Luhansk governor says ‘fierce’ fighting raging in key city of Severodonetsk as Russia focuses efforts on eastern region.
- The Ukrainian army has said its forces continue to frustrate Russian attempts to take the fiercely contested eastern city of Severodonetsk.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin has compared himself to Peter the Great, and spoke of Russia’s need to “take back [territory] and defend itself”.
- Ukrainian foreign ministry has said the death sentences handed down to British and Moroccan nationals fighting for Ukraine should be considered null and void.
- Breakaway eastern Ukrainian regions backed by Moscow have said they will soon start shipping grain to Russia, the TASS news agency reports.
Here are the latest updates:
Zelensky cites ‘positive’ military news in Zaporizhzhia region
Zelensky has reported “positive” news from the southeastern Zaporizhzhia region, where he said Ukraine’s forces were managing to thwart Russian troops.
In a video address, Zelensky also said Ukrainian forces were gradually advancing in the Kharkiv region, east of Kyiv, “liberating our land.”
Ukrainian official responds to Putin’s remarks
A senior advisor to Zelensky, Mykhailo Podolyak has responded to Putin’s earlier remarks likening himself to Peter the Great, calling them an attempt to legalise the theft of land.
“The West must draw a clear red line so the Kremlin understands the price of each next bloody step … we will brutally liberate our territories,” Podolyak said in an online post.
Zelenskyy speaks to French counterpart Macron
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said he spoke to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and provided him with an update on the situation on war’s front lines.
Zelenskyy said the two leaders also discussed additional defence support for Ukraine.
“Special attention was paid to Ukraine’s path to the #EU, we are coordinating steps,” the Ukrainian president said on Twitter.
Had another phone conversation with 🇫🇷 President @EmmanuelMacron. Informed about the situation on the front. Discussed further defense support for 🇺🇦 and work on security guarantees. Special attention was paid to Ukraine’s path to the #EU, we are coordinating steps.
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) June 9, 2022
Luhansk region to send ‘liberated’ grain to Russia: TASS
One of two breakaway eastern Ukrainian regions backed by Moscow has said it would soon start rail shipments to Russia of grain that its troops had “liberated”, the TASS news agency reported.
Yuri Pronko, agricultural minister of the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic, said that until now, the grain had been sent by truck in relatively small amounts.
“Tomorrow is a historical moment – the first wagons of grain will go Russia, 50 wagons, more than 3,000 tonnes,” TASS cited him as saying.
Ukraine blasts ‘show trial’ of foreign nationals
The death sentences handed down by a pro-Russian separatist court to British and Moroccan nationals fighting for Ukraine should be considered null and void, a Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesman has said.
“The so-called ‘trial’ of the military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the occupied Ukrainian territories is of no significance,” Oleh Nikolenko told the Interfax-Ukraine news agency.
“Such show trials put the interests of propaganda above the law and morality; they undermine the mechanisms for the return of prisoners of war. The Ukrainian government will continue to make every effort to release all the defenders of Ukraine,” Nikolenko added.
Street battles rage in eastern Ukraine’s Severodonetsk
Ukrainian forces are holding their positions in intense street fighting in the eastern city of Severodonetsk, where Russians were “dying like flies”, the regional governor has said, but they faced a “catastrophic” lack of artillery.
The battle amid the ruins of Severodonetsk, a small industrial city, has become one of the war’s bloodiest, with Russia concentrating its invasion force there. Both sides say they have inflicted massive casualties.
“They [the Russians] are dying like flies,” Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai said in an online post. “Fierce fighting continues inside Severodonetsk.”
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.
Read all the updates from Thursday, June 9 here.