Latest news about Russia and the war in Ukraine

Official says fighting in Severodonetsk “divided the city in the middle”

The head of Severodonetsk says fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces has split the city in half.

Speaking to Ukrainian television, Oleksiy Stryuk said: “Unfortunately, the front lines divided the city into the middle.”

His comments come as Russian forces continue their offensive in the Donbass region. The Kremlin claims to have taken control of a third of the Severodonetsk region, although the troops were not able to advance as quickly as they had hoped.

– Sam Meredith

The United Kingdom said heavy bombing continues in the city of Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine

A family waits to be evacuated by train in Pokrovsk, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, on May 30, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Britain’s Ministry of Defense said heavy shelling continues in the main eastern city of Severodonetsk, with street fighting likely on the outskirts of the town.

In its latest intelligence assessment, the ministry said that Russian forces “have achieved greater local successes in the campaign than before by massing troops and blazing in a relatively small area.”

“This forces Russia to accept risks elsewhere in the occupied territories,” the ministry said.

“The political objective of Russia is likely to occupy the entire territory of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast. To achieve this, Russia will need to secure more difficult operational targets outside of Severodonetsk, including the main city of Kramatorsk and the main M04 Dnipro-Donetsk highway,” the ministry said.

– Sam Meredith

Ukrainian court sentences two Russian soldiers to prison for war crimes

A Ukrainian court sentenced two captured Russian soldiers to 11-and-a-half years in prison on Tuesday for bombing a town in eastern Ukraine, the second war crime verdict since Russia’s invasion began in February.

Alexander Popikin and Alexander Ivanov, who heard the verdict standing in a reinforced glass case at the Kotlevska District Court in central Ukraine, pleaded guilty last week.

“The guilt of Bubikin and Ivanov has been fully established,” said Judge Evin Polibuk.

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Both admitted last week that they were part of an artillery unit that fired at targets in the Kharkiv region of Russia’s Belgorod region.

– Reuters

EU leaders divided over Russian gas ban

EU leaders are divided over whether to target Russian gas imports in the next set of EU sanctions against the Kremlin. This comes shortly after the European Union imposed a partial oil embargo as part of its sixth sanctions package.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas told reporters that the European Union should go further and discuss a plan to target Russia’s gas imports in its seventh set of economic measures.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nahammer abruptly rejected this idea, saying that it would not be a topic for discussion this time.

Russia supplies about 40% of the EU’s natural gas and 27% of its imported oil.

– Sam Meredith

Russia hits back at EU over partial oil embargo, says it will find other importers

The partial ban imposed by the European Union covers Russian oil brought into the bloc by sea, with an exception granted for imports delivered via the pipeline after opposition from Hungary.

Attila Kispendek | Afp | Getty Images

Russia has suggested that it will find other importers of its oil after the European Union’s decision to impose a partial ban.

“As she said yesterday, #Russia will find other importers,” Russian diplomat Mikhail Ulyanov said via Twitter. His comments refer to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

He added, “It is worth noting that she is now contradicting her statement yesterday. The very rapid change in mentality indicates that #EU is not in good shape.”

The EU’s von der Leyen said the bloc’s sixth round of economic measures against the Kremlin will effectively cut about 90% of Russia’s oil imports by the end of the year. She added that the European Union would soon return to the issue of the remaining 10% of the pipeline’s oil.

Read the full story here.

– Sam Meredith

Russian forces claim that a third of the Severodonetsk region is now under their control

Russian forces claimed to have captured a third of the city of Severodonetsk, while continuing their offensive in the Donbass region of Ukraine.

The Donbass region refers to two eastern regions of Ukraine, Luhansk and Donetsk – a major strategic, political and economic target of the Kremlin.

“We can already say that a third of the city is already under our control,” said Leonid Bashnik, President of the Russian-backed Luhansk People’s Republic, Tell Russian state information agency TASS.

Pasnik admitted that Russian forces were not able to advance as quickly as hoped for into the main eastern city, with fighting currently raging in an urban area.

– Sam Meredith

Zelensky says 32 media workers were killed in the war

A journalist emerges from the crater of a volcano caused by a Russian missile attack on Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said 32 media representatives have been killed since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Alex Chan / SOPA Images | Light Rocket | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said 32 media workers have been killed since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Among them is French journalist Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff, a French journalist working for BFM TV, who has suffered from Fatal injury to the neck while riding in an armored evacuation vehicle Sky News reported that it was bombed by Russian forces.

“A little more than a month ago, I gave an interview to this very TV channel,” Zelensky said in his nightly speech. “This was my first interview with the French media during a full-scale war.”

“My sincerest condolences to Frederic’s colleagues and family,” Zelensky said.

– Chelsea Ong

Oil prices rise after the European Union agreed to ban about 90% of Russian crude

Crude oil prices rose during Asian hours afterwards European Union leaders agreed to ban about 90% of Russian oil by the end of 2022.

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Charles Michel, president of the European Council, says the move will immediately affect 75% of Russia’s oil imports.

The ban is part of the sixth EU sanctions package against Russia since its invasion of Ukraine.

He explained that “the European Council agrees that the sixth package of sanctions against Russia will include crude oil, as well as petroleum products, which are delivered from Russia to member states, with a temporary exception for crude oil transported through a pipeline.” May 31 statement from European Council.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at a press conference that this temporary exception covers the remaining Russian oil that has not yet been banned.

– Weezin Tan

Russian billionaire under sanction completes sale of his British football team

The sale of a British soccer team owned for 19 years to a Russian-Israeli billionaire linked to Vladimir Putin.

Buhle’s simple refusal to accept any deviations proved central to the Connecticut billionaire’s takeover of Chelsea.

Norfoto | Norfoto | Getty Images

There was a consortium led by Todd Boehle, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers Chelsea Football Team Bought From Roman Abramovich, the billionaire who was sanctioned by the British government for his ties to Putin after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in a deal worth 4.25 billion pounds ($5.38 billion).

Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea, looks on from the stands during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on April 16, 2016 in London, England.

Paul Gilham | Getty Images

Abramovich put his Chelsea squad up for sale on March 2, a week after the invasion and just days before the British government added his name to the list of Russian oligarchs subject to sanctions. Among other conditions, the sanctions prevented Chelsea from signing new players or offering new contracts.

With team ownership now new, these restrictions will be lifted.

– John Rosever

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