Zelenskky calls Russian invaders ‘absolute evil’ on the 110th day of war; Mass grave excavated near Bucha

U.S. officials say new military aid for Ukraine might come as early as this week

Ukrainian soldiers move U.S.-made missiles on Feb. 13, 2022. The U.S. could announce new military aid for Ukraine as early as this week, a defense official and an administration official said.

Sergei Supinsky | Afp | Getty Images

The United States could announce new military aid for Ukraine as early as this week, a defense official and administration official said.

The additional aid is likely to come from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which can be used for training, equipping, and advising Ukrainian forces. The U.S. has used more than $6 billion for USAI funds in fiscal year 2022.   

Another military aid package, with additional weapons and equipment, could also be announced as early as next week through the Presidential Drawdown Authority, the defense official said.

That would be the 12th drawdown of U.S. arms and equipment for Ukraine’s defense.

Last month, Congress approved an additional $40 billion for aid to Ukraine after President Joe Biden’s request for $33 billion.

— Chelsea Ong

‘We are dealing with absolute evil,’ Zelenskyy says; vows to rebuild Kyiv

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits the positions of Ukrainian troops in Bakhmut city and Lysychansk district, Ukraine, on June 5, 2022.

Ukrainian Presidency/Handout/Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the capital city of Kyiv will “rebuild everything that was destroyed by the occupiers.”

“We are dealing with absolute evil. And we have no choice but to move on,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly address to the nation, delivered on the 110th day of its invasion by Russia.

He added that Ukrainian forces will “knock out the occupiers from all our areas.”

“We will rebuild everything that was destroyed by the occupiers, from Volnovakha to Chortkiv, because this is Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said.

“And it was our destiny to return and strengthen it.”

— Amanda Macias

A look inside the destroyed Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol

Russian servicemen patrol the ruins of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine. 

The Russian military had besieged the strategic port city for three months, only taking complete control in late May after a group of Ukrainian soldiers who holed up in the steel plant surrendered.

A Russian serviceman inspects an underground tunnel under the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine, on June 13, 2022. (Photo by Yuri KADOBNOV / AFP) (Photo by YURI KADOBNOV/AFP via Getty Images)

Yuri Kadobnov | AFP | Getty Images

A Russian serviceman inspects an underground tunnel under the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine, on June 13, 2022. 

Yuri Kadobnov | AFP | Getty Images

A Russian serviceman inspects an underground tunnel under the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine, on June 13, 2022. 

Yuri Kadobnov | AFP | Getty Images

A Russian serviceman inspects an underground tunnel under the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine, on June 13, 2022. (Photo by Yuri KADOBNOV / AFP) (Photo by YURI KADOBNOV/AFP via Getty Images)

Yuri Kadobnov | AFP | Getty Images

A Russian serviceman inspects an underground tunnel under the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine, on June 13, 2022.

Yuri Kadobnov | AFP | Getty Images

-Yuri Kadobnov | AFP | Getty Images

Another mass grave excavated near Bucha

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following contains images of bodies of civilians excavated from a mass grave near Bucha, Ukraine.

A mass grave found in a forest near Bucha, Ukraine, was excavated and found to contain the bodies of seven Ukrainian civilians suspected of being killed by Russian military forces.

The bodies were discovered by a patrol of Territorial Defence Forces, near trenches built by the Russian Amy when it occupied the territory.

Some of the bodies showed signs of having been tied up and shot at.

Authorities are continuing to investigate the site.

– Adam Jeffrey

A policeman speak to media during a mass grave excavation procedure in a forest near Bucha, Ukraine on June 13, 2022. 

Dominika Zarzycka | Nurphoto | Getty Images

An excavation team carries a body of Ukrainian civilian murdered by Russian army in a forest near Bucha, Ukraine – June 13, 2022. 

Dominika Zarzycka | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Policemen work in a forest near Bucha, Ukraine during excavation of bodies of Ukrainian civilians murdered by Russian army – June 13, 2022. 

Dominika Zarzycka | Nurphoto | Getty Images

A policeman places a number of a Ukrainian murdered by Russian army excavated in a forest near Bucha, Ukraine – June 13, 2022.

Dominika Zarzycka | Nurphoto | Getty Images

-Dominika Zarzycka | NurPhoto | Getty Image

Amnesty International says Russian forces used prohibited ‘cluster munitions’ in Kharkiv

An aerial view of completely destroyed settlements after shellings as Russia – Ukraine war continues, in northern Saltivka-3 neighbourhood, about 40 km from the Russian border in Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine on June 12, 2022. 

Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The human rights organization Amnesty International said in a new report that Russian forces purposefully fired on the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv with prohibited cluster munitions and “inherently inaccurate rockets.”

“The repeated use of widely banned cluster munitions is shocking, and a further indication of utter disregard for civilian lives,” wrote Donatella Rovera of Amnesty International in the report, titled, “Anyone can die at any time’: Indiscriminate attacks by Russian forces in Kharkiv.”

“The Russian forces responsible for these horrific attacks must be held accountable for their actions, and victims and their families must receive full reparations,” Rovera added in the 43-page report.

Amnesty said that “indiscriminate attacks resulting in death or injury to civilians, or damage to civilian objects, constitutes war crimes.”

— Amanda Macias

No playbook, little agreement on how Biden would respond to Russia using nukes in Ukraine

US President Joe Biden listens during a bilateral meeting with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (out of frame) at the 9th Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California, June 9, 2022.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

There is no playbook and little agreement on what President Joe Biden would do if Russia attacked a Ukrainian city with nuclear weapons, a half dozen current and ex-government officials, and several experts told NBC News.

While American intelligence officials report no signs that Russia is poised to use battlefield nuclear weapons in Ukraine, the Biden administration for months has been wargaming scenarios in which Russia did so.

One U.S. official briefed on government deliberations said the American response likely “would depend wildly on how the Russians used” such a weapon.

Some military and intelligence officials said they considered it unlikely that the U.S. would retaliate against Russia with military actions if there was only a single use of tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Others said Biden would need to use conventional force in response.

Two U.S. officials briefed on the issue said, “Unless they use them on NATO we’re probably not going to respond militarily.” Ukraine is not a NATO member nation.

– NBC News

Germany slips behind China as top importer of Russian energy

China has overtaken Germany as the biggest buyer of Russian energy exports since the start of the war in Ukraine, an independent research group said.

The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air said Russia received about 93 billion euros ($97 billion) in revenue for the sale of oil, natural gas and coal since Feb. 24, when it invaded Ukraine.

About 61% of the fossil fuels worth some 57 billion euros was exported to the European Union during the conflict’s first 100 days, the Helsinki-based group said.

That included 12.1 billion euros worth of exports to Germany, 7.8 billion euros each to Italy and the Netherlands, and 4.4 billion euros to Poland, the group said.

Germany, which was the biggest importer of Russian fossil fuels during the first two months of the war, slipped to second place behind China, which has purchased some 12.6 billion euros worth of energy from Moscow.

— Associated Press

UN says at least 4,395 killed in Ukraine since start of war

People stand amid newly-made graves at a cemetery in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in the settlement of Staryi Krym outside Mariupol, Ukraine May 22, 2022. 

Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

The United Nations has confirmed 4,395 civilian deaths and 5,390 injuries in Ukraine since Russia invaded its ex-Soviet neighbor on Feb. 24.

The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said the death toll in Ukraine is likely higher, because the armed conflict can delay fatality reports.

The international organization said 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, as well as missiles and airstrikes.

— Amanda Macias

Russia claims it has destroyed U.S., European weapons stores in Ukraine

Russia’s Defense Ministry has claimed that it has destroyed a large amount of weapons in Ukraine that were provided by the West.

In an update on Telegram, the ministry said high-precision air-based missiles had struck near the Udachne railway station in the “Donetsk People’s Republic,” one of two self-proclaimed pro-Russian enclaves in the region.

The missiles had, Russia said, “destroyed a large number of weapons and military equipment delivered to a group of Ukrainian nationalists, including from the USA and European countries.”

Russia frequently refers to Ukrainian fighters as “nationalists” and other disparaging terms.

CNBC was unable to immediately verify the information in the update, although Russia has previously targeted deliveries and stores of weapons sent to Ukraine by its Western allies.

Holly Ellyatt

‘Tasty and that’s it’: McDonald’s reopens in Russia under new brand

A queue to enter the new fast-food restaurant that came as a substitute for McDonald’s, on the Pushkinskaya Square in Moscow.

Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

McDonald’s restaurants in Russia have reopened under a new brand name after the American fast food giant closed its doors to customers because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

There were long queues in Moscow as 15 branches of the fast food chain — now rebranded as “Vkusno & tochka,” which means “Tasty and that’s it” — were reopened in and around Moscow on Sunday.

A woman takes a selfie outside the new fast-food restaurant on the Pushkinskaya Square in Moscow.

Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

People visit former U.S. fast-food chain McDonald’s during its reopening under a new name Vkusno & tochka, which translates as “Tasty and that’s it.”

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The chain is now owned by businessman Alexander Govor, who agreed to buy all 847 Russian McDonald’s outlets after the chain joined other international companies in boycotting Russia following its invasion.

Businessman Alexander Govor, who agreed to buy all 847 Russian McDonald’s outlets, had served as a McDonald’s licensee in Russia prior to the purchase.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Govor had served as a McDonald’s licensee in Russia prior to the purchase, and had operated 25 restaurants in Siberia. The sale and purchase agreement provided for employees to be retained for at least two years, on equivalent terms. 

Holly Ellyatt

We need to make sure Ukraine ‘cannot be attacked again,’ says German minister of state

Tobias Lindner, minister of state at the Federal Foreign Office, said Russia is destroying civilian infrastructure, but has not been “progressing that much.”

Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

There has been a “fundamental shift” in Germany’s defense policy, and the country is committed to strengthening its own capabilities while delivering weapons and military systems to Ukraine, said Tobias Lindner, minister of state at the Federal Foreign Office.

Germany has said it will send a ground-based air defense system to Ukraine, and Lindner told CNBC’s Martin Soong that it’s in part because the war is expected to drag on for a long time.

“The second reason is, we need to make sure that after the war, Ukraine cannot be attacked again,” he said.

“We have to make sure that eight years in the future, there is no incentive for [Russian President Vladimir Putin] to do it another time,” he added.

Regarding the current war in Ukraine, Lindner said it’s too early to judge whether the situation has turned in Russia’s favor.

He said Russian forces are destroying civilian infrastructure, but are “not progressing that much.”

Besides short-term deliveries of ammunition, other deliveries may be needed in a few months, he said.

“We need to prepare for a war that might not end in a few weeks,” said Lindner.

— Abigail Ng

Ukraine needs ‘heavy weapons parity’ to end the war, official says

Mykhailo Podolyak, advisor to President Zelenskyy, has said that Ukraine needs more heavy weapons to help it fight Russia and to “end the war.”

Holly Ellyatt

Russian forces now control majority of Severodonetsk, governor says

Russian forces control a majority of the embattled city of Severodonetsk, according to the latest update from Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the eastern Luhansk province where the city is located.

“The fights are so heavy that the fight can last for a day, not even for the street, but for just one storey [of a building],” Haidai said this morning on Facebook.

A damaged building is pictured in Lysychansk as black smoke and dirt rise from the nearby city of Severodonetsk during battle between Russian and Ukrainian troops in the eastern Ukraine region of Donbas on June 9, 2022.

Aris Messinis | Afp | Getty Images

He said Russians now control 70% of Severodonetsk and that the “mass evacuation and transport of human goods due to shelling is impossible.”

He said about 500 residents, among them around 40 children, are still sheltering in the Azot chemical plant, in an industrial zone that is being heavily shelled by Russia. The sheltering of civilians in an industrial area is reminiscent of the hundreds of people who hid in the Azovstal steelworks complex in Mariupol for months before Russia took control of the works after a long and bloody siege.

Holly Ellyatt

Sweden hopes for a ‘quick way forward’ to NATO membership, official says

Despite objections from Turkey, Sweden is hoping for a quick resolution so it can become a NATO member, said Jan-Olof Lind, state secretary to Sweden’s minister for defense.

“We hope for a quick way forward so we could start up our accession” into NATO, he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.”

Sweden and Finland announced that they intended to apply for membership to the alliance in May.

“We are firm on the position that we will continue our application process with NATO together with Finland,” said Lind. “So outstanding issues have to be solved in one way or the other. That’s what we are looking forward to.”

— Abigail Ng

Russia has used widely banned cluster munitions, Amnesty International says

An unexploded tail section of a rocket — which appears to contain cluster bombs — launched from a BM-30 Smerch multiple rocket launcher, in Lysychansk on April 11, 2022.

Anatolii Stepanov | Afp | Getty Images

Hundreds of civilians have been killed in Kharkiv by indiscriminate Russian shelling using widely banned cluster munitions and inherently inaccurate rockets, Amnesty International said Monday. 

Amnesty said that it had found evidence of Russian forces repeatedly using 9N210/9N235 cluster munitions as well as “scatterable mines,” both of which are subject to international treaty bans because of their indiscriminate effects. 

The new report from the international human rights organization documents how Russian forces have caused widespread death and destruction by bombarding residential neighborhoods of Kharkiv since their invasion began in late February. 

It cites one attack on the afternoon of April 15 in which Russian forces fired cluster munitions in and around Myru Street, in the Industrialni neighborhood. “At least nine civilians were killed and more than 35 injured, including several children. Doctors at Kharkiv’s City Clinical Hospital 25 showed Amnesty International metal fragments they had removed from patients’ bodies, including the distinctive pieces of steel rods contained in 9N210/9N235 cluster munitions,” Amnesty said.

Amnesty notes that while Russia is not a party to either the Convention on Cluster Munitions or the Convention on Anti-Personnel Mines, international humanitarian law prohibits indiscriminate attacks, and the use of weapons that are indiscriminate by nature. 

“Launching indiscriminate attacks resulting in death or injury to civilians, or damage to civilian objects, constitutes war crimes,” Amnesty said. Russia has denied targeting civilians or civilian infrastructure, despite widespread evidence that it has done so.

Holly Ellyatt

River crossings pose a huge problem for Russia, UK says

This photograph taken on April 29, 2022 shows a destroyed railway bridge, over the Siverskyi Donets river, in Raygorodok, eastern Ukraine, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Yasuyoshi Chiba | AFP | Getty Images

Russia needs to conduct difficult river crossings to achieve success in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine — and that’s unlikely to be easy, the U.K.’s ministry of defense said in its latest intelligence update on Monday.

Noting that the battle around Severodonetsk “continued to rage” over the weekend, the U.K. said on Twitter that “over the coming months, river crossing operations are likely to be among the most important determining factors in the course of the war.”

The key, 90 kilometer-long central section of Russia’s frontline in the Donbas lies to the west of the Siverskyi Donets river. To achieve success in the current operational phase of its Donbas offensive, “Russia is either going to have to complete ambitious flanking actions, or conduct assault river crossings,” the U.K. said.

Ukrainian forces have a strategy of demolishing bridges before they withdraw, while Russia has struggled to put in place the complex coordination necessary to conduct successful, large scale river crossings under fire, the U.K. noted.

Holly Ellyatt

Russians assault Severodonetsk in a battle ‘for every meter,’ Zelenskyy says

A damaged building is pictured in Lysychansk as black smoke and dirt rise from the nearby city of Severodonetsk during battle between Russian and Ukrainian troops in the eastern Ukraine region of Donbas on June 9, 2022.

Aris Messinis | Afp | Getty Images

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that fighting is severe in Severodonetsk, a city in the Luhansk province that has become the epicenter of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

“The occupiers key tactical goal has not changed. They are pressing in Severodonetsk, severe fighting is going on there — literally every meter,” he said, adding that Russian forces are also pressing towards other cities including Lysychansk, Bakhmut and Sloviansk.

In his regular address to the nation, Zelenskyy added that the Russian army was trying to deploy reserve forces into the Donbas, the eastern Ukrainian region that Russia aims to seize and fully occupy. Russia characterizes its invasion as seeking to “liberate” the Donbas and two self-proclaimed pro-Russian “republics” there.

Zelenskyy said Russia would likely “try to throw into the battle poorly trained conscripts and those who were recruited by covert mobilization,” saying such troops were just “cannon fodder” for Russian generals.

Russian troops have been trying to encircle and seize Severodonetsk for some time. Losing the city would be a key blow for Ukraine as it is the last city in the Luhansk province still held by its forces.

The governor of Luhansk said Sunday that Russian forces had blown up bridges linking Severodonetsk with Lysychansk across the river, with the remaining bridge at critical risk of collapsing, cutting off a possible evacuation route for civilians.

Holly Ellyatt

Russian forces trying to push Ukrainian troops back from Kharkiv

A Ukrainian artilleryman loads a BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launcher near Izyum, south of Kharkiv, on June 11, 2022 amid Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Anatolii Stepanov | Afp | Getty Images

Russian forces are continuing their efforts to push Ukrainian troops back from contested frontlines northeast of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.

In the latest military update from Ukraine’s armed forces, spokesman for the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Oleksandr Shtupun said that Russian units continue to focus their efforts “on conducting positional defense” and preventing Ukrainian troops from advancing towards the border with Russia.

Ukraine’s forces said last month that they had pushed Russian soldiers back from the city of Kharkiv as far as the border, but Russia regrouped and renewed its assaults on the city and surrounding region several weeks ago.

Analysts at the Washington-based think tank, the Institute for the Study of War, issued an update on Sunday in which they also noted that Russian forces were likely continuing “to push Ukrainian forces back from contested frontlines in northeastern Kharkiv Oblast [province], and shelled Ukrainian positions in and around Kharkiv City.”

The direction of Russia’s attack on the Kharkiv area “indicates that Russian forces are continually trying to push Ukrainian forces southwest of the current line of contact to prevent further advances toward the Russian border,” it added.

Holly Ellyatt

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