– European leaders back Ukraine’s EU bid –
The leaders of France, Germany and Italy on June 16 backed “immediate” EU candidate status for Ukraine on their first visit to Kyiv since the invasion durin g which they vow to help defeat Russia and rebuild Ukraine’s shattered cities.
French President Emmanuel Macron said Ukraine must “resist and win” the war and announces that France will donate six additional long-range artillery systems.
Macron has been criticised in Ukraine and among some of its allies for saying that Russia should not be “humiliated” if defeated.
On a visit to the war-scarred Kyiv suburb of Irpin with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis he praised the “heroism” of Ukrainians.
– More weapons ‘useless’, says Moscow –
The Kremlin warned the French, German and Italian leaders that sending Ukraine more weapons is “absolutely useless and will cause further damage to the country”.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he hopes the three leaders will encourage Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky to “really look at the state of affairs.”
– 10,000 civilians trapped in eastern city –
The governor of the eastern Luhansk region, Serhiy Haidai, said around 10,000 civilians, out of a pre-war population of 100,000, remain trapped in the city of Severodonetsk, where intense fighting has raged for weeks.
The city is the biggest in the Luhansk region that has not fallen to Russian forces.
The three bridges into the city have been destroyed, cutting off key escape routes.
Moscow says Ukraine on Wednesday blocked the evacuation of civilians from a chemical plant where Ukrainian forces are holding out.
– ‘Our product, our rules’, Russia says on gas –
The head of Russian energy giant Gazprom says that Moscow will play by its own rules after slashing gas deliveries to Germany.
“Our product, our rules,” Alexei Miller tells the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Poland, Bulgaria, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands have all had their natural gas deliveries suspended since the war began for refusing to pay in rubles.
This week Gazprom cut its deliveries to Germany through the Nord Stream pipeline in what Berlin has slammed as a “political” move but Gazprom blamed on repairs being carried out by Germany’s Siemens.
Italian energy giant Eni and Austria’s OMV says their supplies have also been cut.
– Russian spy stopped at war crimes court –
The Dutch intelligence service AIVD says it stopped a Russian spy posing as an intern from accessing the International Criminal Court, which is investigating war crimes in Ukraine.
The Dutch say the man, whom they named as Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov, used a Brazilian cover identity but was unmasked as a member of Russia’s GRU military intelligence.
The incident took place in April. The man was sent back to Brazil.
– $1 bn more in US weapons –
US President Joe Biden announces a new $1 billion worth of arms and ammunition for Ukraine.
The package includes more artillery, coastal anti-ship defence systems and ammunition for artillery and advanced rocket systems thatUkraine is already using.
Kyiv says it is outgunned in the fight for its industrial heartland of Donbas and appealed to Western allies for greater military aid.
– Japanese airline ditches Z logo –
Japan’s Zipair budget airline ditches its Z logo for fear of it being read as a sign of support for Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The letter Z has become a symbol of support for Russia’s invasion after being spotted on Russian tanks and military uniforms in Ukraine.
It has since appeared on cars, clothing and on billboards across Russia, as well as on social media.
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