A Ukrainian serviceman patrols a village near the frontline in the Donetsk Oblast region in eastern Ukraine, Thursday, June 2, 2022. (AP
Street fights in Severodonetsk
Ukrainian forces pledge to fight “to the bitter end” in Severodonetsk, but with Russian forces controlling most of the key eastern city, their prospects for success look dim.
“Street fighting continues,” Lugansk regional governor Sergiy Gaiday said on Telegram, estimating that 80% of the city is in Russian hands.
Lugansk is one of the two regions, along with Donetsk, which constitute the industrial heart of Ukraine, the Donbass, which Russia has pledged to “liberate”.
Once in control of Severodonetsk, Russian forces will likely attempt to cross the Donets River which runs through it to target nearby Donetsk, according to a British Ministry of Defense intelligence memo.
Russia controls 20% of Ukraine according to Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said Russia controls about a fifth of his country, from ground gained since the Feb. 24 invasion to the annexed Crimean peninsula and territory held by Moscow-backed separatists since 2014.
“Today about 20% of our territory is under the control of the occupiers,” the Ukrainian leader told EU lawmakers.
Zelensky says that in 2014 separatists and the Russian military took control of 43,000 square kilometers (16,600 square miles) of territory, but says this has increased to nearly 125,000 square kilometers – an area “much larger” than the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg combined.
“The EU oil embargo will hit Europeans”
Russia is warning that European consumers will be the first to suffer after Brussels introduced a partial embargo on Russian oil over Ukraine.
“Because of these decisions, European consumers will suffer above all,” said Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, adding that there could be a “big deficit” of petroleum products in the European Union.
On Monday, the EU agreed to a sixth sanctions package against Moscow that will see the majority of Russian oil stopped, but exempt pipeline supplies in a concession to Hungary.
AU chief to meet Putin on food
African Union chief Senegalese President Macky Sall will meet President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, a Black Sea resort, on Friday to discuss conflict-induced food shortages, which are exacerbating hunger in parts of Senegal. Africa.
Ukraine and Russia are Africa’s main suppliers of wheat and other grains, while Russia, which is subject to Western sanctions limiting exports, is a key fertilizer producer.
Sall’s office said the visit, proposed by Putin, is aimed at “freeing up grain and fertilizer stocks”.
Danes vote to join EU defense policy
Danes are voting overwhelmingly in a referendum to join the EU’s common defense policy 30 years after the NATO member pulled out.
Nearly 67% of people in the traditionally Eurosceptic country support the move, which follows historic NATO membership applications from neighboring Finland and Sweden.
Sweden increases aid
Sweden announces additional aid of 1 billion crowns ($102 million, 95 million euros) to Ukraine, including both financial aid and military equipment, including anti-ship missiles and launchers anti-tank.
In late February, after the invasion began, Sweden broke its longstanding doctrine of not sending arms to countries in active conflict.
Last month, Sweden, along with neighboring Finland, reversed decades of military non-alignment in May by submitting historic joint bids to join NATO.
Hundreds of “mercenaries” killed
Moscow claims to have successfully stemmed the arrival of foreign “mercenaries” in Ukraine over the past month and killed “hundreds of them”.
“Hundreds of foreign mercenaries in Ukraine were destroyed by Russian long-range precision weapons shortly after arriving” for training, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
Putin’s money man blacklisted
The United States is placing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fund manager and a Monegasque supplier of luxury yachts to the Moscow elite on its sanctions blacklist.
Washington hit Sergei Roldugin, labeled “Putin’s go-between”, opera singer’s wife Elena Mirtova and Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova with sanctions, as well as several large yachts in which Putin would have an interest, according to the US Treasury.
Russia ready to settle debt disputes
Russia says it is ready to directly settle any disputes with its creditors after it missed paying its foreign debt due to Western sanctions against Ukraine.
Punitive Western sanctions against Russia have largely cut the country off from the international financial system, making it difficult for Moscow to service its debt.