The Ukrainian president says ‘victory must be achieved on the battlefield’ while calling for more western support.
- Ukraine’s leader President Volodomyr Zelenskyy has told a UK newspaper that that a stalemate with Russia is “not an option”.
- Ninety-seven percent of Luhansk region, one of the two provinces that make up Ukraine’s Donbas, is under Russian control, according to Moscow’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.
- Shoigu says Russian forces have fully “liberated” the residential quarters of Severodonetsk.
- Ukrainian official claims some 600 Ukrainians are being held captive and tortured in the Russia-occupied southern region of Kherson.
‘Don’t blame myself’ for not trying hard enough for Ukraine: Merkel
German former Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she tried hard when she was in office to prevent the situation in Ukraine from developing to the current state, adding that she does not blame herself for not trying hard enough.
“It’s a great sadness that it didn’t work out, but I don’t blame myself for not trying,” said Merkel, speaking of the 2014 Minsk agreement with Russia. She spoke in a interview with German journalist and author Alexander Osang that was televised by broadcaster ARD.
Merkel said there was no justification for Russia’s “brutal disregard of international law” in Ukraine, adding that she had been against a plan to let Ukraine into NATO because she wanted to prevent escalation with Russia and Ukraine was not ready for such membership.
Russia returns bodies of 210 Ukrainian fighters to Kyiv: Military
Russia has handed over to Kyiv the bodies of 210 Ukrainian fighters, most of whom who died defending the city of Mariupol from Russian forces at a vast steel works, the Ukrainian military said.
“The process of returning the bodies of the fallen defenders of Mariupol is under way. To date, 210 of our troops have been returned – most of them are heroic defenders of Azovstal,” Ukraine’s defence intelligence directorate said on Twitter.
Stalemate with Russia ‘not an option’: Zelenskyy
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has told Britain’s Financial Times newspaper that a stalemate with Russia is “not an option”.
“Victory must be achieved on the battlefield”, he said as he repeated his call for Western military support.
“We are inferior in terms of equipment and therefore we are not capable of advancing,” he told the paper. “We are going to suffer more losses and people are my priority.”
Zelenskyy said restoring the borders Ukraine controlled before Russia’s invasion on February 24 would be “a serious temporary victory”.
But he said the ultimate aim was the “full de-occupation of our entire territory”.
Ukrainian forces finding it difficult to hold Severodonestk centre: Governor
Ukrainian forces are finding it hard to stave off Russian attacks in the centre of Sievierodonestk, but Moscow’s forces do not control the city, the governor of Luhansk region has said.
In an online post, Serhiy Gaidai also said Russian troops were constantly shelling Sievierodonetsk’s twin city Lysychansk, which lies across the Siverskiy Donets river.
Lavrov in Turkey for talks on Ukraine grain exports
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has arrived in Ankara for a two-day visit to Turkey on for talks on unblocking grain exports from Ukraine.
This is Lavrov’s second trip to Turkey after meeting his Turkish and Ukrainian counterparts Mevlut Cavusoglu and Dmytro Kuleba in Antalya on March 10.
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war.
Read all the updates from Tuesday, June 7, here.