Ukraine-Russia live news: Kherson Putin’s ‘laboratory of horrors’

Michael Carpenter says Moscow’s plan to annex the now-occupied Kherson region lays bare ‘its vision of a subjugated, Russified Ukraine’.

Resident Nataliia Prykhodko looks out from her burnt-out apartment in Irpin after coming back to Ukraine which she and her 17-year-old daughter left as refugees in February, outside Kyiv, June 9, 2022
Resident Nataliia Prykhodko looks out from her burned-out apartment in Irpin after returning to Ukraine which she and her 17-year-old daughter left as refugees in February, outside Kyiv, on June 9, 2022 [Marko Djurica/Reuters]
  • US ambassador to the OSCE Michael Carpenter says the Russian-occupied region of Kherson is the “Kremlin’s laboratory of horrors,” in which Moscow’s proxy authorities are abusing the rights of civilians and local politicians.
  • Mariupol is at risk of a major cholera outbreak, the UK’s defence ministry says, as Russia struggles to provide basic services to residents of occupied regions.
  • The Ukrainian army says its forces continue to frustrate Russian attempts to take the fiercely contested eastern city of Severodonetsk.
  • The Ukrainian foreign ministry has said the death sentences handed down to British and Moroccan nationals fighting for Ukraine should be considered null and void.
  • Breakaway eastern Ukrainian regions backed by Moscow have said they will soon start shipping grain to Russia, the TASS news agency reports.

INTERACTIVE_UKRAINE_CONTROL MAP DAY107_June10_INTERACTIVE Russia Ukraine War Who controls what in Ukraine Day 107

Here are the latest updates:

‘Taking it back’: Vladimir Putin likens self to Peter the Great

President Vladimir Putin has likened himself to Peter the Great, the Russian tsar who led a conquest of the Baltic coast during his 18th-century war against Sweden.

After visiting an exhibition in Moscow dedicated to the monarch, Putin drew parallels between Peter the Great’s founding of St Petersburg and modern-day Russia’s ambitions.

Read more here.

Kyiv says Russia targeting Ukrainian defences near Siverskyi Donets river

Russian forces are looking for potential weak points in Ukrainian defences near the Siverskyi Donets river in eastern Ukraine as Moscow presses for control of the entire Luhansk region, a spokesman for Ukraine’s defence ministry says.

Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told national television that Russian forces had not abandoned attempts to launch storming operations in the area.

If Russia captures the cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, situated on the eastern and western bank of the Siverskyi Donets respectively, it will hold all of Luhansk, one of two provinces in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region that Moscow has focused its offensive on.

INTERACTIVE_UKRAINE_CONTROL MAP DAY107_June10_INTERACTIVE Russia-Ukraine War Who controls what in Donbas DAY 107

Sweden seeks ‘progress’ in talks with Turkey over NATO membership

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde says Sweden aims to make constructive progress in talks with Turkey over the Nordic country’s application to join NATO.

“Our application has received broad support among NATO members,” she said in a foreign policy declaration after Sweden, alongside Finland, applied last month to join the military alliance in the wake of Russia’s invasion.

“Our ambition is to, in a constructive spirit, make progress on the questions that Turkey has raised,” she told parliament.

Russian analyst says West exaggerating problem of grain exports: CCTV

A Russian political scientist has blamed the West for exaggerating the problem of Ukrainian grain exports, China’s state CCTV reports.

“According to data collected by our experts, autumn, from October to December, is the main export season for Ukrainian wheat. So most of the Ukrainian grain has already been shipped out,” director of the Institute for Political and Social Studies of the Black Sea-Caspian Region, Viktor Nadein-Raevsky, said.

“There’s only about three to four million tonnes left in the country, and that’s mostly reserved for seed use,” he told a roundtable symposium held by Russia’s RIA news agency, according to CCTV.

Russia counting on West ‘getting tired’ as war drags on: Analyst

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine grinds into its fourth month, officials in Kyiv have expressed fears that the spectre of “war fatigue” could erode the West’s resolve to help the country push back Moscow’s aggression.

“The fatigue is growing, people want some kind of outcome [that is beneficial] for themselves, and we want [another] outcome for ourselves,” Zelenskyy has said in relation to suggestions Kyiv should give up some territory to end the war.

Every month of the war is costing Ukraine $5bn, Volodymyr Fesenko, a political analyst with the Penta think-tank, told The Associated Press news agency, and that “makes Kyiv dependent on the consolidated position of the Western countries”.

“It is obvious that Russia is determined to wear down the West and is now building its strategy on the assumption that Western countries will get tired and gradually begin to change their militant rhetoric to a more accommodating one,” Fesenko said.

Russian gas embargo would destroy European economy: Hungary’s Orban

A European Union embargo on Russian gas imports would destroy the European economy, already grappling with surging inflation due to higher energy prices, Hungary’s prime minister has argued.

Viktor Orban told public radio that without price caps in place on fuels, some basic foods and retail energy, Hungarian inflation, which accelerated to 10.7 percent in May, would be running at 15 to 16 percent.

Orban said he would like to see the price cap measures extended, adding, however, that more talks were needed before a final decision is made.

Russians ‘destroying everything in their path’ around Severodonetsk: Governor

Russian forces are attacking Severodonetsk and “destroying everything in their path” with the goal of making the Luhansk region nothing but a “desert”, its governor has said.

Serhiy Haidai said Severodonetsk was holding on as fighting continued in the city and surrounding towns including Popasna and Lysychansk.

Some 16 residents, including three children, were evacuated from Lysychansk on Thursday, Haidai said, adding that every evacuation risked people’s lives, but staying in these cities was even worse.

The UK’s defence ministry has said that Russian forces had regained control of most of Severodonetsk.

Mariupol at risk of major cholera outbreak: UK

The city of Mariupol is at risk of a major cholera outbreak as Russia struggles to provide basic public services to residents of regions it has occupied in Ukraine, the UK’s ministry of defence has said.

“Ukraine suffered a major cholera epidemic in 1995, and has experienced minor outbreaks since, especially around the Azov Sea coast – which includes Mariupol,” the ministry said adding that isolated cases had been reported in the city since May.

“Medical services in Mariupol are likely already near collapse: a major cholera outbreak in Mariupol will exacerbate this further,” the ministry added.

The ministry also said the occupied Kherson region was experiencing a shortage of medicines.

Kherson ‘Kremlin’s laboratory of horrors’: OSCE ambassador

The US ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has described the Russian-occupied region of Kherson as the “Kremlin’s laboratory of horrors”.

Russia’s pre-planned and multi-faceted campaign to absorb Kherson into Russia and install puppet authorities “lays bare the truth of its vision of a subjugated, Russified Ukraine”, Michael Carpenter said in a speech to the OSCE council in Vienna on Thursday.

“Kherson is the Kremlin’s laboratory of horrors.  Every day Kherson remains under Russia’s control, the Kremlin works to further its plan to replace Kherson’s democratic government, free press and civil society with a Kremlin-style police state that humiliates and brutalises the local population, abuses their human rights, and abducts, tortures, and/or kills those the Kremlin deems dispensable,” Carpenter said.

He said Moscow had tried to recruit local political figures and activists using coercion and blackmail that sometimes included unlawful imprisonment, and threats of kidnappings of relatives. Meanwhile, citizens were cut off from internet access which kept them from reliable information and Ukrainian government services.

Russia’s soldiers in Severodonetsk like ‘cannon fodder’, Kyiv says

The Russian army is sending its men into Severodonetsk “like cannon fodder”, the secretary of Ukraine’s security council has said, adding the situation in the city was “extremely complicated” and Russian forces were focusing all their might on the area.

“They don’t spare their people, they’re just sending men like cannon fodder … they are shelling our military day and night,” Oleksiy Danilov told the Reuters news agency in an interview on Thursday.

Finland to build barriers on border with Russia

Finland’s government plans to amend border legislation to allow the building of barriers on its eastern frontier with Russia, it has said, in a move to strengthen preparedness against hybrid threats amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Finland, which is currently applying for membership in the Western military alliance NATO, has a history of wars with Russia, although currently the forest-covered border zone between the two countries is marked merely with signs and plastic lines for most of its 1,300km (808 miles) length.

The Finnish government has rushed to strengthen border security as it fears Russia could attempt to put pressure on Finland by sending asylum seekers to its borders – as the European Union accused Belarus of doing at the end of last year when hundreds of migrants from the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa got stuck at the Polish border.

Under existing EU rules, migrants have the right to ask for asylum at any given entry point to an EU member country. The amendments would also allow the building of barriers, such as fences, as well as new roads to facilitate border patrolling on the Finnish side.

Canada cracks down on more than $314m in Russian assets, transactions

Canadian police have said that they cracked down on more than 400 million Canadian dollars ($314.8m) in Russian assets and transactions involving people sanctioned as a result of Moscow’s war on Ukraine.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a statement on Thursday that from February 24 to June 7, 123 million Canadian dollars ($98.2m) of Russian assets in Canada had been effectively frozen and a further 289 million Canadian dollars ($230.7m) in transactions had been blocked. It gave no details.

In April, Ottawa said it would change its sanctions law to allow for seized and sanctioned foreign assets to be redistributed as compensation to victims or to help in rebuilding a foreign state from war.

Ukraine forces continue to frustrate Russia’s Severodonetsk offensive

The Ukrainian army says Kyiv’s forces continue to frustrate Russian attempts to take Severodonetsk.

“The occupiers, with the help of motorised rifle units and artillery, conducted assault operations in the city of Severodonetsk. They were not successful; the fighting continues,” the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a regular operational update on Thursday evening.

It added that Ukrainian forces had successfully repelled a Russian attack on the village of Toshkivka, on the northwestern outskirts of Severodonetsk

Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai said Russian forces were continuing to shell the neighbouring city of Lysychansk using large-calibre weapons which “pierce even concrete,” adding that it was “extremely dangerous” for civilians to remain in the city, “even in shelters”.

A symbol of Severodonetsk destroyed: Governor

Russian forces destroyed a large sports complex, the Ice Palace, in Severodonetsk, Luhansk’s governor has said.

“One of the symbols of Severodonetsk was destroyed. The Ice Palace burned down,” Serhiy Haidai wrote on Telegram.

“Ice, figure skating, hockey, volleyball, sports school, concerts, graduation – almost 50 years of history of sports and cultural development of our Severodonetsk …” is now gone, he added.

Nicaragua authorises entry of Russian troops, planes, ships

The government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has authorised Russian troops, planes and ships to deploy to Nicaragua for purposes of training, law enforcement or emergency response.

In a decree published this week, and confirmed by Russia on Thursday, Ortega will allow Russian troops to carry out law enforcement duties, “humanitarian aid, rescue and search missions in emergencies or natural disasters”.

The Nicaraguan government also authorised the presence of small contingents of Russian troops for “exchange of experiences and training”.

Ortega has been a staunch ally of Russia since his days in the leadership of the 1979 revolution that removed dictator Anastasio Somoza.

World’s poorest countries ‘paying more for less food’: FAO

With Ukraine’s next grain harvest due within weeks, and no imminent sign of a let-up in the war, the food security of import-dependent countries in Africa and the Middle East could worsen, the UN’s food agency has said in a new report.

Food import bills will reach a record high this year and food markets are likely to tighten around the world, according to the Food Outlook report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which also found that “many vulnerable countries are paying more but receiving less food” in imports.

The forecast points to a “likely tightening of food markets and import bills reaching a new record high”, said Upali Galketi Aratchilage, an FAO economist and lead editor of the report.

Zelenskyy calls on EU leaders to support Ukraine’s membership

In his nightly address, Zelenskyy appealed to European Union leaders to support Ukraine’s membership in the bloc.

“Most Europeans support the integration of Ukraine. And if the Europeans support it, then politicians who still have doubts in some countries should not set themselves against people, society and the very course of European history,” he said.

European heads of state and government are expected to consider Ukraine’s bid for EU candidate status at the end of June. The European Parliament has already passed a resolution in favour of making Ukraine a membership candidate.

Zelenskyy cites ‘positive’ military news in Zaporizhia region

Zelenskyy has reported “positive” news from the southeastern Zaporizhia region, where he said Ukraine’s forces were managing to thwart Russian troops.

In a video address, Zelenskyy also said Ukrainian forces were gradually advancing in the Kharkiv region, east of Kyiv, and “liberating our land”.

Residential area destroyed by a Russian bombing in Kharkiv, Ukraine, May 15, 2022
A residential area destroyed by a Russian bombing in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on May 15, 2022 [Ricardo Moraes/Reuters]

Ukrainian official responds to Putin’s remarks

A senior adviser to Ukraine’s president has responded to Putin’s earlier remarks likening himself to Peter the Great, calling them an attempt to legalise the theft of land.

“The West must draw a clear red line so the Kremlin understands the price of each next bloody step … we will brutally liberate our territories,” Mykhailo Podolyak said in an online post.

Zelenskyy speaks to French counterpart Macron

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said he spoke to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and provided him with an update on the situation on the war’s front lines.

Zelenskyy said the two leaders also discussed additional defence support for Ukraine.

“Special attention was paid to Ukraine’s path to the #EU, we are coordinating steps,” the Ukrainian president said on Twitter.

Moscow-backed separatists to send ‘liberated’ grain to Russia: TASS

Self-declared leaders of one of two occupied eastern Ukrainian regions backed by Moscow have said they would soon start rail shipments to Russia of grain that its troops had “liberated”, the TASS news agency reported.

Yuri Pronko, Moscow-installed agricultural minister of the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic, said that until now, the grain had been sent by truck in relatively small amounts.

“Tomorrow is a historical moment – the first wagons of grain will go Russia, 50 wagons, more than 3,000 tonnes,” TASS cited him as saying.

Ukraine blasts ‘show trial’ of foreign nationals

The death sentences handed down by a pro-Russian separatist court to British and Moroccan nationals fighting for Ukraine should be considered null and void, a Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesman has said.

“The so-called ‘trial’ of the military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the occupied Ukrainian territories is of no significance,” Oleh Nikolenko told the Interfax-Ukraine news agency.

“Such show trials put the interests of propaganda above the law and morality; they undermine the mechanisms for the return of prisoners of war. The Ukrainian government will continue to make every effort to release all the defenders of Ukraine,” Nikolenko added.

Street battles rage in eastern Ukraine’s Severodonetsk

Ukrainian forces are holding their positions in intense street fighting in the eastern city of Severodonetsk, where Russians were “dying like flies”, the regional governor has said, but they faced a “catastrophic” lack of artillery.

The battle amid the ruins of Severodonetsk, a small industrial city, has become one of the war’s bloodiest, with Russia concentrating its invasion force there. Both sides say they have inflicted enormous casualties.

“They [the Russians] are dying like flies,” Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said in an online post. “Fierce fighting continues inside Severodonetsk.”

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read all the updates from Thursday, June 9 here.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies