Here are the key events so far on Saturday, June 11.
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- President Volodymyr Zelenskyy insisted Ukraine would prevail in its almost four-month-long war with Russia.
- The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence said “intense street to street fighting is ongoing” in Severodonetsk, the city that has become the focus of Russia’s advance in eastern Ukraine, adding “both sides are likely suffering high numbers of casualties”.
- Ukraine remains in control of the Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk where hundreds of civilians are sheltering.
- Earlier Russia-backed separatists claimed 300 to 400 Ukrainian fighters were trapped there.
- Russian forces around Severodonetsk have not made advances into the south of the city, the UK defence ministry said.
- Ukraine’s army command said Russian troops had secured positions in two communities near Severodonetsk, while Serhiy Haidai, the Luhansk governor, said Russians were in control of “most” of the city.
- Zelenskyy said his army’s ability to hold off Russian forces in the Donbas region depends on the supply of Western weapons, calling for modern artillery to be supplied.
- “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.”
- Russia is looking for weak points in Ukrainian defences near the Siversky Donets river in eastern Ukraine, said Ukrainian defence ministry spokesperson Oleksandr Motuzyanyk.
- The office of Ukraine’s prosecutor general said it has learned about the deaths of 24 more children in Mariupol, bringing the total confirmed to 287 children killed since the start of the Russian invasion.
- Cholera and other deadly diseases could kill thousands in the southern port of Mariupol as corpses lie uncollected and summer brings warmer weather, its mayor said.
- Zelenskyy said his country was unable to export enough food because of a Russian blockade, and the world would face “an acute and severe food crisis and famine”.
- As much as 300,000 tonnes of grain stored in the Black Sea port of Mykolaiv may have been destroyed by Russian shelling, deputy agriculture minister Taras Vysotskyi said.
- Russia’s central bank cut its key interest rate to the pre-crisis level of 9.5 percent and kept the door open to further easing as inflation slowed, while noting uncertainty related to external risks such as the Western embargo on Russian oil.
- Germany, the world’s fifth-largest arms exporter, plans to revise its rules on arms exports to make it easier to arm democracies like Ukraine and harder to sell weapons to autocracies, Der Spiegel reported.
- The United Nations food agency said reduced exports of wheat and other food commodities from Ukraine and Russia could inflict chronic hunger on up to 19 million more people globally over the next year.
- Ukrainian grain exports are now rising and nearing two million tonnes per month, said European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski.
- Zelenskyy called for Ukraine to be accepted as an EU membership candidate with binding guarantees for its protection. “The European Union can take a historic step that will prove that words about the people of Ukraine belonging to the European family are not just words,” he told a conference in Copenhagen by video link.
- European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told Zelenskyy during a visit to Kyiv that the EU executive’s opinion on Ukraine’s request to join the EU would be ready by the end of next week.
- Russian passports will be distributed in parts of Zaporizhia, which is under Moscow’s control, starting on Saturday.
- The UK condemned Russian proxy authorities in the Donbas for what it called an “egregious breach” of the Geneva Conventions in sentencing to death two British nationals captured in the separatist region while fighting for Ukraine.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies