Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now
Kyiv said it was pushing back Russian troops in Sievierodonetsk as intense fighting raged around the industrial city, the focus of a Russian offensive to take the eastern Donbas region.
* Russian forces are blowing up bridges across the Siverskyi Donets river to prevent Ukraine bringing in military reinforcements and delivering aid to civilians in the town of Sievierodonetsk, the governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Gaidai, said.
* The governor said Ukrainian forces had recaptured around one-fifth of the territory they had lost in the city.
* Russian defence ministry said on its Telegram channel that Ukrainian forces were retreating towards the city of Lysychansk after suffering “critical losses” of up to 90% in some units during fighting for nearby Sievierodonetsk.
* Russia’s defence ministry said its forces shot down a Ukrainian military transport plane carrying weapons and munitions near the Black Sea port of Odesa.
* Reuters could not independently verify battlefield reports.
* Ukraine rebuked French President Emmanuel Macron for saying it was important not to “humiliate” Russia, a position Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba said “can only humiliate France”.
* Finland and Sweden joining NATO would put Russia in a difficult military position in the Baltic Sea, top U.S. General Mark Milley said during a visit to Stockholm ahead of a military exercise.
* Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is leaning toward attending a summit of NATO leaders in late June to spur coordination with the West over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Kyodo News reported, citing unnamed government sources.
* A ship sent to load metal and ship it to Russia has entered the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, TASS news agency reported, the second vessel to arrive in the southeastern city since Russia completed its capture last month.
* Russian President Vladimir Putin denied on Friday that Russia was preventing Ukrainian ports from exporting grain, saying the best solution would be to ship it through Belarus if sanctions on that country were lifted.
* “Victory will be ours,” said Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, speaking on Friday in a video address to mark 100 days of the war.