Ukraine latest updates: Kyiv ‘controls half of Severodontesk’

Latest updates June 5, 2022: Kyiv says it has retaken 50 percent of the eastern city as Ukraine’s military pushes Russian forces back.

Kyiv missile attack
Ukraine called for new sanctions on Russia following the missile attack [Vladyslav Sodel/Reuters]
  • Ukraine says that its forces control half of Severodonetsk as the fight rages on with Russia over the contested city.
  • Russia’s defence ministry claims its attacks destroyed tanks and other armoured vehicles on the outskirts of Kyiv that had been provided to Ukraine by European countries.
  • President Vladimir Putin has warned the West that Russia will raid new targets if the United States starts supplying Ukraine with longer-range missiles.
  • At least one person is reported wounded as powerful explosions rock Kyiv after weeks of calm.
  • Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the main church at Sviatohirsk Lavra, one of the country’s holiest Orthodox Christian sites, has burned down following a Russian attack.

INTERACTIVE Russia Ukraine War Who controls what in Ukraine Day 102

The live blog is now closed, thank you for joining us. Below are the updates for June 5, 2022. For the latest news please see here

Ukrainian MP detained at Moldova’s border

A Ukrainian member of Parliament, Yevhen Yakovenko, has been detained at the Moldovan border at the request of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), according to Moldova’s border police.

Yakovenko was placed in a pretrial detention centre, a press service representative of the border police said.

Viorel Tentiu, the head of Interpol in Moldova, said in a statement that Yakovenko was put on the list following accusations from Belarus of bribery and corruption.

Closed airspace forces cancellation of Russian FM’s visit to Serbia: report

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to Serbia has been cancelled after countries around Serbia closed their airspace to his aircraft, according to a senior foreign ministry source quoted by the Interfax news agency.

The source confirmed a Serbian media report that said Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro had closed their airspace to the plane that would have carried Moscow’s top diplomat to Belgrade on Monday. “Our diplomacy has yet to master teleportation,” the source said.

There was no immediate comment from the Russian foreign ministry.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov looks on during his meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Moscow, Russia,
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will not be visiting Serbia, report says [File: Maxim Shipenkov/Pool via Reuters]

Ukraine repels seven attacks in Donbas

Ukraine’s military has reported that its forces repelled seven attacks in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, or Donbas, destroying four tanks and shooting down a combat helicopter.

The United Kingdom defence ministry said that Ukrainian counterattacks in Severodonetsk over the past 24 hours were likely to blunt any operational momentum Russia had gained.

Moscow was deploying poorly equipped separatist fighters in the city to limit the risk to its regular forces, it said.

Zelenskyy visits front-line troops: statement

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has visited front-line troops in the southeastern region of Zaporizhia, according to his office, a week after a similar trip to the northeastern Kharkiv region.

“I want to thank you for your great work, for your service, for protecting all of us, our state,” the statement quoted Zelenskyy as saying, adding that he held a minute of silence for fallen troops.

Zelenskyy’s office later said the president also visited a medical facility in the region and spoke with people forced to leave their homes, including from Mariupol, which is now in Russian hands after being under siege for weeks.

Ukraine says it controls ‘half’ of Severodonetsk

Ukraine has said its forces controlled half of Severodonetsk as Kyiv’s military pushes back Russia’s attempt to take the eastern city, key to the battle for the Donbas region.

“Our armed forces have cleaned half” of the industrial hub of Russian troops, Luhansk’s regional governor Serhiy Haidai said in an interview posted on his official social media channels. “Half of the city is actually controlled by our forces.”

Ukraine needs ‘constant’ aid until Russia is defeated: Kyiv

Ukraine’s deputy defence minister has stressed that the country needed continuous military support from Western countries until it defeated Moscow’s forces, as the war continues.

“We have already entered into a protracted war and we will need constant support,” Ganna Malyar told local media.

“The West must understand that its help cannot be a one-time thing, but something that continues until our victory,” she added.

Ukraine slams Macron’s remarks not to ‘humiliate’ Russia

Ukraine has denounced French President Emmanuel Macron after he suggested it is imperative that Russia is not humiliated in its war to keep the door open for good diplomatic relations between the West and Moscow whenever the conflict ends.

Macron’s comments raised the ire of Kyiv, which slammed the French president’s position. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said bluntly the comments “can only humiliate France”.

Read more here.

French President Emmanuel Macron arrives to deliver a speech after being re-elected as president
French President Emmanuel Macron arrives to deliver a speech [File: Christian Hartmann/Reuters]

Pope calls for ‘real negotiations’ in Ukraine war

Pope Francis has called for “real negotiations” to end what he called the “increasingly dangerous escalation” of the conflict in Ukraine.

“As the fury of destruction and death rages and clashes flare, fuelling an escalation that is increasingly dangerous for all, I renew my appeal to the leaders of nations: Please do not lead humanity to destruction,” the pontiff said from the window of the apostolic palace in St Peter’s Square.

The 85-year-old pope confirmed his desire to visit Ukraine, but said he wanted to wait for “the right moment”.

Russia says it destroyed tanks in Kyiv sent from Europe

Russian strikes have destroyed tanks and other armoured vehicles on the outskirts of Kyiv that had been provided to Ukraine by European countries, according to Russia’s defence ministry.

The ministry’s statement came after the Ukrainian capital was rocked by several explosions early on Sunday.

Austria calls for intermediate EU membership for Ukraine

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer has called for an intermediate stage between cooperation and full membership of the European Union for countries like Ukraine and Moldova.

The so-called “preparatory space” would allow countries to reach the standards of the European Union, similar to the European Economic Area (EEA) or the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Nehammer said.

“We are united by the same goal, we all want a strong, independent and economically successful Ukraine,” Nehammer said in a statement issued by the chancellor’s office.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer speaks during a news conference [File Reuters]

Germany faces 5 billion euro a year hit from Russia sanctions: Report

Russia’s sanctions against Gazprom Germania and its subsidiaries could cost German taxpayers and gas users an extra 5 billion euros ($5.4bn) a year to pay for replacement gas, according to the Welt am Sonntag weekly, citing industry representatives.

In May, Russia decided to stop supplying Gazprom Germania, which had been the German subsidiary of Gazprom, after Berlin put the company under trustee management due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Since then, the Bundesnetzagentur energy regulator, acting as trustee, has had to buy replacement gas on the market to fulfil supply contracts with German municipal utilities and regional suppliers.

Moscow missile attack on Kyiv ‘act of terrorism’

Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian presidential adviser, has called Moscow’s missile attack on Kyiv an “act of terrorism” and demanded new sanctions on Russia.

Podolyak also called for Ukraine to be supplied with heavy weapons to defend its territory from Russian attacks.

“Today’s missile attacks on Kyiv have only one aim; to kill as many Ukrainians as possible,” he tweeted.

Putin threatens to hit new targets if longer-range missiles supplied

Putin has warned the West that Russia would hit new targets if the US started supplying Ukraine with longer-range missiles, the TASS state news agency reported.

If such missiles are supplied, “we will strike at those targets which we have not yet been hitting”, Putin was quoted as saying in an interview with Rossiya-1 state television channel.

France in talks with UAE to replace Russian oil supplies: Minister

Bruno Le Maire, France’s finance minister, says Paris is in talks with the United Arab Emirates to replace Russian oil purchases, which will stop after the imposition of a European Union ban on Russian crude.

“There are discussions with the United Arab Emirates. We have to find an alternative to Russian oil,” Le Maire told Europe 1 radio.

Russian missile flew ‘critically low’ over nuclear plant

Energoatom, Ukraine’s state-run nuclear power operator, says a Russian cruise missile flew “critically low” over a major nuclear power plant.

“It’s probable that was the missile that was fired in the direction of Kyiv,” the operator of the Pivdennoukrainska plant, also called the South Ukraine Nuclear Plant, said in a post on the Telegram messaging app.

Missiles hit ‘major train hub’ in Kyiv

Al Jazeera’s Zein Basravi reporting from Kyiv said Russian missiles hit a main train hub, a repair centre for railway lines.

“The strikes hit what they are saying is a repair centre but in the past when Russian missiles have hit areas like this whether it was in Kyiv or elsewhere in the country they have said they were targeting what they consider to be military targets,” Basravi said.

“Unconfirmed local reports suggest there may have been an arms depot at the targeted site. The general staff said there were no casualties but one person was injured and taken to hospital,” he added.

Kyiv missile strike
Moscow said it destroyed tanks supplied by Eastern European countries in the attack [Vladyslav Sodel/Reuters]

Severodonetsk split in half between Ukrainian and Russian forces: Governor

Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Luhansk region where Severodonetsk is located, says control of the city is split in half between Ukrainian and Russian forces.

“It had been a difficult situation, the Russians controlled 70 percent of the city, but over the past two days they have been pushed back,” Haidai said on Ukrainian television.

“The city is now, more or less, divided in half.”

UK: Ukraine counterstrikes Severodonetsk

Ukrainian forces have counterattacked in the contested city of Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, the UK’s defence ministry said.

This move will likely blunt the operational momentum Russian forces gained by concentrating combat units and firepower, the ministry said in a tweet.

“The use of proxy infantry forces for urban clearance operations is a Russian tactic previously observed in Syria,” it said, adding that the approach likely indicates a desire to limit casualties among regular Russian forces.

One person wounded in Kyiv blasts: Mayor

Kyiv’s mayor says at least one person has been hospitalised after multiple blasts in the capital.

“There are currently no dead from missile strikes on infrastructure,” Vitali Klitschko said. “The services are still working in the affected areas.”

Emergency workers active at Kyiv explosion site

Vitali Klitschko, mayor of Kyiv, says “several explosions” took place early on Sunday morning in the Darnytski and Dniprovskyi districts of the capital.

“Services are already working on site. More detailed information later,” he wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

Powerful explosions heard in Kyiv: Report

The Reuters news agency says powerful explosions have been heard in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv.

Citing a witness, the agency said smoke was seen in the city following the explosions.

Earlier, air raid sirens had gone off across much of Ukraine, including in the Kyiv region, the report added.

US defence secretary to host Ukraine aid meeting in Brussels

Lloyd Austin, the US defence secretary, says he will host a meeting next week of a group set up to coordinate aid to help Ukraine defend itself.

The Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting will take place in Brussels on June 15, according to the Kyiv Independent, a Ukrainian news website.

While in Brussels, Austin will also attend a NATO meeting to discuss Sweden and Finland’s bids to join the security alliance.

US envoy visits Borodyanka, vows accountability

Bridget Brink, the US envoy to Ukraine, has visited Borodyanka, a town northwest of Kyiv where Russian forces have been accused of committing war crimes.

“Borodyanka has suffered horribly,” Brink said in a tweet late on Saturday.

“Bearing witness to atrocities committed in Russia’s brutal war, including families killed in their own homes, only strengthens my resolve to do everything we can to hold the perpetrators of these awful crimes to account.”

Germany faces 5 billion euros a year hit from Russian gas sanctions

Russia’s sanctions against Gazprom Germania could cost German taxpayers and gas users 5 billion euros ($5.4bn) a year for replacement gas, Welt am Sonntag reported, citing industry representatives.

In May, Russia stopped supplying Gazprom Germania after Berlin put the company under trustee management due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Since then the trustee, Bundesnetzagentur, has bought replacement gas on the market to fulfil supply contracts with German municipalities and regional suppliers.

Welt am Sonntag said economy minister Robert Habeck estimates 10 million cubic meters a day are required, currently costing about 3.5 billion euros ($3.7bn) a year – in addition, Habeck ordered the filling of the Rehden natural gas storage facility, adding to costs.

The paper also said the additional costs would be passed on to energy suppliers and end customers in the form of a gas levy from October.

Ukraine plans to restart football leagues in August

The president of Ukraine’s football federation says Kyiv is planning to resume competitive football in the country in August despite being under attack by Russia.

Andriy Pavelko told the Associated Press in Cardiff: “I spoke with our president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, about how … it would be possible that football could help us to think about the future.”

“So we took the decision … [to] resume the Ukrainian championship in August,” Pavelko said through a translator. “[W]e will play on every level. So the Premier League, and the first and second professional divisions, and women’s championship.”

Ukraine's Roman Yaremchuk celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's second goal during the World Cup 2022 qualifying play-off soccer match between Scotland and Ukraine at Hampden Park stadium in Glasgow, Scotland on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 [Scott Heppell/AP]
Ukraine’s Roman Yaremchuk celebrates with teammates after scoring his side’s second goal during the World Cup 2022 qualifying playoff football match between Scotland and Ukraine at Hampden Park stadium in Glasgow, Scotland on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 [Scott Heppell/AP]

Street fighting continues in Severodonetsk, says Zelenskyy

Ukraine’s president says the situation in Severodonetsk is “extremely difficult” and street fighting continues.

“Russian troops again fired at the border areas of the Sumy region, Mykolaiv, cities, and people of the Zaporizhia region, and Kharkiv region,” Zelenskyy said in his evening address.

“The situation in Severodonetsk, where street fighting continues, remains extremely difficult. It is also difficult in Lysychansk, Marinka, Kurakhove, and other cities and communities of Donbas. Constant air strikes, artillery, and rocket attacks. By today’s morning, the total number of various Russian missiles used against Ukraine is already 2,503.”

Zelenskyy slams Russian shelling of Orthodox monastery

Zelenskyy says the main church at Sviatohirsk Lavra, one of the country’s holiest Orthodox Christian sites, burned down following Russian shelling.

News of the destruction of part of the monastery came as Russian forces escalated their attacks in the Donetsk region.

Zelenskyy said three monks at the Sviatohirsk Lavra were killed in Russian shelling and 113 Orthodox churches have been destroyed or damaged by Russia since the start of the invasion in February.

Russian and Ukrainian military officers have blamed each other for the damage at the Sviatohirsk Lavra.

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

Read all the updates from Saturday, June 4 here.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies