Russia-Ukraine latest: Southern region calls for more arms

Latest updates June 11, 2022: Governor of southern Mykolaiv region says defenders are outgunned with superior Russian artillery pounding towns.

Press officer Olexii Mischenko shows a destroyed city administration building in Bashtanka, Mykolaiv region
Press officer Olexii Mischenko shows a destroyed city administration building in Bashtanka, Mykolaiv region [Edgar Su/Reuters]
  • The regional governor of Mykolaiv region in the south calls for urgent international military assistance amid Russian bombardment.
  • Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says that winning the war against Russia is “crucial” for global stability, as he calls for more weapons.
  • The mayor of the bombed-out port city of Mariupol says a cholera outbreak will likely kill thousands and calls for remaining residents to be evacuated.
  • Estonia has summoned the Russian ambassador to condemn President Vladimir Putin’s “completely unacceptable” praise of Peter the Great.
  • A Ukrainian governor says the country conducted its 11th prisoner exchange with Russia.

Who controls what in Donbas DAY 108

The live blog is now closed, thank you for joining us. Below are the updates for June 11, 2022.

For live news on June 12 please see here

Smoke cloud seen after blast in Ukraine city with chemical plant: Russian media

A cloud of smoke could be seen after an explosion in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka, which houses a chemical plant, the Russian news agency RIA quoted one of its reporters as saying.

RIA posted a video it said had been taken from Donetsk which showed a large smoke cloud rising from Avdiivka.

Al Jazeera was unable to immediately to confirm the RIA report or the authenticity of the video.

Germany’s Scholz to travel to Kyiv with Macron and Draghi before G7: Local media

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will travel to Kyiv with his counterparts from France and Italy before the Group of Seven summit at the end of June, Bild am Sonntag has reported.

The newspaper cited French and Ukrainian government sources. A German government spokesperson told the Reuters news agency that “we are not able to confirm this”.

Some 300,000 tonnes of grain in destroyed warehouses: Ukraine official

Up to 300,000 tonnes of grain may have been stored in warehouses that Kyiv says were destroyed by Russian shelling last weekend, deputy agriculture minister Taras Vysotskyi has said.

Speaking on national television, Vysotskyi said, according to records, at the start of the war the warehouses at one of Ukraine’s largest agricultural commodities terminals in the Black Sea port of Mykolaiv held 250,000 to 300,000 tonnes of grain, mainly wheat and corn.

Russia no longer to respect rulings of European Court of Human Rights: Local media

Russia no longer wants to abide by rulings of the European Court of Human Rights, with President Vladimir Putin signing a law to that effect, the TASS news agency reported.

Montenegro freezes properties of 34 sanctioned Russians

Montenegro has frozen 44 properties owned by 34 Russians sanctioned by the European Union, the country’s interior ministry has announced.

The move is in line with Montenegro’s efforts to fully align its foreign policy with the EU’s foreign and security affairs, the ministry said in a statement.

Montenegro, a NATO ally since 2017, is also a candidate for EU membership and started accession negotiations with the bloc in 2012.

Shelling of Severodonetsk plant causes oil leak and fire: Governor

Russian shelling of the Azot chemical plant in Ukraine’s front-line city of Severodonetsk caused a powerful fire to break out after a leak of tonnes of oil, regional governor Serhiy Haidai has said.

Speaking on national television, Haidai did not say if the fire at the plant, where hundreds of civilians are sheltering, had been extinguished.

‘Out of ammo’ as southern battle rages

In the Mykolaiv region near the front line in the south, the regional governor says there is an urgent need for international military assistance.

“Russia’s army is more powerful, they have a lot of artillery and ammo. For now, this is a war of artillery … and we are out of ammo,” Vitaliy Kim said.

“The help of Europe and America is very, very important.”

Soldier standing in front of rubble
A view of the Ukrainian Mykolaiv international airport destroyed following shelling, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Mykolaiv, Ukraine [File: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters]

Zelenskyy calls for ‘even stronger’ EU sanctions

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for a new round of “even stronger” European Union sanctions against Russia.

Speaking alongside European Commission President von der Leyen, Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude for the sanctions the bloc had already put in place against Moscow.

“I am grateful to the European Union for its sanctions policy against the Russian Federation, which is very helpful in our struggle,” he said.

“However, the war, unfortunately, is still going on, so the seventh package of sanctions is needed.”

Family of British man facing the death penalty call for his release

The family of British man Shaun Pinner – captured fighting in Ukraine and who was sentenced to death by a separatist court in Donbas – spoke of their devastation at the news and requested he be exchanged or released.

“Firstly, our whole family is devastated and saddened at the outcome of the illegal show trial by the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic,” the family said in a statement.

“Shaun should be accorded all the rights of a prisoner of war according to the Geneva Convention and including full independent legal representation. We sincerely hope that all parties will co-operate urgently to ensure the safe release or exchange of Shaun.”

Russia using more deadly weapons in war: UK ministry

Ukrainian and United Kingdom officials have warned that Russian forces are relying on weapons able to cause mass casualties as they try to make headway in capturing eastern Ukraine and fierce, prolonged fighting depletes resources on both sides.

Russian bombers have likely been launching heavy 1960s-era anti-ship missiles in Ukraine, the UK Ministry of Defence said.

High risk for cholera in Mariupol: WHO

The World Health Organization has said it sees a “high” risk for a cholera outbreak in the devastated Ukrainian city of Mariupol, but that, so far, there have been no confirmed cases.

“WHO has not received an alert or notification of any suspected or confirmed cases,” a spokesperson said in Geneva.

Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko, who is no longer in the Russian-occupied port city, and the British Defence Ministry recently warned that Mauripol faced a looming cholera outbreak.

Destroyed buildings are seen in Mariupol
A view shows destroyed facilities of the Azovstal steel plant during the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine [File: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters]


EU assessment on Ukraine membership to be ready next week: Von der Leyen

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has told Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy in Kyiv that the European Union executive’s opinion on Ukraine’s request to join the EU would be ready by the end of next week.

In a news conference, von der Leyen said that discussions with Zelenskyy “will enable us to finalise our assessment by the end of next week,” about whether to recommend Ukraine as a candidate for membership.

Read more here.

Up to 300,000 tonnes of grain in destroyed warehouses in Ukraine: Minister

Up to 300,000 tonnes of grain may have been stored in warehouses that Kyiv says were destroyed by Russian shelling last weekend, deputy agriculture minister Taras Vysotskyi has said.

Speaking on national television, Vysotskyi said, according to records, at the start of the war on February 24, the warehouses at one of Ukraine’s largest agricultural commodities terminals in the Black Sea port of Mykolaiv held 250,000-300,000 tonnes of grain, mainly wheat and corn.

Macron says France unwilling to make concessions to Russia

France is unwilling to make concessions to Russia and wants Ukraine to win the war against Moscow’s invading forces with its territorial integrity restored, a French presidential official has said, as Paris seeks to assuage concerns over its stance in the conflict.

President Emmanuel Macron has been criticised by Ukraine and eastern European allies after an interview quoted him as saying it was vital not to “humiliate” Russia so that when the fighting ends there could be a diplomatic solution.

“As the president has said, we want a Ukrainian victory. We want Ukraine’s territorial integrity to be restored,” the official told reporters when asked about Macron’s comments.

“There is no spirit of concession towards Putin or Russia in what the president says. When he speaks to him directly, it is not compromise, but to say how we see things.”

Czech citizen killed fighting in Ukraine: Minister

A Czech citizen has died in Ukraine, Czech foreign minister Jan Lipavsky has said, confirming media reports about the first casualty among its volunteers fighting in the country.

“I can confirm that a Czech citizen has died in the Donetsk region of Ukraine,” Lipavsky told reporters. “The body should be transported to Kharkiv region tomorrow.”

More than a hundred Czechs have joined Ukrainian armed forces, with the consent of local authorities, to help in Ukraine’s defence against the invasion launched by Russia on February 24.

Zelenskyy warns of food crisis, urges end to Russian blockade

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged international pressure to end a Russian naval blockade of Black Sea ports that has choked off his country’s grain exports, threatening a global food crisis.

“The shortage of foodstuffs will inexorably lead to political chaos, which can result in the [collapse] of many governments and the ousting of many politicians,” he said in a video address to the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore.

“This looming threat is plain to see by just looking at the skyrocketing prices of basic products in the world markets and in certain countries. This is the direct consequence of the acts of the Russian state.”

Kyiv is in discussion with the UN, Turkey and other countries to open a way to allow the grain exports, and Zelenskyy said the talks are focused on the “format” of the corridor.

Ukraine in control of Severodonetsk plant sheltering hundreds: Governor

Ukraine remains in control of the Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk where hundreds of civilians are sheltering, the region’s governor has said, after a Russia-backed separatist claimed 300-400 Ukrainian fighters were also trapped there.

“The information about the blockade of the Azot plant is a lie,” Serhiy Gaidai, governor of the Luhansk region partially controlled by pro-Russian separatists, said on the Telegram messaging app.

“Our forces are holding an industrial zone of Severodonetsk and are destroying the Russian army in the town,” he wrote.

Russia says it has shot down three Ukrainian war planes

The Russian defence ministry has said its air defence forces shot down three Ukrainian war planes.

The Russian military shot down two MIG-29 planes in the Mikolayiv region and one Su-25 fighter jet in the Kharkiv region, the ministry said in a statement.

There was no immediate comment from Ukraine.

Zelenskyy tells Asian meeting: Stopping Russia crucial for whole world

Speaking remotely at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said the outcome of the war in his country affected not just Ukraine, but the future of international order.

“I am grateful for your support … but this support is not only for Ukraine, but for you as well,” he said. “It is on the battlefields of Ukraine that the future rules of this world are being decided along with the boundaries of the possible.”

Zelenskyy noted that Russia is blocking ports in the Black Sea and Azov Sea, keeping Ukrainian food exports from the world market. “If … due to Russian blockades we are unable to export our foodstuffs, the world will face an acute and severe food crisis and famine in many countries in Asia and Africa,” he said.

EU chief visits Ukraine to discuss its bid to join bloc

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen has visited Ukraine to discuss with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy his country’s bid to get candidacy status to join the European Union.

“With President Zelenskyy I will take stock of the joint work needed for reconstruction and of the progress made by Ukraine on its European path,” von der Leyen tweeted on arrival in Kyiv.

Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 108

Ukraine’s army command says Russian troops have secured positions in two communities near Severodonetsk, as the British Ministry of Defence confirms “intense street to street fighting is ongoing”.

Zelenskyy called on the EU to “take a historic step” and accept Ukraine as an EU membership candidate.

Read more here.

Russia says will respond to NATO build up in Poland

Russia’s foreign ministry has said that Moscow’s response to a build-up of NATO forces in Poland will be proportionate, the Interfax news agency reported, citing a Russian diplomat.

“A response, as always, will be proportionate and appropriate, intended to neutralise potential threats to the security of the Russian Federation,” Oleg Tyapkin, the head of a foreign ministry department in charge of Russian relations with Europe, was quoted as saying.

Ukraine reports deaths of 24 more children in Mariupol

The office of Ukraine’s prosecutor general says it has learned about the deaths of 24 more children in Mariupol, bringing the total to 287 children killed since the start of the Russian invasion.

“During the recording of criminal offences, it has become known that 24 more children died in Mariupol, Donetsk region, as a result of the indiscriminate shelling by the Russian military,” the office said on the Telegram messaging app.

“These figures are not final, as work is underway to establish them in places of active hostilities, in the temporarily occupied and liberated territories.”

Russia has denied targeting civilians and has rejected allegations of war crimes.

Ukrainian officials say war in the east depends on Western arms supplies

The war in the east, where Russia is focussing its attention, is now primarily an artillery battle in which Kyiv is severely outgunned, Ukrainian officials say. That means the tide of events could be turned only if Washington and others fulfil promises to send more and better weaponry, including rocket systems.

“This is an artillery war now,” Vadym Skibitsky, Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence, told Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

“Everything now depends on what [the West] gives us. Ukraine has one artillery piece to 10 to 15 Russian artillery pieces.”

Britain says Russian forces have not made advances into the south of Severodonetsk

Russian forces around Ukraine’s Severodonetsk have not made advances into the south of the city, the UK’s defence ministry has said in its daily intelligence update.

“Intense street to street fighting is ongoing and both sides are likely suffering high numbers of casualties,” the ministry wrote on Twitter.

It added Russian medium bombers have likely launched dozens of 1960s era Kh-22 (NATO designation, AS-4 KITCHEN) air-launched, heavy anti-ship missiles, which are “highly inaccurate and can therefore cause significant collateral damage and civilian casualties”.

Russian passports to be distributed in parts of Zaporizhia

Russian passports will be distributed in parts of Zaporizhia starting on Saturday, a member of the occupying authority has said.

Recipients will be considered full Russian citizens, Vladimir Rogov told Russian broadcaster Rossiya-24.

Rogov said more than 70,000 people had submitted applications in the region. Moscow simplified the process for receiving a Russian passport in May and proceeded to distribute the documents in occupied areas.

French experts collect evidence of possible war crimes in Ukraine’s Chernihiv

Weapons experts from France are helping their Ukrainian counterparts to collect evidence of possible Russian war crimes in the northern region of Chernihiv, Ukraine’s prosecutor general has said.

“They work in the Chernihiv region and conduct research at sites destroyed by shelling,” Iryna Venediktova wrote on her Facebook account. “These war crimes must be punished, and we are ready to do together everything to do so.”

The French gendarmerie’s experts include specialists in drone modelling, ballistics and weapons of mass destruction.

Mariupol mayor fears thousands may die from cholera

The mayor of the bombed-out port city of Mariupol has said sanitation systems were broken and some wells had been contaminated by corpses, sparking an “outbreak of dysentery and cholera”.

Vadym Boychenko told national television that the disease was likely to kill thousands more people on top of the estimated 20,000 residents killed by the conflict.

He called on the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross to establish a humanitarian corridor to allow remaining residents to leave the city, which is now under Russian control.

Zelenskyy says new air raids launched in Russian-held Kherson

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Kyiv has launched new air raids in the captured southern region of Kherson, one of the first areas to be taken by Russia after the February 24 invasion, as “very difficult battles” continue in the eastern Donbas region.

He added that Ukraine must “not allow the world to divert its attention away from what is happening on the battlefield”.

Zelenskyy to address Shangri-La Dialogue

Zelenskyy is due to address the Shangri-La Dialogue in a few hours.

He’ll speak to the forum in Singapore by video link at 4pm (08:00 GMT).

While the SLD is an Asia Pacific security forum, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has featured prominently with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin warning Putin’s decision to invade a sovereign state was an example of “what happens when oppressors trample on the rules that protect us all”.

Biden says Zelenskyy ‘didn’t want to hear it’ on Russian invasion

US President Joe Biden has said that Zelenskyy “didn’t want to hear it” when US intelligence had information that Russia was preparing to invade, according to the Associated Press.

“Nothing like this has happened since World War II. I know a lot of people thought I was maybe exaggerating. But I knew we had data to sustain he [Russian President Vladimir Putin] was going to go in, off the border,” Biden told Democratic donors in Los Angeles.

“There was no doubt. And Zelenskyy didn’t want to hear it.”

Russia-China military cooperation raises Asia Pacific security concerns: Japan

Japan’s defence minister Nobuo Kishi has warned military cooperation between China and Russia has intensified security concerns in the Asia Pacific.

Last month, China and Russia conducted a joint aerial patrol in waters close to Japan and Taiwan, their first since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Joint military operations between these two strong military powers will undoubtedly increase concern among other countries,” Kishi said.

Security and stability of the Taiwan Strait was also important for the security of Japan and the wider world, Kishi added, calling China a “nation of concern”.

US defence secretary warns of ‘chaos and turmoil’

US defence secretary Lloyd Austin has given an impassioned defence of the international rules-based order at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

He told delegates at the security summit that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was an “indefensible assault” on a peaceful neighbour.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is what happens when oppressors trample on the rules that protect us all,” he said. “It’s what happens when big powers decide their imperial appetites matter more than their smaller neighbours.”

Austin warned such disregard for the rules-based international order risked creating a “world of chaos and turmoil that none of us would want to live in”.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (on left) takes questions from the audience after his speech at the Shangri La Dialogue
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin takes questions from the audience after his address to the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore [Roslan Rahman/AFP]

EU unity must not be compromised by Ukraine candidate status: France

A decision to give Ukraine candidate status to the European Union has to be done without weakening the bloc and to ensure Kyiv is not left in limbo for years, a French presidential official has said.

The European Commission will give its opinion on Ukraine’s candidacy request on June 17, and the EU’s heads of state are expected to discuss the issue at a summit a week later.

“We know that there are different sensitivities on the subject within the European Union,” the French presidential source told reporters.

“We will pay attention to the unity of the European Council. We believe also that the European Union must come out of this crisis in Ukraine stronger and must not come out weakened.”

Growing concerns about Russian artillery superiority: ISW

The Institute for the Study of War says Ukraine is making more urgent requests for sophisticated Western weaponry as a result of concerns about Russia’s superiority in artillery.

It cites a senior military intelligence official saying that Russian troops have 10 to 15 artillery pieces for every one held by Ukrainian forces.

“Considering the current prevalence of protracted positional battles, especially in the Severodonetsk- Lysychansk area, Ukrainian forces urgently need fresh supplies of artillery systems,” ISW said in its latest update on the war. “As Ukrainian forces use the last of their stocks of Soviet-era weapon systems and munitions, they will require consistent Western support to transition to new supply chains of ammunition and artillery systems. Effective artillery will be increasingly decisive in the largely static fighting in eastern Ukraine.”

Russia wants to destroy every city in the Donbas: Zelenskyy

Zelenskyy has said his army’s ability to hold off Russian forces in the Donbas region depends on the supply of Western weapons.

“The Ukrainian troops are doing everything to stop the offensive of the occupiers, as much as is possible. As much as the heavy weapons, modern artillery – all that we have asked for and continue to ask for from our partners – allow them,” he said in his nightly video address.

He said that Russia wants to destroy every city in the region.

“Every city – that’s not an exaggeration. Like Volnovakha, like Mariupol. All of these ruins of once-happy cities, the black traces of fires, the craters from explosions – this is all that Russia can give to its neighbours, to Europe, to the world.”

US inflation at new 40-year high as price increases spread

The prices of gas, food and most other goods and services in the United States jumped in May, the Labor Department has said, raising inflation to a new four-decade high and giving American households no respite from rising costs.

The report underscored fears that inflation is spreading well beyond energy and goods whose prices are being driven up by clogged supply chains and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It also sent stock prices tumbling.

“Virtually every sector has higher-than-normal inflation,” said Ethan Harris, head of global economic research at Bank of America. “It’s made its way into every nook and cranny of the economy. That’s the thing that makes it concerning because it means it’s likely to persist.”

Celebrity chef Jose Andres testifies before Congress subcommittee

Celebrity chef and philanthropist Jose Andres, founder of World Central Kitchen, has testified during a US congressional hearing on efforts to address the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

Andres told lawmakers that structural changes and reforms are needed to improve how the international community responds to urgent humanitarian needs around the world.

“The best way America and the international community can be helping Ukraine is not by bringing everything from the outside but is making sure that we keep supporting the local economy, the local infrastructure, investing the money locally, creating jobs locally that will keep Ukraine in the fight for freedom of their country,” he said.

Ukraine conducts 11th prisoner exchange with Russia

A Ukrainian governor said on Friday that his country has conducted the 11th prisoner swap with Russia since February, exchanging four Russians for five Ukrainians.

Mykolaiv region governor Vitaliy Kim wrote on Telegram that one of the freed Ukrainians was local village head Oleh Pylypenko, who Kim said was “kidnapped” by Russian forces on March 10.

Estonia summons Russian envoy to protest Putin remarks

Estonia has summoned the Russian ambassador to condemn President Vladimir Putin’s “completely unacceptable” praise of Peter the Great, a Russian ruler who captured a city that is now Estonian.

Estonia’s foreign ministry said Ambassador Vladimir Lipayev had been summoned “to condemn recent statements by President Putin … including his comments on the Estonian city of Narva,” it said in a statement.

“At a time when Russia is … trying to destroy the statehood and people of Ukraine, it is also completely unacceptable,” it added.

Zelenskyy thanks UK for ‘effective support’

Zelenskyy has thanked the United Kingdom for its “effective support” of Kyiv, following an in-person meeting with Britain’s defence chief.

British defence secretary Ben Wallace met Zelenskyy, as well as his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov, during an unannounced two-day visit to Kyiv.

“The head of state thanked the minister for the effective support of Ukraine by the British government in our fight against Russian aggression,” Zelenskyy’s press service said in a statement.

“The war showed who our real friends and partners are, not only strategic, but effectively acting today. Great Britain is one of such friends.”

Ukraine fears a long war might cause West to lose interest

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine grinds on, officials in Kyiv have expressed fears that the spectre of “war fatigue” could erode the West’s resolve to help the country push back against the Russian offensive.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy already has chafed at Western suggestions he should accept some sort of compromise. Ukraine, he said, would decide its own terms for peace.

“The fatigue is growing, people want some kind of outcome [that is beneficial] for themselves, and we want [an] outcome for ourselves,” he said.

Read more here.

Hundreds flee as forces fight for control in Ukraine’s east

Hundreds of people have continued to flee intense fighting in eastern Ukraine as Russian and Ukrainian forces battle for control of key cities and villages in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

Ukrainians left the city of Pokrovsk on a special evacuation train heading to Dnipro and other cities further west.

The train carried about 300 people — mostly women, children, and the elderly — who were forced to leave as the fighting neared their homes.

According to the UN refugee agency, as of Thursday, 4.9 million Ukrainians have fled to other countries in Europe in search of safety since the war began.

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read all the updates from Friday, June 10 here.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies