Here are the key events so far on Thursday, June 2.
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- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said 200,000 children are among the Ukrainians who have been forcefully taken to Russia and dispersed across the vast country, including children from orphanages, children taken with their parents, and those separated from their families.
- A Russian missile hit rail lines in the western Lviv region, a key conduit for supplies of Western weapons and other supplies, wounding five people, Ukrainian officials said.
- Luhansk regional Governor Serhiy Haidai said 70 percent of Severodonetsk was held by Russian forces, 10-15 percent was a “grey zone”, and the rest was held by Ukraine.
- Civilians are sheltering under a chemical plant in Severodonetsk as Russian forces advance on the key city in eastern Ukraine, Haidai said, raising concerns the facility may still have stocks of dangerous materials.
- Haidai accused Russia of “simply destroying and plundering” the region, saying Moscow’s forces hit the Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk on Wednesday, and damaged a hospital in Lysychansk.
- Russian forces in the now-occupied Kherson region are scrambling to secure the vital ground line of communication threatened by Ukrainian forces, the Institute for the Study of War (SW) said.
- Two monks and a nun have been killed in the shelling of a historic monastery in eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church said.
- Ukraine’s Culture Ministry has documented 367 war crimes against Ukraine’s cultural heritage, including the destruction of 29 museums, 133 churches, 66 theatres and libraries, and a Jewish cemetery, the Kyiv Independent reported.
- The White House said that any offensive cyber activity against Russia would not be a violation of US policy of avoiding direct military conflict with Russia.
- US President Joe Biden is expected to meet NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House on Thursday, including to discuss the war in Ukraine.
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Gulf Arab states would not participate in sanctions against Russia and Belarus after a meeting with members of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – China’s CCTV reported.
- Hungary was holding up the finalisation of the European Union’s latest sanctions package against Russia, insisting on the removal of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill from the list of sanctioned individuals, diplomats said.
- Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed solidarity for Ukraine in what she described as a “barbaric war” with Russia, after months of silence prompted criticism of her own policy towards Russia.
- Ireland’s Senate passed a resolution declaring Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an act of genocide, Chair of the Irish Senate Mark Daly said.
- Denmark will join the European Union’s defence policy after a referendum amid the invasion of Ukraine, public broadcaster DR projected, as final results showed that almost 70 percent of voters were in favour of removing an opt-out to the EU’s so-called Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).
- US announced a new $700m aid package for Kyiv that includes High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems.
- Germany said it will supply Ukraine with up-to-date anti-aircraft missiles and radar systems.
- Russia criticised the US decision to supply advanced rocket systems and munitions to Ukraine, warning of an increased risk of direct confrontation with Washington.
- The Biden administration plans to sell Ukraine four MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones that can be armed with Hellfire missiles for battlefield use against Russia, the Reuters news agency reported.
- Ukraine’s 2022 wheat harvest is likely to drop to 19.2 million tonnes from a record 33 million tonnes in 2021, Ukrainian grain traders’ union UGA said.
- Poland stands to get an economic boost from agreements to help Ukraine, the prime minister said, as he opened temporary housing funded and built by Warsaw in a town that was largely destroyed during the war with Russia.
- Ukraine beat Scotland in the World Cup qualification playoff, and Ukraine coach Oleksandr Petrakov said a victory is for his compatriots who “fight with every last drop of their blood”. Ukraine will now face Wales on Sunday in Cardiff, with the winner taking a place at November’s finals in Qatar.
- President Zelenskyy hailed the national team’s victory, saying it would bring joy to soldiers fighting against Russia.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies