Actor Ben Stiller seen in Lviv whilst working with UNHCR to support Ukrainian refugees
“However, the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) publishes casualty figures for DPR forces. As of 16 June, the DPR acknowledged 2128 military personnel killed in action, and 8897 wounded, since the start of 2022,” the defence ministry said.
It is “highly likely that DPR forces are equipped with outdated weapons and equipment,” the ministry said.
Heavy shelling has continued to rain on Ukraine’s eastern region Donbas where Russia is pushing to corner the key city of Sievierodonetsk.
Russia is highly likely preparing to attempt to deploy a large number of reserve units to the Donbas, the UK has claimed.
Sehiy Haidai, the regional governor of Luhansk, one of the two territories in Donbas, said “today everything that can burn is on fire”.
Sievierodonetsk, an area of intense fighting, is being turned “into ruins”, the governor said.
Russia suffering ‘extraordinary attrition’ in Donbas, claims British defence ministry
Russia is facing “extraordinary attrition” in Ukraine’s eastern region and it is likely that the pro-Russian forces in Donetsk are using outdated weapons, the British defence ministry said on Wednesday.
Pointing out that Russia has not released the overall military casualties in Ukraine since 25 March, the MoD said: “However, the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) publishes casualty figures for DPR forces. As of 16 June, the DPR acknowledged 2128 military personnel killed in action, and 8897 wounded, since the start of 2022.”
It added: “The DPR casualty rate is equivalent to around 55 per cent of its original force, which highlights the extraordinary attrition Russian and pro-Russian forces are suffering in the Donbas”.
According to the British intelligence, it is “highly likely that DPR forces are equipped with outdated weapons and equipment”.
“On both sides, the ability to generate and deploy reserve units to the front is likely becoming increasingly critical to the outcome of the war,” the ministry said in its latest intelligence update.
From the front line in Ukraine, the ministry said that heavy shelling continues as “Russia pushes to envelop the Sieverodonetsk area via Izium in the north and Popasna in the south”.
“Russia is highly likely preparing to attempt to deploy a large number of reserve units to the Donbas,” the ministry said.
Arpan Rai22 June 2022 06:36
Ukraine set to become EU member on Thursday, diplomats say
Ukraine is likely to become an official member of the European Union bloc on Thursday, diplomats from the union and ministers said, in a symbolic move four months after it was invaded by Russia.
Officials from EU are set to sign off tomorrow, at a summit in Brussels, recommendations made by the European Commission last week.
Luxembourg’s foreign affairs minister Jean Asselborn, ahead of a meeting with other EU ministers, said: “We are working towards the point where we tell [Russian President Vladimir] Putin that Ukraine belongs to Europe, that we will also defend the values that Ukraine defends.”
“There is not a single country which makes problems with the proposal. We will show great unanimity,” Mr Asselborn said.
According to several diplomats, no countries raised objections at a meeting of the bloc’s ambassadors earlier this week.
Arpan Rai22 June 2022 06:15
Russian attacks on Luhansk intensify: ‘Everything that can burn is on fire’
Officials in Ukraine’s eastern areas have said that the Russian attacks laid down a curtain of fire on Tuesday as it continues to increase its territorial control over the separatist territories.
“Today everything that can burn is on fire,” said Serhiy Haidai, governor of Ukraine‘s eastern Luhansk region.
Sievierodonetsk, the hot spot of intense military fighting, is being turned “into ruins”, the governor said.
He added that about 500 civilians are sheltering at the Azot chemical plant.
“It is a sheer catastrophe,” Mr Haidai said about the fighting around the plant.
“Our positions are being fired at from howitzers, multiple rocket launchers, large-caliber artillery, missile strikes,” he said.
Arpan Rai22 June 2022 05:22
Ukraine fighting for modern weapons, EU candidacy, says Zelensky
Ukraine is fighting every day with Russian soldiers and is awaiting the supply of modern weapons, Volodymyr Zelensky said late on Tuesday.
He added that the lives of thousands in the war-battered country depends on the country’s allies.
“…And just as actively as we fight for a positive decision of the European Union on the candidacy for Ukraine, we fight every day for the supply of modern weapons for our country. We do not decrease our activity for a single day,” Mr Zelensky said.
He added: “The lives of thousands of people depend directly on the speed of our partners – on the speed of implementation of their decisions to help Ukraine.”
He confirmed that the situation on battle lines has not changed significantly but added that the offensive is increasing in the separatist region of Donetsk.
“With the help of tactical moves, the Ukrainian army is strengthening its defense in the Luhansk region, which is really the toughest area right now. The occupiers are also putting serious pressure on the Donetsk direction. In the Kharkiv region there is brutal and cynical Russian artillery shelling,” Mr Zelensky said.
He added: “It will not give anything to the occupiers, but the Russian army is deaf to any rationality. It simply destroys, simply kills – in this way it shows its command that it is not standing still.”
In the south, he said, Ukraine is defending Mykolaiv region, “our Zaporizhzhia, and gradually liberate the Kherson region”.
Arpan Rai22 June 2022 04:26
Lithuanians near Kaliningrad put faith in Nato after Russia’s threats
Russia’s threat to punish Lithuania over blocked rail shipments to Moscow’s enclave of Kaliningrad jangled nerves on Tuesday for residents living just across the border who put faith in Nato membership to thwart any potential military action.
Lithuania has shut the route for transport of steel and other ferrous metals, which it says it is required to do under EU sanctions that took effect on Saturday, raising the ire of Russian officials who threatened a “serious negative impact.”
Insurance worker Vitalijus Sidiskis, 59, said that while he believed it was difficult to predict what Russia might do, he would remain calm because of Lithuania’s membership in the European Union and Nato.
“Nothing bad will happen … because Lithuania is in Nato and in the European Union,” he told Reuters. “I don’t believe that they will be aggressively attacking us.”
Other residents in the border town of nearly 6,000 said the threats from Russia had overshadowed other problems, such as sky-high inflation that has hit the pocketbooks of many Lithuanians.
“We work nearby to the border and the shooting and the maneuvers are a bit worrying,” Galina Mateikuniene, a 52-year-old seamstress said. “We are probably more afraid of war, of an invasion. The economy is the economy.”
Andy Gregory22 June 2022 03:59
Draft text points to EU candidacy for Ukraine and Moldova, report suggests
According to the Wall Street Journal’s Laurence Norman, a draft conclusion text of the looming EU summit states: “The European Council has decided to grant the status of candidate country to Ukraine and to the Republic of Moldova.”
EU leaders in Brussels are expected to sign off on last week’s recommendation by the European Commission that Ukraine be granted candidate status, with three diplomats telling Reuters on Tuesday that after several days of internal EU discussions no opposition among the 27 member states had surfaced.
A French presidential official, whose country heads the EU until the end of June, told reporters in a briefing he was confident none of the 27 would block candidacy status for Ukraine and Moldova.
“We are forging consensus. At this moment I can’t say all 27 are agreed but there is reasonable hope to quickly get an agreement on Ukraine and Moldova at the EU Council,” they said.
Andy Gregory22 June 2022 03:02
Watch: Ukraine visa scheme ‘a big problem’, says engineer after his family flee to UK
A Ukrainian engineer who has helped dozens of refugees get to the UK after his own close family made it out of Mariupol says the visa system remains “shambolic” and is getting worse, my colleague Oliver Browning reports.
Anton Ievsiushkin, 38, contrasted the “amazing” help his sister, niece, mother and grandmother have had from the British public with the government scheme.
He believes the visa challenges are made to discourage refugees from applying.
Mr Ievsiushkin began helping families settle in the UK after his twin sister Anastasiia and her now five-month-old daughter fled from Mariupol in March.
Ukraine visa scheme ‘problematic’, says engineer who fled war-torn nation to UK
Andy Gregory22 June 2022 02:06
Canada seeking pathway to enable German gas flow amid Russian sanctions
Ottawa is evaluating options to help restore German gas supplies as a crucial Nord Stream 1 pipeline part is stranded in Canada due to Russian sanctions, Canada’s natural resources minister has said.
Gazprom’s Nord Stream 1 pipeline has been forced to reduce capacity as it waits for the turbine, which is being serviced in Canada. Sanctions on Russia make it impossible for German equipment supplier Siemens Energy to receive the pipeline part, the company said last week.
“We want to respect the sanctions because the sanctions were put into place for a reason,” resources minister Jonathan Wilkinson told Bloomberg. “That being said, the intent of the sanctions was never to cause significant pain to Germany, which is one of our closest friends and allies. So we are very seized with this issue.”
“We are talking to Germany, trying to find a pathway through which we can actually enable the flow of gas,” Mr Wilkinson said. “There may be different options that we can look at.”
Russia has said the pipeline is delivering less gas to Europe due to the slow return of Siemens-made equipment from Canada. European leaders such as German chancellor Olaf Scholz have questioned whether the cut in flows is politically motivated rather than a technical issue.
A natural resources ministry spokesman confirmed the accuracy of the comments, saying they were in line with an official statement issued last week.
Reuters22 June 2022 01:10
Ireland will ‘walk every step’ of Ukraine’s journey to EU
Ireland’s Taoiseach Micheal Martin has said he was “delighted” to speak with Voldomyr Zelensky ahead of a summit this week in which the EU will discuss Ukraine’s potential candidacy for ascension to the bloc.
Despite the European Commission’s endorsement, it is likely to take years or even decades to lead to EU membership for Ukraine.
Mr Martin, who said previously that the process to apply to join the EU is “complex and challenging”, has been a vocal advocate for Ukraine’s fast-tracked membership of the EU, and has used Ireland as an example of how a country can develop through EU membership.
“It requires considerable work on the part of the country looking to join,” he said. “Ireland is ready to walk every step of that journey with Ukraine, providing whatever support and encouragement we can along the way.”
Andy Gregory22 June 2022 00:15
Zelensky invites Irish premier to Ukraine
Volodymyr Zelensky has invited Irish premier Micheal Martin to visit Ukraine, after the two leaders shop ahead of a summit this week where leadrs will discuss Ukraine’s potential EU candidacy status.
The Ukrainian president said that he spoke to Mr Martin “on the eve of the historic” European Council meeting and thanked Ireland for its “active support of Ukraine’s European aspirations” and the status of a candidate for EU membership.
Mr Zelensky said he invited Mr Martin “to make the first visit to Ukraine in the history of bilateral relations”.
He has spoken to several EU leaders on Tuesday ahead of the summit, including Hungary’s Viktor Orban, who he also invited to visit Ukraine.
Andy Gregory21 June 2022 23:40