War in Ukraine: Latest developments June 16th

Jun. 16, 2022

"It's here, among other places, that the Ukrainians stopped the Russian army descending onto Kyiv," the French leader said. "It represents the heroism of the army, but also of the Ukrainian population. And alongside that, you have traces of barbarism."

War in Ukraine: Latest developments - 05:48 AM EST

Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

- Macron, Scholz, Draghi in Kyiv -

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi visit Kyiv for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine. Macron says their visit to Kyiv and its battle-damaged suburb of Irpin aims to send "a message of European unity" with Ukraine, which is seeking EU membership. Scholz says they want to ensure the country gets military, financial and humanitarian aid "for as long as necessary". Macron has been criticised for stressing the need not to "humiliate" Russia. He, Scholz and Draghi have worked to maintain contact with President Vladimir Putin.

French President Emmanuel Macron praised Ukrainian "heroism" in the face of Russia's invasion on a visit Thursday to the Kyiv suburb of Irpin, the closest Moscow's army got to the capital at the start of its invasion.
"It's here, among other places, that the Ukrainians stopped the Russian army descending onto Kyiv," the French leader said. "It represents the heroism of the army, but also of the Ukrainian population. And alongside that, you have traces of barbarism."

- 10,000 civilians trapped in eastern city -

The governor of the eastern Lugansk region, Sergiy Gaiday, says around 10,000 civilians, out of a pre-war population of 100,000, remain trapped in the city of Severodonetsk, where intense fighting has raged for weeks. The city is the biggest in the Lugansk region that has not fallen to Russian forces. The three bridges into the city have been destroyed, cutting off key escape routes. Moscow says Ukraine on Wednesday blocked the evacuation of civilians from a chemical plant where Ukrainian forces are holding out. "Kyiv authorities cynically scuppered the humanitarian operation", the Russian defence ministry said.

- $1 bn more in US weapons -

US President Joe Biden announces a new $1 billion worth of arms and ammunition for Ukraine. The package includes more artillery, coastal anti-ship defence systems and ammunition for artillery and advanced rocket systems that Ukraine is already using. Kyiv says it is outgunned in the fight for its industrial heartland of Donbas and appealed to Western allies for greater military aid.

- Xi assures Russia of Chinese support -

Chinese President Xi Jinping assures Putin of Beijing's support on "sovereignty and security" during a call, according to state media. China is "willing to continue to offer mutual support (to Russia) on issues concerning core interests and major concerns such as sovereignty and security," Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reports Xi as saying. China has refused to condemn Moscow's invasion of Ukraine and has been accused of providing diplomatic cover for Russia by blasting Western sanctions and arms sales to Kyiv.

- Japanese airline ditches Z logo -

Japan's Zipair budget airline ditches its Z logo for fear of it being read as a sign of support for Russia's war in Ukraine. The letter Z has become a symbol of support for Russia's invasion after being spotted on Russian tanks and military uniforms in Ukraine. It has since appeared on cars, clothing and on billboards across Russia, as well as on social media.

- UK rocket launcher delivery soon -

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace says Britain will soon deliver multiple-launch rocket systems to Ukraine in response to its request for more heavy weapons. The US too has promised to send multiple-launch rocket systems and medium-range ammunition.

- Ikea reduces Russian activities -

Swedish furniture giant Ikea says it will "scale down" its activities in Russia and Belarus, after putting them on hold following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. "Businesses and supply chains across the world have been heavily impacted and we do not see that it is possible to resume operations any time soon," Ingka Group, which manages the majority of Ikea's stores, says in a statement.

Kremlin says Western arms 'useless' as Macron, Draghi, Scholz visit Kyiv - AFP 06:15 AM EST

The Kremlin warns the French, German and Italian leaders that sending Ukraine more weapons is "absolutely useless and will cause further damage to the country". Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says he hopes the three leaders will encourage Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to "really look at the state of affairs."

UK sanctions Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill: govt 06:37 AM EST

UPDATED AT 06/16/2022 - 11:47 AM EST

Russian spy stopped at war crimes court

The Dutch intelligence service AIVD says it stopped a Russian spy posing as an intern from accessing the International Criminal Court, which is investigating war crimes in Ukraine. The Dutch say the man, whom they named as Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov, used a Brazilian cover identity but was unmasked as a member of Russia's GRU military intelligence.

The incident took place in April. The man was sent back to Brazil.

'Our product, our rules', Russia says on gas

The head of Russian energy giant Gazprom says that Moscow will play by its own rules after slashing gas deliveries to Germany. "Our product, our rules," Alexei Miller tells the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum. Poland, Bulgaria, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands have all had their natural gas deliveries suspended since the war began for refusing to pay in rubles. This week Gazprom cut its deliveries to Germany through the Nord Stream pipeline in what Berlin has slammed as a "political" move but Gazprom blamed on repairs being carried out by Germany's Siemens. Italian energy giant Eni and Austria's OMV says their supplies have also been cut.

European leaders back Ukraine's EU bid

The leaders of France, Germany and Italy back "immediate" EU candidate status for Ukraine on their first visit to Kyiv since the invasion during which they vow to help defeat Russia and rebuild Ukraine's shattered cities. French President Emmanuel Macron says Ukraine must "resist and win" the war and announces that France will donate six additional long-range artillery systems. Macron has been criticised in Ukraine and among some of its allies for saying that Russia should not be "humiliated" if defeated. On a visit to the war-scarred Kyiv suburb of Irpin with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis he praises the "heroism" of Ukrainians.


© Agence France-Presse

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