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Russia-Ukraine war: Finland ready to fight if attacked, says general; drone causes explosion at Russian oil refinery – live


Finland ‘ready to fight Russia if attacked’

Finland’s armed forces chief, Gen Timo Kivinen, said his country was prepared for a Russian attack and would put up stiff resistance in the event that one should occur.

Finns are motivated to fight and the country has built up a substantial arsenal, Kivinen said in an interview. He said:

The most important line of defence is between one’s ears, as the war in Ukraine proves at the moment.

Finland has maintained a high level of military preparedness since the second world war, having fought two wars in the 1940s against its eastern neighbour, with which it shares a 810-mile border.

Kivinen said:

We have systematically developed our military defence precisely for this type of warfare that is being waged there [in Ukraine], with a massive use of firepower, armoured forces and also airforces.

He added:

Ukraine has been a tough bite to chew [for Russia] and so would be Finland.

The mayor of Enerhodar, a city in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, has said that locals, including workers at the nuclear power plant operator Energoatom, are being abducted by Russian occupiers.

“Whereabouts of some unknown. The rest are in very difficult conditions: they are being tortured with electric shock, bullied physically and morally,” said mayor Dmytro Orlov.

Locals, incl Enerhoatom workers, are being abducted en masse by Russian occupiers in Enerhodar, mayor says

“Whereabouts of some unknown. The rest are in very difficult conditions: they are being tortured with electric shock, bullied physically &morally” https://t.co/ZfJy5Nuer6 pic.twitter.com/cxaA9yZeY8

— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) June 22, 2022

Orlov added that the “exchange of civilian prisoners abducted by the occupiers was urgently needed at the highest level”.

Summary

It is 9pm in Kyiv. Here’s where we stand:

  • Russian forces are edging closer to seizing the last pocket of resistance in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region. Sievierodonetsk and its neighbouring city, Lysychansk, continue to be battered by intense Russian shelling. Luhansk’s governor, Serhiy Haidai, said on Wednesday that Russian forces were moving towards Lysychansk, targeting the buildings of police, state security and prosecutors.
  • A television tower in the Ukrainian separatist-held city of Donetsk has been badly damaged by shelling and broadcasting has been interrupted, the local Donetsk news agency reported. The Petrovskiy television centre is still standing, but part of its equipment has been damaged, while some equipment has been moved out, the agency said.
  • Ukraine has played down the chances of reaching an agreement with Russia that could allow blocked grain shipments to start sailing across the Black Sea. Consultations are ongoing, Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Oleg Nikolenko, said. Russia’s defence ministry said Moscow and Ankara had agreed to continue discussions on safe vessel departures and grain exports from Ukrainian ports.
  • Europe needs to prepare immediately for Russia to turn off all gas exports to the region this winter, according to the head of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol. He called on governments to work on reducing demand and keeping nuclear power plants open.

That’s it from me, Léonie Chao-Fong, today on the blog. My colleagues in the US will be here shortly with the latest from Ukraine. Thank you.

Ukrainian soldiers take part in military exercises in Odesa region.
Ukrainian soldiers take part in military exercises in Odesa region. Photograph: Oleksandr Gimanov/AFP/Getty Images
A boy with a toy machine gun stands near Ukrainian servicemen as they patrol central Kyiv.
A boy with a toy rifle stands near Ukrainian servicemen as they patrol central Kyiv. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

A television tower in the Ukrainian separatist-held city of Donetsk has been badly damaged by shelling and broadcasting has been interrupted, Russian state media cited the local Donetsk news agency as saying.

The Petrovskiy television centre is still standing, but part of its equipment has been damaged, while some equipment has been moved out, according to the Donetsk news agency.

Footage shows a plume of smoke rising above Mykolaiv after a vegetable oil terminal caught fire in the Ukrainian port city.

Mykolaiv was struck seven times early on Wednesday, according to local officials. Strikes in other parts of the city killed at least one person and damaged homes, businesses and a school, the city’s mayor said.

Vegetable oil depot burns in Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv – video

Ukraine has played down the chances of reaching an agreement with Russia that could allow blocked grain shipments to start sailing across the Black Sea.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Oleg Nikolenko, said Kyiv welcomed efforts by the UN’s secretary general, António Guterres, to unblock grain exports from Ukrainian seaports.

Consultations are ongoing, Nikolenko tweeted. He added:

Yet no concrete agreements on holding talks with Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and UN have been reached so far. Security remains a key element of Ukraine’s position.

Turkey’s defence ministry earlier said its “constructive” meeting with a Russian military delegation resulted in “an understanding for future negotiations between Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and the UN”.

The Turkish defence ministry said:

In this context, it was decided that a four-way meeting should be held in Turkey in the coming weeks, after a meeting with the Ukrainian side and the UN.

A Russian defence ministry statement about the Turkish meeting also noted no discernible progress.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said he believed all 27 EU member countries will support granting Ukraine EU candidate status at a summit later this week.

Speaking to Canadian students via video link, Zelenskiy said:

This is like going into the light from the darkness.

A grass plot decorated with small Ukrainian flags signed with the names of the Ukrainian servicemen killed in the war with Russia, in the centre of Kyiv.
A grass plot in the centre of Kyiv was decorated with Ukrainian flags signed with the names of Ukrainian military personnel killed in the war with Russia. Photograph: Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images

Britain’s foreign secretary, Liz Truss, said the UK “fully supports” Lithuania’s decision to ban the transit of Russian goods sanctioned by the EU through its territory.

Truss tweeted that Britain “must stay strong in the face of Russian aggression and challenge these unjustified threats”.

The UK fully supports Lithuania stopping sanctioned goods from Russia travelling through their country. We must stay strong in the face of Russian aggression and challenge these unjustified threats. 🇬🇧🇱🇹

— Liz Truss (@trussliz) June 22, 2022

Nearly two-thirds of Europeans believe EU membership is a “good thing”, according to a study, marking the highest result in 15 years.

Most countries – notably Lithuania and Estonia – showed significantly more positive attitudes towards EU membership compared with a survey conducted at the end of last year, the European parliament said in a statement.

The president of the European parliament, Roberta Metsola, said:

With war returning to our continent, Europeans feel reassured to be part of the European Union.

Only one in 10 respondents saw Russia positively compared to one in three in 2018, the study showed. Attitudes to China have also deteriorated.

Nearly 60% considered a defence of “common European values” a priority, even if it were to affect prices and costs of living.

Another EU-backed survey published last week showed 80% of respondents supported economic sanctions against Russia and a common security and defence policy.

Vladimir Putin has called for a strengthening of ties with countries from the Brics group of emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China South Africa– following western sanctions over Ukraine.

On the eve of a Brics summit, the Russian president said Moscow was in the process of rerouting its trade towards “reliable international partners, above all the Brics countries”.

Business people from Brics countries were being “forced to develop their business under difficult conditions” where western countries “neglect the basic principles of market economy, free trade, as well as the inviolability of private property”, Putin said.

He said discussions were continuing on the “opening of Indian chain stores in Russia, increasing the share of Chinese automobiles” on the Russian market.

Russian oil deliveries to China and India are increasing, he said. Russia is also developing “alternative international transfer mechanisms” with Brics partners and an “international reserve currency” to reduce dependence on the dollar and euro, Putin added.

Today so far…

It’s 6pm in Kyiv. Here’s where we stand:

  • Russian forces are edging closer to seizing the last pocket of resistance in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region. Sievierodonetsk and its neighbouring city Lysychansk continue to be battered by intense Russian shelling. Luhansk’s governor, Serhiy Haidai, said on Wednesday that Russian forces were moving towards Lysychansk, targeting the buildings of police, state security and prosecutors.
  • Europe needs to prepare immediately for Russia to turn off all gas exports to the region this winter, according to the head of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol. He called on governments to work on reducing demand and keeping nuclear power plants open.
  • Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said its staff had seen evidence of a “shocking level” of “indiscriminate violence” being inflicted on civilians in Ukraine. The medical charity, which set up a hospital train in Ukraine after Russia’s invasion, said more than 40% of its wounded train patients were elderly people and children. More than 10% of the war-trauma patients had lost at least one limb.

Hello everyone, it’s Léonie Chao-Fong with you today with all the latest news from the war in Ukraine. Feel free to get in touch on Twitter or via email.

Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said Russia and the US were exchanging official signals on the issue of American fighters in Ukraine, according to the Moscow state-owned news agency Ria.

Ryabkov was also quoted by Interfax news agency as saying Moscow did not see Washington’s readiness to deal with the issue seriously.

Drone crashes into Russian oil refinery in possible attack

Andrew Roth

Andrew Roth

Dramatic footage has emerged from Russia of what appears to be a drone crashing into an oil refinery and setting off a fiery explosion in what could be an attack inside Russia’s borders.

Video shared on social media showed the unmanned aerial vehicle crashing into the Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery, in Rostov, in what would be an embarrassing penetration of Russia’s air defence systems in its ongoing war in Ukraine.

Ukraine has used drones during the war but did not claim responsibility for the alleged attack.

Vasily Golubev, the governor of Russia’s Rostov region, appeared to confirm the incident, writing that fragments of two drones had been found on the territory of the Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery, where a large fire broke out on Wednesday morning.

Footage purports to show Ukrainian drone striking oil refinery in Russia – video

Video published on Russian social network channels showed a drone approaching the oil refinery as workers looked on.

“Do you think it’s Ukrainian?” asked one.

“Of course not,” another answered.

“Where’d it go?” he added, as the drone vanished from sight.

Moments later, a large explosion rocked the refinery.

“Fuck!” yelled the onlookers. As a fire began raging at the refinery, the unidentified cameraman said with a resigned tone: “That’s what’s happening, guys.”

Footage broadcast by Russian state television showed firefighters battling flames at the oil refinery, which halted production on Wednesday. Authorities claimed that the fire had been contained.

Read Andrew Roth’s full story here: Drone crashes into Russian oil refinery in possible attack





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