Russia-Ukraine updates: Moscow says all war ‘goals’ must be met
Russia-Ukraine news from June 3: As conflict reaches grim 100 day milestone, Moscow vows to press on with its devastating offensive.
- The Russian army is amassing forces for an attack on the city of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian General Staff.
- Ukrainian forces have recaptured around 20 percent of the territory they lost in Severodonetsk, the head of the eastern region of Luhansk says.
- African Union chief says Russia’s Vladimir Putin told him he is ready to enable the export of Ukrainian grain to ease a global food crisis that is hitting Africa especially hard.
- The Kremlin says Russia will continue its self-described “special military operation” in Ukraine until all its “goals” have been met as the offensive enters its 100th day.
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These were the updates on Friday, June 3:
Kyiv mayor Klitschko certain Ukraine will win war
Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko is certain Ukraine will win the war with Russia, he said 100 days on from Moscow’s invasion.
It was a “barbaric war to destroy Ukraine and Ukrainians,” he said in a video posted on his Telegram channel.
It was 100 days of war full of bloody battles, casualties and deaths, the former world boxing champion said, “but it is also a time of courage and perseverance”.
He added: “We are all standing and fighting together. Everyone in his place. We admire our armed forces.” Ukraine will free itself from the “Russian barbarians”.
Russian foreign minister to visit Serbia next Monday
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit Serbia on June 6 and 7 for official talks, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson has said.
At a press briefing, Maria Zakharova said that Lavrov would also talk to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, the Speaker of the National Assembly, and the Serbian Patriarch.
Zakharova stated that the topics of discussion are expected to be bilateral political and economic cooperation, the situation in the Balkan region, as well as current international issues. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic is expected to discuss gas supply to Serbia.
Putin blames West for food, energy crises
Putin has blamed the West for emerging global food and energy crises and repeated his government’s offers of safe passage for ships exporting grain from Ukraine if mines are removed from the waters.
He also said Western sanctions against Russia would only worsen world markets – reducing the harvest and driving up prices.
He said inflation stemmed from the unprecedented dollar “printing press” during the coronavirus pandemic and blamed short-sighted European policies for under-investment in alternatives to traditional energy supplies and price increases.
US top general in show of support for Finland’s NATO bid
Top US General Mark Milley has met Finnish President Sauli Niinisto to pledge US support for Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership bids which Turkey is blocking.
“It’s clear, that from a military perspective, both Finland and Sweden, if their applications are approved, that they will bring a significant increase in the military capability of NATO,” Milley told reporters travelling with him through Europe.
The top US officer said he had come “to talk about the way ahead on their applications for NATO and what operations, activities, exercises… that we, the United States as part of NATO, will do in support of them in order to improve our readiness and interoperability.”
Ukrainian military: Russian army amassing forces outside Slovyansk
The Russian army is amassing forces for an attack on the city of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian General Staff.
The Ukrainian military said on Facebook that there were up to 20 Russian combat units with armoured infantry, artillery and air defence, numbering 600 to 800 soldiers.
Slovyansk is part of the Donetsk administrative region in eastern Ukraine, which Russia has set its sights on completely conquering.
UN aid chief had ‘frank, constructive’ talks in Moscow on Ukraine grain exports
UN aid chief Martin Griffiths “had frank and constructive discussions” with Russian officials in Moscow on facilitating exports of Ukraine grain from Black Sea ports, a UN spokesman has said.
“We’ve said clearly what we can do and what we cannot do,” Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told Reuters. “We have not installed the mines in the coastal area, that was the Ukrainians. If they demine the area we are prepared to provide the safe passage for the ships carrying grain.”
When asked if a security arrangement could be reached to allow for the demining, Nebenzia said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov planned to discuss the issue when he visits Turkey next week.
Ukraine has retaken about 20 percent of territory lost in Severodonetsk: Regional head
Ukrainian forces have recaptured around 20 percent of the territory they lost in the city of Severodonetsk during fighting with Russia, the head of the eastern region of Luhansk has said.
“Whereas before the situation was difficult, the percentage [held by Russia] was somewhere around 70 percent, now we have already pushed them back by approximately 20 percent,” Serhiy Gaidai told national television.
EU industry chief Breton in push to help Ukraine stay connected
Ukraine’s national regulatory authority NCEC is set to sign up to the European body of telecoms regulators this month following a push by EU industry chief Thierry Breton, a move that could help millions of Ukrainian refugees to stay connected with low roaming tariffs.
In April, Deutsche Telekom and a group of other top European telecom companies agreed to cut wholesale roaming charges levied on Ukrainian peers for three months to help Ukrainian refugees stay in touch with families back home.
NCEC has put in a request to the European Commission to join the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) which is made up of the 27 national telecoms regulators across the European Union.
Putin made ‘historic’ error in Ukraine: Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron has said Putin had committed a “historic and fundamental error” by invading Ukraine and was now “isolated”.
“I think, and I told him, that he made a historic and fundamental error for his people, for himself and for history,” he said in an interview with French regional media. Macron also did not “rule out” a visit to Kyiv soon.
Biden: Ukraine settlement needed for peace
Biden has said he thinks a “negotiated settlement” will be necessary to end Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Asked whether Ukraine should give up some of its territory to Russia in order to end the war and bring peace to the region, Biden said his policy continues to be that the US will not make any decisions about Ukraine without Ukraine.
He said “it’s their territory” and “I’m not going to tell them what they should and shouldn’t do.”
Putin says ‘no problem’ to export grain from Ukraine
Putin says there is “no problem” to export grain from Ukraine, after Moscow’s operation in Ukraine raised fears of a global food crisis.
“There is no problem to export grain from Ukraine,” he said in a televised interview, saying it could be done via Ukrainian ports, via others under Russian control, or even via central Europe.
Putin says Ukrainian grain can be exported through Belarus
Putin has denied that Moscow is preventing Ukrainian ports from exporting grain and said the best solution would be to ship it through Belarus, as long as sanctions on that country were lifted.
Putin, saying reports of a Russian export ban were “a bluff”, told national television that Western nations were trying to cover up their own policy mistakes by blaming Russia for problems on the global food market.
“If someone wants to solve the problem of exporting Ukrainian grain – please, the easiest way is through Belarus. No one is stopping it,” Putin said. “But for this you have to lift sanctions from Belarus.”
Russian state depository halts operations in euros after EU sanctions
The Russian National Settlement Depository (NSD) has said it suspends operations in euros due to the latest EU sanctions, calling the situation an emergency.
The EU has expanded sanctions against Russia and added the NSD, which Moscow planned to use to service the country’s Eurobonds, to the list of sanctioned entities, an EU document showed.
Putin says people trying to blame Russia for global food problems
Putin has said people are trying to blame Russia for problems on the global food market and denied Moscow had imposed a ban on grain exports from Ukrainian ports.
“The situation will worsen, because the British and Americans have imposed sanctions on our fertilizers,” Putin told national television in an interview.
Ukraine UN ambassador: Russia playing ‘hunger games’
Ukraine’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva has said Russia is playing “hunger games” with the world by trying to depict sanctions against Moscow as the reason that grain and other key foodstuffs and fertilizer cannot transit the Black Sea – and not Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Russia has played Hunger Games recently to put the blame on Ukraine and others for blocking Ukrainian food experts,” Yevheniia Filipenko said in an interview.
Filipenko said Ukrainian forces were intensely motivated to protect their homeland and would one day win the war.
EU blacklists wife of Russian billionaire Melnichenko to curb bypassing sanctions
The EU has blacklisted Aleksandra Melnichenko, the wife of Andrey Melnichenko, a previously sanctioned Russian billionaire who Reuters revealed had reassigned his companies to her in a bid to contain the business damage.
Reuters reported that Melnichenko ceded ownership of two of the world’s largest coal and fertilizers companies – SUEK and EuroChem – to his wife Aleksandra on March 8, the day before the EU sanctioned him.
“Aleksandra Melnichenko takes good advantage of the fortune and benefits from the wealth of her husband. Together with him, she owns two penthouses with a value of more than 30 million dollars,” the EU said in explaining its decision.
Two Reuters reporters wounded, driver killed in Ukraine: Agency
Two journalists working for the international news agency Reuters were lightly wounded and their driver killed in eastern Ukraine, a company spokesperson has said.
“Two Reuters journalists sustained minor injuries when they came under fire while en route to Severodonetsk,” a statement from the agency said.
“They were travelling in a vehicle provided by the Russian-backed separatists and driven by an individual assigned by the separatists. The driver of the vehicle was killed.”
Erdogan tells Stoltenberg Turkey’s security concerns are just
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg by phone that Turkey’s security concerns regarding Sweden and Finland’s membership bids are based on just and legitimate grounds, Erdogan’s office has said.
“Both countries should make it clear that they have stopped supporting terrorism, that they have lifted sanctions against Turkey, and that they are ready to show alliance solidarity,” Erdogan was cited as telling Stoltenberg in the call.
Putin willing to ease exports of Ukrainian cereals, says AU chair
Senegal’s President Macky Sall, who is chairman of the African Union, has said that Putin had expressed a willingness to ease exports of Ukrainian cereals during a meeting in Sochi.
Sall added in a statement on Twitter that Putin had told him Russia was also ready to ensure exports of Russian wheat and fertiliser.
French volunteer fighter killed in Ukraine, Paris says
A French national who volunteered as a combatant in eastern Ukraine alongside the country’s army was killed during fighting there, a spokeswoman for France’s foreign ministry says.
“We received the sad news that a Frenchman was fatally injured in fighting in Ukraine”, the spokeswoman said in a statement.
“We remind everyone that the whole of Ukraine is a war zone. In this regard, travel to Ukraine is formally advised against, for whatever reason.”
Many foreign fighters have responded to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s appeal for volunteers to travel to the country to battle Moscow’s forces.
Moscow blacklists 41 more Canadian citizens
Russia has announced travel bans on 41 Canadian citizens, including several members of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, in retaliation for what it described as “anti-Russian” sanctions imposed on Moscow.
Russia’s foreign ministry said, “Entry into Russia is closed for [these] citizens of Canada, including heads of organisations supporting ultra-nationalist forces in Ukraine, as well as top military officials.”
The list of affected individuals includes several Canadian deputy defence ministers and members of Ukraine-linked organisations, such as the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Ukrainian World Congress.
Russia had already blacklisted hundreds of other Canadian citizens prior to the move.
Marriott to suspend operations in Russia
Hotel industry giant Marriott International Inc says it will suspend its operations in Russia after more than 25 years operating there.
“We remain focused on taking care of our Russia-based associates,” the company said.
The move came after it decided on March 10 to pause the opening of upcoming hotels and all future hotel developments and investments in Russia.
100 days of war, 100 stories from Ukraine
Click here for Al Jazeera’s infographic featuring 100 accounts of the war in Ukraine.
Greece hopes to play important role in solving Europe’s energy conundrum: PM
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis says Greece, an entry point for natural gas for the eastern Mediterranean, could play a key role in helping Europe achieve energy autonomy given its location and investments such as a new northern LNG terminal.
Following the war in Ukraine, the European Union has been looking for new natural gas routes and alternative energy resources as it seeks to cut reliance on Russian gas.
“When it comes to gas from the eastern Mediterranean, I think we need to look at all options and we need to find the most cost-effective way of transferring the gas that exists in Cyprus or Israel to the European market,” Mitsotakis told the Reuters news agency in an interview.
“Whatever solution one can envision it will certainly involve Greece,” he said.
EU bans most Russian oil, sanctions alleged Putin girlfriend
The EU has formally adopted a ban on most Russian oil imports, hitting Moscow with its toughest sanctions over the war on Ukraine after weeks of wrangling with Hungary.
The sanctions – the sixth wave imposed by the 27-nation bloc since the Kremlin launched the invasion in February – include cutting Russia’s biggest bank Sberbank from the global SWIFT messaging system, the text published in the EU’s official journal said.
President Vladimir Putin’s alleged girlfriend, former gymnast Alina Kabaeva, was also added to an assets freeze and visa ban blacklist, along with Russian army personnel suspected of war crimes in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.
‘Major victory’ for Kyiv that Ukraine is that it is ‘still standing’: AJE correspondent
Al Jazeera’s Zein Basravi, reporting from the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, says “there are two ways to look at the maths” of the offensive.
“For resisting Russia’s invasion, it has cost Ukraine 20 percent of its territory,” Basravi said.
“On the other side of it, Ukraine, 100 days later, is still in this fight. We have to remember that Russia seemed intent on taking Kyiv in a matter of days [after launching its offensive,” he added.
“And experts estimated that after Kyiv fell, the rest of Ukraine would follow in a matter of weeks … but the fact that the country is still standing is in and of itself a major victory in this conflict.”
Ukraine grants citizenship to top Russian journalist who denounced war
Ukraine has granted citizenship to a prominent Russian journalist who fled Russia with his wife after denouncing the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, according to a senior official.
Russia has been seeking the arrest of Alexander Nevzorov, accusing him of spreading false information about what Moscow portrays as its “special military operation” in Ukraine. He and his wife fled Russia in March.
Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian interior minister, said the authorities in Kyiv had granted citizenship to Alexander Nevzorov and his wife Lydia.
Nevzorov confirmed he had received Ukrainian citizenship in a statement on Telegram messenger in which he said Russia’s war was a crime and Ukraine its victim.
Russia accuses Germany of risking European security by ‘remilitarising’
Russia has accused Germany of throwing European security into imbalance by “remilitarising”, as Berlin moves to boost its military spending in response to Moscow’s invasion.
In comments published in German newspapers this week, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Berlin would soon have the largest conventional army of NATO’s European members.
“We perceive the statement of the German chancellor as yet another confirmation that Berlin has set a course for an accelerated remilitarisation of the country. How could this end? Alas, this is well known from history,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
Scholz pledged in February to sharply increase defence spending and inject 100 billion euros ($107bn) into Germany’s armed forces, marking a major policy shift for the military after decades of attrition following the end of the Cold War. Politicians were expected to vote on the spending plan on Friday.
“At a time when it is necessary to look for opportunities to reduce common threats, Germany, on the contrary, takes the path of escalating the military-political situation on the European continent, directing tens of billions of euros to increase the critical mass of weapons,” Zakharova said.
AU head tells Putin African nations are ‘economic victims’ of Ukraine conflict
The head of the African Union has urged Putin to take into account the suffering in African countries from food shortages caused by the conflict in Ukraine.
Macky Sall, who also serves as Senegal’s president, told Putin on a visit to Russia to “become aware that our countries, even if they are far from the theatre [of war], are victims on an economic level” of the conflict.
He added that food supplies should be “outside” of Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over Ukraine.
On 100th day of invasion, Zelenskyy promises victory
Ukraine’s president says his country will win its war with Russia.
“The Armed Forces of Ukraine are here. The most important – the people, the people of our state are here. Defending Ukraine for 100 days already,” Zelenskyy said in an address to the nation delivered from in front of the Ukrainian presidential office, in the centre of the capital, Kyiv.
“Victory will be ours,” he added.
Swedish defence minister urges continuing support for Ukraine
Sweden’s defence minister says his and other European countries must be prepared to provide Ukraine with continuing support, including weapons deliveries.
“I see this conflict as a longrunning conflict,” Peter Hultqvist on Friday told reporters on the sidelines of the GLOBSEC 2022 Bratislava Forum, a foreign policy gathering.
“We must be sustainable in deliveries, so we can come back with more later on. Different countries must be complementary to each other.”
Sweden is seeking NATO membership as the conflict in Ukraine changes Scandinavia’s security landscape, and on Thursday it announced it was providing Ukraine with more economic aid and military equipment, including anti-ship missiles, rifles and anti-tank weapons.
Photos: 100 days of war
After months of tension, Russian troops invaded Ukraine 100 days ago.
The ensuing fighting has caused the biggest movement of people in Europe since World War II; more than 14 million people have been displaced, and 6.9 million Ukrainians have crossed the borders and are living as refugees abroad.
Click here to see images documenting the months-long conflict as it reaches a grim milestone.
Germany says Putin, not West, responsible for food crisis in Africa
A spokesperson for Germany’s foreign ministry says Berlin strongly condemns what it describes as Putin’s attempt to create a narrative that the West is responsible for a looming food crisis in Africa.
“We have to stress that the fact that there is a risk of famine in parts of the world, that some countries are being cut off from grain exports, is a consequence of the Russian war of aggression and not of Western sanctions,” the spokesperson said at a regular government news briefing.
Escaping War: What Ukrainian children carry with them
Millions of Ukrainian children have been displaced from their homes, leaving their homes, friends, relatives and lives behind in a bid to escape the war.
In Suceava, Romania, Al Jazeera met children who have fled and spoke to them about the treasured items they carry with them and their memories of the things they were now without.
Click here to read their stories.
Russia to continue ‘operation’ until all goals are achieved
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says Russia will continue its self-described “special military operation” in Ukraine until all of its “goals” have been achieved.
“One of the main goals of the operation is to protect people in the DNR and LNR. Measures have been taken to ensure their protection and certain results have been achieved”, Peskov said, referring to the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic.
The two breakaway regions of Ukraine have been controlled by Russian-backed separatists since early 2014.
“Many settlements have been liberated from the pro-Nazi armed forces of Ukraine and directly from nationalist elements,” he said, citing Russia’s repeated description of authorities in Ukraine as neo-Nazis and nationalists – labels that Kyiv says are being used as propaganda to justify the conflict.
“The opportunity has been provided for people to start establishing a peaceful life,” Peskov added. “This work will continue until the time when all of the goals of the military operation are achieved.”
More talks needed to allow Russian exports: UN official
More talks are needed to strike a deal on allowing exports from Russia as part of an envisaged accord to resume Ukrainian food exports, the United Nations crisis coordinator for Ukraine says.
“There was in principle agreement from Russia that they will agree to that, however, there is more negotiation to be done to also … facilitate the exports of Russia,” Amin Awad, who also serves as an assistant secretary-general at the world body, told an online news briefing from Geneva.
Ukraine says Russia trying to move war into ‘protracted phase’
Ukraine’s defence minister says he believes the Kremlin is trying to move the war into a “protracted phase” by building layered defences in occupied regions in the south of the country.
“The Kremlin is trying to move the war into a protracted phase,” Oleksii Reznikov told the GLOBSEC 2022 Bratislava Forum by video link.
“Instead of advancing, the Russian armies are constructing layered defences” in southern occupied regions, primarily Kherson, he said.
Russia to summon heads of US media outlets, warns of ‘stringent measures’
Russia’s foreign ministry says it is summoning the heads of US media outlets in Moscow to a meeting next Monday to notify them of an impending response to US restrictions against Russian media.
“If the work of the Russian media – operators and journalists – is not normalised in the United States, the most stringent measures will inevitably follow,” ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
“To this end, on Monday, June 6, the heads of the Moscow offices of all American media will be invited to the press centre of the Russian foreign ministry to explain to them the consequences of their government’s hostile line in the media sphere,” she added.
Russia has accused Western countries of imposing unfair restrictions on its media abroad, including bans on some state-backed news outlets. Legislators passed a bill last month giving prosecutors powers to shut foreign media bureaus in Moscow if a Western country has been “unfriendly” to Russian media.
Minsk will allow Ukrainian grain to transit Belarus in exchange for access to Baltic ports: Report
Minsk is ready to allow the transit of Ukraine’s grain to Baltic Sea ports via Belarus if it is allowed to ship Belarusian goods from these ports, the country’s Belta news agency has quoted President Alexander Lukashenko as saying.
In a telephone call with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday, Lukashenko said Belarus was ready to free up needed capacity on its railway for Ukraine’s grain and proposed organising talks between Belarus, Ukraine and countries which are ready to provide access to their ports, Belta reported.
“At the same time, the most important thing, as was mentioned during the conversation, is that these ports – in Germany, Poland, the Baltic States or Russia – should be open for Belarusian goods as well,” it reported.
“If conditions were created for the transit of Ukrainian grain, the ports that will be handling it should also be able to load goods from Belarus,” it added.
Ukraine, a major global grain exporter, has been unable to use its Black Sea ports to send food to buyers since Russia invaded.
NATO should consider ‘de facto’ membership for Ukraine: Defence minister
NATO should consider granting Ukraine “de facto” rather than “de jure” membership of the alliance when it discusses its strategy for the next 10 years at an upcoming summit in Madrid, the country’s defence minister says.
“I think that if we are talking about the membership of Ukraine with NATO de facto, not de jure, it could be the good idea in this strategy,” Reznikov told the GLOBSEC 2022 Bratislava Forum.
“Ukraine will be also part of the strategy because we also are the part of eastern flank of Europe, the eastern flank of NATO countries, eastern flank of the EU. I think it will be a win-win situation for all countries,” he added.
NATO allies have supplied Ukraine with billions of dollars worth of weapons amid Russia’s offensive.
Ukraine’s envoy says Turkish buyers among those purchasing stolen grains
Ukraine’s ambassador to Ankara has claimed Turkish buyers are among those buying grain that Kyiv alleges Russia stole from Ukraine amid its invasion.
Ambassador Vasyl Bodnar said Russia was shipping the stolen grain out of Crimea, which it annexed in 2014, and added Kyiv was working with Turkey and Interpol to identify and capture individuals responsible for the sales and purchases.
“Russia is shamelessly stealing Ukrainian grains and trying to get them out from the invaded Crimea. These stolen grains are being sold to foreign countries, and Turkey is one of them,” he told reporters in Ankara.
There was no immediate response to Bodnar’s remarks from either Ankara or Moscow, and Al Jazeera could not independently verify his claims.
Ukraine war ‘will have no winner’: UN official
The UN crisis coordinator for Ukraine has warned there will be no victor from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the conflict enters its 100th day and Moscow’s forces press deeper into the country’s eastern Donbas region.
“This war has and will have no winner. Rather, we have witnessed for 100 days what is lost: lives, homes, jobs and prospects,” Awad said in a statement.
“This war has taken an unacceptable toll on people and engulfed virtually all aspects of civilian life … We have witnessed destruction and devastation across cities, towns and villages. Schools, hospitals and shelters have not been spared,” he added.
“Our tireless efforts to respond to the war’s devastating impact will continue, robustly and steadfast. But above all we need peace. The war must end now.”
Timeline: 100 days of war in Ukraine
For a timeline of developments since Moscow launched its offensive on February 24, click here.
Slovakia says it expects EU solidarity on Russian oil sanctions’ effect
Slovakia expects solidarity from the EU to mitigate the effect of the bloc’s sanctions on Russian crude oil, the country’s economy ministry has said.
Slovakia’s sole oil refiner Slovnaft, a unit of Hungary’s MOL, said on Thursday that the sanctions will end the refiner’s oil product exports to key markets such as the Czech Republic, Austria and Poland after eight months and also hurt domestic customers.
Ukraine has no plans to attack Russia with US missiles: Presidential adviser
A Ukrainian presidential adviser says Kyiv does not plan to use multiple-launch rocket systems it receives from the US to attack targets within Russia.
“Ukraine is waging a defensive war and does not plan to use the MLRS to attack facilities in Russia,” Mykhailo Podolyak said in a Twitter post.
“Our partners know where their weapons are used,” he added.
Russia ‘losing’ the war in Ukraine and uniting the West: Analysts
The war in Ukraine has demolished the myth of Russian military might, cemented the Western alliance, bifurcated global finance and trade and devastated Ukraine’s economy.
Read more here.
Russia likely to control all of Luhansk in two weeks: UK
Russia will likely control the whole of the Luhansk region in the next two weeks, the UK’s Ministry of Defence has said.
The ministry said in its latest intelligence briefing that Moscow’s forces are currently in control of more than 90 percent of the region, one of two which make up eastern Ukraine’s Donbas.
But although Russia currently appears to hold the initiative over Ukrainian opposition in the Donbas, Moscow’s “tactical successes” have come at a “significant resource cost”, the ministry added.
Measured against Russia’s original plan to take the capital, Kyiv, and Ukrainian centres of government “none of the strategic objectives have been achieved”, it said.
“In order for Russia to achieve any form of success will require continued huge investment of manpower and equipment, and is likely to take considerable further time.”
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 3 June 2022
Find out more about the UK government's response: https://t.co/J6pg0zEINb
🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/gtepCytay9
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) June 3, 2022
Shelling kills woman in Lysychansk: Luhansk governor
An artillery shell killed a woman in the town of Lysychansk on Thursday, Luhansk’s governor says.
Serhiy Haidai said nine houses were damaged in the centre of Severodonetsk, where the main fighting has been taking place.
In Lysychansk, two houses were damaged, as well as some of the fire department and its vehicles, “in particular, four cars that could go to fires and save lives”, Haidai said on Telegram.
He added that 16 houses were destroyed in Gorny town, six in Zolote and three in the settlement of Toshkivka.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify Haidai’s report.
Some 70 Luhansk schools, 33 hospitals and 237 clinics destroyed in 100 days: Governor
In the 100 days of Russia’s invasion, more than 400km (250 miles) of roads have been damaged and almost 70 schools and 50 kindergartens destroyed in Luhansk, its governor says.
Haidai said in a Telegram post that the price the region has paid included “33 hospitals and 237 rural outpatient clinics equipped with the latest medical equipment”.
“Today, all this is destroyed by enemy artillery, and angiographs, ultrasound and CT scanners are being taken to the ‘People’s Republic’,” he added, speaking of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic established by Russian-backed separatist forces in the region and recognised by Russia as an independent state.
“Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers are buried on this earth, our children were born here. Therefore, until our last breath, we will fight for the freedom, unity and prosperity of our small homeland,” Haidai said.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify Haidai’s report.
UN confirms 9,151 civilian casualties in Ukraine
The UN has confirmed 9,151 civilian casualties in Ukraine from the start of the conflict on February 24 until June 2.
This includes 4,169 people killed and 4,982 injured, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said in its latest update, noting that the true figures are likely “considerably higher” with ongoing hostilities making efforts to count the dead difficult and many reports of killings still pending corroboration.
“Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes,” the OHCHR said.
Ukraine investigates Russians who looted private property in Bucha
Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office has begun an investigation into 10 Russian military personnel who looted the property of civilians in the town of Bucha, in the Kyiv region, when it was under Russian occupation.
The prosecutor’s office said these men had been reported under “suspicion of violating the customs of war”, having stolen items which “could not be used for military purposes: from underwear and clothing to large household appliances”.
“After the liberation of the territories of Kyiv region, the occupiers, retreating to Belarus, from Mozyr sent the looted property in Ukraine by mail to their relatives,” the prosecutor general said in a post on the Telegram app.
Russian Pacific fleet begins week-long exercises: Reports
Russia’s Pacific Fleet launched a week-long series of exercises with more than 40 ships and up to 20 aircraft taking part, Russian news agencies quoted the defence ministry as saying.
The ministry statement said the exercises, taking place from June 3-10, would involve, among other matters, “groups of ships together with naval aviation taking part in search operations for [enemy] submarines”.
Ukraine lies thousands of kilometres to the west of where the exercises are occurring in the Pacific.
Kharkiv resident faces five years in prison for allegedly supporting Russia’s invasion: Report
The Kharkiv regional prosecutor’s office has indicted a 47-year-old man for allegedly producing and distributing materials that justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Interfax Ukraine news agency reports.
“A pre-trial investigation established that in March 2022, a Kharkiv resident made a poster that included the Z symbol used by troops of the aggressor state of the Russian Federation to identify their own forces involved in the aggression against Ukraine,” Interfax quoted the press service of the prosecutor’s office as having said on the Telegram app.
“After that, the man shot a video with this poster and distributed it in Telegram channels, thereby supporting the criminal actions of the Russian Federation against Ukraine,” the prosecutor’s office said.
The man faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
Some 50 embassies resume work in Kyiv: Zelenskyy
Approximately 50 embassies have resumed work in Kyiv, Zelenskyy has said.
“More and more embassies resume their full-fledged activities in Kyiv. As of today, there are already 50 of them,” he said, adding this wasn’t only important on a diplomatic, but also a symbolic, level.
“Every new embassy that returns to our capital is a testament to the faith in our victory. Faith that Ukraine will be able to defend its statehood in this war unleashed on our land by the Russian Federation,” he added.
US and allies promise to hold Russia accountable for crimes in Ukraine
The US and its allies are saying they will hold Russia accountable for crimes committed by its forces since they invaded Ukraine on February 24.
US Under-Secretary of State Uzra Zeya told a UN Security Council meeting Thursday on strengthening accountability and justice for serious violations of international law that in nearly 100 days the world has seen Russian forces bomb maternity hospitals, train stations, apartment buildings and homes and even kill civilians cycling down the street.
Zeya said the US was working with its allies to support a broad range of international investigations into atrocities in Ukraine.
Ireland’s Attorney General Paul Gallagher welcomed efforts over the last three months to support calls for justice in Ukraine, saying Ireland was one of 41 countries that quickly referred the situation in the country to the International Criminal Court. Gallagher said the ICC has deployed a team of 42 investigators, forensic experts and support staff to investigate Russian crimes and support Ukrainian efforts.
Situation in Severodonetsk ‘the hardest’: Zelenskyy
Zelenskyy has said the situation in Severodonetsk was “the hardest right now”, as well as in cities and communities nearby.
“Lysychansk, Bakhmut and others. Many cities are facing a powerful Russian attack,” he said in his nightly video address to the nation.
Zelenskyy said Russian forces were mobilising people from areas of the Donbas that were already under their control and sending them into battle in the first line of attack, with Russian troops coming in behind them.
“The longer the war goes on, the more vile, shameful and cynical things Russia is forever inscribing in its history,” he added.
Much of key Ukraine city destroyed by attacks
Some 60 percent of the infrastructure and residential buildings in Lysychansk, one of only two cities in the east still under at least partial Ukrainian control, have been destroyed by attacks, a local official has said.
Oleksandr Zaika, head of Lysychansk City Military-Civil Administration, said on an “information telemarathon” cited by the Unian news agency that non-stop shelling had knocked out electricity, natural gas, telephone and internet service.
Zaika said 20,000 people are left in the city, down from a prewar population of 97,000.
Ukrainian forces have had some success in Severodonetsk: Zelenskyy
Ukrainian forces have had some success fighting Russian forces in the city of Severodonetsk but the overall military situation in the Donbas region has not changed, Zelenskyy has said.
“The situation in the Donbas has not changed significantly over the last 24 hours. We have had some success in the battles in Severodonetsk,” Zelenskyy said in a late-night video address.
He also slammed what he called the “absolutely senseless shelling” of northern border regions from Russian territory, especially on Chernihiv.
“Mykolaiv, Kharkiv, the Kharkiv region were shelled. The entire temporarily occupied territory of our state is now a zone of complete disaster, for which Russia bears full responsibility,” he added.
US Department of State defends advanced weapons for Ukraine
Price, the Department of State spokesman, has defended the US position that it has supplied Ukraine with advanced weapons after receiving assurances that the country would not strike Russian territory.
“We want to do everything we can to strengthen the hand of our Ukrainian partners, both on the battlefield but also at the negotiating table,” Price said during a news conference.
“But we also want to be careful to ensure that we are not doing anything or the international community is not doing anything that would needlessly prolong this conflict,” he said.
Biden meets NATO’s Stoltenberg in Washington
US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have met NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Washington, DC, in a meeting that focused on preparing for a NATO Summit scheduled in Madrid at the end of June, the White House has said.
“The leaders discussed the implications of Russia’s war on Ukraine for Transatlantic security and the importance of strengthening NATO’s deterrence and defense, in addition to ensuring NATO is properly resourced to address a wide range of challenges, from cyber to climate change,” it said in a readout of the meeting.
US adds 71 new Russian, Belarus companies to trade blacklist
The US has added 71 new Russian and Belarusian entities to its trade blacklist, including aircraft plants and shipbuilding and research institutes.
The export restrictions include the Russian Academy of Sciences. In total, the US Department of Commerce has now added 322 entities to its economic blacklist for support of Russia’s military since February.
UN aid chief in Moscow to discuss Ukraine grain exports
UN aid chief Griffiths is in Moscow to discuss allowing exports of grain and other food from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, a spokesperson has said.
Griffiths will meet Russian officials days after another senior UN official, Rebecca Grynspan, had “constructive” talks in Moscow with Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov on expediting Russian grain and fertiliser exports.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is trying to broker what he calls a “package deal” to resume Ukrainian food exports and Russian food and fertiliser exports, which were disrupted by the war.
“The situation remains fluid. The secretary-general, and the two main people he has tasked to work on this, Rebecca Grynspan and Martin Griffiths – we will do and go anywhere we need to go to push this project forward,” spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.
Zelenskyy urges more weapons as war enters 100th day
Zelenskyy has urged the country’s Western allies to provide more weapons to help Ukraine reach an “inflexion point” and prevail in the war.
Zelenskyy told Luxembourg’s parliament via video link that Russian forces now occupied about a fifth of Ukrainian territory, as the invasion entered its 100th day on Friday.
During a separate address to a forum in Slovakia, Zelenskyy said more weapons supplies would “ensure an inflexion point in this confrontation” in Ukraine’s favour.
US sanctions Russian officials, oligarchs, Putin’s megayachts
The US has announced further sanctions on Russia, targeting an oligarch who heads a major steel producer, a yacht management company, the spokesperson for the country’s foreign ministry, and a cellist.
“Today’s action demonstrates that Treasury can and will go after those responsible for shielding and maintaining these ill-gotten interests,” Brian Nelson, the under-secretary of the treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.
“We will continue to enforce our sanctions and expose the corrupt systems by which President Putin and his elites enrich themselves,” Nelson added.
Read more here.
Today, @StateDept and @USTreasury took further actions to exact a cost on the Russian Federation for its continued aggression against Ukraine. The United States will continue imposing severe costs on President Putin for his disregard for international law.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) June 2, 2022
New US ambassador to Ukraine submits credentials to Zelenskyy in Kyiv
The new US ambassador to Ukraine has said she gave her credentials to the Ukrainian president, as the American embassy resumes its work in the capital, Kyiv.
Bridget Brink hailed Zelenskyy as “a symbol of bravery and courage around the world”.
“As I told him, my team and I will do everything we can to help Ukraine defend itself, to hold Russia accountable for atrocities, and to help rebuild Ukraine,” she wrote on Twitter.
Honored to present my credentials to @ZelenskyyUa, who has become a symbol of bravery and courage around the world. As I told him, my team and I will do everything we can to help Ukraine defend itself, to hold Russia accountable for atrocities, and to help rebuild Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/GqwPCyWh3t
— Ambassador Bridget A. Brink (@USAmbKyiv) June 2, 2022
Blinken discusses ‘urgency’ of Ukraine support in talks with UK counterpart
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has discussed “the urgency of continued support to Ukraine” in talks with his British counterpart, Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss.
That support includes “vital humanitarian and security assistance”, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a readout of the call between the two leaders.
“The Secretary reconfirmed the importance of transatlantic unity in holding those who support the Kremlin’s war of choice to account, as well as ensuring vital agricultural commodities can leave Ukraine to provide the world critical food supplies,” the statement said.
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war.
Read all the updates from Thursday, June 2 here.