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Blasts rock Kyiv for first time since April; Sievierdonetsk situation still ‘extremely difficult’

Blasts rock Kyiv for first time since April; Sievierdonetsk situation still ‘extremely difficult’
Firefighters dampen down a rail freight rolling stock repair facility in the Darnytsia district ​of Kyiv, Ukraine after a Russian air strike on 5 June 2022. Four Russian missiles hit the site early on Sunday morning with a fifth rocket landing in woodland close by. (Photo: Christopher Furlong / Getty Images)

Several explosions took place in the Ukrainian capital on Sunday morning with no casualties reported, Kyiv authorities said, while air defence forces shot down another Russian missile in the region. Kyiv was last struck towards the end of April.

The situation in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region, where Russian troops continue to storm the city of Sievierodonetsk, remains “extremely difficult,” Governor Serhiy Haiday said on Telegram.

President Vladimir Putin said Russia will broaden its attacks if Ukraine receives longer-range missiles, adding that discussions on new weapon supplies are aimed at extending the war.

Key developments

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov’s visit to Serbia in question

A two-day visit of Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Serbia is in question as Montenegro, Northern Macedonia and Bulgaria are banning his plane from their airspace, Vecernje Novosti reported, without saying where it got its information.

Due to the recent developments, Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic will meet Russian ambassador Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko on Monday morning, according to the Serbian publication.

Lavrov was planning to visit Serbia on 6-7 June to meet the nation’s leader and his counterpart, Tass reported, citing the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. They were expected to discuss in-depth bilateral political and economic relations, exchange views on the situation in the Balkan region and also talk about other international problems, according to Tass.

Ukraine denies Russia destroyed tanks

There were no tanks at Ukraine’s coach-repair plant hit in Russia’s missile attack, state-run railway company Ukrzaliznytsia’s CEO Oleksandr Kamyshev said.

Earlier today, four Russian missiles hit Darnytsia coach-repair plant that fixed wagons to transport grain and other exports, Kamyshev said.

“I officially state that there is no military equipment at the premises of the plant,” he said, inviting journalists for a tour tonight. “Russia again told a lie. Their real goal is Ukraine’s economy and civilians. They want to stop our ability to export Ukrainian products to the West.”

Russia says it destroyed weapons on outskirts of Kyiv

“The Russian Aerospace Forces destroyed T-72 tanks and other armoured vehicles placed in the buildings of a coach-repair plant with high-precision long-range air-based missiles on the outskirts of Kyiv,” Tass reported, citing Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov. 

The destroyed tanks and equipment had been supplied by Eastern European countries, according to Konashenkov.

Bloomberg News couldn’t independently verify the claim.

Kyiv mayor reports ‘no casualties’ in Sunday missile strikes

Several explosions occurred in Darnytskyi and Dniprovskyi districts in Kyiv, the capital’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said on his Telegram channel on Sunday morning. There were currently no casualties as a result of “missile strikes on infrastructure” targets, he said, adding one person was sent to hospital and rescue services were still working in the affected areas.

The Ukrainian air defence shot down a missile over the Obukhiv district in the Kyiv region on Sunday morning, the regional administration reported on Telegram.

EU’s Breton says Putin using gas to divide Europe

Putin is using gas in an effort to split Europe as he continues to wage war on Ukraine, Thierry Breton, the EU’s internal market commissioner, said in an interview with CNews and Europe1 on Sunday.

“We must also free ourselves from gas, because Russian gas today, we must get our autonomy back as quickly as possible as Vladimir Putin doesn’t like the European project,” Breton said. “For years, he’s done everything to divide Europe,” he added, citing Brexit, Covid vaccines and TV channel Russia Today as examples. “Now he’s using gas precisely to divide us.”

Breton said plans are in place if Putin takes further steps to switch off Russian gas after cutting supplies to Poland, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Finland and Denmark. This includes boosting LNG imports, partly from the US and Qatar, accelerating solar and offshore wind power and extending the life of nuclear and coal-fired plants.




Putin says Russia will set new targets if Ukraine gets longer-range missiles 

Russia will strike targets that it hasn’t hit previously if longer-range missiles are delivered to Ukraine, Putin said in an interview with Rossiya-1 TV channel.

All the “hassle” about additional weapon deliveries has “only one goal — to drag out the armed conflict as much as possible,” he said. If long-range missiles are supplied, “we will draw appropriate conclusions from this and will use our means of destruction, which are ample, to strike objects that we have not yet struck.”

Ukraine has been asking its partners to provide long-range weapons so it can defend itself in Donbas, where Russian troops are making slow, but steady advances. The US said it will ship the systems, which can fire missiles as far as 80km as Kyiv promised it won’t strike targets inside Russia

Russian missile ‘flew low over nuclear power plant’

A Russian cruise missile “flew critically low over the South Ukraine nuclear power plant,” Ukrainian state-run nuclear power producer Energoatom said on Telegram. It said the rocket flew overhead in the direction of Kyiv, where explosions were heard on Sunday morning.

Russia targeted railway infrastructure in Kyiv, Serhiy Leshchenko, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s chief of staff said.

Luhansk governor reports more damage

The situation in the Luhansk region, where Russian troops continue to storm the city of Sievierodonetsk, remains “extremely difficult,” Governor Serhiy Haiday said on Telegram. There are damages reported at the Azot chemical factory in Sievierodonetsk, as well as in another large city, Lysychansk, and other areas, he said.

Russian troops now control the eastern part of Sievierodonetsk, Ukrainian authorities said.

North Korea fires eight missiles, testing Biden

North Korea fired eight short-range ballistic missiles on Sunday, pushing it to a record number of launches in a single year under Kim Jong Un. US President Joe Biden and allies might not have much leverage in trying to slow down the tests or ratchet up global sanctions to punish Pyongyang for its provocations. 

The US push to isolate Russia over Putin’s war in Ukraine, coupled with increasing animosity toward China, has allowed Kim to strengthen his nuclear deterrent without fear of facing more sanctions at the UN Security Council. 

US General Milley holds press briefing with Swedish leader

US General Mark Milley reiterated the US’s support for Sweden and Finland for Nato membership during a press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson in Stockholm, AFP reported.

Milley also visited the USS Kearsarge, the largest US warship yet to dock in Stockholm and which houses Osprey transport aircraft, Harrier attack helicopters and more than 1,200 Marines, the report said.

Ukraine and Russia exchange bodies of soldiers

Ukraine and Russia each exchanged the bodies of 160 soldiers, in the first such public move since the start of the war. 

The exchange took place at the contact line in the Zaporizhzhia region on 2 June, according to Ukraine’s Ministry on Issues of Reintegration of Temporary Occupied Territories.

Ukrainian minister slams Macron call not to humiliate Russia

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, criticised comments made by President Emmanuel Macron in an interview with the French regional press in which he said Russia shouldn’t be humiliated in the conflict.

“We mustn’t humiliate Russia, so that when the day comes when fighting stops, we can build a way out through diplomatic means,” Macron told newspapers including Le Parisien in the interview published on Friday. “I’m convinced that France’s role is to be a force of mediation.”

Kuleba responded on Twitter on Saturday, saying: “Calls to avoid humiliation of Russia can only humiliate France and every other country that would call for it. Because it is Russia that humiliates itself. We all better focus on how to put Russia in its place. This will bring peace and save lives.” DM


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