Here are the key events so far on Wednesday, June 15.
Get the latest update here.
- Ukraine’s forces are finding it more difficult to hold off Russian troops in the key eastern city of Severodonetsk, as Moscow’s army continues to pound the city with artillery, the governor of Luhansk said. He added that Russian troops control about 80 percent of Severodonetsk.
- Russia urged Ukrainian fighters sheltering in the Severodonetsk Azot chemical plant to surrender.
- The Russian army claimed it will establish a humanitarian corridor to evacuate hundreds of civilians from the plant on Wednesday.
- Russian-backed separatists in Luhansk said Ukrainian forces have “taken hostage” up to 1,200 civilians in Severodonetsk’s Azot chemical plant, Russian state-owned news agency TASS said.
- The governor Luhansk said about 500 civilians remain at the Azot plant, including 40 children.
- Russia’s reliance on heavy artillery caused “extensive collateral damage” throughout Severodonetsk, the UK’s defence ministry said.
- Ukrainian forces are suffering painful losses in fighting Russian troops in Severodonetsk and the Kharkiv region, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
- The route between Ukraine’s Donbas region and the Russian-annexed territory of Crimea via the occupied regions of Mariupol, Melitopol and Kherson is now open for civilian vehicles, TASS reported.
- Zelenskyy urged the West to send more modern anti-missile systems.
- US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is set to lead a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday with defence ministers from NATO and other countries to discuss weapon deliveries to Ukraine.
- Poland’s prime minister criticised NATO’s support for Ukraine, which has time and again called for more and heavier weapons.
- Nicaragua’s Congress renewed a decade-long decree allowing Russian forces to enter Nicaragua between July 1 and December 31 to patrol in Pacific waters with the Nicaraguan Army, a decision the US criticised.
- Moscow banned dozens of British journalists, media representatives, and defence figures from entering the country, the Russian foreign ministry said.
- Russia would be ready to consider a UK appeal over the fate of two Britons sentenced to death for fighting for Ukraine, the Kremlin said. Moroccans have been calling for the release of a Moroccan-Ukrainian who was also sentenced to death, while the government remains silent.
- Pope Francis made new remarks on the war in Ukraine, praising “brave” Ukrainians for fighting for survival but also suggesting the situation was “perhaps somehow either provoked or not prevented”.
The human cost of the war
- Nearly two-thirds of children in Ukraine have been uprooted during the war, a UN official said, calling the war a “child rights crisis”.
- The Europe and Central Asia director for UNICEF said 277 children in Ukraine have been killed and 456 injured, the number of damaged schools is likely in the thousands, and only about 25 percent of schools in Ukraine are operational.
- Ukraine said 313 children have been killed and 579 injured amid the war.
- European countries imported 40 percent more coal from South Africa’s main export hub in the first five months of this year than over the whole of 2021, as a way to secure alternatives to Russian coal, Reuters news agency reported.
- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres accused some rich countries of having made a dangerous dash for fossil fuels in response to the war in Ukraine, warning the new investments being made in coal, oil and gas are “delusional”, given their impact on climate change.
- Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will create a global wheat shortage for at least three seasons by keeping much of the Ukrainian crop from markets, pushing prices to record levels, Kyiv’s agriculture minister said.
- Few of the global financial elite will attend Russia’s annual economic forum in St Petersburg, with the country isolated by sanctions over its war in Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin will deliver a speech at the “Russian Davos” on Friday, focusing on the international economic situation.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies