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Russia-Ukraine war: Russian military destroys Sievierodonetsk bridge, cutting possible escape route – live

Russian forces destroy bridge out of Sievierodonetsk

Russian forces have destroyed a bridge connecting the embattled city of Sievierodonetsk to its twin city of Lysychansk, cutting off a possible evacuation route for civilians, according to local officials.

Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of Luhansk province, said on Sunday that the Russian military has destroyed a bridge over the Siverskyi River that linked the two cities.

He added that Russian shelling in Lysychansk has killed one woman and destroyed four houses and a shopping centre.

According to the head of the Sievierodonetsk administration, approximately a third of the city remained under the control of Ukrainian forces and about two-thirds were in Russian hands.

A local woman walks past a kids’ playground, damaged during shelling, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in the town of Lysychansk, Luhansk region, Ukraine on June 10, 2022. Photograph: Reuters

Summary

It’s 2am in Kyiv. Here’s where things stand:

  • The British defense company QinetiQ will supply Ukraine with 10 Talon sapper robots for demining purposes, Ukrainian authorities announced on Sunday. The first deputy head of Ukraine’s patrol police, Oleksiy Biloshitsky, said “Talon will be deployed to demine Ukraine. This is a sapper robot that not only locates ‘gifts’ but also neutralizes them. Before the war we had already had more than a dozen of them, now QinetiQ will deliver 10 more.”
  • Russian forces have attacked Ukraine’s Vuhledar thermal power plant in Donetsk, according to local Ukrainian outlet Novosti Donbassa. The plant is controlled by the armed forces of Ukraine. Russian forces occupy the city of Svitlodarsk, approximately 5km from the plant. Fierce fighting over the plant remains ongoing.
  • Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Sunday the possibility of new talks with Russian president Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy. “Perhaps in the next week, we will talk about what steps we will take, by holding talks with both Mr Putin and Zelenskiy,” he said in regards to solutions for impeded exports as a result of the war.
  • Russian forces have destroyed a bridge connecting the embattled city of Sievierodonetsk to its twin city of Lysychansk, cutting off a possible evacuation route for civilians, according to local officials. Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of Luhansk province, said on Sunday that the Russian military has destroyed a bridge over the Siverskyi River that linked the two cities.
  • The head of the Russian Committee for the Prevention of Torture announced on Sunday that he had disbanded the organization after Russian authorities labeled it as a “foreign agent”. Calling the label an “insult”, Sergei Babinets said on Telegram: “We don’t want to continue working by being labelled ‘foreign agents’. We consider this term an insult and slander.”.
  • Russian forces celebrated their country’s national day by exporting stolen metal from Mariupol, according to Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to the city’s mayor. In a statement released on Telegram on Sunday, Andryuschchenko added that Russia’s 12 June national day is a “day of a murderer and looter”.
  • The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has announced the need to strengthen anti-corruption laws in Ukraine. After meeting with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the von der Leyen said: “There still needs to be reforms implemented, to fight corruption for example, or to modernise the administration, which will also help attract investors.”

That’s it from me, Maya Yang, today as I hand the blog over to my colleague in Australia, Samantha Lock, who will bring you the latest updates. I’ll be back tomorrow, thank you.

The British defense company QinetiQ will supply Ukraine with 10 Talon sapper robots for demining purposes, Ukrainian authorities announced on Sunday.

In a statement on Facebook, the first deputy head of Ukraine’s patrol police, Oleksiy Biloshitsky, said:

Talon will be deployed to demine Ukraine. This is a sapper robot that not only locates ‘gifts’ but also neutralizes them. Before the war we had already had more than a dozen of them, now QinetiQ will deliver 10 more.

According to Ukrainian outlet Ukrinform, approximately 300,000 sq km in Ukraine require demining.

British company to hand 10 sapper robots over to Ukraine

“TALON will be deployed to demine Ukraine. This is a sapper robot that not only identifies the location of ‘gifts’ but also neutralizes them,” First Deputy Head of Ukraine’s Patrol Police Oleksiy Biloshitsky reports pic.twitter.com/NTAnn2utoT

— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) June 12, 2022

Russian forces have attacked Ukraine’s Vuhledar thermal power plant in Donetsk, according to local Ukrainian outlet Novosti Donbassa.

In videos posted online, plumes of black smoke can be seen rising from the power plant, one of Ukraine’s tallest structures.

The plant is controlled by the armed forces of Ukraine. Russian forces occupy the city of Svitlodarsk, approximately 5km from the plant. Fierce fighting over the plant remains ongoing.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Sunday the possibility of new talks with Russian president Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Turkish outlet HaberTurk reports.

Speaking in regards to snarled exports as a result of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, the outlet cited Erdogan saying: “In fact, we will be in a work to bring this business to a very different dimension, not only to ourselves, but also to send goods to third countries by re-exporting from there.”

“Negotiations continue, and besides these meetings, we also held talks with some relevant people last night. And perhaps in the next week, we will talk about what steps we will take, by holding talks with both Mr Putin and Zelenskiy.”

Erdogan announces new talks with Zelenskyy and Putin – Haberturk

Earlier, the UN proposed a 4-way mechanism involving Russia, Ukraine, & Turkey to export grain from Ukraine’s ports blocked by Russian troops https://t.co/te9R5VxN7W

— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) June 12, 2022

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that Russia could reach a death toll of 40,000 soldiers by early July, according to Iuliia Mendel, a former spokesperson to the president.

President @ZelenskyyUa said that Russia could reach the number of 40,000 dead soldiers by early July.

— Iuliia Mendel (@IuliiaMendel) June 12, 2022

Russian forces destroy bridge out of Sievierodonetsk

Russian forces have destroyed a bridge connecting the embattled city of Sievierodonetsk to its twin city of Lysychansk, cutting off a possible evacuation route for civilians, according to local officials.

Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of Luhansk province, said on Sunday that the Russian military has destroyed a bridge over the Siverskyi River that linked the two cities.

He added that Russian shelling in Lysychansk has killed one woman and destroyed four houses and a shopping centre.

According to the head of the Sievierodonetsk administration, approximately a third of the city remained under the control of Ukrainian forces and about two-thirds were in Russian hands.

A local woman walks past a kids’ playground, damaged during shelling, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in the town of Lysychansk, Luhansk region, Ukraine on June 10, 2022.
A local woman walks past a kids’ playground, damaged during shelling, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in the town of Lysychansk, Luhansk region, Ukraine on June 10, 2022. Photograph: Reuters

The head of the Russian Committee for the Prevention of Torture announced on Sunday that he had disbanded the organization after Russian authorities labeled it as a “foreign agent.”

Calling the label an “insult,” Sergei Babinets said, “We don’t want to continue working by being labelled ‘foreign agents’. We consider this term an insult and slander,” Sergei Babinets said on Telegram.

“Despite the obvious importance of our mission, the authorities have been trying for many years to portray it as foreign and harmful,” he said.

“The authorities are sending a signal that torture is becoming (or has already become) a part of government policy,” he added.

The organization was founded 22 years ago and has launched multiple campaigns to urge authorities to investigate mistreatment by seurity forces and implement preventative measures.

Already branded a “foreign agent” in 2015 and again in 2016, the organisation decided to dissolve itself before reforming to try to shake off the designation.

“Foreign agents” are subject to numerous constraints and tedious procedures, or they face heavy penalties. They must indicate their status in all publications.

Russian forces celebrated their country’s national day by exporting stolen metal from Mariupol, according to Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to the city’s mayor.

In a statement released on Telegram on Sunday, Andryuschchenko added that Russia’s national day, which is on June 12, is a “day of a murderer and looter.”

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has announced the need to strengthen anti-corruption laws in Ukraine.

After meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the European Commission president said, “There still needs to be reforms implemented, to fight corruption for example, or to modernize the administration, which will also help attract investors.”

Ursula von der Leyen announces need to strengthen anti-corruption law in 🇺🇦

The commission’s president said 🇺🇦 has done a lot to ensure the rule of law, now country needs to fight corruption & modernize the administration which will help attract investors-https://t.co/RnOwgggD6f

— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) June 12, 2022

Summary

The time in Kyiv is just coming up to 8pm. Here is a round-up of the day’s main headlines:

  • Fighting is continuing in the city of Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, where Russian shelling caused a huge fire at a chemical plant yesterday.
  • Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said no one knows how long the war in his country will last. However, he said his forces were defying expectations by preventing Russian troops from overrunning eastern Ukraine.
  • The bodies of many Ukrainian fighters killed during the siege of the Azovstal steelworks in the southern city of Mariupol are still awaiting retrieval, the former commander of Ukraine’s Azov National Guard regiment said on Sunday.
  • The British Foreign Office has confirmed that a former British soldier has been shot and killed in Ukraine. Jordan Gatley was named in a social media tribute post by his father, who described him as a “hero” who will “forever be in our hearts”.
  • The leader of the Russian-backed separatist Donetsk region of Ukraine has said there is no reason to pardon two British nationals who were sentenced to death last week after being captured while fighting for Ukraine.
  • Friends and family of Brahim Saadoun – the 21-year-old Moroccan sentenced to death alongside two Britons last week – have called for his freedom, telling the Guardian he was an active-duty marine and not a mercenary as claimed by Russian media and pro-Russia officials in eastern Ukraine who announced the sentence.
  • Russian forces fired cruise missiles to destroy a large depot containing US and European weapons in western Ukraine’s Ternopil region, Interfax reported.
  • As of 12 June, more than 795 children have been killed or injured in Ukraine, the country’s government has said in its regular update.
  • Ukraine has established two routes through Poland and Romania to export grain and avert a global food crisis although bottlenecks have slowed the supply chain, Kyiv’s deputy foreign minister said on Sunday.

That’s it from me, Tom Ambrose, for today. My colleague Maya Yang will be along shortly to continue bringing you all the latest news from Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Security concerns raised by Turkey in its opposition to Finland’s and Sweden’s Nato membership applications are legitimate, Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday during a visit to Finland.

“These are legitimate concerns. This is about terrorism, it’s about weapons exports,” Stoltenberg told a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto while visiting him at his summer residence in Naantali, Finland.

Sweden and Finland applied to join the Western defence alliance last month, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported.

But they have faced opposition from Turkey, which has accused them of supporting and harbouring Kurdish militants and other groups it deems terrorists.

Stoltenberg said Turkey was a key ally for the alliance due to its strategic location on the Black Sea between Europe and the Middle East

Pjotr Sauer

Pjotr Sauer

Fierce fighting has continued in the strategic city of Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, where Russian shelling caused a fire at a chemical plant in which hundreds of civilians are believed to have taken shelter during some of the most intense bombardment of the war.

The governor of Luhansk region, Serhiy Haidai, said in an interview with local television that the Azot chemical plant remained under Ukrainian control, adding that fighting was under way on Sunday on the “outskirts of the city, in the streets directly near the plant”.

On Saturday, Haidai said Russian shelling caused a powerful fire to break out after a leak of radiator oil at the chemical plant. He did not say whether the fire had been extinguished.

A view of the damaged Nika-Tera grain terminal, as Russia’s attacks on Ukraine continues, in Mykolaiv, Ukraine.

A view of a damaged Nika-Tera grain terminal, as Russia’s attacks on Ukraine continues, in Mykolaiv, Ukraine.
A view of a damaged Nika-Tera grain terminal, as Russia’s attacks on Ukraine continues, in Mykolaiv, Ukraine. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters

Former British soldier Jordan Gatley killed fighting in Ukraine, UK Foreign Office confirms

The British Foreign Office has confirmed that a former British soldier has been shot and killed in Ukraine (see post at 14.28 BST).

Jordan Gatley was named in a social media tribute post by his father, who described him as a “hero” who will “forever be in our hearts”. Dean Gatley said his son had left the British Army in March “to continue his career as a soldier in other areas”.

He went to Ukraine to help “after careful consideration”, his father added, saying that on Friday the family received the “devastating” news of his death. Gatley said his son had been been shot and killed in the city of Sievierodonetsk, in eastern Ukraine.

In the Facebook post, he said: “After careful consideration, he went to the Ukraine to help. “We have had several messages from his team out there telling us of his wealth of knowledge, his skills as a soldier and his love of his job. His team say they all loved him, as did we, and he made a massive difference to many peoples lives, not only soldiering, but also by training the Ukrainian forces.”

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who has died in Ukraine.”



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