- The battle for the key eastern city of Severodonetsk is taking a “terrifying” human toll, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says.
- He says the battle for the Donbas will be remembered in military history as one of the most violent battles in Europe.
- Russia’s main goal in Ukraine is to protect the breakaway self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov claims.
- Ukraine’s national police chief discloses authorities are investigating the killings of more than 12,000 Ukrainians in the war.
- All of the bridges in Severodonetsk have been destroyed, making it impossible to bring in humanitarian supplies or evacuate citizens, the local governor has said.
Here are the latest updates:
One killed, two injured in Sumy region: Governor
A Russian drone dropped grenades on a small community on Monday in Ukraine’s Sumy region, which borders Russia, killing one person and injuring two, the local governor has said.
“Almost at 2 pm, an enemy drone dropped ammunition (grenade launcher) on the territory of Velykopysarivska community. As a result of the explosion two people were injured, one died,” Dmitry Zhivitsky wrote on Telegram.
“At about 5 pm, the community was also shelled with mortars,” he added but didn’t mention any casualties from the attack.
Japan philanthropic group begins fund raising for Ukrainians
A Japanese foundation has announced it is launching a fundraising drive to provide more than 1,200 Ukrainian evacuees in Japan with additional financial support for language studies and other needs.
Jumpei Sasakawa, executive director of the Nippon Foundation, said it aims to raise 1 billion yen ($7.4 million) through cooperation with the US and Ukrainian ambassadors.
The foundation has already pledged 5 billion yen ($37 million) for the transportation and living costs of Ukrainian evacuees. Japan has so far accepted more than 1,200 war-displaced Ukrainians since Russia invaded in late February.
Germany’s Scholz coy on possible Ukraine visit
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz declined to comment Monday on reports that he is planning to visit Ukraine together with his counterparts from France and Italy soon.
Scholz fobbed off questions about the reported travel plans, saying that he wouldn’t go beyond what his spokesperson had told reporters earlier in the day. The spokesperson had declined to discuss the reports.
While Germany has contributed considerable financial and military aid to Ukraine since the Russian invasion three months ago, Scholz’s government has been criticised both at home and abroad for being slower to do so than the United States and some smaller European countries.
Scholz pushed back against such criticism, saying “it would be good if those who express their views on this or that issue spent a moment thinking about it first.”
Colombia stepping up coal, petroleum production amid Ukraine war
Colombia is set to increase coal and petroleum production as it steps up to fill the void created by sanctions against Russia, Energy Minister Diego Mesa has said.
The Andean country has restarted coal exports to Ireland, Mesa said on the sidelines of Canada’s prospectors and developers conference in Toronto. Ireland stopped buying Colombian coal in 2016 on human rights concerns.
“Six years ago Ireland had replaced Colombian coal with Russian coal … but at the beginning of the war they came knocking at our doors again,” Mesa said.
Blinken discusses Ukraine in talks with Korean counterpart in Washington
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has met with his South Korean counterpart Park Jin in Washington, DC, and discussed a wide range of issues, including Ukraine.
“We are standing together on global security challenges, including [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin’s unprovoked war on Ukraine,” Blinken said after the meeting. “Since the war began in February the Republic of Korea has coordinated sanctions and export controls alongside the United States and other allies and partners.”
He said South Korea also has offered Ukraine “significant” economic and humanitarian support.
.@SecBlinken on the United States and Republic of Korea: We are standing together on global security challenges, including President Putin’s unprovoked war on Ukraine. We’re working together to promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. pic.twitter.com/6zGMoVNfWJ
— Department of State (@StateDept) June 13, 2022
Blinken holds call with British counterpart
Blinken has held a call with UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and discussed the continued coordination of support for Ukraine.
“Secretary Blinken expressed his concern regarding recent reports of a sham ‘trial’ and its judgments against lawful combatants serving in Ukraine’s Armed Forces,” the State Department said in a readout of the talks.
Good call with UK Foreign Secretary @TrussLiz today to continue coordinating our urgent support to Ukraine. We also spoke about the Northern Ireland Protocol and the need to continue negotiations with the EU to find solutions.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) June 13, 2022
The battle of Donbas could prove decisive in Ukraine war
If Russia prevails in the battle of Donbas, it will mean that Ukraine loses not only land but perhaps the bulk of its most capable military forces, opening the way for Moscow to grab more territory and dictate its terms to Kyiv.
A Russian failure in the battle could lay the grounds for a Ukrainian counteroffensive – and possibly lead to political upheaval for the Kremlin.
Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov described the combat situation as “extremely difficult”, using a reference to an ancient deity of sacrifice by saying: “The Russian Moloch has plenty of means to devour human lives to satisfy its imperial ego.”
Read more here.
Battle for Severodonetsk taking ‘terrifying’ human toll: Zelenskyy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said the battle for Severodonetsk was taking a “terrifying” toll as Russian forces threaten to take the strategic eastern city.
“The human cost of this battle is very high for us. It is simply terrifying,” Zelenskyy said in his daily address to the Ukrainian people.
“The battle for the Donbas will without doubt be remembered in military history as one of the most violent battles in Europe,” he added. “We are dealing with absolute evil. And we have no choice but to move forward and free our territory.”
Ukraine exhumes seven bodies of people it says were killed by Russian forces
Ukrainian investigators have exhumed seven bodies from makeshift graves in a forest near Kyiv.
The bodies were found outside the village of Vorzel, less than 10km (6 miles) from the town of Bucha, where Kyiv alleges that Russian forces who occupied the area carried out systematic executions in an abortive attempt to capture the capital. Russia denies that.
“This is another sadistic crime of the Russian army in the Kyiv region,” regional police chief Andriy Nyebytov said on Facebook.
Moroccan sentenced to death in Donetsk is not a mercenary, father says
The father of a Moroccan man sentenced to death by a court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) on mercenary charges has said his son should be treated as a prisoner of war as he is a Ukrainian national who handed himself in voluntarily.
Morocco-born fighter Brahim Saadoun received Ukrainian nationality in 2020 after undergoing a year of military training as a requirement to access aerospace technology studies at a university in Kyiv, his father Tahar Saadoun said in an email to the Reuters news agency.
He handed himself in “voluntarily” and should be treated as a “prisoner of war”, the father said.
“We as a family suffer from the absence of contact with the lawyer to exchange legal information and this adds to our ordeal,” he said.
Russia’s key goal in Ukraine is to protect Moscow-backed republics: Peskov
Russia’s main goal in Ukraine is to protect the Moscow-backed so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, Russia’s RIA state news agency has cited Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov as saying.
“In general, the protection of the republics is the main goal of the special military operation,” Peskov said.
Donetsk and Luhansk are two breakaway Russian-backed entities in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, which Russia says it is fighting to remove entirely from Kyiv’s control.
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.
Read all the updates from Monday, June 13, here.