This is the situation as it stands on Tuesday, June 6, 2023.
- Russia claimed its forces thwarted a “large-scale” offensive in the Ukrainian region of Donetsk, killing 250 soldiers and destroying tanks and armoured vehicles.
- Hanna Maliar, Ukraine’s deputy defence minister, said Russia’s claims that Ukraine had begun its counteroffensive were meant to direct attention away from Moscow’s losses around Bakhmut, which remained the “epicentre of hostilities”.
- Oleksandr Syrsky, the commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, said Ukrainian forces were “moving forward” near Bakhmut, which Russia claims to have captured last month.
- Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of Russia’s Wagner Group, said Ukrainian forces had retaken part of the settlement of Berkhivka, north of Bakhmut. Speaking in an audio message, Prigozhin, who has lambasted Russia’s military leadership, said the loss was a “disgrace”.
- Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of Russia’s Belgorod region that borders Ukraine, said there were clashes on the Russian side of the border after armed groups launched more cross-border attacks from Ukraine. Moscow said it targeted the “terrorists” with artillery fire.
- The anti-Kremlin Russian Volunteer Corps and the Freedom of Russia Legion released a video saying they had taken Russian prisoners of war during their incursions. The one-minute and 26-second clip showed what appeared to be about a dozen Russian soldiers, with two lying on hospital beds. Gladkov said he was ready for talks to retrieve “our guys”.
- Russia’s defence ministry said it repelled a Ukrainian attempt to cross into the Belgorod region, according to the Russian RIA Novosti news agency. Moscow said “more than 10” Ukrainian fighters had been killed in air and artillery strikes.
- Two drones fell on a highway in Russia’s Kaluga region, which lies south of Moscow, with the governor saying on Monday that no explosives detonated.
- Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said a statement by United States National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan calling for bilateral arms control discussions was “positive”. On Friday, Sullivan said the US would abide by the nuclear weapons limits set in the New START Treaty until it expires in 2026 if Russia did the same.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met United Kingdom Foreign Secretary James Cleverly in Kyiv and discussed preparations for a NATO summit in July as well as Ukraine’s formula for ending Russia’s invasion.
- The European Union imposed sanctions on nine Russian officials involved in the jailing of opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza. He was jailed in April for 25 years after being found guilty of treason and denigrating the military after he criticised Russia’s war in Ukraine.
- Russia’s foreign ministry said it saw no prospect of extending the Black Sea grain export deal, which is set to expire in mid-July, Russian news agencies reported.
- The EU will extend to September 15, restrictions on imports of Ukrainian agricultural products imposed by five member states seeking to protect their farmers.
- Italian cardinal Matteo Zuppi arrived in Kyiv on a two-day “peace mission”, the Vatican said in a statement.
- Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said he would ask Ukraine for clarification on reports that rifles made in Belgium had been used by pro-Ukrainian forces in Belgorod.
- Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Ukraine had enough weapons for its counteroffensive against Russia and that the operation will give the country the victory it needs to join NATO.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies