Russia Ukraine news today: Putin’s army destroyed Nato weapons warehouse, Kremlin says

Ukrainian soldiers describe what life is like in the trenches

Russia has said its missiles destroyed an ammunition warehouse for weapons donated by Nato alliance countries in Ukraine‘s western Lviv region.

The defence ministry said some of the ammunition was to be used for U.S.-produced M777 howitzers, a type of artillery weapon.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin’s top defence official has asked Ukrainian fighters trapped in a chemical plant in Sievierodonetsk to “stop their senseless resistance and lay down arms” as Russia tries to secure the key city.

Moscow says it will allow civilians to leave via a humanitarian corridor, Mikhail Mizintsev, head of Russia’s National Defence Management Centre, told the Interfax news agency – as the final stages of the battle for Sievierodonetsk appeared to follow a similar path to the fighting in the port city Mariupol last month.

It comes as a Pentagon official said Mr Putin still likely has designs to capture all of Ukraine for Russia, though he has had to narrow his objectives in the current war.

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France’s Macron: Ukraine President will have to negotiate with Russia at some point

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that Ukraine would have to hold talks with Russia at some point, in order to try and bring an end to the war between the two countries.

“The Ukrainian President and his officials will have to negotiate with Russia,” said Macron, while on a visit to Romania and Moldova.

Macron arrived in Romania on Tuesday for a three-day trip to NATO’s southern flank including Moldova before possibly heading to Kyiv on Thursday on a visit with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, two diplomatic sources said.

Macron has been criticised by Ukraine and eastern European allies for what they perceived as his ambiguous backing for Ukraine in the war against Russia.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain15 June 2022 09:50

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Russia says it has destroyed warehouse for Nato weapons in Ukraine

Russia has said its missiles destroyed an ammunition warehouse for weapons donated by NATO alliance countries in Ukraine‘s western Lviv region.

The defence ministry said some of the ammunition was to be used for U.S.-produced M777 howitzers, a type of artillery weapon.

Reuters was not able to independently verify the report.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain15 June 2022 09:34

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Macron toughens tone on Russia before possible Ukraine visit

President Emmanuel Macron voiced a tougher line on Russia on Wednesday after visiting French and allied troops at a NATO base in Romania, seeking to assuage concerns in Ukraine and among some European allies over his previous stance towards Moscow.

Macron arrived in Romania on Tuesday for a three-day trip to NATO’s southern flank including Moldova before possibly heading to Kyiv on Thursday on a visit with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, two diplomatic sources said.

“We will do everything to stop Russia‘s war forces, to help the Ukrainians and their army and continue to negotiate,” he told French and NATO troops at a military base in Romania.

“But for the foreseeable future, we will need to protect, dissuade and be present,” he said.

Macron has in recent weeks repeatedly said it was vital not to “humiliate” Russia so a diplomatic solution could be found when fighting ended and he has continued to keep communication channels open with the Kremlin open, riling more hawkish allies.

France leads a NATO battle group in Romania of about 800 troops, including 500 French troops alongside others from the Netherlands and Belgium. Paris has also deployed a surface-to air missile system.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain15 June 2022 09:16

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Vladimir Putin’s military assault continues in face of near-unanimous international condemnation

Russia’s long-feared invasion of Ukraine continues to rage following Vladimir Putin’s announcement of his “special military operation” against the country in the early hours of 24 February, the Russian leader declaring, groundlessly, a need to “demilitarise and de-Nazify” the neighbouring state after eight years of fighting in the Donbas.

As Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky leads by example from the streets of Kyiv, tirelessly rallying the international community for support, his people mount an impressive resistence, holding back Russia’s armed forces as best they can, writes Thomas Kingsley and Joe Sommerlad.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain15 June 2022 08:55

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‘Scorched earth’: Russian forces push back Ukrainians in battle for key city

Russia has blown up the last bridge to Sievierodonetsk, cutting off the embattled east Ukrainian city which is now largely occupied by the Kremlin’s troops.

Serhiy Haidai, the governor of Ukraine’s Luhansk region, and Oleksandr Stryuk, the city’s mayor, confirmed the developments on Tuesday, saying Ukrainian soldiers were now fighting from its industrial outskirts.

The invading forces had pushed the Ukrainian army back through its “scorched earth method and heavy artillery”, Mr Haidai said.

My colleague Rory Sullivan has more:

Maryam Zakir-Hussain15 June 2022 08:40

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Battle for Donbas

Momentum in Sievierodonetsk has shifted several times over the past few weeks – with Russia concentrating its overwhelming artillery firepower on urban districts to obliterate resistance, then sending in ground troops vulnerable to counter-attacks.

Elsewhere in the Donbas, Ukraine says Russia plans to assault Sloviansk from the north and along a front near Bakhmut to the south.

In Donetsk province, critical infrastructure including homes, schools, hospitals and markets have been attacked over the past week, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York.

“This has made life nearly unbearable for people who are also facing severe water shortages, and at times are unable to leave their homes for days on end due to the fighting,” Mr Dujarric said.

To the south, Ukraine‘s military said it had conducted three air strikes against troop concentrations, fuel depots and military equipment in the Kherson region.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain15 June 2022 08:25

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Ukrainian military strikes Russian military equipment in Kherson Oblast

Ukraine’s Operational Command “South” has reported that the Ukrainian military struck Russian military equipment in Kherson Oblast, including three howitzers, 19 armored vehicles and 33 other vehicles.

See more from The Kyiv Independent:

Maryam Zakir-Hussain15 June 2022 08:08

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Australia wants ‘broad, deep’ security ties with Japan as result of Ukraine conflict

Australia wants “broad and deep” cooperation with Japan as the two U.S. allies face complex security circumstances in Asia as a result of Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine, rising inflation and COVID-19 disruption, its defence minister said on Wednesday.

“It is clear that our region faces the most complex set of strategic circumstances we have known since the end of the Second World War,” the minister, Richard Marles, told a media conference with his Japanese counterpart, Nobuo Kishi, after talks in Tokyo.

The allies have been increasing defence cooperation as a counterbalance to China’s growing military power and influence in Asia.

Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine is spurring a deepening of those ties as concern that what Russia calls its “special operation” could encourage China to use force against self-ruled Taiwan.

Marles said Australia and Japan would use a reciprocal access agreement signed in January to engage in deeper and more sophisticated cooperation that would strengthen their militaries’ interoperability.

The access pact provides a legal bases for Australian and Japanese forces visiting each other’s countries and establishes a framework for cooperation.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain15 June 2022 07:48

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Nato defence ministers due to discuss Ukraine military aid

Ukrainian officials have renewed pleas for the United States and its allies to send more and better artillery as well as tanks, drones and other heavy weapons.

Western countries have promised Nato-standard weapons – including advanced U.S. rockets. But deploying them is taking time, and Ukraine will require consistent Western support to transition to new supplies and weapons systems as stocks dwindle of their Soviet-era weapons and munitions.

The meeting on Wednesday on the sidelines of a Nato defence ministerial is being led by U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. It is the third time the group of nearly 50 countries are meeting to discuss and coordinate assistance to Ukraine.

Washington has committed about $4.6 billion in security assistance since Russia‘s Feb. 24 invasion, including longer-range rocket systems, drones and advanced artillery.

But Zelenskiy said Ukraine does not have enough anti-missile systems to protect its cities, adding that “there can be no justification in delays in providing them.”

While Western sanctions have hit Russia‘s economy hard, resulting global shortages of oil and grain have sent energy and commodity prices soaring. And a speech that Putin is set to deliver on Friday at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum will be closely watched.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain15 June 2022 07:37

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Ministry of Defence update

Elements of Ukraine‘s Armed Forces and several hundred civilians are sheltering in underground bunkers in Azot Chemical Plant in the embattled city of Sievierodonetsk, Britain’s defence ministry has said.

Russian forces now control the majority of the Ukrainian city, Britain’s Ministry of Defence said in a Twitter update.

Russia told Ukrainian forces who were holed up in the chemical plant to lay down their arms by early Wednesday, pressing its advantage in the battle for control of eastern Ukraine.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain15 June 2022 07:23

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