- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says defenders in the city of Severodonetsk are inflicting major losses on Russian troops.
- The UN says it is pursuing a deal to allow grain exports from Ukraine and unimpeded access to world markets for Russian food and fertilisers.
- The Institute of International Finance, a trade group, says Russia’s economy will shrink by 15 percent this year.
- Ukraine’s prosecutor general says the country has now opened more than 16,000 investigations into possible war crimes committed by Russian troops.
Here are the latest updates:
Two Britons, Moroccan risk death penalty in Donetsk court
Two British nationals and a Moroccan who were captured while fighting for Ukraine could face the death penalty after pleading guilty in a court of one of Russia’s proxies in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s RIA news agency has reported.
Video published by RIA showed Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner and Moroccan Brahim Saadoun in a courtroom cage with white bars. RIA said Pinner and Saadoun had pleaded guilty to actions aimed at the violent seizure of power.
The video appeared to show Aslin pleading guilty to a lesser charge involving weapons and explosives. He was seen standing in the cage and leafing through a sheaf of legal documents as the charge was translated to him.
Severodonetsk now largely under Russian control: Governor
The eastern Ukraine,city of Severodonetsk is now “largely” under Russian control after fierce fighting, while its twin city of Lysychansk is suffering enormous destruction, the region’s governor says.
Moscow’s forces “control a large part of Severodonetsk. The industrial zone is still ours, there are no Russians there. The fighting is only going on in the streets inside the city”, Serhiy Haidai, governor of the Lugansk region, said on Telegram.
Severodonetsk, which had a prewar population of 100,000, and the city of Lysychansk are wedged between Russian forces in Luhansk province.
Read more here
‘Endless caravan of death’ in Mariupol, says local official
Workers are removing bodies from the ruins of high-rise buildings in the devastated Ukrainian port city of Mariupol and transporting them in an “endless caravan of death”, a mayoral aide says.
Petro Andryushchenko said on the Telegram app that in a search of about two-fifths of the buildings they have found from 50 to 100 bodies in each. They are taking the bodies to morgues and landfills.
Ukrainian authorities estimate at least 21,000 civilians were killed and hundreds of buildings destroyed during a weekslong Russian siege of Mariupol. Reports have surfaced of mass graves holding thousands of bodies.
Russia claimed full control of Mariupol last month.
Severodonetsk defenders are inflicting big losses, Zelenskyy says
Volodymyr Zelenskyy says defenders in the city of Severodonetsk are inflicting major losses on Russian troops during what he called a “fierce and difficult” battle.
“In many respects, the fate of the Donbas is being decided there,” he said in an online address.
Russian economy to shrink by 15 percent: Trade group
Hard hit by sanctions, Russia’s economy will shrink by 15 percent this year and another 3 percent in 2023, wiping out 10 years of economic gains, the Institute of International Finance, a global banking trade group, said in an analysis.
President Vladimir Putin said earlier this week that unemployment and inflation are decreasing, backing up his frequent claims that Russia is succeeding despite Western sanctions.
Still, the finance institute argued the sanctions, partly by encouraging foreign companies to abandon Russia, “are unraveling its economy, wiping out more than a decade of economic growth, and some of the most meaningful consequences have yet to be felt’.’
UN pursuing deal on Ukraine grain, Russian fertilisers
The United Nations says it is pursuing a deal that would allow grain exports from Ukraine through the Black Sea and unimpeded access to world markets for Russian food and fertilisers.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told UN correspondents without the deal hundreds of millions of people in developing countries face the threat of an unprecedented wave of hunger.
“Ukraine’s food production and the food and fertiliser produced by Russia must be brought into world markets despite the war,” Guterres said.
Russia escalates pressure on domestic opponents of invasion
Russia stepped up its campaign against domestic opponents of its invasion, extending the detention of Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr, a journalist Russia accuses of spreading “false information” about Russia’s military. Russia previously adopted a law criminalising “false information” about the war, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Amid pressure to come out in support of the war, some public figures have fled the country. Pinchas Goldschmidt, the chief rabbi of Moscow, fled to Israel following pressure to make public statements in support of the invasion.
Read more here
Ukraine files eight more war crime cases
Ukraine filed eight more war crimes cases in court in addition to three sentences already handed down to Russian soldiers.
In total, Ukraine has now opened more than 16,000 investigations into possible war crimes during Russia’s invasion, prosecutor Iryna Venediktova said in televised remarks.
“Every day we see an increase [in investigations],” she added. “We are talking about people who didn’t just come as military combatants … but also came to rape, kill civilians, loot, humiliate and so on.”
Moscow denies allegations its troops have committed war crimes.
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.
Read all the updates from Wednesday, June 8, here.