- Ukraine says its forces control half of the strategic eastern city of Severodonetsk.
- Kyiv asks countries for even more powerful arms to fend off the Russian attack.
- Vladimir Putin says long-range missile supplies being sent to Ukraine meant “we will … strike targets we haven’t hit before”.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits front-line troops in the Zaporizhzhia region, as well as the towns of Soledar in the Donetsk region and Lysychansk in the Luhansk region, as Russia continues it attack on the Donbas.
- Ukraine misses out on qualifying for the World Cup after the war-disrupted team is beaten 1-0 by Wales.
Here are the latest updates:
Zelenskyy visits towns near front in eastern Ukraine
Ukraine’s president Zelenskyy has said he visited two towns near the frontline of battles against the Russian army after meeting troops in Zaporizhzhia region.
“After that I went with the head of [my] office to the east. We were in Lysychansk and Soledar,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video.
“I am proud of everybody I met, everyone I shook hands with, everyone with whom I connected with and had expressed my support.”
Lysychansk is in the Luhansk region and Soledar is in the Donetsk region. Both regions make up the Donbas, which is the focus of Russia’s campaign in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine says it controls ‘half’ of Severodonetsk
Ukraine has said its forces control half of the strategic eastern city of Severodonetsk as Kyiv’s military repulses Russian troops in the key to the battle for the Luhansk region.
But Luhansk’s governor Serhiy Haidai said they expect a major counter-attack from Russian forces in the coming days.
“Our armed forces have cleaned half” of the industrial hub of Russian forces, Haidai said on his official social media channels. “In the next five days, there will be a large increase in the number of shellings from heavy artillery.”
NATO holds Baltic Sea naval exercises with Finland, Sweden
NATO has kicked off a nearly two-week US-led naval exercise on the Baltic Sea with more than 7,000 sailors, airmen and marines from 16 nations, including two aspiring to join the military alliance, Finland and Sweden.
The annual BALTOPS naval exercise, initiated in 1972, is not held in response to any specific threat. But the military alliance said “with both Sweden and Finland participating, NATO is seizing the chance in an unpredictable world to enhance its joint force resilience and strength” with two Nordic aspirant nations.
Russia hits Kyiv with missiles
Russia took aim at Western military supplies for Ukraine on Sunday, launching air strikes on Kyiv that it claimed destroyed tanks donated from abroad.
Ukraine said missiles aimed at the capital hit a train repair shop. Elsewhere, Russian air strikes in the eastern city of Druzhkivka destroyed buildings and killed at least one person, an official said.
Residents described waking to the sound of missile strikes with rubble and glass falling down around them.
Before the morning attack, Kyiv had not faced any such Russian air strikes since the April 28 visit of UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
Read more here.
We will ‘use our means of destruction’ over arms supplies: Putin
Putin has lashed out at Western deliveries of weapons to Ukraine, saying they aim to prolong the conflict.
“All this fuss around additional deliveries of weapons, in my opinion, has only one goal: to drag out the armed conflict as much as possible,” the Russian leader said.
He insisted such supplies were unlikely to change the military situation for Ukraine’s government.
If Kyiv gets longer-range rockets, he added, Moscow will “draw appropriate conclusions and use our means of destruction, which we have plenty of, in order to strike at those objects that we haven’t yet struck”.
Read more here.
Russia trying to limit regular forces casualties: UK
The UK military said Ukrainian counterattacks in Severodonetsk were “likely blunting the operational momentum Russian forces previously gained through concentrating combat units and firepower”.
Russian forces previously made a string of advances in the city, but Ukrainian fighters have pushed back in recent days. A UK intelligence brief also said Russia’s military was partly relying on reserve forces of Luhansk separatists.
“These troops are poorly equipped and trained, and lack heavy equipment in comparison to regular Russian units,” it said, adding the move “indicates a desire to limit casualties suffered by regular Russian forces”.
Ukraine says missiles hit Kyiv train repair shop
Ukrainian authorities escorted journalists to the site of a Russian strike in Kyiv, the first such attack on the city since the end of April.
Officials said they invited reporters to visit the facility to dispel reports the targeted building was used to repair and store T-72 tanks handed over by Eastern European countries. Earlier, the Russian defence ministry said high-precision, long-range air-launched missiles were used.
Standing amid the destruction, an adviser in President Zelenskyy’s office, Serhiy Leshchenko, refuted the Russian claims, saying the facility was a civilian one that produced railway vehicles.
Officials, however, did not address another nearby site that had also been hit and burned, sending up plumes of smoke.
Ukraine loses 1-0 to Wales in World Cup qualifier match
It was an agonising end to Ukraine’s mission to qualify for Qatar while remaining under invasion by Russia.
The Ukrainian players appeared heartbroken following the defeat, wanting to give their country a positive after it has endured three months of bombardment.
Ukraine coach Oleksandr Petrakov said he could not utter a word of criticism of his players.
“I think we did everything we could but I want the people of Ukraine to remember our team, our efforts. I want to say sorry we didn’t score. But that is sport, that happens.”
Read more here
For all the updates on June 5 please read here