Moscow's forces continue attacks on Ukraine amid the West’s decision to send sophisticated weapons to Kiev and bring in more stringent sanctions including on Russia’s oil, as the conflict enters its 101st day.

Smoke and dirt rise in the city of Severodonetsk during fighting between Ukrainian and Russian troops at the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas on June 2, 2022.
Smoke and dirt rise in the city of Severodonetsk during fighting between Ukrainian and Russian troops at the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas on June 2, 2022. (AFP)

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Ukraine advances for 'total control' of Severodonetsk

Ukrainian forces are trying to "re-establish total control" of Severodonetsk, the mayor of the key eastern city said Saturday.

While Russian troops had had some success and taken a "good part" of the city, Ukrainian forces had redeployed and were doing everything to re-establish total control of the city, Oleksandr Striuk said in a televised interview broadcast on Telegram.

"Our soldiers have managed to redeploy, build a line of defence," he added.

US weapons destroyed in Ukraine by the dozen -Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in comments about a US decision to send new arms to Ukraine, said Russia was easily coping and was already destroying American-supplied weapons by the dozen, state-run news agency RIA reported.

Putin made the remarks in an interview with national television, RIA said. It is due to be shown on Sunday.

Russian artillery hits monastery in Ukraine's east - Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that Russian artillery hit an early 17th century Ukrainian Orthodox monastery in war-torn eastern Ukraine, engulfing a church in flames.

Russia's Defence Ministry denied involvement, accusing Ukrainian troops of setting fire to the All Saints church before pulling back. 

The Svyatohirsk Lavra monastery complex belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and lies near Russian positions in eastern Donetsk, one of two regions that the Kremlin is focused on capturing.

Russian forces pushed back in east in fierce fighting - Ukraine

Ukraine said its forces were managing to push back against Russian troops in fierce fighting in Sievierodonetsk despite Russia "throwing all its power" into capturing the strategic eastern city.

Luhansk regional governor Sergiy Gaiday said in an interview posted on his official social media that the Russian forces had captured most of the city "but now our military has moved them".

Reinforced Russian troops backed by airstrikes pummeled a portion of eastern Ukraine, blowing up bridges and shelling apartment buildings as they fought to capture two cities that would put a contested province under Moscow's control, Ukrainian officials said. 

Ukraine slams Macron's call for Russia not to be humiliated

Kiev has criticised comments by French President Emmanuel Macron, who recently repeated that Moscow should not be humiliated to improve chances of diplomatically resolving the conflict in Ukraine.

"Calls to avoid humiliation of Russia can only humiliate France and every other country that would call for it," Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on social media, urging Russia instead to be "put in its place", to "bring peace and save lives".

Ukraine says no point in talks until Russian troops pushed back 

Ukraine said there was no point in negotiating with Russia until Moscow's forces are pushed back as far as possible towards Ukraine's borders.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak made the comment when asked about an offer from French President Emmanuel Macron to mediate talks between Kiev and Moscow to end the conflict in Ukraine that passed the 100 day mark. 

Russian official hits back at Germany over restrictions on Russian media

Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman has criticised Germany over its "ban of Russian media." 

Commenting on a statement by the German Embassy in Russia denying that there were any restrictions on Russian journalists in Germany, Maria Zakharova said on Telegram that she had received a message from a German citizen who sent her a photo of their television showing on screen that the Russian Rossiya TV channel was "temporarily unavailable."

"The reason of the problem – the ban of Russian media in Europe. This man wanted to watch Rossiya TV channel.

Ukraine announces deaths of four foreign military volunteers

Ukraine has announced the deaths of four foreign military volunteers fighting Russian forces, whose attacks have spurred a wave of solidarity abroad including from experienced combat veterans.

The International Legion of Defence of Ukraine, an official volunteer brigade, announced the men from Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and France had died but did not specify when or under what circumstances.

"We lost our brothers in combat but their bravery, their memory and legacy will forever inspire us," it said in a statement.

Russian governor says Ukraine hits border village, one man injured

The governor of Russia's western Bryansk region has said that one man was slightly injured by shrapnel and two houses were set on fire after Ukraine's forces carried out strikes on a village.

Alexander Bogomaz, the governor, said the man was treated in a local hospital.

Ukraine's officials were not immediately available to comment.

Russia: Ukrainian military plane with weapons shot down

Russia's defence ministry says its forces have shot down a Ukrainian military transport plane carrying weapons and munitions near the Black Sea port of Odessa.

The ministry said Russian missiles also struck an artillery training centre in Ukraine's Sumy region where foreign instructors worked. 

Another strike destroyed a "foreign mercenaries'" outpost in the Odessa region, it said. There was no immediate reaction from Ukraine.

Kiev: Russia blowing up bridges in Sievierodonetsk

Russian forces are blowing up bridges across the Seversky Donets river to prevent Ukraine bringing in military reinforcements and delivering aid to civilians in the town of Sievierodonetsk, the governor of the Luhansk region has said.

In a TV broadcast, Sergiy Gaiday said the Ukrainian military continued to hold its positions inside Sievierodonetsk and was pushing back Russian forces in several locations.

Ukraine says it has recaptured a chunk of the industrial city of Sievierodonetsk in the Luhansk region, the focus of a Russian offensive to take the eastern Donbass region.

Ukraine looks to bolster military position before resuming Russia talks

Ukraine wants to strengthen its positions on the ground with the help of new weapons deliveries from the West before it resumes peace talks with Russia, Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia has said.

"Our armed forces are ready to use (the new weapons)...and then I think we can initiate a new round of talks from a strengthened position," he told Ukraine national television on Friday.

UK: Russian air activity remains high over Donbass

Britain's defence ministry has said Russian air activity remains high over Ukraine's Donbass region with Russian aircraft carrying out strikes using both guided and unguided munitions.

"The increased use of unguided munitions has led to the widespread destruction of built-up areas in the Donbass and has almost certainly caused substantial collateral damage and civilian casualties," the ministry said in a tweet.

It said Russia increased its use of tactical air to support its creeping advance, combining air strikes and massed artillery attacks to bring its firepower to bear as its operational focus has switched to the Donbass.

Another ship sent to take metal to Russia arrives in Mariupol

A ship sent to load metal and ship it to Russia has entered the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, TASS news agency has reported, the second vessel to arrive in the southeastern city since Russia completed its capture last month.

"The ship has arrived and is in the port," TASS cited a port authority representative as saying, adding that it was to be loaded with metal.

Earlier this week, a ship left Mariupol for Russia with a cargo of metal. Ukraine said the shipment from the port, whose capture gave Moscow an overland bridge linking mainland Russia and pro-Russian separatist territory to annexed Crimea, amounted to looting.

Gazprom's gas exports to Europe via Ukraine remain steady

Russian gas producer Gazprom has said its supply of gas to Europe through Ukraine via the Sudzha entry point was seen at 41.9 million cubic metres on Saturday versus 42.1 million cubic metres on Friday.

An application to supply gas via another major entry point, Sokhranovka, was rejected by Ukraine, Gazprom said.

Ukraine claims Russian forces pushed back in Sievierodonetsk

Russian artillery are slamming Ukraine's eastern Donbass region with fierce fighting over the city of Sievierodonetsk, but the local governor says there has been some progress in pushing back Moscow's forces.

Some of the fiercest fighting has been centred on Sievierodonetsk, where Ukrainian troops are resisting a complete takeover. "They (Russians) didn't seize it fully," Luhansk regional governor Sergiy Gaiday said, adding that Moscow's forces have been pushed back "20 percent".

The situation in Lysychansk — Sievierodonetsk's twin city, which sits just across a river — looked increasingly dire. About 60 percent of infrastructure and housing had been destroyed, while internet, mobile networks and gas services had been knocked out, said its mayor Oleksandr Zaika.

As soon as we get a big amount of Western long-range weapons, we will push their artillery back...and then Russian infantry will run

Luhansk regional governor Sergiy Gaiday

Japan's Kishida may join NATO meet to discuss Ukraine crisis

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is leaning towards attending a summit of leaders from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in late June to spur coordination with the West over Russia's offensive against Ukraine.

The move, reported by Kyodo News, would mark an unusually aggressive stance for a Japanese leader although Kishida has repeatedly condemned Russia over what he has described as a "war crime" against Ukraine. 

In the past, Japanese leaders have maintained a careful line on their relations with Russia as the two countries have wrangled over decades-old territorial disputes. A government spokesman said officials would be unable to comment on the Kyodo report before Monday.

Ukraine in communication with captured Azovstal fighters

Ukraine's intelligence services are in communication with the captured Azovstal steelworks fighters and Kiev is doing all it can to ensure their release, Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskiy has said.

Uncertainty has surrounded the fate of hundreds of fighters taken into Russian custody in mid-May after being ordered to stand down. Russia says almost 2,000 Ukrainians had surrendered after making a last stand in the ruins of Mariupol.

"It is through them (intelligence services) that we are learning about the conditions of the detention, nutrition and the possibility of their release," Monastyrskiy said on Ukrainian television. 

Ukraine's Zelenskyy vows victory against Russia

Ukraine's president vowed victory even as Russian troops pounded the east, and the United Nations pushed to get tens of millions of tons of grain out of the country and avert a global food crisis.

The advance of Russian troops has been slowed by a fierce Ukrainian resistance which repelled them from around the capital and forced Moscow to shift its aims towards capturing the east.

"Victory will be ours," President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video speech. "At first it looked threatening. Then dangerous ... And now probably just a bitter smile. Because what's left of it? ... War crimes, shame and hatred," he said.

UN chief calls for 'immediate' end to conflict

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres renewed his call for an immediate halt to violence on the 100th day of the war in Ukraine.

The UN chief also called for urgent protection for civilians, unfettered access to provide them with humanitarian aid and safely evacuate those trapped in areas where fighting is taking place, and respect for human rights.

“The conflict has already taken thousands of lives, caused untold destruction, displaced millions of people, resulted in unacceptable violations of human rights and is inflaming a three-dimensional global crisis – food, energy and finance – that is pummeling the most vulnerable people, countries and economies,” Guterres said in a statement.

For live updates from Friday (June 3), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies