Last Updated: 23rd June, 2022 14:58 IST
The Russia-Ukraine war has now lasted for 120 days with no imminent peace deal in sight. Dramatic footage of the Russian drone strike left the internet baffled. Residents in Enerhodar are allegedly being abducted by invaders. British intel, in the meantime, suggested that the Russian momentum will slow down gradually due to exhausted resources.
14:58 IST, June 23rd 2022
EU VP Timmermans accuses Russia of 'weaponising' energy after Moscow move to cut supplies
European Union vice-president Frans Timmermans accused Russia of weaponising energy as it moved to cut gas supplies in recent days, affecting several EU countries.
"All this is part of Russia's strategy to undermine our unity," Timmermans told the European Parliament on Thursday.
"In total, 12 member states are now affected by Russian unilateral supply cuts," he added.
"Ten member states have issued an early warning under the gas security of supply regulation, So the risk of full gas disruption is now more real than ever before."
Timmermans spoke as Germany activated the second phase of its three-stage emergency plan for natural gas supplies Thursday, saying the country faces a “crisis” and warning that storage targets for the winter are at risk due to dwindling deliveries from Russia.
Timmermans urged the adoption of a gas storage regulation, together with other preparedness measures to combat the shortages.
14:45 IST, June 23rd 2022
European Union leaders set to grant Ukraine candidate status
European Union leaders on Thursday are set to grant Ukraine candidate status to join the 27-nation bloc, a first step in a long and unpredictable journey toward full membership that could take many years to achieve.
Making the war-torn country a contender now seems to be a done deal after leaders were initially divided on how fast they could move to embrace the war-torn country's bid that was launched only a few days after Russia launched its invasion on Feb. 24.
According to several EU diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity before the summit in Brussels, Ukraine will receive the unanimous approval that is required for the launch of discussions.
The EU's 27 nations have been united in backing Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s invasion, adopting unprecedented economic sanctions against Moscow. However, leaders were initially divided on how quickly the EU should move to accept Ukraine as a member, with the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark among the most skeptical.
But Ukraine's bid got a boost last week when the EU's executive arm, the European Commission, gave its seal of approval based on Ukraine’s answers to a questionnaire received in April and early May.
Ukraine received another shot in the arm when the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Romania visited the country and vowed to back its candidacy.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he spoke with a total of 11 EU leaders on Wednesday, following calls with nine the day before, in another indication of how important EU candidacy is for Ukraine. He said the meeting in Brussels will be an “historic session of the European Council."
EU candidate status doesn't give an automatic right to join the bloc, though, and doesn't provide any security guarantees.
For Ukraine, the start of accession discussions will depend on how the war-torn country will be able to meet essential political and economic conditions.
To be admitted, potential newcomers need to demonstrate that they meet standards on democratic principles, and they must absorb about 80,000 pages of rules covering everything from trade and immigration to fertilizers and the rule of law.
To help countries with candidate status, the bloc can provide technical and financial assistance throughout negotiations, but can also decide to revoke the status if the required reforms aren't implemented.
European officials have said that Ukraine has already implemented about 70% of the EU rules, norms and standards, but has also repeatedly pointed out corruption and the need for deep political and economic reforms.
It’s unlikely that accession talks could start before next year, with the prospect that the war could drag on for a very long time adding to the uncertainty.
“Considerable efforts will be needed, especially in the fight against corruption and the establishment of an effective rule of law,” Belgian Prime minister Alexander De Croo said. “But I am convinced that it is precisely the (post-war) reconstruction of Ukraine that will provide opportunities to take important steps forward.”
Leaders will also debate Thursday a recommendation for the European Commission to grant Moldova — a tiny, non-NATO country that borders Ukraine — EU candidate status. The stalled enlargement process to include Western Balkans countries in the bloc is also on their agenda.
14:44 IST, June 23rd 2022
Complete liberation of Snake Island 'goal' of defenders says chief of Ukrainian Armed Forces
14:32 IST, June 23rd 2022
7 killed, including 2 children in Kharkiv as Russia renewed shelling
Kharkiv Governor Oleh Synehubov on Thursday informed that at least seven people, including two children, were killed after Russia renewed shelling in Pechneihy village.
⚡️Governor: 7 people, including 2 children, injured by Russian shelling in Kharkiv Oblast.
According to Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov, Russians shelled the village of Pechenihy on the night and morning of June 23. The attack destroyed multiple houses, he said.
14:21 IST, June 23rd 2022
Russian forces rain artillery fire on 14 settlements in Donetsk
⚡️Russian forces fire on 14 settlements in Donetsk Oblast.
According to the Donetsk Oblast Police press service, Russia's June 22 attacks damaged or destroyed 25 buildings. The police didn't specify the number of civilians injured and killed.
📷Donetsk Oblast Police pic.twitter.com/Ci4G3ZHATk
14:16 IST, June 23rd 2022
European Council President 'confident' about Ukraine's candidacy
European Council president Charles Michel on Thursday said he was "confident" that the European Union would offer candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova.
14:14 IST, June 23rd 2022
Pentagon agrees to deliver Robotic Dog to Kyiv for demining operations
The US Army has agreed to send its Robotic Dog- Spot- to Ukraine to help remove mortar shells, and cluster munitions in formerly Russian-controlled regions. According to Foreign Policy reports, a demining enterprise HALO Trust will use Spot for demining operations, said Chirs Whatley, the executive director of the trust.
The Boston Dynamics-made robotic dog uses its armed to push the undetonated mines into pits, without endangering anyone's lives. The movement is done in batches of 50-100shells.
"In general, Spot is an effective tool for keeping people out of harm's way, and the robot is often used to inspect potentially hazardous materials from a safe distance," said Nikolas Noel, the company's director of marketing and communications was quoted by Foreign Policy.
13:43 IST, June 23rd 2022
Former Downing Street Chief of Staff claims 'Putin not ready to end war in Ukraine': Report
In an op-ed for The Guardian, former Chief of Staff to Tony Blair, Jonathan Powell, claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin is not yet ready to pull off his troops from Ukraine. He flagged that Kyiv will only attain long-standing security provided it attains membership status in the European Union. This will offer a "clear track" and prevent Russia from invading again, he said.
Further highlighting the significance of the EU bid, he added that it will also allow the Ukraine govt. to reform systems dominated by "corrupt" Soviet-era practices.
He added, that the negotiations agenda must be expanded beyond Russia's pressure and Ukraine's neutrality. "A new agenda needs to be balanced with Ukraine’s priorities: justice for the crimes committed, rebuilding the country and recognition of Ukraine’s territorial integrity," he wrote for The Guardian.
Powell also floated the idea of "new relationship" between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
13:20 IST, June 23rd 2022
Russian FM says countries facing negative influence of US must 'reconfigure' economic ties
In meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov took a swipe at the US and its bid to reach a deal on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
"All countries experiencing the negative influence of the egotistical policies of the United States and its satellites have an objective need to “reconfigure” their economic ties in such a way as not to depend on the whims and vagaries of our western partners," Lavrov said, as quoted by The Guardian.
13:10 IST, June 23rd 2022
British citizens sentenced to death in by pro-Russian DPR court to preparing appeals: Report
Britishers Sean Pinner and Aiden Aslin, and Moroccan Saadoun Brahim, are preparing a plea against their death sentences, Russia's Tass News Agency quoted. “My colleagues and I are preparing the full text of the appeal against the verdict in the interests of our clients," Pinner’s lawyer Yulia Tserkovnikova told the agency. The boys were convicted of committing acts of "terrorism". Russia labelled them as "mercenaries" who carried out "actions aimed at seizing power and overthrowing the constitutional order."
Britain, supported by the US, has slammed the trials as a "sham," adding that the Pinner and Aslin were already in Ukraine when the war began.
12:53 IST, June 23rd 2022
Ukrainian Forces to probe into accidental death of alleged Russian collaborator in Kherson
A former Ukrainian MP and alleged Russian collaborator Oleskii Kovalyov was killed in a car explosion on Wednesday in the Moscow-occupied city of Kherson.
Chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate at the Ukrainian Defense Ministry Kyrylo Budanov said during a nationwide telethon. “I can confirm that a certain action has been taken. The car was definitely blown up. The collaborator’s condition is yet to be checked,” he said, as quoted by Ukrinfrom.
Kovalyov reportedly went to Kherson Region and later expressed support for Russia’s occupation, according to Ukrinform.
12:36 IST, June 23rd 2022
Ukrainian troops discover Russian winged missile 'Caliber' in Vinnytsia
12:21 IST, June 23rd 2022
Ukraine claims to liquidate over 34,000 Russian troops since Feb 24
Ukrainian Armed Forces in its latest military briefing claimed that the defending troops have eliminated at least 34,430 Russian soldiers since the war began on February 24. In addition, they have also destroyed over 1,500 Russian tanks and 756 artillery systems and 240 MLRS.
12:03 IST, June 23rd 2022
NATO General Secretary warns Russia’s Ukraine invasion 'won’t be over soon'
As Russia’s war in Ukraine becomes a quagmire of attrition, Western leaders are slowly coming to two realisations about Vladimir Putin’s intentions.
First, Russia’s war against Ukraine won’t be over soon and is likely to grind on for the foreseeable future.
Second, it’s pointless to try to imagine a future in which relations with Moscow are characterised by anything other than mutual mistrust and hostility.
In spite of this, there is still the chance that Russia’s invasion falls off the international radar through a Western inability to deal with hard realities.
Putin’s war of expansion In an interview with a German newspaper, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg estimated the war could take years, rather than months.
Patrick Sanders, the incoming chief of the British Army, has claimed the UK’s armed forces need to be oriented around fighting a ground war with Russia.
And after an awkwardly frosty hug with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, even French President Emmanuel Macron, whose calls to Putin have annoyed Kyiv and who previously warned Putin must not be humiliated, has voiced his unequivocal support for Ukraine.
These epiphanies are long overdue. There’s no point in dreaming up elaborate diplomatic “off-ramps” for Putin when it’s abundantly clear he sees no need for them.
Doing so also denies Ukraine agency in determining how the war ends, and presupposes a post-conflict European security order can meet both Russian and Western requirements. As witnessed prior to Russia’s invasion on February 24, the Kremlin isn’t content with anything short of regaining something close to the geostrategic footprint of the USSR.
Obsessed with territorial aggrandizement, and having cynically cultivated a fetish for militarism in Russian society, Vladimir Putin recently admitted as much when he compared himself to Peter the Great, noting “now it’s our turn to get our lands back”.
At the very least, Putin’s words should put to bed the vastly overstated claim that the enlargement of Western security structures somehow forced Putin to invade Ukraine. This is clearly a war of Russian expansion, not NATO expansion.
11:56 IST, June 23rd 2022
UK MoD claims Russian troops pressurising Lysychansk-Sieverodonetsk pocket
With steady advancement, Russian forces are putting fringes of Lysychansk-Sieverodonetsk under immense pressure, said the UK intelligence report on war.
Some Ukrainian units have withdrawn, probably to avoid being encircled. The briefing added that Russia’s improved performance in this sector is likely a result of recent unit reinforcement and heavy concentration of fire.
"Russian forces are putting the Lysychansk-Sieverodonetsk pocket under increasing pressure with this creeping advance around the fringes of the built-up area. However, its efforts to achieve a deeper encirclement to take western Donetsk Oblast remain stalled.”
11:53 IST, June 23rd 2022
Luhansk Guv claims Russian launched over hundred MLRS in Lysychansk
"The city suffers from heavy fire from Russian invaders. In this direction, the racists concentrated more than a hundred multiple launch rocket system units. And there are so many artillery and mortars here that the Russians are simply covering entire neighbourhoods with heavy fire. Numerous casualties among civilians. Despite the total fire, the city is at the forefront of Ukrainian resistance to the occupiers. Lysychansk is defending itself," said governor of Luhansk Oblast Serhiy Haidai in a Telegram post.
11:30 IST, June 23rd 2022
Russia allegedly employs large-scale cyber attack on Ukraine: Report
Apart from its physical invasion of Ukraine, Russia has also waged a digital war against Kyiv. According to a report released by Microsoft on June 22, Russia's majority of cyber activity was focused on Kyiv. As per the analysis by the software firm, Russian hackers attempted at least 128 network intrusions in 42 countries. However, only 37 of the detected attacks were successful; and only 9 penetrations resulted in data loss, Microsoft said.
10:59 IST, June 23rd 2022
Watch: Thick plumes of smoke billow after Russia strikes civilian infrastructure in Kherson
10:47 IST, June 23rd 2022
Zelenskyy runs 'telephone marathon' as EU decision on Ukraine's candidacy looms
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday engaged in a series of phone calls with state heads of Bulgaria, Latvia, Sweden, Estonia, Belgium, Czech Republic, Austria, and more as the European Union is due to deliver its verdict on Ukraine's candidacy for membership. "From the very morning, I continued the telephone marathon for a positive decision on the candidacy for Ukraine. 11 leaders today," Zelenskyy said in a statement quoted by his presidential press.
Here is what Zelenskyy said:
- Bulgaria. I thanked Prime Minister of Bulgaria Petkov for supporting Ukraine and the development of the whole of Europe with our participation.
- Latvia. We discussed with Mr. Prime Minister Kariņš the cooperation between our countries, between Ukraine and the European Union, as well as our joint opportunities to protect Europe from the crises that Russia organizes, including the food crisis.
- Greece. I was glad to hear the words of sincere support for Ukraine. Mr. Prime Minister and I have the same vision of the historical significance of the decision that is expected from the European Council.
- Sweden. Prospects for bilateral cooperation and cooperation at the level of European structures were discussed with Prime Minister Andersson.
- Estonia. Thanked Mrs. Prime Minister Kallas for her continued support of Ukraine. The priorities of our cooperation and the agenda in the context of the NATO Summit in Madrid next week were discussed.
- Czech Republic. Fruitful conversation with Mr. Prime Minister Fiala. The priorities of the Czech presidency of the Council of the European Union in the next six months were discussed. And now I am sure that the voice of the Czech Republic is in favor of Ukraine.
- Belgium. I thanked Mr. Prime Minister De Croo for supporting our European perspective and invited him to visit Ukraine. I hope that Belgium will take a significant part in the post-war reconstruction of our country.
- Austria. I am grateful to Chancellor Nehammer for the political and humanitarian support, for understanding the needs of Ukraine. We can do a lot to develop relations between our states.
- Slovenia. We agreed with Mr. Prime Minister Golob that we can strengthen cooperation between our countries. I thanked him for the consistent support of the candidacy for Ukraine.
- Moldova. I spoke with President Sandu. We supported each other on the eve of an important meeting of the European Council. And we will help each other to complete this path to the European Union faster.
10:29 IST, June 23rd 2022
Ukraine has no time for bureaucratic chains amid war, need to rebuilt quickly: Zelenskyy
During the conversation with the students of the student community of major Canadian universities, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized that after the victory the country will be in great need of young Ukrainian specialists who have studied or gained new experience abroad. For them to return to Ukraine, the state must ensure a reliable security situation and create favorable conditions for business development and personal development.
"We do not have time for any bureaucratic chains, because we are a state at war, and the country will have to be rebuilt very quickly," he said.
Zelenskyy noted that despite the full-scale war, many state institutions withstood in the country, and the financial and digital sectors function stably because Ukraine managed to resist cyberattacks by Russia.
10:07 IST, June 23rd 2022
Zelenskyy says EU candidate status will be 'new page in the history' of Ukraine
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is convinced that the member states of the European Union will support granting Ukraine the status of a candidate for EU membership, which will be a historic event and a great motivation for the Ukrainian army and society in the struggle for independence and territorial integrity, Verkhovna Rada said in a statement.
"I strongly believe that in these crucial days Ukraine will receive the status of a candidate for membership in the European Union. We have come a long way for it… Our people, our revolutions, our war… And this status is such an important moment. This is a transition to another page of our history. A very positive transition. I believe that all these 27 European countries will endorse this status for us," the Head of State said during a conversation with the student community of major Canadian universities.
09:52 IST, June 23rd 2022
Russian troops conduct air reconnaissance in Bayrak and Rubizne, claims Ukrainian Forces.
Ukrainian Armed Forces claimed that Russian troops carried out sabotage and intelligence activities on the 119th of the war in Ukraine. In Kharkiv, the "enemy forces" regrouped to prevent a fierce counterattack from Ukrainian defenders, the update statement mentioned. In addition, Russian forces carried out air reconnaissance in areas of Bayrak and Rubizne. Occupiers also plan to use fire-throwing systems in the Slavic direction, the briefing said.
09:39 IST, June 23rd 2022
US pans Russia's action in Ukraine, latter says 'don't politicise meet'
Russia has asked fellow G20 members to keep politics out of a global gathering on health issues, after envoys from the United States and some of its allies raised the Ukraine conflict during the health summit in Indonesia on June 20. During the G20 health meeting in Yogyakarta, American, British, Australian, and Canadian officials accused Russia of bombing Ukrainian hospitals.
"Far from promoting global health, Russia has disrupted health services, destroyed health facilities, and continues to strike buildings where innocent civilians including children are sheltering," claimed Andrea Palm, US deputy secretary of Health and Human Services, RT News reported.
Read full story here
09:36 IST, June 23rd 2022
Putin's BRICS Agenda includes political & cultural cooperation with member-states: Kremlin
Ahead of the much-awaited BRICS Summit, Kremlin confirmed that the Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend the conference virtually and said the leader will discuss both regional and international issues. Notably, this year, the 14th Summit will be hosted by China in a virtual mode on 23-24 June. According to the statement released by the Kremlin, the Russian boss will touch on five major issues including-- political, economic, cultural and humanitarian areas. Besides, it said that Putin will also exchange his views on some international issues. However, the statement did not mention whether the Russian boss would discuss the ongoing "special military operation" or not.
"The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will be focusing on the state of affairs and prospects of multifaceted cooperation within the [group of] ‘five’ in the political, economic, cultural and humanitarian areas," read the statement.
"They are also expected to touch upon pressing international and regional issues. The key agreements will be reflected in the summit’s final declaration," added the statement. Subsequently, on June 24, Kremlin said Putin will also speak at a meeting in the BRICS Plus format with the participation of the leaders of a number of invited states.
Notably, the BRICS summit is due to be held on June 23-24 with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and leaders of Brazil and South Africa. Though the Indian PM and Putin had held several telephonic conversations after the onset of the war, this would be the first time when the trio -- India, China, and Russian leaders-- would meet on a common platform along with other BRICS leaders.
Read more here
09:33 IST, June 23rd 2022
Ukraine holds right to decide its defence against Russian aggression, says US Dy. State Secy
Ukraine has the right to decide how far it will go to defend its territorial boundary from Russia. said US deputy state secretary Wendy Sherman, adding that Washington and its allies will help Kyiv in the process to a "prosperous future."
"What matters here is not our judgment, it is Ukraine's view of what it wants for itself and for its own future," Sherman said when asked to comment on President Volodymyr Zelenskyy 's statement on the Ukrainian Armed Forces' intentions to liberate not only Russian-occupied territories. and lands occupied since 2014, including Crimea and ORDLO, as quoted by Ukrinform.
She also held Russian President Vladimir Putin guilty of waging "unprovoked" war against Ukraine. "So what Ukraine wants for its own future is to be able to decide what it will be like, and every country wants that for itself. Both we and the European Union, more than 40 countries around the world, have supported sanctions and other actions, calling for an end to Putin's unprovoked, unjust and truly terrible war," Sherman said.
09:28 IST, June 23rd 2022
Poland's ship-building industry proposes potential plans to help Ukraine restore merchant fleet
Polish shipbuilding industry on Wednesday proposed a plan to organise cooperation with Ukrainian colleagues to restore the merchant fleet of Ukraine. "Poland's shipbuilding industry proposes to create permanent Polish-Ukrainian working groups, in which we would discuss the construction of ships for Ukraine, the restoration of the merchant fleet, cooperation between design bureaus of the two countries," said the director of the shipbuilding company Crist, Tadeusz Kopovsk, as reported by Ukrinform. He added that Polish shipbuilding companies are ready to conduct an audit of Ukrainian shipbuilding companies and ascertain the required help required for restoration of shipbuilding yards.
09:17 IST, June 23rd 2022
Ukraine's southern forces claim to eliminate 20 Russian troops in 24 hours
⚡️Ukraine's military destroys Russian equipment, field ammunition depots.
Ukraine’s Operational Command “South” said they killed 20 🇷🇺 troops on June 22 and destroyed 2 ammunition depots, as well as some 🇷🇺 equipment, including a self-propelled howitzer, and 4 military vehicles.
08:30 IST, June 23rd 2022
Ukraine proved its eligibility for EU candidate status, says Ursula von der Leyen
Ukraine has traversed through 'fire and water' to prove its worth in gaining a candidate status for European Union membership, said EU President Ursula von der Leyen. Addressing a plenary session of the European Parliament, von der Leyen said that Ukraine has bravely resisted Russian aggression.
"She went through repression and uprisings. She went through the annexation of territories and has now won the war. It is the only country where people have been shot for wrapping themselves in the European flag. Ukraine has gone through fire and water for one simple reason: its own desire to join the European Union," the EU chief said, according to her statement published on EU website.
She added that the recommendation to consider Kyiv's candidacy for EU membership is based on a careful and thorough assessment of reality. "And this evidence tells us that Ukraine deserves a European perspective, as well as candidate status, realizing that the country will implement a number of important reforms, "von der Leyen said.
Ukraine is going through hell for a simple reason: its desire to join the EU.
The @EU_Commission answered this desire explicitly.
Our opinion acknowledges the immense progress that 🇺🇦 democracy has achieved since the Maidan protests of 2014.
08:11 IST, June 23rd 2022
Russia not in mood to alter bilateral ties with US; Steven Seagal to remain special envoy
As the unabated war continues even after 119 days and the dramatic fall of diplomatic relations, Russia seems to maintain "healthy" relations with the United States. According to a report by the Russian news agency, TASS, US actor Steven Seagal will continue his role as Russian envoy for humanitarian ties with the US. The major clarification came despite the Vladimir Putin-led administration had approved a proposal by the country’s Foreign Ministry to cease a memorandum of understanding with the US in the field of culture, humanitarian and social sciences, as well as education and mass media.
While speaking to the Russian news agency, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov confirmed that Seagal will continue with his incumbent role and added the administration has no mood to change him despite the souring of bilateral relations.
"Naturally, Steven Seagal has maintained his status as a special envoy. He is in charge of a number of issues, and we are not planning to change anything here, despite the general climate in bilateral relations," said Ryabkov.
Further, he maintained, "Everything is still valid here, and we have already generated certain experience in how he positions himself."
Read more here
07:55 IST, June 23rd 2022
Ukraine expects EU-wide support for candidacy to join bloc, claims top envoy
On the 120th day of the ravaging Moscow-Kyiv conflict in Eastern Europe, a Ukrainian official who is supervising embattled Ukraine's efforts to join the European Union said on Wednesday that she is "100%" convinced that all 27 EU countries would support the war-torn nation's EU candidacy at a summit this week. During an interview with The Associated Press, Olha Stefanishyna, the deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, stated that the decision may be made as early as Thursday, June 23, when the leaders' summit would begin.
Stefanishyna further noted that the Netherlands, Sweden, as well as Denmark were sceptical about starting EU accession talks with Ukraine, however, they are now in favour. When questioned how certain she is that Ukraine will be recognised as an EU candidate, she responded, “The day before the summit starts, I can say 100%.”
Apart from the Ukrainian official, similar confidence has been shown by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who described it as a "crucial moment" for his country. According to the Associated Press report, the main priority for EU leaders gathering in Brussels is Ukraine's application for membership.
Read more here