Ukraine has accused Russia of stealing vital grain supplies – claims U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called “credible” – while Moscow says Western sanctions are to blame for the situation, which has threatened to trigger a global food crisis.

The United Nations is working on plans with Kyiv and Moscow for how to restart grain exports from Ukrainian ports, with Turkey possibly set to provide naval escorts to ensure safe passage out of the Black Sea. Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said all sides are working out how mines floating off the port of Odesa and elsewhere along Ukraine’s coast will be cleared and who will do it, and who would safeguard the corridor.

6:57 a.m.: The Kyiv Independent looked into the characteristics of some of the Russian soldiers involved in the war in Ukraine and published this composite portrait of members of Russia’s fighting forces.

6:46 a.m.: Agence France-Presse reported Tuesday on the aftermath of the recent Russian shelling of Ukrainian railway infrastructure in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv.

6:38 a.m.: Ukrainian troops battled Russians street-to-street in the ruins of Sievierodonetsk on Tuesday, trying to hold onto gains from a surprise counter-offensive that had reversed momentum in one of the bloodiest land battles of the war, Reuters reported. The fight for the small industrial city has emerged as a pivotal battle in eastern Ukraine, with Russia focusing its offensive might there in the hope of achieving one of its stated war aims – to fully capture surrounding Luhansk province on behalf of separatist proxies.

6:30 a.m.: Germany is ready to ramp up its military mission in Lithuania, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said during a visit to Vilnius on Tuesday.

“We are ready to strengthen our engagement and to develop it towards a robust combat brigade,” Scholz told reporters.

6:15 a.m.: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiyy said he is “very happy” about Boris Johnson still being U.K.’s prime minister after Johnson survived a no-confidence vote on Monday, securing enough support from his Conservative Party to remain in office. Zelenskiyy said he is “glad we [Ukraine] haven’t lost a very important ally; this is great news.”

Britain announced Monday it will supply an unspecified number of long-range missile launchers to Ukraine, following the United States’ decision last week to send similar weapons. Ukrainian troops will be trained to use the systems in Britain in the coming weeks. For VOA, Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

5:20 a.m.: Ukraine could export a maximum of 2 million tons of grains a month if Russia refuses to lift its blockade of the country’s Black Sea ports, Taras Vysotskyi, Ukraine’s first deputy minister of Agrarian Policy and Food, said on Tuesday.

4:45 a.m.: Ukraine’s agriculture ministry said on Tuesday the country’s grain, oilseed and vegetable oil exports rose 80% in May month on month 1.743 million tons, but the volumes are still significantly below the exports in May 2021.

The ministry said corn dominated the shipment with 959,000 tons, while exports of sunflower oil totaled 202,650 tons, Reuters reported.

Ukraine exported 2.245 million tons of corn and 501,800 tons of sun oil in May 2021.

4:10 a.m.: Ukraine’s nuclear energy company Energoatom said on Tuesday that a proposed mission by the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, or the IAEA, to Zaporizhzhia’s nuclear power plant is unwelcomed and will only serve to legitimize Russian occupation.

“We consider this message from the head of the IAEA as another attempt to get to the (power plant) by any means in order to legitimize the presence of occupiers there and essentially condone all their actions,” Energoatom wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

On Monday, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said the agency is “developing the modalities” to dispatch an international mission of experts to Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as requested by Ukraine.

There are indications from Ukraine regarding their concern about interruptions in the supply chain of spare parts to Zaporizhzhia, Grossi said. “If this agency doesn’t care when we have the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe disconnected from safeguards systems, we better do something else,” he urged.

3:15 a.m.: The bodies of some Ukrainian fighters killed defending the city of Mariupol from Russian forces at a vast steel works have been handed over to Kyiv, the families of Ukraine’s Azov unit of the national guard said, Reuters reported.

Ukrainian forces defending Mariupol were holed up in the Azovstal steelworks for weeks as Russian forces tried to capture the city. The Ukrainian soldiers eventually surrendered last month and were taken into custody by Russian forces.

The Associated Press takes a look at Ukrainian forces who made a determined last stand in a Mariupol steel mill against Russian troops but were later taken prisoner by the Russians as they left the plant, and what they accomplished.

2:35 a.m.: A Fiji court has ruled a Russian-owned superyacht be removed from the Pacific island nation by the United States because it was a waste of money for Fiji to maintain the vessel amid legal wrangling over its seizure. Reuters has the story.

1:45 a.m.: Russia’s progress made through May on the southern Popasna axis has stalled over the last week, Britain’s defense ministry said on Tuesday.

Reports of heavy shelling near Izium suggests Russia is preparing to make a renewed effort on the northern axis, the ministry also said in an update posted on Twitter.

“Russia will almost certainly need to achieve a breakthrough on at least one of these axes to translate tactical gains to operational level success and progress towards its political objective of controlling all of Donetsk Oblast,” the ministry said.

Reuters could not immediately verify the ministry’s report.

12:01 a.m.: Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced sanctions on 61 U.S. nationals, The Associated Press reported. The ministry said the move was being taken “in response to the ever-expanding U.S. sanctions against Russian political and public figures, as well as representatives of domestic business,” the AP report said.

The list includes U.S. officials and former and current top managers of large American companies, such as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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