Russia continued its assault on Sievierodonetsk, pushing Ukrainian troops out of the center of Kyiv’s last major foothold in the Luhansk region. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called the fighting “very fierce” and his top military commander pleaded for the US to send more artillery.
Moscow’s use of cluster munitions and indiscriminate shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, constitutes a war crime, Amnesty International said in a report published Monday.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said it would be “unthinkable” for NATO not to defend membership hopeful Sweden if that country is attacked. The war remains the biggest single worry among people around the world, according to a poll conducted by Kantar.
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(All times CET)
Russian Crude Flows to Asia Near Unprecedented Levels (4:21 p.m.)
Russia’s seaborne crude flows are taking on a new pattern as Moscow seeks to deal with impending European sanctions on its exports. India has moved from being an insignificant buyer of Russian crude to the second-biggest destination for shipments, behind only China.
Asian buyers, dominated by China and India, are now taking close to half of all the crude shipped from the country’s ports, with a steady stream of tankers heading around Europe and through the Suez Canal from the Baltic and Arctic Seas.
NATO Chief Says Allies Would React if Sweden Is Attacked (4:04 p.m.)
Stoltenberg, secretary general of NATO, said Sweden has already received security assurances from several members of the military alliance as it seeks to join the group.
He told reporters after meeting Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson that NATO has also stepped up with more exercises and more military presence. “And that makes a difference, meaning that if Sweden was attacked, then I deem it as unthinkable that NATO allies would not react,” Stoltenberg said.
The NATO chief welcomed “clear messages, signals” from Sweden to address Turkish concerns about the country’s application. Andersson said that on arms exports, “as a member of NATO, the independent agency we have might view these decisions differently.” She added: “We take the Turkish concerns very seriously, not least their security concerns when it comes to terrorism.”
War in Ukraine Remains No. 1 Concern Globally, Kantar Poll Shows (3:15 p.m.)
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine remains people’s biggest concern in every one of the 19 countries surveyed, closely followed by economic worries and the cost-of-living crisis, according the Kantar Global Issues Barometer, which included 11,000 respondents.
While Covid-19 is no longer seen as a pressing concern, 64% of people globally listed the war as a top worry, followed by 39% who mentioned economic issues. The level correlated with proximity, with 94% of Poles independently offering that they are anxious about the war, compared with 80% of Spanish, German and French, Kantar said.
Ukraine Sees 2022 Grain Harvest Dropping About 40% (3:05 p.m.)
The war will cut Ukraine’s grain harvest to as low as 48 million tons, from 84 million tons a year ago, as the country has lost about a quarter of its farming area, Deputy Agriculture Minister Taras Vysotskyi said.
The war prevented sowing and harvesting that could have increased the expected grain crop by at least 20 million tons, he said.
Russia Switches Tactics, Summer Heat May Ease River Crossings (2:19 p.m.)
Russia has radically reduced infantry maneuvers in Ukraine, choosing instead to use its superiority in artillery and tank firepower to gain a battlefield advantage, Ukrainian military spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk said.
Heavy street fighting continues in the city of Sievierodonetsk, in the Luhansk region. Russian troops have taken control of the city center after suffering heavy casualties, Motuzyanyk said. Hot weather is making the nearby Sieverskyi Donets river more shallow, forcing Ukrainian troops to reinforce areas where Russian forces may attempt to cross, he said. Russian missiles fired from aircraft and ships struck targets in the city of Pryluky in northern Ukraine on Monday.
Scholz, Macron, Draghi to Visit Kyiv Thursday: Report (12:15 p.m.)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will visit Kyiv on Thursday with French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Business Insider reported, without identifying the source of its information.
Wolfgang Buechner, a German government spokesman, said earlier Monday at a regular news conference that there is no new information about a possible Scholz trip to Ukraine. The European Commission is expected to recommend on Friday that Ukraine be granted candidate status to join the EU, though the complicated accession process may take decades to complete and the move is seen as more of a symbolic gesture than a fast track to actual membership.
Macron Calls for Review of French Military Budget (12:12 p.m.)
On the campaign trail for legislative elections next Sunday, Macron said that he would ask for a review of French military spending on the back of the war in Ukraine. As a candidate earlier this year, he pledged to boost the defense budget.
Ukraine’s June Rate Hike May Be Last Needed (11:40 a.m.)
The Ukrainian central bank may not need to increase borrowing costs further after it more than doubled its key interest rate to 25% earlier this month, according to minutes released Monday.
The National Bank’s monetary policy committee members voted 7-3 on June 2 to raise the key rate 15 percentage points to the highest level in Europe, while agreeing the country’s economy is not ready to return to a floating hryvnia exchange rate.
Even as uncertainty over the war may require the central bank to remain open to further policy tightening, some members said in the longer term the key rate may need to be cut rapidly if there is an influx of international financial support.
Zelenskiy Adviser Publishes Heavy Weapons Wishlist (9:51 a.m.)
Ukraine needs parity in heavy weapons to end the war, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelenskiy, said on Twitter.
Russia has been gaining ground in eastern Ukraine, using its better-supplied military to bombard positions in some of the war’s most intense fighting to date. Kyiv’s appeals to its western partners for weapons have become more urgent in recent days.
Russians Make Progress in ‘Fierce’ Fighting in Sievierodonetsk (8:05 a.m.)
Russian forces pushed Ukrainian troops from the center of Sievierodonetsk as fighting in the city raged, according to the General Staff of the Ukrainian army.
“Very fierce fighting is going on, literally for every meter,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.
About 500 civilians, including 40 children, remain trapped in bomb shelters at the Azot chemical plant in the city, regional governor Serhiy Haiday said. The plant was shelled three times over the last day, he wrote on his Telegram channel.
Hundreds Killed by Russian Shelling in Kharkiv, Amnesty Says (7:46 a.m.)
Hundreds of civilians in Kharkiv have been killed by Russian shelling and rocket attacks that constitute war crimes, Amnesty International said in a report that detailed numerous strikes.
“The people of Kharkiv have faced a relentless barrage of indiscriminate attacks in recent months,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser. “The Russian forces responsible for these horrific attacks must be held accountable.”
A local medical official told Amnesty 606 civilians had been killed and 1,248 injured in the Kharkiv region since the war began.
IAEA, Ukraine Restore Safeguard Data Link (12:01 a.m.)
The International Atomic Energy Agency and the Ukrainian operator of the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant have restored a remote transmission system for safeguarding data sent to the United Nations atomic watchdog. That process had been halted for nearly two weeks due to technical problems, the IAEA said.
IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi welcomed the step as a positive for safety but said in a statement the agency’s inspectors must still go to the facility as soon as possible for essential nuclear material verification activities that can’t be done remotely.
Russia seized the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant — Europe’s biggest such facility — in the early days of the war and has maintained control ever since. It has also demanded that Ukraine begin paying for electricity generated at the occupied atomic plant.
Ukraine Pleads With US for Artillery (8:00 p.m.)
The Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s military, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, said on Facebook that he asked General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff “to help us get more 155 mm caliber artillery systems in the shortest possible time.”
Russia has deployed as many as seven battalion tactical groups in the assault on the city of Sievierodonetsk and its forces have resumed shelling residential areas of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-biggest city, Zaluzhnyi said. The front line stretches across 2,450 kilometers (1,530 miles) of Ukrainian territory, with active hostilities along 1,105 kilometers, he said.
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