The gutted remains of cars sit along a road during heavy fighting at the front line in Severodonetsk in the Luhansk region of Ukraine, Wednesday, June 8, 2022.
(AP Photo/Oleksandr Ratushniak)
Russia has destroyed a bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River linking Sievierodonetsk with its twin city of Lysychansk, cutting off a key escape route for those remaining in the besieged city.
Russia continues to symbolically solidify its rule in occupied southern Ukraine, while the EU edges closer to a decision on Ukraine’s candidate status.
Follow the latest developments from Russia’s war in Ukraine in our live blog below.
- Bringing all 27 EU member states on the same page on Ukraine’s EU candidate status may be the biggest challenge yet for Ursula von der Leyen, writes the Financial Times.Russia is solidifying its rule in occupied territories, with Russia Day celebrations and the issuing of Russian passports.The British Ministry of Defence says that over the coming months river crossing operations are likely to be amongst the most important determining factors in the course of the war.Russia has destroyed a bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River linking Sievierodonetsk with its twin city of Lysychansk. This leaves just one of three bridges still standing.Ukraine grain exports via Poland, Romania face bottlenecks.
Russian forces push Ukrainian army from centre of Sievierodonetsk
The content of the article:
- 1 Russian forces push Ukrainian army from centre of Sievierodonetsk
- 2 Agreeing on Ukraine’s candidate status a major hurdle for EU, writes FT
- 3 Russia solidifies rule in occupied territories
- 4 River crossing operations could be key, says British MoD
- 5 Russia destroys bridge over Ukrainian river, cutting escape route
- 6 Wounded 12-year-old now enduring image of Russia, says Zelenskyy
- 7 Ukraine grain exports via Poland, Romania face bottlenecks
Russian troops have pushed the Ukrainian army out from the centre of Sievierodonetsk, the Ukrainian general staff announced on Monday.
“With artillery support, the enemy carried out an assault on Sievierodonetsk, achieving partial success and pushing our units back from the city centre. Hostilities are continuing,” the army said in its published morning update.
Serhiy Gaidai, governor of the Luhansk region, confirmed that Ukrainian forces had been pushed back from the city centre.
“The street fighting continues (…) the Russians continue to destroy the city,” he wrote on Facebook on Monday, posting images of buildings in ruin or still burning.
Russian shelling targeted the Azot chemical plant where civilians are sheltering, and hit sewage treatment plants in the city, he added.
In the nearby town of Lysychansk, three civilians including a six-year-old boy were killed in shelling over the past 24 hours, according to the governor.
Taking Sievierodonetsk would open up Moscow’s route to another major Donbas city, Kramatorsk, an important step in conquering the entire region.
Agreeing on Ukraine’s candidate status a major hurdle for EU, writes FT
Bringing all 27 EU member states on the same page on Ukraine’s EU candidate status may be the biggest challenge yet for Ursula von der Leyen, writes the Financial Times.
While von der Leyen is a strong backer of the proposal, the commission president is acutely aware of the risks of a blowout at next week’s EU summit and of publicly disappointing Ukraine, the British publication reports.
The FT understands “that the recommendation on the table for commissioners to discuss today, before adoption on Friday, is for Ukraine to be granted candidate status, with a list of reforms attached, particularly on the rule of law,” it writes, adding that what is unclear is whether the reforms will be a precondition for granting candidate status or a checklist that needs to be completed before the next step in the accession process can start.
That step would require unanimity among the 27 governments, and would kickstart EU accession talks, a process where the conformity with EU law and values is assessed across 35 different areas, including areas like rule of law and public procurement.
Russia solidifies rule in occupied territories
Kremlin-installed officials in occupied southern Ukraine celebrated Russia Day on Sunday and began issuing Russian passports to residents, as Moscow sought to solidify its rule over captured parts of the country.
In one of the central squares in Kherson, Russian bands played a concert to celebrate Russia Day, the holiday that marks Russia’s emergence as a sovereign state after the collapse of the Soviet Union, according to Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti.
In the neighbouring Zaporizhzhia region, Moscow-installed officials raised a Russian flag in Melitopol’s city centre.
Ukrainian media reported that few, if any, local residents attended the Russia Day festivities in the two cities.
Russia Day was also celebrated in other occupied parts of Ukraine, including the ravaged southern port of Mariupol, where a new city sign painted in the colours of the Russian flag was unveiled on the outskirts and Russian flags were flown on a highway leading into the city.
The Russia-aligned administration in Melitopol, meanwhile, started handing out Russian passports to those who applied for Russian citizenship.
RIA Novosti posted video of a Moscow-backed official congratulating new Russian citizens and telling them: “Russia will not go anywhere. We are here for good.”
River crossing operations could be key, says British MoD
In its latest Defence Intelligence update, the British Ministry of Defence has highlighted the continued battle around Sieverodonetsk and said that over the coming months river crossing operations are likely to be amongst the most important determining factors in the course of the war.
The 90km long central sector of Russia’s frontline in the Donbas lies to the west of the Siverskyy 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,” it said, adding: “Ukrainian forces have often managed to demolish 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.”
Russia destroys bridge over Ukrainian river, cutting escape route
Ukrainian and Russian forces were still fighting street-by-street in Sievierodonetsk on Sunday, the governor of Luhansk province, Serhiy Gaidai, said.
Russian forces have taken most of the city but Ukrainian troops remain in control of an industrial area and the Azot chemical plant where hundreds of civilians are sheltering.
“About 500 civilians remain on the territory of the Azot plant in Sievierodonetsk, 40 of them are children. Sometimes the military manages to evacuate someone,” Gaidai said.
But the Russians had destroyed a bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River linking Sievierodonetsk with its twin city of Lysychansk, Gaidai said.
That left just one of three bridges still standing.
“If after new shelling the bridge collapses, the city will truly be cut off. There will be no way of leaving Sievierodonetsk in a vehicle,” Gaidai said, noting the lack of a cease-fire agreement and no agreed evacuation corridors.
The fall of Sievierodonetsk, the last pocket of Ukrainian land held in the strategic Luhansk region, would move Russia a big step closer to one of the stated goals of what Putin calls a “special military operation.”
Wounded 12-year-old now enduring image of Russia, says Zelenskyy
“The key tactical goal of the occupiers has not changed: they are pressing in Sievierodonetsk, severe fighting is ongoing there – literally for every metre,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address on Sunday, adding that Russia’s military was now trying to deploy reserves in the Donbas.
Zelenskiy said the image of a 12-year-old wounded in a Russian strike was now the enduring worldwide face of Russia.
“These very facts will underscore the way in which Russia is seen by the world,” he said.
“Not Peter the Great, not Lev Tolstoy, but children injured and killed in Russian attacks,” he said, in an apparent reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s remarks last week comparing Moscow’s military campaign to Russian emperor Peter the Great’s 18th century conquest of lands held by Sweden.
(Euronews / Reuters)
Ukraine grain exports via Poland, Romania face bottlenecks
Ukraine has established two routes through Poland and Romania to export grain and avert a global food crisis although bottlenecks have slowed the supply chain, Kyiv’s deputy foreign minister said on Sunday.
Dmytro Senik said global food security was at risk because Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had halted Kyiv’s Black Sea grain exports, causing widespread shortages and soaring prices.
Ukraine is the world’s fourth-largest grain exporter and it says there are some 30 million tonnes of grain stored in Ukrainian-held territory which it is trying to export via road, river and rail.
Ukraine was in talks with Baltic states to add a third corridor for food exports, Senik said.
“Those routes are not perfect because it creates certain bottlenecks, but we are doing our best to develop those routes in the meantime,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of an Asian security summit in Singapore.
The Ukrainian rail system operates on a different gauge from European neighbours such as Poland, so the grain has to be transferred to different trains at the border where there are not many transfer or storage facilities.
Re-routing grain to Romania involves transport by rail to ports on the Danube river and loading cargoes onto barges for sailing towards the port of Constanta, a complex and costly process.