Zelensky shuts down anchor’s suggestion that Trump would have stopped Russian invasion
Russia’s ambassador has stormed out of a UN Security Council meeting in which Moscow was accused of weaponising a global food crisis and committing war crimes in Ukraine.
A visibly angered Vassily Nebenzia left the chamber during a statement by the European Council president to the 15-member body, telling reporters that he “couldn’t stay” because of “the lies that Charles Michel came here to distribute”.
Speaking directly to Mr Nebenzia as he walked out of a meeting on reports of sexual violence in Ukraine, Mr Michel said: “You may leave the room, maybe it’s easier not to listen to the truth.”
It came as Moscow threatened it would seek to seize more of Ukraine if western nations push ahead with plans to supply Kyiv with long-range rockets, which the UK vowed to do on Monday in the wake of the first Russian strikes on Kyiv since April.
Meanwhile, intense fighting continues in Sievierodonetsk, the main battlefield in the east, where Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky insisted that – despite Russian forces having the numerical advantage – Ukraine’s forces have “every chance” of fighting back.
Russia imposes retaliatory sanctions
Russia has imposed sanctions on 61 United States officials, including treasury secretary Janet Yellen and energy secretary Jennifer Granholm and the heads of leading defence and media companies.
The personal sanctions, which ban those named from entering Russia, were imposed in retaliation for “constantly expanding US sanctions against Russian political and public figures, as well as representatives of domestic business”.
Russian foreign ministry said that the individuals were the heads of leading military-industrial corporations, media platforms, rating agencies and aircraft and shipbuilding companies, as well as individual US state department officials “involved in fake reports about ‘malicious’ Russian cyber attacks”.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar7 June 2022 05:09
Cyber attacks targeting Ukrainian officials’ mobile phones, Kyiv says
Ukrainian officials’ phones have been targeted by hackers, the deputy head of Ukraine’s State Special Communications Service has claimed.
“We see a lot of attempts to hack Ukrainian officials’ phones, mainly with the spreading of malware,” Victor Zhora told journalists at an online news conference meant to mark the 100 days since Russian forces poured across the border.
Mr Zhora said his service had, so far, not seen any evidence that Ukrainian devices had been compromised.
The ability to remotely and invisibly hack into such devices using sophisticated spy software – sometimes called a “zero click” hack because it requires no interaction from the victim – is particularly feared, with top European Commission officials having reportedly been targeted with such software recently.
Mr Zhora said he and his colleagues were aware of the threat of zero-click intrusions but declined to comment on whether they knew of any such attempts against their own devices, adding: “We continue monitoring this.”
Andy Gregory7 June 2022 04:19
West will continue to support Ukraine out of respect for D-Day soldiers, US military chief says
The United States and its allies will keep providing “significant” support to Ukraine out of respect for the legacy of D-Day soldiers, whose victory over the Nazis helped lead to a new world order and a “better peace,” the US chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has said.
In an interview with The Associated Press overlooking Omaha Beach in Normandy, Army General Mark Milley said Russia’s war on Ukraine undermines the rules established by Allied countries after the end of World War II. He spoke on the 78th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Allied troops onto the beaches of France, which led to the overthrow of Nazi Germany’s occupation.
One fundamental rule of the “global rules-based order” is that “countries cannot attack other countries with their military forces in acts of aggression unless it’s an act of pure self-defense,” he stressed. “But that’s not what’s happened here in Ukraine. What’s happened here is an open, unambiguous act of aggression.”
“I think that the United States and the allied countries are providing a significant amount of support to Ukraine, and that will continue,” he said.
Andy Gregory7 June 2022 03:40
Washington and Kremlin row over media freedoms
The US State Department has accused the Kremlin of a “full assault” on media freedom.
Citing three sources with knowledge of the matter, Reuters reported today that Russia had warned United States news organisations they risked being stripped of their accreditation unless the treatment of Russian journalists in the US improves.
But in a rebuttal, the State Department later said that Washington continues to issue visas to qualified Russian journalists and has not revoked the foreign press credentials of any Russian journalists working in the US.
“Suffice it to say the Russians continue to make a false equivalency,” spokesperson Ned Price told reporters. “The Russian government fundamentally and willfully disregards what it means to have a free press, as evidenced by them blocking or banning nearly every independent Russian outlet seeking to report inside their country.”
Andy Gregory7 June 2022 02:35
Ukraine de-occupying Kharkiv region of Russian invaders ‘step by step’, Zelensky says
In Ukraine’s northern Kharkiv region, the Ukrainian army “step by step de-occupies our lands” from Russian invaders, Volodymyr Zelensky has claimed.
Russian defence ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov claimed that Russian warplanes had fired long-range missiles in the region to destroy a plant on the edge of the town of Lozova which was repairing armoured vehicles.
Mr Konashenkov claimed that Russian aircraft hit 73 areas of concentration of Ukrainian troops and equipment, while Russian artillery struck 431 military targets. His claims could not be independently verified.
Andy Gregory7 June 2022 01:25
Estonian PM warns against ‘premature calls for peace’
Estonia’s prime minister has warned against “premature calls for peace” with Russia.
“Before premature calls for peace, remember: for half of Europe, peace after WWII didn’t mean the end of atrocities but more repressions,” Kaja Kallas tweeted in a summary of a speech to the Policy Exchange think-tank in London, following a meeting in Downing Street with Boris Johnson.
“This is being repeated in Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine – children deported en masse to Russia, women raped, men imprisoned. There should be no fear of a bad relationship or a non-existent relationship with war criminals.
“We must isolate Russia politically and economically to make sure Russian troops run out of equipment and the Kremlin runs out of money. This must be our long-term policy.
“We must deliver accountability for war criminals and justice for victims. The aggressor must also pay reparations. Victims must be compensated. A fund for victims could be one way, using Russian assets and central bank reserves frozen by sanctions.
“If we fail here, the international rules-based order is at stake and no nation can feel safe. We don’t think about freedom and world order until they’re gone. Let’s make our best efforts so that nobody has to experience it.”
Andy Gregory7 June 2022 00:32
Estonian PM accuses Russia of seeking to ‘wipe Ukraine off the world map’
Estonia’s prime minister Kaja Kallas has accused Russia of perpetrating “state-orchestrated calls for genocide” against the Ukrainian people.
Summarising a speech she had just given to the Policy Exchange think-tank in London, Ms Kallas claimed Russia’s aim is to “dehumanise Ukrainians and wipe Ukraine off the world map”, adding: “A ‘Nazi’ is simply any Ukrainian who resists. Putin and all those who have committed atrocities must know that their judgment day will come.
“To hold perpetrators accountable, Ukraine must win back its territories and Russia must fail. We must do all we can to help push back the Russian invasion and end massive war crimes on our doorstep. Otherwise, worse will follow. This is what Estonian history teaches us.”
Andy Gregory6 June 2022 23:47
Bosnian Serb leader Dodik says Ukraine war has delayed secession plan
Russia’s war in Ukraine has forced Bosnian Serb nationalists to delay plans to pull their region out of Bosnia’s national institutions, their leader Milorad Dodik has said.
In December, the parliament of Bosnia’s autonomous Serb Republic voted to start work on severing ties with Bosnia’s armed forces, judiciary and tax system, in a non-binding motion meant to pave the way for secession.
But changed political conditions caused by the war in Ukraine had caused a delay, said Mr Dodik, whose plan is supported by Moscow.
The secessionist plan was not scrapped, just delayed, Mr Dodik said during the parliament session he called to rally support against Bosnia imposing sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
“That is why we halted the realisation of our conclusions relating to the withdrawal [of Bosnian Serbs from] … state authorities,” Dodik said.
Mr Dodik said the Bosnian Serb Republic wanted to “maintain neutrality” when it came to Russia and Ukraine and was against sanctions against Russia, echoing the stance of its sponsor Serbia, the only European country that has refused to impose sanctions.
No change in US Embassy posture in Kyiv following recent bombings, State Department says
There has been no change in US Embassy posture in Kyiv, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters, after Russian missiles hit Kyiv on Sunday, for the first time in more than a month.
The US Embassy in Kyiv resumed operations last month, nearly three months after removing its diplomats and suspending work there over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Charles Michel accuses Russia of ‘cowardly’ assault on grain supplies
Here are more details from European Council president Charles Michel’s speech to the UN Security Council, which saw Russia’s ambassador storm out of the chamber.
Mr Michel accused Russia of using food supplies as “a stealth missile against developing countries” and blamed the Kremlin for the looming global food crisis.
Addressing Moscow’s Vassily Nebenzia directly, Mr Michel said he had seen millions of tons of grain and wheat stuck in containers and ships at the Ukrainian port of Odessa a few weeks ago “because of Russian warships in the Black Sea.”
Moscow’s attacks on Ukraine’s transport infrastructure and grain storage facilities, and its tanks, airstrikes and mines are preventing Ukraine from planting and harvesting, Mr Michel said.
“This is driving up food prices, pushing people into poverty and destabilising entire regions,” he added. “Russia is solely responsible for this looming food crisis. Russia alone.”
Michel accused Russian forces of stealing grain from areas in Ukraine that it has occupied “while shifting the blame of others,” calling this “cowardly” and “propaganda, pure and simple.”
Mr Nebenzia walked out, giving Russia’s seat to another diplomat. Russia’s deputy UN ambassador Dmitry Polyansky said later that Mr Michel’s comments were “so rude” that the Russian ambassador left the chamber.
Andy Gregory6 June 2022 21:54