- The United Nations human rights commissioner says the death and destruction in the port city of Mariupol show ‘gross violations’ of international human rights law.
- German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis have backed Ukraine’s bid for candidate status at the European Union on their first trip to Kyiv since the war started in February.
- Ukraine’s city of “Irpin, like Bucha, has become a symbol of the unimaginable cruelty of the Russian war,” Scholz said after the three leaders visited the city.
- Russia says it has banned 121 Australian citizens, including top journalists and defence officials, accusing them of a “Russiaphobic agenda”.
Here are the latest updates:
UK to host Ukrainian leaders to discuss reconstruction
Britain will welcome representatives from Ukraine and business leaders on Friday to discuss how UK companies can help rebuild key infrastructure in Kyiv.
Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan will seek to promote collaboration between British companies in infrastructure, energy and transport, and Ukrainian public and private organisations to help repair damaged and destroyed infrastructure.
Trevelyan will also announce changes to trade remedy measures, including reallocating ring-fenced market access for steel imports from Russia and Belarus to other countries including Ukraine.
Russian pranksters posing as Ukraine president trick J.K. Rowling
A pair of Russian pranksters have revealed fragments of an interview they conducted with British writer J.K. Rowling while posing as people with sympathies toward neighbouring Ukraine.
Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stoliarov, who are also known as ‘Vovan and Lexus’ on their show on Russian video platform Rutube, revealed the video at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
The pranksters told their audience they had questioned Rowling on “cancel culture” and her opinions towards Russia, while also pretending to ask questions on behalf of Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The “Harry Potter” author, who received widespread criticism on social media and beyond after making comments about transgender rights, said she supported tougher sanctions on Russia during the interview.
Macron decries ‘war crimes’ on ‘Ukraine’s soil’
Emmanuel Macron has decried the war crimes committed in Ukraine and vowed to hold accountable the perpetrators.
“The whole world has witnessed the war crimes committed on Ukraine’s soil,” Macron said in a tweet.
“We will remain mobilised to ensure the perpetrators of those crimes are held accountable and punished in line with international law. Our experts are on the front line to gather the evidence,” he added.
The whole world has witnessed the war crimes committed on Ukraine’s soil. We will remain mobilized to ensure the perpetrators of those crimes are held accountable and punished in line with international law. Our experts are on the front line to gather the evidence.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) June 16, 2022
US has not asked Russia about two missing Americans
The United States has said it has not asked Russia about two US citizens reported missing after traveling to Ukraine to fight against Russian forces and said there are reports of a third missing American.
“As of today, we have not raised this yet with the Russian Federation … (We) haven’t seen anything from the Russians indicating that two such individuals are in their custody,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters, describing reports about the two men as unconfirmed.
Alexander Drueke, 39, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Andy Huynh, 27, of Hartselle, Alabama, went to Ukraine as volunteer fighters against Russian forces, have been missing for a week, and are feared captured, family members have said.
EU leaders visit to Ukraine was ‘historic’: Zelenskyy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has described the visit to Kyiv by the leaders of Germany, France and Italy, all criticised in the past by Kyiv for support viewed as too cautious, as “historic” and said “big steps” were made during their meeting.
“Today is a truly historic day. Ukraine has felt the support of four powerful European states. And in particular support for our movement towards the European Union. Italy, Romania, France and Germany are with us,” he said, during his evening address.
“All four leaders … support Ukraine’s candidacy. Of course, all relevant procedures must be followed, all EU member states must join. But at our meeting today a big step was made,” Zelenskyy said.
The leaders, who were joined by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, toured Irpin, a town northeast of the capital devastated soon after the invasion began on February 24, where withdrawing Russian forces left behind bodies littering the streets.
‘Gross violations’ took place in Mariupol: UN
The intensity and extent of the death and destruction in Mariupol suggested that “serious violations” of international humanitarian law and “gross violations” of international human rights law occurred during the battle for the Ukrainian city, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has said.
Michelle Bachelet made the observation as she presented her agency’s report into the situation in Mariupol before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
She said that the “tragedy of Mariupol” was far from over and explained that the full picture of the devastation was not yet clear.
European leaders back Ukraine’s EU bid
The leaders of France, Germany and Italy back “immediate” European Union candidate status for Ukraine amid their ongoing visit to Kyiv.
“All four of us support the status of immediate candidate for accession,” French President Macron told a joint news conference with his EU colleagues.
Moreover, he said Ukraine must “resist and win” the war and has announced that France will donate six additional long-range artillery systems.
Russia’s war of ‘unimaginable cruelty’: Scholz
The Ukrainian town of Irpin, like Bucha before it, has become a symbol of the “cruelty” of Russia’s war in Ukraine and its senseless violence, German Chancellor Scholz said on a visit to the Kyiv suburb, adding that the war must end.
“Irpin, like Bucha, has become a symbol of the unimaginable cruelty of the Russian war, of senseless violence,” Scholz wrote on Twitter. “The brutal destruction of this city is a warning: this war must end.”
#Irpin ist wie #Butscha längst ein Symbol für die unvorstellbare Grausamkeit des russischen Kriegs geworden, für sinnlose Gewalt. Die brutale Zerstörung in dieser Stadt ist ein Mahnmal – dieser Krieg muss zu Ende gehen. pic.twitter.com/DEPZUfh9OY
— Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz (@Bundeskanzler) June 16, 2022
Read all the updates from June 16 here.