Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

Russia now controls 70% of Sievierodonetsk, says Ukrainian regional governor

The eastern city of Sievierodonetsk suffered intense artillery and missile strikes from the Russian army.

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Russian forces have taken control of around 70% of Sievierodonetsk, according to Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai.

His comments come as Russian forces continue their offensive in the Donbas region. Donbass refers to the two regions in eastern Ukraine, Luhansk and Donetsk, a major strategic, political and economic target for the Kremlin.

Haidai said via Telegram that the eastern city of Lysychansk remains “completely” under Ukrainian control.

However, all free settlements in the Luhansk region are constantly under fire and evacuation efforts have been suspended, Haidai said.

—Sam Meredith

Wheat cannot be a ‘weapon of war’, pope says asking for lifting of Ukrainian blockade

Pope Francis leads his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on June 1, 2022.

Philip Monteforte | AFP | Getty Images

Pope Francis on Wednesday called on authorities to lift the block on wheat exports from Ukraine, saying the grain cannot be used as a “weapon of war”.

Speaking at his general audience in front of thousands in St. Peter’s Square, he said the blockade should be lifted because several million people depend on Ukrainian wheat, especially in the world’s poorest countries.


Russia says Biden’s arms shipments to Ukraine increase risk of direct clashes with US

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the risk of direct clashes between Moscow and Washington had increased after the US decision to supply more advanced rocket systems to Ukraine.

Fabrice Cofrini | AFP | Getty Images

Russia has warned that US President Joe Biden’s decision to supply advanced rocket systems to Ukraine increases the risk of direct clashes between Moscow and Washington.

When asked if the likelihood of an open confrontation between Russia and the United States would increase following the White House’s decision to supply Ukraine with longer-range rocket systems, the Vice -Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said: “All the arms deliveries which continue, are on the increase, increase the risks of such a development.”

Speaking to the RIA Novosti news agency, Ryabkov said of US foreign policy that “the vestiges of a responsible and healthy approach to the situation have simply been abandoned.”

—Sam Meredith

OPEC+ oil group reportedly considering suspending Russia from supply deal

Then-Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak (right) with Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman at the 2019 Russian Energy Week International Forum in Moscow. OPEC delegates are reportedly concerned about growing economic pressure on Russia and its ability to pump more crude to cool soaring prices.

Sefa Karacan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Some members of the OPEC+ energy alliance are considering suspending Russia from an oil production deal, The Wall Street Journal reportedquoting anonymous OPEC delegates.

It comes at a time when non-OPEC leader Russia, a major player in global energy markets, faces a barrage of Western sanctions and a partial ban on oil from the European Union to the aftermath of the assault in Ukraine.

OPEC delegates are would have concerned about growing economic pressure on Russia and its ability to pump more crude to cool the price spike.

CNBC has reached out to a spokesperson for Russia’s Energy Ministry and OPEC for comment.

OPEC and non-OPEC countries are due to discuss the next phase of production policy on Thursday.

—Sam Meredith

Zelenskyy says Russian bombing of Sievierodonetsk chemical plant is ‘madness’

Sievierodonetsk is one of three cities that make up one of the largest chemical complexes in Ukraine. The area is now the front line as Russian troops close in on the town.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated that the situation in the eastern region of Donbass is “very difficult”, saying that the Russian airstrikes in Sievierodonetsk are “madness”, given the presence of a large-scale chemical plant in the city.

His comments come after a Russian airstrike hit a nitric acid tank in the city. Residents of Sievierodonetsk have been warned not to leave bomb shelters due to the risk posed by toxic fumes.

Speaking in an evening address to the nation, Zelenskyy said the cities of Sievierodonetsk, Lysychansk and Kurakhove are now at the epicenter of the confrontation.

“Given the presence of large-scale chemical production in Sievierodonetsk, Russian military strikes there, including indiscriminate aerial bombardments, are madness,” he said.

“But on the 97th day of such a war, it is no longer surprising that for the Russian military, for the Russian commanders, for the Russian soldiers, any madness is absolutely acceptable.”

—Sam Meredith

According to UNICEF, 5.2 million children need humanitarian aid

Children seen in an underground shelter. Nearly 100 days of war in Ukraine have rendered 3 million children inside Ukraine and more than 2.2 million children in countries hosting refugees in need of humanitarian assistance, with nearly 2 out of 3 children displaced by the fighting.

Alex Chan Tsz Yuk/SOPA Images | Light flare | Getty Images

The war has left 3 million children inside Ukraine and more than 2.2 million children in countries hosting refugees in need of humanitarian assistance, according to UNICEF, which estimates that 2 out of 3 children have been displaced by the fighting.

On average, more than 2 children are killed and more than 4 are injured every day in Ukraine mainly due to explosive weapon attacks in populated areas, according to reports verified by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. the man.

Critical civilian infrastructure for children, including 256 health facilities and hundreds of schools, was also damaged or destroyed during the war.

—Chelsea Ong

Biden says US will supply Ukraine with longer-range rocket systems

A multiple rocket launcher system fires during live artillery fire March 4, 2020. U.S. President Joe Biden said in a New York Times opinion piece that he will ‘provide the Ukrainians with rocket systems and more advanced ammunition that will allow them to more accurately hit key targets on the battlefield in Ukraine.”

Christof Stache | AFP | Getty Images

US President Joe Biden said in a New York Times opinion piece that he “will provide the Ukrainians with more advanced rocket systems and munitions that will allow them to more accurately strike key targets on the battlefield in Ukraine. “.

Rocket systems refer to longer-range, multiple-launch rocket systems, NBC News reported, citing the White House Security Council.

US officials have been hesitant to send the MLRS to Ukraine, fearing that Russia will view it as an escalation action due to the system’s reach, NBC News reported.

The MLRS can fire numerous rockets at a great distance – far further than any of the systems Ukraine already has, CNN reported.

Russia said earlier this week it would hit “decision-making centers”, including those “not in Kyiv”, if the United States sent long-range rocket systems into Ukraine.

But a senior US administration official said Ukraine had agreed not to use the MLRS to launch rockets into Russia, NBC News reported.

—Chelsea Ong

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