Ukraine war: ‘Powerful explosions’ rock Snake Island – Ministry of Defense of Russia/Newsflash /Ministry of Defense of Russia/Newsflash

Ukrainian media have reported powerful explosions on Snake Island, a tiny island in the Black Sea that was heavily militarised by Russia.

The Dumskaya website quoted residents in border areas near Moldova who reported hearing powerful explosions around 4.30 a.m. and seeing rockets flying towards the island.

The rocky 40-acre island in the Black Sea south of Odessa became a symbol of Ukrainian residence for the defiance of its tiny military base that famously told a Russian warship to “go f*** yourself” as it ordered them to surrender.

The island was captured by Russian forces at the end of February and has since been heavily militarised.

Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesman for the Odessa regional government, on Monday morning said Ukrainian troops are pounding Russian forces in the south and hinted at a possible operation against Snake Island without elaborating.

​​Follow the latest updates below.

11:28 AM

Russia accuses G20 members of politicising health talks after criticism over Ukraine

Russia has accused some members of the Group of 20 major economies of politicising a meeting on global health, as it faced criticism over how its invasion of Ukraine in February had plunged its healthcare system into chaos.

The war in Ukraine has overshadowed G20 meetings this year, with current chair Indonesia struggling to keep the group united and resisting pressure from Western members to exclude Russia.

“We are asking our colleagues not to politicise [the] G20 health platform and stay within our mandate and discuss healthcare,” Russian health ministry official Oleg Salagay told a G20 health ministers’ meeting in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta.

Representatives of the United States, Britain, Australia and Canada urged Russia to ends its aggression.

11:18 AM

‘Ukraine has hit oil drilling platforms in Crimea’, pro-Russian regional head claims

Ukraine hit drilling platforms of Chernomorneftegaz off the annexed peninsula of Crimea, the head of the region claimed on Monday.

Three people were injured and the search is ongoing for seven other workers, Sergei Askyonov, the pro-Russian head of the region, said in a post on Telegram.

Reuters was unable to immediately verify the claims.

11:11 AM

EU’s top diplomat calls Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian grain a war crime

Russia is committing a war crime by blocking the export of millions of tonnes of Ukrainian grain, the European Union’s foreign policy chief said on Monday as EU foreign ministers met to discuss ways to free up the crop amid a global food crisis.

Ukraine is one of the top wheat suppliers globally, but its shipments have stalled and more than 20 million tonnes of grain have been trapped in silos since Russia invaded the country in February and subsequently blocked its ports.

Russia denies responsibility for the food crisis, blaming it on Western sanctions imposed on Moscow that have led to a jump in global food prices and warnings by the United Nations of hunger in poorer countries that rely heavily on imported grain.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called on Russia to open up the Black Sea routes crucial for exporting any larger quantity of Ukrainian grain.

“One cannot imagine that millions of tonnes of wheat remain blocked in Ukraine while in the rest of the world people are suffering hunger,” he told reporters as he arrived for the talks in Luxembourg. “This is a real war crime.”

11:00 AM

Russia releases new images of the Iskander missile

Ukraine war: 'Powerful explosions' rock Snake Island - Ministry of Defense of Russia/Newsflash /Ministry of Defense of Russia/Newsflash 

Ukraine war: ‘Powerful explosions’ rock Snake Island – Ministry of Defense of Russia/Newsflash /Ministry of Defense of Russia/Newsflash

Ukraine war: 'Powerful explosions' rock Snake Island - Ministry of Defense of Russia/Newsflash /Ministry of Defense of Russia/Newsflash 

Ukraine war: ‘Powerful explosions’ rock Snake Island – Ministry of Defense of Russia/Newsflash /Ministry of Defense of Russia/Newsflash

10:48 AM

Lithuania transit ban to Kaliningrad ‘unprecedented’ – Russia

The Kremlin has called Lithuania’s decision to ban the transit of some goods to Russia’s Kaliningrad region “unprecedented” and vowed to respond.

Lithuanian authorities banned the transit of goods which are sanctioned by the European Union across its territory, which includes the only rail route between mainland Russia and the Kaliningrad exclave on the Baltic Sea.

Banned goods include coal, metals, construction materials and advanced technology.

In a call with reporters, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Lithuania’s move was “illegal” and said Moscow would announce its response in the coming days.

10:40 AM

Hopes fade for swift Nato accession for Finland, Sweden

Finland and Sweden are to discuss their stalled Nato bids with Turkey in Brussels today, but hopes are fading they will be able resolve their dispute before an alliance summit next week, experts say.

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was to meet with representatives from the three countries to try to make progress on the Nordic nations’ membership applications, which have been blocked by Ankara.

Nato and the two Nordic countries had expected the application process to be quick, Bbt Ankara’s last-minute opposition caught them all off-guard, at a time when the bloc is keen to display a unified front vis-a-vis Russia.

Ankara has accused Finland and Sweden of providing a safe haven for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a “terrorist” group by Turkey and its Western allies, and has also demanded that they lift their weapons freezes on Turkey.

10:22 AM

Russia ‘should not negotiate with US on nuclear issues’

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said Moscow should not negotiate with Washington on nuclear disarmament until the United States “crawled” back to talks.

“We don’t have any relations with the United States now,” Mr Medvedev wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

“They are at zero on the Kelvin scale… There is no need to negotiate with them (on nuclear disarmament) yet. This is bad for Russia. Let them run or crawl back themselves and ask for it.”

09:43 AM

Russia slowly strangling the life out of Severedonetsk

09:16 AM

Germany working with Poland, Romania on freeing Ukrainian grain

Germany supports Poland and Romania in adapting their railways to enable the export of millions of tonnes of grain stuck in Ukraine due to a Russian sea blockade, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has said.

“The railway tracks need to be modernized, we need the right cargo wagons – the German government is working on this with many other actors,” she said as she arrived for a meeting with her European Union counterparts in Luxembourg.

“It is clear that, in the end, we will certainly not be able to get out all grain but if we even just manage to free part of it, on various routes, then this will help as we are facing this global challenge.”

08:50 AM

Ukraine lost control of Severodonetsk village

Ukraine has Monday it has lost control of a village adjacent to the eastern industrial city of Severodonetsk, the centre of weeks of fierce fighting with invading Russian troops.

“Unfortunately, we do not control Metyolkine anymore. And the enemy continues to build up its reserves,” the Lugansk regional governor Sergiy Gaiday said in a statement on social media.

Russia’s capture of the hamlet with a pre-war population of around 1,000 people, is the latest around Severodonetsk, where Moscow’s army has met tough Ukrainian resistance.

Russian troops have slowly advanced in the eastern Donbas region where they focused their military efforts after being pushed out from areas around the capital at the start of their invasion in February.

Mr Gaiday said that the Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk, where hundreds of civilians are said to be sheltering, was being shelled by Russian forces “constantly”.

08:21 AM

We are ready for more attacks, says Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky predicts Russia will escalate its attacks on his country this week.

It comes as Moscow presses its campaign to win control of Ukraine’s east.

“Obviously, this week we should expect from Russia an intensification of its hostile activities,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly video address.

“We are preparing. We are ready.”

Mr Zelensky said he had visited forces in the southern Mykolaiv region, about 550km (340 miles) south of Kyiv.

“Their mood is assured: they all do not doubt our victory,” he said in a video on Sunday that appeared to have been recorded on a moving train.

“We will not give the south to anyone, and all that is ours we will take back.”

In Mykolaiv and Odesa regions, Mr Zelensky said he had heard reports of destruction from Russian strikes: “The losses are significant. Many houses have been destroyed; civilian logistics have been disrupted.”

07:53 AM

China’s May oil imports from Russia soar 55 pc to a record

China’s crude oil imports from Russia soared 55 per cent from a year earlier to a record level in May, displacing Saudi Arabia as the top supplier, as refiners cashed in on discounted supplies amid sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

Imports of Russian oil, including supplies pumped via the East Siberia Pacific Ocean pipeline and seaborne shipments from Russia’s European and Far Eastern ports, totalled nearly 8.42 million tonnes, according to data from the Chinese General Administration of Customs.

That’s equivalent to roughly 1.98 million barrels per day (bpd) and up from 1.59 million bpd in April. China is the world’s biggest crude oil importer.

Chinese firms, including state refining giant Sinopec and state-run Zhenhua Oil, have ramped up purchases of Russian oil, enticed by steep discounts after western oil majors and trading houses pulled back due to sanctions.

Saudi Arabia trailed as the second-largest supplier, with May volumes up 9 per cent on year at 7.82 million tonnes, or 1.84 million bpd. This was down from April’s 2.17 million bpd.

07:29 AM

Ukraine today, in pictures

Russia-Ukraine war: We are ready for more attacks, says Zelensky - Natacha Pisarenko /AP

Russia-Ukraine war: We are ready for more attacks, says Zelensky – Natacha Pisarenko /AP

Russia-Ukraine war: We are ready for more attacks, says Zelensky - Madeleine Kelly/SOPA Images/Shutterstock /Shutterstock 

Russia-Ukraine war: We are ready for more attacks, says Zelensky – Madeleine Kelly/SOPA Images/Shutterstock /Shutterstock

Russia-Ukraine war: We are ready for more attacks, says Zelensky - Madeleine Kelly/SOPA Images/Shutterstock /Shutterstock 

Russia-Ukraine war: We are ready for more attacks, says Zelensky – Madeleine Kelly/SOPA Images/Shutterstock /Shutterstock

07:21 AM

MoD issues daily update

06:57 AM

EU green light ‘in the interests of the whole of Europe’

Nearly three months after Russia launched a bloody invasion of his country, Volodymyr Zelensky said there had been “few such fateful decisions for Ukraine” as the one it expects from the EU this week.

“Only a positive decision is in the interests of the whole of Europe,” the Ukrainian President said in his evening address on Sunday.

“Obviously, we expect Russia to intensify hostile activity this week… We are preparing. We are ready.”

06:42 AM

Germany to restart coal power stations

Germany announced its latest steps to boost gas storage levels to prepare for the next winter season.

It fears Russia, which has cut deliveries in recent days, could reduce or even completely halt supplies.

Germany is to reopen mothballed coal power plants to combat high gas prices, piling pressure on Boris Johnson to cut taxes on household energy bills.

The German Government will pass emergency laws to reactivate the coal plants as Europe takes steps to deal with reduced energy supplies from Russia.

The announcement on Sunday came as part of a series of measures, including new incentives for companies to burn less natural gas.

 READ MORE: Johnson urged to cut energy tax as Germany turns to coal

06:27 AM

Here’s what happened overnight

  • EU foreign ministers will meet in Luxembourg on Monday to discuss ways to free millions of tonnes of grain stuck in Ukraine due to Russia’s Black Sea port blockade

  • The governor of Russia’s Bryansk region said the border village of Suzemka had been shelled from northern Ukraine, with one person wounded and a power station damaged

  • In Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv – northwest of Luhansk – Russia’s defence ministry said its Iskander missiles had destroyed weaponry recently supplied by Western countries

Families in mourning at a funeral ceremony held for two Ukrainian soldiers – First Lieutenant Mikita Gapic and Lieutenant Andrey Basikov, who lost their lives on the front line – at the military section of Cemetery 18 in Kharkiv - Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency

Families in mourning at a funeral ceremony held for two Ukrainian soldiers – First Lieutenant Mikita Gapic and Lieutenant Andrey Basikov, who lost their lives on the front line – at the military section of Cemetery 18 in Kharkiv – Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency

  • Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai said “all Russian claims that they control the town are a lie”.  He said: “They control the main part of the town, but not the whole town.” Fighting made evacuations from the city impossible, he said

  • In southern Ukraine, Western weaponry had helped Ukrainian forces advance 10km (6 miles) towards Russian-occupied Melitopol, its mayor said in a video posted on Telegram from outside the city

  • Analysts at the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War think tank wrote that “Russian forces will likely be able to seize Severodonetsk in the coming weeks, but at the cost of concentrating most of their available forces in this small area”

05:30 AM

Ukraine awaits chance to cut old Soviet ties

An EU decision in favour of Kyiv’s ultimate membership would put Ukraine on track to realise an aspiration that would have been out of reach for the former Soviet republic before the Russian invasion.

“Whole generations fought for a chance to escape from the prison of the Soviet Union and, like a free bird, to fly to European civilisation,” said the speaker of Ukraine’s parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk.

04:54 AM

Australia keeps its supply promise

Australia’s defence ministry said on Monday that it had sent the first four of 14 promised armoured personnel carriers to Ukraine, part of a $200 million aid pledge.

“Australia stands with Ukraine, and again calls on Russia to cease its unprovoked, unjust and illegal invasion of Ukraine,” Defence Minister Richard Marles said.

03:51 AM

Ukrainian performers set for Glastonbury

Glastonbury will play host to Ukrainian acts this year.

Kyiv folk quartet DakhaBrakha will perform on Sunday afternoon on the Pyramid stage. The group, who combine the musical styles of several local ethnic groups, have described themselves as “ambassadors of free Ukraine” and have long used their performances to voice their opposition to war and the policies of Vladimir Putin.

They have been donating money raised by their recent performances to the war effort.

Meanwhile, Go-A will open the John Peel stage on Saturday with a performance of electronic folk music and soaring vocal melodies. The group represented Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021 with the anthemic dance track Shum, placing fifth.

Band member Ihor Didenchuk is also a member of Kalush Orchestra, who triumphed during the contest this year after a symbolic show of public support saw them climb to first place.

Glastonbury will also host Jamala, who won Eurovision for Ukraine in 2016 with her song 1944, about the forced deportation in Crimea during the rule of Joseph Stalin.

03:14 AM

‘People are dying on the streets’

In Severodonetsk – a city of 100,000 people before the war – Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai said Russia controlled “the main part” but not the entire town after intense fighting.

Both Russia and Ukraine have continued heavy bombardment around Severodonetsk “with little change to the front line”, Britain’s Ministry of Defence said on Sunday.

A family mourns the death of a man killed by a cluster rocket in the city of Lysychansk in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas - RIS MESSINIS/AFP

A family mourns the death of a man killed by a cluster rocket in the city of Lysychansk in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas – RIS MESSINIS/AFP

In Severodonetsk’s twin city of Lysychansk, residential buildings and private houses were destroyed by Russian shelling, Mr Gaidai said.

“People are dying on the streets and in bomb shelters.”

He later said 19 people had been evacuated on Sunday: “We are managing to bring in humanitarian aid and evacuate people as best we can.”

02:14 AM

Russia’s Donbas determination continues

Russian forces are trying to take complete control of the eastern Donbas region, parts of which were already held by Russian-backed separatists before the February 24 invasion.

Ukrainian soldiers travel down a road near Druzhkivka, Ukraine. In recent weeks, Russia has concentrated its firepower on Ukraine's Donbas region - Scott Olson/Getty Images

Ukrainian soldiers travel down a road near Druzhkivka, Ukraine. In recent weeks, Russia has concentrated its firepower on Ukraine’s Donbas region – Scott Olson/Getty Images

A prime target of Moscow’s eastern assault is the industrial city of Severodonetsk. Russia said on Sunday it had seized Metyolkine, a village on the outskirts, and Russian state news agency TASS reported that many Ukrainian fighters had surrendered there. Ukraine’s military said Russia had “partial success” in the area.

01:50 AM

Russian attacks set to intensify with EU summit this week

Firefighters work at the site of a fire after Russian shelling in Mykolaiv, Ukraine - AP Photo/George Ivanchenko

Firefighters work at the site of a fire after Russian shelling in Mykolaiv, Ukraine – AP Photo/George Ivanchenko

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia will escalate its attacks this week as European Union leaders consider whether to back Kyiv’s bid to join the bloc.

Ukraine applied to join the EU four days after Russian troops poured across its border in February. The EU’s executive, the European Commission, on Friday recommended that Ukraine should receive candidate status.

Leaders of the 27-nation union will consider the question at a summit on Thursday and Friday and are expected to endorse Ukraine’s application, despite misgivings from some member states. The process could take many years to complete.

The EU’s embrace of Ukraine would interfere with one of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s stated goals when he ordered his troops into Ukraine: to keep Moscow’s southern neighbour outside of the West’s sphere of influence.

Putin on Friday said Moscow had “nothing against” Ukraine’s EU membership, but a Kremlin spokesperson said Russia was closely following Kyiv’s bid, especially in light of increased defence cooperation among member countries.

01:41 AM

Today’s top news

  • The head of Nato has warned that the world must be prepared for the war in Ukraine to last “years”, as Russia sought to bring the front line to Ukraine’s second city

  • Ukrainian rebels attempted to assassinate a local prison boss in Russian-held Kherson, the city’s puppet government has said

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky predicts Russia will escalate its attacks on his country this week.

  • Mr Zelensky visited forces in the southern Mykolaiv region south of Kyiv: “Their mood is assured: they all do not doubt our victory”

  • A Ukrainian official warned on Sunday that Russian forces were trying to approach Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, to “turn it into a new front-line town”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *