Russia-Ukraine live news: Russian forces are destroying the key city of Severodonetsk “block by block”

Russia-Ukraine live news: Russian forces are destroying the key city of Severodonetsk “block by block”

  1. According to Amnesty International, Russia’s killing of hundreds of civilians in Kharkiv, many of whom were killed with cluster bombs, constitutes war crimes.
  2. According to the governor of Luhansk, Russian forces are destroying the key city of Severodonetsk “square by square” and gaining ground due to a significant advantage in artillery.
  3. According to an arms research institute, the risk of nuclear war is higher today than at any time since the Cold War’s peak.
  4. Local officials say Russian forces blew up a bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River that connects the cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, cutting off a possible evacuation route for civilians.
  5. According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Russian casualties since the start of the war may exceed 40,000 in June.

Here are the latest updates:

1 hour ago (06:43 GMT)

The grain harvest in Ukraine’s southern Odesa region has begun.

Farmers in Ukraine’s southern Odesa region have begun the 2022 grain harvest, taking advantage of favorable weather, according to regional officials.

Ukraine has already finished sowing grain for 2022, but the agriculture ministry has provided no grain crop outlook for 2022.

Due to the Russian invasion, farmers planned to sow 14.2 million hectares (35 million acres) of spring grains this year, down from 16.9 million hectares in 2021.

According to the Odesa regional administration, local farmers have begun threshing winter barley, and producers will harvest a total of 1.06 million hectares of early grain crops, including 244,000 hectares of winter barley. Farmers will also reap 551,000 hectares of winter wheat.

1 hour ago (06:35 GMT)

Miner Ferrexpo cuts production due to Ukraine conflict

Ferrexpo, a London-listed miner with operations in Ukraine, is in advanced talks with additional port operators in central Europe for seaborne exports, it has said, adding that it has lowered output amid the conflict with Russia.

Ferrexpo also said damages to transportation infrastructure had reduced its ability to use its barging operations that serve European customers, according to Reuters.

2 hours ago (06:11 GMT)

Amnesty accuses Russia of war crimes in Ukraine’s Kharkiv

Amnesty International has accused Russia of war crimes in Ukraine, saying attacks on the second largest city Kharkiv, many using banned cluster bombs, had killed hundreds of civilians.

“The repeated bombardments of residential neighbourhoods in Kharkiv are indiscriminate attacks which killed and injured hundreds of civilians, and as such constitute war crimes,” the rights group said on Monday in a report titled “Anyone can die at any time”.

“This is true both for the strikes carried out using cluster [munitions] as well as those conducted using other types of unguided rockets and unguided artillery shells,” it said.

Amnesty said it had uncovered proof in Kharkiv of the repeated use by Russian forces of 9N210 and 9N235 cluster bombs and scatterable landmines, all of which are banned under international conventions.

2 hours ago (05:39 GMT)

River crossings to become key in determining course of war: UK

River crossings will be among the most important determining factors in the course of the war in the coming months, the United Kingdom’s defence ministry says.

The ministry said Russia’s 90km (56 miles) key front line in the Donbas lay to the west of the Siverskyi Donets River, which Russian forces have previously been unable to cross. Ukrainian officials said on Sunday that Russian troops had damaged the bridge over the river which linked Severodonetsk with its twin city of Lysychansk.

“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 ministry said in its latest intelligence briefing.

“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,” it added.

2 hours ago (05:18 GMT)

Three dead, one injured in Lysychansk: Governor

Three people were killed in Lysychansk on Sunday, including a six-year-old boy, and one person was injured, the governor of Luhansk has said.

Russian forces continue to storm the city of Severodonetsk, and have pushed the Ukrainian army back “due to a significant advantage in artillery”, Serhiy Haidai wrote on Telegram. He said Russians were destroying the city “quarter by quarter”.

A spokesman for the general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said Russian forces had pushed Ukraine’s units out of the Severodonetsk city centre.

“Several shells hit the Severodonetsk sewage treatment plant, the area of Azot was shelled three times, where people still remain in bomb shelters,” Haidai said.

3 hours ago (04:51 GMT)

Russian cluster bombs kill one, injure five in Kryvyi Rih

Russian forces dropped cluster bombs on a residential area in the Kryvyi Rih region of Dnipropetrovsk, killing one woman and wounding five people, the head of the Kryvyi Rih military administration has said.

Russians also fired on the Zelenodolsk community which caused a house fire, but no victims, Oleksandr Vilkul wrote on Telegram.

4 hours ago (03:44 GMT)

About 500 civilians hiding at Severodonetsk Azot plant: Governor

The governor of Luhansk has said nearly 500 civilians remain in hiding at the Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk.

“About 500 civilians remain on the territory of the Azot plant … 40 of them are children. Sometimes the military manages to evacuate someone,” Haidai said on Sunday.

5 hours ago (02:47 GMT)

Canada’s FM decries official’s visit to Russian embassy event

It was “unacceptable” for a Canadian official to have attended Russia Day celebrations at the country’s embassy in Ottawa, Canada’s foreign affairs minister has said.

A deputy protocol chief in Canada’s global affairs department, Yasemin Heinbecker, attended Friday’s event, along with representatives of Egypt, Pakistan and some African nations, the Globe and Mail newspaper said in a report.

“No Canadian representative should have attended the event hosted at the Russian embassy and no Canadian representative will attend this kind of event again,” Melanie Joly said in a Twitter post.

Joly also reiterated Canada’s support for Ukraine against Russia’s invasion.

5 hours ago (02:39 GMT)

Russian forces should be seizing bridges rather than destroying them: ISW

Russian forces should, in principle, be seeking to seize bridges rather than destroy them, since Russian troops have struggled to get across the Siverskyi Donetsk River in the past, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has said.

Ukrainian officials recently said that Russia had destroyed the bridge over the river, which links Severodonetsk with Lysychansk, cutting off evacuation routes for civilians. The ISW said this move was likely an attempt to cut Ukrainian ground lines of communication that run from Bakhmut to Lysychansk and Severodonetsk.

“They could hope to trap Ukrainian defenders in Severodonetsk by cutting off their retreat, but it seems unlikely that the benefit of catching a relatively small number of defenders would be worth the cost of imposing a contested river crossing on Russian troops,” the institute said in its latest offensive assessment on June 12.

The ISW said Russian forces likely expected to break out of their positions around Toshkivna or from Popasna, and to encircle Lysychansk or attack it from the west bank of the river, “thereby obviating the need to seize the bridges or conduct an opposed crossing”.

6 hours ago (02:09 GMT)

Ukraine uncovers 50 Russian agents in Lysychansk: Governor

Ukraine has uncovered sabotage activities among 50 people in Lysychansk who were leaking Ukraine’s operational information to Russian forces to help Moscow with its offensive, the governor of Luhansk has said.

Haidai said Ukraine’s security services and police searched through shared network data and found the mobile devices of people who “shared information too vividly with Russian Telegram channels”.

“Traitors. They went to our humanitarian headquarters to use the Internet to leak information to the Russians, and then the cities burned,” Haidai wrote on Facebook.

“It is noteworthy that Russian agents transmitted data through the Starlink satellite network… They cheated on Ukraine. They knew that they were killing and destroying by their actions. Why did you betray your own?” Haidai wrote without saying what the consequences were for such actions.

7 hours ago (00:51 GMT)

Russian mountaineer hoists Ukrainian flag on Mt Everest

A Russian mountain climber and blogger has made a stand against her country’s invasion of Ukraine by unfurling the Ukrainian flag when she reached the top of Mount Everest.

Ekaterina Lipka’s photo on the summit of Everest has gone viral after being shared by Ukraine’s former ambassador to Austria, Olexander Scherba, on Twitter last Sunday.

The climber also posted a photo of herself on the mountain with a sign that said “Free Navalny”, in support of Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption activist and opposition leader in Russia who in March was sentenced to nine years in a penal colony.

7 hours ago (00:37 GMT)

Russian-owned successor of McDonald’s opens in Moscow

Three months after McDonald’s suspended operations in Russia, hundreds of people streamed into its famous former outlet on Moscow’s Pushkin Square as the restaurant reopened Sunday under a Russian owner and a new name.

The logo is different, but still evokes the golden arches: a circle and two yellow oblongs — representing a beef patty and french fries. It was not until a couple of hours before the Pushkin Square restaurant opened that the Russian chain’s new name was announced: Vkusno-i Tochka (Tasty-period).

Fifteen of the former McDonald’s locations were set to reopen in Moscow on Sunday. Oleg Paroev, the chain’s general director, said he aims to have 200 open by the end of the month.

McDonald’s sold its 850 restaurants to businessman Alexander Govor, who held licences for 25 franchises in Siberia.

9 hours ago (22:58 GMT)

Kyiv exhibition showcases remnants of Russia’s war on Ukraine

An exhibition has opened in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv showcasing the paraphernalia of the war under way in the country.

From captured vehicles and collected remnants of missiles, all the way to slippers, toothbrushes and burner phones that the Russian military used and left behind, have been put on display at the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War.

Head of Educational Department Dmytro Hainetdinov said that many of the objects were collected by the museum’s staff while visiting newly liberated areas in order to “highlight some particular facets of the war waged by Russia on Ukraine”.

“The purpose of this exhibition is to raise the awareness of people of this war with the help of authentic artefacts,” Hainetdinov said.

Russian boots are displayed at an exhibition in Kyiv, Ukraine.Russian boots are displayed at an exhibition in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Sunday, June 12, 2022. Objects discarded by the Russian military are part of an exhibition focusing on the devastation of the ongoing war [Natacha Pisarenko/AP]

9 hours ago (22:41 GMT)

Arms research institute says global nuclear arsenals expected to grow

The global stockpile of nuclear weapons could soon rise again for the first time since the Cold War due to global tensions, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has said.

“Russia has even made open threats about possible nuclear weapon use in the context of the war in Ukraine,” SIPRI said in a summary launching its yearbook 2022.

“Although there were some significant gains in both nuclear arms control and nuclear disarmament in the past year, the risk of nuclear weapons being used seems higher now than at any time since the height of the cold war,” SIPRI Director Dan Smith said.

The past year saw a slight reduction in the total number of nuclear warheads to an estimated 12,705 worldwide. About 90 percent of all nuclear weapons are held by the United States and Russia.

9 hours ago (22:16 GMT)

Zelenskyy accuses Russian generals of using soldiers as ‘cannon fodder’

Zelenskyy has said Moscow’s tactics had not changed in the war and that poorly-trained Russian reserves were now being deployed in the battle for Donbas, where “every metre” is being fought over.

“The Russian army is trying to deploy reserve forces in Donbas. But what reserves can they have now?” Zelenskyy asked in his daily address to the nation.

“It seems that they will try to throw into battle poorly trained conscripts and those who were gathered by covert mobilisation,” he said.

“Russian generals see their people simply as the cannon fodder they need to gain an advantage in numbers,” he added.

10 hours ago (21:53 GMT)

Russian war casualties may top 40,000 this month: Ukraine president

Zelenskyy has said that Russian casualties since the start of the war may pass 40,000 in June.

Speaking to the nation on Sunday in his 109th daily address since the start of the Russian invasion, Zelenskyy also reiterated Ukraine’s call for advanced air defence systems from the West.

He said that such defences could have averted many tragedies, including an air attack on Ternopil on Sunday after which 10 people remain in hospital, including a 12-year-old girl.

Zelenskyy said that such incidents were replacing Peter the Great and novelist Leo Tolstoy as how the world now thought of Russia.

11 hours ago (20:40 GMT)

Russia destroys bridge over Ukrainian river, cutting escape route

Russian forces have blown up a bridge linking the embattled Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk to another city across the river, cutting off a possible evacuation route for civilians, local officials have 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.

But the Russians had destroyed a bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River linking Severodonetsk with its twin city of Lysychansk, Luhansk Governor Haidai said.

“If after new shelling the bridge collapses, the city will truly be cut off. There will be no way of leaving Severodonetsk in a vehicle,” Haidai said, noting the lack of a ceasefire agreement and no agreed evacuation corridors.

11 hours ago (20:31 GMT)

Russian flags seen at entrance to Mariupol

A new city sign painted in the colours of the Russian flag was unveiled on the outskirts of Mariupol, replacing a monument which had been in the blue and gold of Ukraine.

Russian flags were also being flown on a highway into the port city, which is now entirely under the control of Moscow-backed forces.

According to Kremlin-installed authorities, the seaport is now ready to operate as usual and was being used to ship goods to and from Russia.

People stand near the name of the city of Mariupol written in Russian and painted in the colours of the Russian national flag during celebration of Russia Day in Mariupol, June 12, 2022People stand near the name of the city of Mariupol written in Russian and painted in the colours of the Russian national flag during celebration of Russia Day in Mariupol, June 12, 2022 [AP Photo]

For the news updates on June 12, please see here.