Flames rise from a structure after it was hit by a projectile in Druzhkivka, Ukraine

Russia’s newly tested intercontinental ballistic missile known as “Satan II” will be deployed by the end of the year, Vladimir Putin has warned.

The Russian president said on Tuesday he would strengthen the country’s armed forces, following substantial losses in Ukraine, and called his troops “real heroes”.

“We will continue to develop and strengthen our armed forces, taking into account potential military threats and risks,” Putin said in a meeting with military graduates. “There is no doubt that we will be even stronger.”

The ballistic missile, officially named Sarmat, reportedly has a range of 18,000km (11,000 miles) and can deliver between 10 and 15 nuclear warheads at hypersonic speeds.

​​Follow the latest updates below.

05:36 PM

US confirms death of second citizen in Ukraine

The United States has confirmed that a second American has been killed fighting for Ukraine, as it warned of risks amid worries over two other US citizens captured battling Russia.

The State Department said that 52-year-old Stephen Zabielski died in Ukraine and that it was providing his family with consular assistance.

“We once again reiterate US citizens should not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict and the singling out of US citizens in Ukraine by Russian government security officials,” a State Department spokesperson said.

The spokesperson called on US citizens in Ukraine to “depart immediately if it is safe to do so using any commercial or other privately available ground transportation options.”

Zabielski is the second American known to be killed fighting for Ukraine. A 22-year-old former Marine, Willy Joseph Cancel, was confirmed as the first in late April.

05:03 PM

US condemns Russian comments on captured fighters

The United States disagrees “vigorously” with the Russian position that the US citizens captured in Ukraine are not covered by the Geneva Conventions, a senior State Department official has said.

The anonymous official briefed that Washington has conveyed its stance on the issue to the Russian government.

The Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, interviewed by the US television network NBC news on Monday, said two Americans detained in Ukraine while fighting on the Ukrainian side of the war were “mercenaries”.

He claimed  Alexander Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27, endangered the lives of Russian servicemen and should face responsibility for their actions.

04:46 PM

Watch: Putin says ‘Satan II’ ballistic missile will be ready ‘by the end of this year’

04:37 PM

‘Arrogant’ UK asks Russia for help over Donetsk death sentences

Russia’s ambassador in London has revealed Britain has “arrogantly” asked for Moscow’s help over two British fighters in Ukraine sentenced to death in a Russian-backed separatist region.

A court in the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine sentenced Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner to death for “mercenary activities”.

Their families deny that the pair, who were contracted by the Ukrainian armed forces, are mercenaries. Britain says its citizens were regular soldiers and should be exempt under the Geneva Conventions.

“There was an approach by the British to us – they sent us a note but the note was so full of such arrogant and didactic expressions that it really didn’t produce any desire in us to cooperate in these questions,” the Ambassador Andrei Kelin told Russia-24 TV.

“They need to approach the DPR – our recommendation remains the same,” Kelin said.

04:15 PM

Growing ‘chatter’ about Putin’s health condition, say officials

There is “more chatter” about Vladimir Putin’s health and “more speculation” about who will replace him in Russia, Western officials have said.

The 2024 presidential election “is certainly looking more interesting than it perhaps was six months ago,” the officials said in anonymous briefings to journalists on Tuesday.

However, there does not appear to be an “immediate threat” to the Russian president’s position from the elite or the general population, they said, even as an estimated 20,000 Russian troops have been killed in the Ukraine war.

While there will be political consequences for the way Mr Putin is damaging Russia’s standing in the world and its economy, they are not likely to happen this year or “in a way that helps Ukraine”, they said.

03:56 PM

Police buying Floridians’ guns to send to Ukraine

Police in Miami are offering to buy guns from locals and send them to Ukraine as part of a buyback scheme to get weapons off the streets and into the hands of those fighting Russia, our US Correspondent Jamie Johnson reports.

As part of a drive dubbed “Guns 4 Ukraine” officers offered $50 for handguns, $100 for shotguns and $150 for “high-powered” rifles such as AR-15s.

Dozens of people queued up on Saturday to hand over their weapons, with police collecting 68 in just four hours.

A tweet sent out by the Miami Police Department said: “It’s not too late to turn in your firearm, No questions asked!” They added: “Help us spread the word and get guns off our streets.”

The weapons will be assessed before being packed up, but there remain significant administrative hurdles before they can be sent off.

03:25 PM

EU proposes to reroute unused Africa aid to ease food crisis

The European Commission proposed on Tuesday to disburse unused funds initially destined for development projects in Africa to support African countries most exposed to the global food crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.

Millions of tonnes of grains are stuck in Ukraine, a crucial supplier to many poorer nations, because the country’s ports are blockaded because of Russia’s invasion.

The Commission’s proposal, if aged by EU governments, would allow the disbursement of 600 million euros (£516 million) to boost support to countries most affected by the food emergency in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific islands, a Commission statement said.

The move is part of the EU’s efforts to win hearts and minds in Africa, and convince African partners that EU sanctions are not to blame for shortages of food and the high price of fertilisers.

02:52 PM

Moscow councillor on trial for ‘fake news’ holds ‘I am against war’ sign in dock

A Moscow court on Tuesday opened hearings in a criminal case against a local lawmaker who faces a decade in prison for calling Russia a “fascist state” that wants to conquer Ukraine.

Alexei Gorinov is tried under a new war censorship law that makes any anti-war statement in Russia a criminal offence.

Mr Gorinov, who faced the first hearing in his case, on Tuesday stood inside a glass cell at a Moscow courtroom, holding a piece of paper saying “I’m against war”.

Prosecutors claim Mr Gorinov, a municipal deputy from northern Moscow, at a meeting of the municipal council in March called Russia a “fascist state” that wages a “war of conquest” in Ukraine.

“I have nowhere to run: This is my homeland. This is my country,” he said quoted by the Media Zona website.

02:44 PM

US attorney general in Ukraine to discuss war crimes

The US attorney general Merrick Garland was visiting Ukraine on Tuesday to discuss prosecution of individuals involved in war crimes, a Justice Department official said.

Garland will meet with Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova to discuss US and international efforts to help Ukraine “identify, apprehend, and prosecute those individuals involved in war crimes and other atrocities in Ukraine,” the official said.

02:40 PM

Kyiv says sophisticated German artillery now deployed in Ukraine

Ukraine has “finally” deployed advanced German artillery system, in the latest delivery of the long-range, precision weapons that it has been calling for.

“Panzerhaubitze 2000 are finally part of 155 mm howitzer arsenal of the Ukrainian artillery,” Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov wrote on social media, thanking his German counterpart Christine Lambrecht.

Germany was criticised by world leaders for its lacklustre support for Ukraine in the early stages of the war.

02:25 PM

Watch: Ukrainian school on fire after heavy Russian shelling

02:10 PM

‘Massive’ late-night mission to recapture Snake Island

Russia says it has repelled a “mad” early-morning attempt by Kyiv’s forces to retake Snake Island, the Black Sea outpost captured by Moscow at the start of military action in Ukraine.

The island became a symbol of Ukrainian resistance after a radio exchange went viral at the start of the war, in which defenders refused demands from the Russian warship Moskva to surrender.

“On June 20 at 5:00 am, the Kyiv regime undertook another mad attempt to take possession of Snake Island,” Russia’s defence ministry said in a briefing.

Ukraine’s forces had “planned to carry out massive air and artillery fire… before landing and capturing” the island, it added.

The ministry said 15 Ukrainian attack and reconnaissance drones took part in the airstrike while missile launchers and howitzers fired at the island, with 13 drones reportedly shot down.

It also said that Russian radars had detected a US RQ-4 “Global Hawk” reconnaissance drone in the area. Ukraine also tried to recapture the strategic outpost in May.

01:53 PM

Russia captures Donbas frontline village

Russian forces have pushed deeper into Donbas with Ukraine announcing the capture of the frontline village of Toshkivka.

The key village is near the twin cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, the site of fierce weeks-long fighting.

“As of today, according to our information, Toshkivka is controlled entirely by the Russians,” Roman Vlasenko, the head of the Severodonetsk district told Ukrainian television.

He added that the battle for Donbas is “now in full swing”.

01:41 PM

What do we know about Putin’s ‘Satan II’ missile?

As we’re reporting this lunchtime, the Russian president Vladimir Putin has said his newly tested intercontinental ballistic missile known as ‘Satan II’ will be ready by the end of the year.

Here’s what we know about the weapon, officially named Sarmat:

  • In April, it was launched from a silo in Plesetsk, in Russia’s northwest, and delivered training warheads to a test range 6,000km away in the Kamchatka peninsula.

  • It has a range of 18,000km (11,000 miles) and can deliver between 10 and 15 nuclear warheads at hypersonic speeds. Putin says it uses only Russian equipment so would be unaffected by sanctions.

  • According to one military analyst, if it was based in Russia’s extreme west, it could reach London in 13 minutes.

  • Putin claims the missile would be able to hit a target anywhere on Earth and can be fired over either pole, posing difficulties for tracking systems.

01:33 PM

War in Ukraine: latest pictures

A resident is seen after shelling as Russian attacks continue on Ukraine in Donetsk, Ukraine - Stringer/Anadolu Agency

A resident is seen after shelling as Russian attacks continue on Ukraine in Donetsk, Ukraine – Stringer/Anadolu Agency

A worker seen loading a destroyed military tank of the Russian army onto a towing vehicle at Dmytrivka village near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv - Sergei Chuzavkov/SOPA Images

A worker seen loading a destroyed military tank of the Russian army onto a towing vehicle at Dmytrivka village near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv – Sergei Chuzavkov/SOPA Images

Russian attacks persist in Donetsk, Ukraine - Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty 

Russian attacks persist in Donetsk, Ukraine – Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty

01:23 PM

‘There’s no doubt we’ll be stronger’, says Putin

Vladimir Putin has said he is “proud” of the action of his soldiers in Ukraine, despite mass strategic and personnel losses.

“We are proud that during the special military operation our fighters act with courage, professionalism, like real heroes,” the Russian president said during a Kremlin meeting with military academy graduates.

Referring to Western sanctions imposed on Russia over the intervention in Ukraine, he said “they will be overcome”.

And “in the face of new threats and risks, we will further develop and strengthen our armed forces”, he said, promising the new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile would be commissioned by the end of the year.

“There is no doubt that we will be even stronger,” Putin added.

01:18 PM

Ministers looking at seizing Russian assets to rebuild Ukraine

The UK Government is looking at how “we can seize Russian assets to help fund the rebuilding of Ukraine”, Liz Truss has said.

The Foreign Secretary told the Commons: “We are working with our allies, and with Ukraine, on a new Marshall Plan to help reconstruct Ukraine after the appalling war.

“There will be a Ukraine Recovery Conference in the coming weeks at Lugano, where the United Kingdom will put forward our offer, and we are looking at how we can seize Russian assets to help fund the rebuilding of Ukraine.

“That is something we are working across Government on and also with our G7 partners.”

12:50 PM

Russia says it struck Ukrainian airfield near Odesa – reports

The Russian defence ministry has said its missiles struck an airfield near the Ukrainian port city of Odesa, Russian news agencies reported.

It said it carried out the strikes in response to a Ukrainian attack on gas production platforms in the Black Sea. The report could not be immediately independently verified.

The Russian-installed leader of Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, said on Monday that Kyiv had struck Black Sea drilling platforms owned by a Crimean oil company.

12:35 PM

Ukraine detains public figures suspected of spying for Russia

Ukraine has detained a senior government official and a business leader suspected of being part of an alleged Russian spy network, security services have confirmed.

The two suspects were not named but the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said one was a senior official in the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers and the other a department head at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a business lobby.

It said in a statement on the Telegram app that it had carried out a “multi-stage special operation” to neutralise the alleged spy ring in Kyiv.

“These officials passed on various intelligence information to the enemy: from the state of our defence capability to arrangements at the state border and personal data of Ukrainian law enforcement officers.”

Russia did not immediately comment. The two main suspects were shown sitting in front of a Ukrainian flag in a video and saying they had collaborated with Moscow, though it was not clear whether they were under duress.

12:22 PM

‘Weeks’ to get grain out of Ukraine

The Foreign Secretary has said “we only have a number of weeks” to get grain out of Ukraine.

Conservative MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown pointed out in the Commons: “The harvest in Ukraine is going to have to start in the next few weeks. The problem is that there is 25 million tonnes of old crop filling up all the stores.

“There will be nowhere to put the new crop, it will have to be piled on the fields, and then the Russians will seize it and use it as a weapon of war to buy influence around the world.”

Liz Truss replied: “We are doing all we can to secure the export of that very important grain from Ukraine. And my honourable friend is right, we only have a number of weeks to be able to achieve that.

“We are backing the UN plan, but we are also doing what we can with our allies to provide safe passage, to make sure that Odesa is fully defended, and tomorrow I will be travelling to Turkey to talk to them about how we can do more to get the grain out of Odesa.”

12:06 PM

Watch: Zelensky will do ‘everything possible’ to tackle world food crisis

12:03 PM

UK to impose more sanctions on Russia

The British government is determined to impose further sanctions on Russia, the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has said as she promised more support for Ukraine.

“We are determined to provide more weapons, impose more sanctions and back Ukraine in pushing Russia out of their territory,” Ms Truss told the Commons.

12:00 PM

Germany draws up gas auction plan for emergency

Germany’s energy regulator has unveiled further plans to reduce industrial gas usage as it fears Russia, which has cut deliveries in recent days, could reduce or even completely halt supplies.

As foreshadowed by the Economy Minister on Sunday, the plans include a new auction system, due to start in coming weeks, to incentivise manufacturing industries, which crucially need gas in high-temperature processes, to consume less energy.

“The regulator is in close talks with the industry and with energy utilities and will push complementary measures with high intensity,” the regulator said in a statement.

11:37 AM

Russia blocks The Telegraph’s website for war coverage

Russian authorities have blocked The Telegraph’s website for its reporting of the war in Ukraine.

The country’s communications watchdog confirmed on Tuesday that it had ordered internet providers to block telegraph.co.uk after a statement from the Prosecutor General that the newspaper had been “disseminating false information about a special military operation by the Russian armed forces in Ukraine.”

The move was triggered by the prosecutor banning an article the Telegraph published on Feb 23 – the day before Russia invaded Ukraine – about mobile crematoriums poised to be deployed in the war.

The prosecutor ruled the article contained “false information” and entered it on the list of “banned information”.

The Telegraph is the first British newspaper to have its website officially blocked in Russia. Last week a number of The Telegraph’s staff, including editor Chris Evans, were banned from ever entering the country along with a number of other British media figures.

Nataliya Vasilyeva has the full story.

11:29 AM

Kremlin says death penalty for captured US citizens cannot be ruled out

The Kremlin has said that the US citizens captured in Ukraine were subject to court decisions and did not rule out that they could face the death penalty.

“We can’t rule anything out, because these are court decisions. We don’t comment on them and have no right to interfere,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

He said the Kremlin did not know where the men were now, after their families said they had not returned from a mission around the Kharkiv region.

On Monday, the Kremlin said that the two Americans detained in Ukraine were mercenaries not covered by the Geneva Conventions and should face consequences for their actions.

11:26 AM

Ukraine on course for EU candidacy at summit, EU says

Ukraine is set to become an official candidate for European Union membership on Thursday in a symbolic but morale-boosting decision following Russia’s invasion, ministers and diplomats said on Tuesday.

EU leaders in Brussels are expected to sign off on last week’s recommendation by the European Commission, the EU executive. After several days of internal EU discussions no opposition among the 27 member states has surfaced, three diplomats told Reuters.

“We are working towards the point where we tell (Russian President Vladimir) Putin that Ukraine belongs to Europe, that we will also defend the values that Ukraine defends,” Luxembourg’s foreign affairs minister Jean Asselborn told reporters before a meeting with other EU ministers.

Moldova is also almost certain to be given candidate status, the diplomats said, although Georgia must fulfil conditions, namely that it overcome political deadlock in the country.

Despite some misgivings among northern EU countries that taking in Ukraine, which suffers from endemic corruption, is unrealistic, Denmark’s foreign minister said he welcomed giving it candidacy status.

“It’s very good and it’s something that Denmark whole-heartedly supports; we want to help Ukraine to achieve its European dream,” Jeppe Kofod told reporters in Luxembourg.

11:09 AM

Russia claims there will be ‘serious’ consequences over Lithuania rail transit ban

Russia’s security council chief Nikolai Patrushev has warned EU and Nato member Lithuania of “serious” consequences over restrictions on the rail transit of EU-sanctioned goods to Moscow’s exclave of Kaliningrad.

Retaliatory steps “will be taken in the near future. Their consequences will have a serious negative impact on the population of Lithuania,” Patrushev said at a regional security meeting in Kaliningrad, a Russian region wedged between Lithuania and Poland.

11:01 AM

Pictured: Foxhole in a park in Kyiv, Ukraine

x - Xinhua/Shutterstock

x – Xinhua/Shutterstock

10:41 AM

Baltic states ‘want more EU financial support for handling Ukrainian refugees’

The Baltic states have asked for more financial support from the EU to handle Ukrainian refugees, the Lithuanian president’s office said.

“We must share the financial burden, which at the moment is unproportionally assigned to national budgets. EU solidarity is very important to assure proper support to war refugees from Ukraine”, Lithuania’s president Gitanas Nauseda said in a statement.

10:25 AM

Black Sea drilling platform still on fire, Russian lawmaker claims

A fire that broke out after Ukraininan forces allegedly fired at oil rigs off the coast of Russia-annexed Crimea is approaching an oil well, a senior lawmaker has said.

The Moscow-installed governor of Crimea on Monday blamed Kyiv for the attack, saying three people were injured and seven were missing after one Black Sea platform had been hit.

“As for the fire, it is not subsiding on the platform. At night, the fire approached the oil well,” Olga Kovitidi, a Russian senator for Crimea, told the Interfax news agency.

Kovitidi said that the “search continues” for the seven missing persons, while the three injured are in hospital but their condition is not critical.

“According to preliminary information, not everyone was saved but there is still hope,” Crimea official Oleg Kryuchkov said on Telegram.

10:08 AM

EU leaders to keep sanction pressure on Russia with gold flagged as new target

European Union leaders are set to keep pressure high on Russia at a summit this week when they will underline that work continues on sanctions, according to a draft document, with gold being considered for a possible next round.

“Work will continue on sanctions, including to strengthen implementation and prevent circumvention,” EU leaders will say at the end of their regular summit on June 23-24, according to the latest version of their draft conclusions dated June 20 and seen by Reuters.

Gold is one of the possible next targets, according to officials familiar with the discussions.

At a closed-door meeting of EU envoys last week, Denmark suggested the next sanctions could concern gold among other sectors, according to a spokesperson for the Danish ambassador to the EU.

A person familiar with the work on sanctions told Reuters the European Commission was working on adding gold to a possible next round of sanctions, although it was not yet clear whether the measure could ban export to Russia, imports from Russia or both.

09:24 AM

The latest pictures from Ukraine

Evacuees trying to escape the war with Russia board a train to Dnipro on June 20, 2022 in Pokrovsk, Ukraine. - Scott Olson/Getty Images

Evacuees trying to escape the war with Russia board a train to Dnipro on June 20, 2022 in Pokrovsk, Ukraine. – Scott Olson/Getty Images

x - Scott Olson/Getty Images

x – Scott Olson/Getty Images

x - Scott Olson/Getty Images

x – Scott Olson/Getty Images

09:18 AM

Russia inflicting ‘catastrophic destruction’ on Lysychansk, governor says

Ukraine has said that Russia is heavily shelling the eastern industrial city of Lysychansk in the Donbas region which has been the centre of intense fighting for weeks between Kyiv’s army and Moscow’s troops.

“Fighting in the Severodonetsk industrial zone and catastrophic destruction in Lysychansk,” the Lugansk regional governor Sergiy Gaiday said in a statement on social media, adding that Lysychansk had suffered from heavy Russian strikes over the previous day.

09:09 AM

Indonesian president due to meet Putin this month, state media reports

Indonesian President and current chair of the G20 Joko Widodo is due to visit Moscow later this month to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indonesia’s state news agency has cited the country’s security minister as saying.

This year’s meetings of the Group of 20 major economies have been overshadowed by the war in Ukraine, with Indonesia struggling to keep the group united as some Western countries threaten to boycott the summit and push for Russia’s exclusion.

The Antara news agency reported that the Indonesian leader, widely known as Jokowi, was scheduled to meet Putin on June 30.

“Yes, that is the president’s agenda,” the coordinating security minister Mahfud MD told reporters at the presidential palace on Monday.

Russia’s state news agency TASS also confirmed the meeting in a report last week, citing a Kremlin source.

He is due to attend a Group of Seven (G7) summit in Germany taking place on June 26-28 before travelling to Moscow, with a stop in Ukraine also being considered, according to Indonesian media reports.

08:49 AM

Russia’s security council secretary to chair meeting on national security in Kaliningrad, RIA reports

Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev has arrived in Kaliningrad region where he will chair a meeting on national security, the RIA news agency has reported.

08:38 AM

Nobel Peace Prize auctioned by Russian journalist for Ukrainian children shatters record at $103.5M

The Nobel Peace Prize auctioned off by Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov to raise money for Ukrainian child refugees sold Monday night for $103.5 million, shattering the old record for a Nobel.

A spokesperson for Heritage Auctions, which handled the sale, could not confirm the identity of the buyer but said the winning bid was made by proxy. The $103.5 million sale translates to $100 million Swiss francs, hinting that the buyer is from overseas.

“I was hoping that there was going to be an enormous amount of solidarity, but I was not expecting this to be such a huge amount,” Muratov said in an interview after bidding in the nearly 3-week auction ended on World Refugee Day.

Mr Muratov, who was awarded the gold medal in October 2021, helped found the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and was the publication’s editor-in-chief when it shut down in March amid the Kremlin’s clampdown on journalists and public dissent in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

It was Mr Muratov’s idea to auction off his prize, having already announced he was donating the accompanying $500,000 cash award to charity.

08:16 AM

Pictured: People watch on as firefighters attempt to put out fire ’caused by shelling’ in Kharkiv Oblast

x - REUTERS/Leah Millis

x – REUTERS/Leah Millis

07:41 AM

Watch: ‘You’re my hero,’ Ben Stiller tells Volodymyr Zelensky on visit to Kyiv

07:38 AM

Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs meets head of Italian business association

07:23 AM

Ukraine braces for Russian ‘storm’ in east in run-up to EU meeting

Ukraine has acknowledged difficulties in fighting in its east as Russian forces regrouped after stepping up pressure and making advances on two cities ahead of an EU summit this week expected to welcome Kyiv’s bid to join the bloc.

The governor of the Luhansk region, scene of the heaviest Russian onslaughts in recent weeks, said Russian forces had launched a massive attack and gained some territory on Monday though it was relatively quiet overnight.

“It’s a calm before the storm,” the governor, Serhiy Gaiday, said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had predicted Russia would step up attacks ahead of the EU summit on Thursday and Friday. He was defiant in a late Monday address to the nation, though referring to “difficult” fighting in Luhansk for Sievierodonetsk and its sister city, Lysychansk.

“We are defending Lysychansk, Severodonetsk, this whole area, the most difficult one. We have the most difficult fighting there,” he said. “But we have our strong guys and girls there.”

07:10 AM

Russian television ‘broadcasting in southern Ukraine’, Russian army claims

Television towers in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson have been reconfigured to broadcast Russian television, the Russian army has claimed.

The Russian armed forces have “reconfigured the last of the seven television towers in the Kherson region to broadcast Russian television channels” for free, it said.

07:03 AM

UK says Ukraine claimed its first successful use of Western donated missiles against Russia

Ukrainian forces last week claimed their first successful use of Western-donated Harpoon anti-ship missiles to engage Russian forces, the British Military Intelligence said on Tuesday.

“The target of the attack was almost certainly the Russian naval tug Spasatel Vasily Bekh, which was delivering weapons and personnel to Snake Island in the north-western Black Sea,” the defence ministry said in its daily Twitter update.

The war has entered a brutal attritional phase in recent weeks, with Russian forces concentrating on Ukrainian-controlled parts of the Donbas, which Russia claims on behalf of separatists.

06:27 AM

New UK plan for Ukrainian children

Unaccompanied Ukrainian children are to be allowed to come to the UK under changes by Priti Patel to help hundreds of stranded teenagers seeking refuge in Britain.

They will be allowed to come to the UK if they have permission from a parent or legal guardian and the Ukrainian Government under the plan due to be announced on Wednesday.

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, signalled the changes in the Commons on Monday after a call was made to expand it to children travelling with family members who are not their parents.

READ MORE: Ukrainian children will be allowed to come to Britain unaccompanied

04:43 AM

Star witnesses brutal destruction in Irpin

Hollywood actor and Goodwill Ambassador Ben Stiller walks past a damaged building as he visits the Lypki neighbourhood in Irpin, Ukraine - UNHCR/Andrew McConnell

Hollywood actor and Goodwill Ambassador Ben Stiller walks past a damaged building as he visits the Lypki neighbourhood in Irpin, Ukraine – UNHCR/Andrew McConnell

Ben Stiller visited the Kyiv suburb of Irpin on Monday – the scene of fierce battles early in the invasion and the closest Moscow’s army got to the capital since it sent troops into Ukraine in February.

“I feel it’s hard to understand what’s actually going on here if you haven’t been here,” Stiller told Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“I was in Irpin this morning… and the actual level of destruction, you see it on TV, you see it on social media, but it’s something else to actually see it, feel it and then to talk to the people.”

04:37 AM

Zelensky defiant amid ‘difficult’ Luhansk fighting

Ukraine has acknowledged difficulties in fighting in the east of the country as Russian forces captured territory along a front-line river and intensified pressure on two key cities

The governor of the Luhansk region said on Monday night that the situation was “extremely difficult” along the entire front line there and the Russian army had gathered sufficient reserves to begin a large-scale offensive.

Drone footage shows artillery strikes on the Ukrainian village of Toshkivka in the Luhansk region - via REUTERS

Drone footage shows artillery strikes on the Ukrainian village of Toshkivka in the Luhansk region – via REUTERS

In his nightly address to the nation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was defiant while also referring to difficult fighting in Luhansk for Severodonetsk and its sister city Lysychansk.

“We are defending Lysychansk, Severodonetsk, this whole area, the most difficult one. We have the most difficult fighting there,” he said. “But we have our strong guys and girls there.”

04:21 AM

Zelensky urges Stiller to remind others of Ukraine’s battle

Volodymyr Zelensky chats to Ben Stiller in Kyiv - UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE

Volodymyr Zelensky chats to Ben Stiller in Kyiv – UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE

Speaking in English, Volodymyr Zelensky thanked Ben Stiller for visiting Ukraine and told him it was “very important” for him to keep reminding people what was going on in the country.

“It’s very important for us that people don’t forget. It’s not interesting to speak about the war every day… but for us it’s very important,” the Ukrainian leader told him.

The pair acknowledged their shared interest as comedy actors.

Ben Stiller spoke of his admiration for Ukraine's leader during the war - UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE

Ben Stiller spoke of his admiration for Ukraine’s leader during the war – UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE

“You quit a great acting career,” said Stiller, who is best known for his comedy roles in films, in a nod to Mr Zelensky’s former career as a comedy actor.

“Not as great as yours,” Mr Zelensky retorted, both laughing.

Before being elected in 2019, Mr Zelensky was best known for his role in Servant of the People, a comedy satire in which he played a high school teacher who unexpectedly becomes Ukraine’s president.

04:11 AM

‘You’re my hero,’ Ben Stiller tells Volodymyr Zelensky

Hollywood actor and Goodwill Ambassador Ben Stiller meets with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv - UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE

Hollywood actor and Goodwill Ambassador Ben Stiller meets with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv – UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE

Hollywood star Ben Stiller met Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Monday, hailing the comedian-turned-president as “my hero” for rallying the world’s support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s invasion.

“It’s a great honour for me… you’re my hero,” said Stiller, a UN goodwill ambassador who met the Ukrainian leader on World Refugee Day.

“What you’ve done, the way that you’ve rallied the country, the world, it’s really inspiring.”

The 56-year-old American comedian was referring to Mr Zelensky’s countless speeches to audiences around the world to rally support for his embattled country.

Footage of their meeting was released by Mr Zelensky’s office.

04:08 AM

American fighter killed in Ukraine

An American citizen was killed in combat in Ukraine last month, after he joined thousands of foreign fighters who have volunteered to help fend off invading Russian forces.

Stephen Zabielski, 52, was killed in fighting on May 15, according to an obituary published in The Recorder, an upstate New York newspaper, earlier this month.

Mr Zabielski, who was from New York and had moved to Florida in recent years, is survived by his wife, five stepchildren, and a grandchild.

A US State Department spokesperson confirmed his death and said the agency had been in touch with his family and provided “all possible consular assistance”.

The spokesperson repeated earlier warnings that Americans should not travel to Ukraine because of the conflict and the potential for the Russian government to single them out. It added that any citizens in Ukraine should depart immediately.

03:32 AM

£84m Nobel Peace Prize medal to help Ukrainian children

Dmitry Muratov has sold his Nobel Peace Prize to help Ukrainian families - Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Dmitry Muratov has sold his Nobel Peace Prize to help Ukrainian families – Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Dmitry Muratov, the Russian editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, has auctioned his Nobel Peace Prize gold medal for a whopping $103.5 million (£84m) to benefit children displaced by the war in Ukraine.

All of the proceeds from the sale of the medal – snapped up by an as-yet unidentified phone bidder – will go to UNICEF’s Humanitarian Response for Ukrainian Children Displaced by War, according to Heritage Auctions, which handled the sale.

Mr Muratov won the prize in 2021 alongside journalist Maria Ressa of the Philippines, with the committee honouring them “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression”.

02:44 AM

Russia captures Metyolkine

Moscow’s separatist proxies claimed to have captured Toshkivka, a town on the mostly Ukrainian-held western bank of the Siverskyi Donets river, south of Severodonetsk.

Luhansk governor Serhiy Gaiday acknowledged a Russian attack on Toshkivka had “had a degree of success” and confirmed Russia’s claim to have captured Metyolkine.

Rodion Miroshnik, ambassador of the self-styled Luhansk People’s Republic to Russia, said its forces were “moving from the south towards Lysychansk” with firefights erupting in nearby towns.

“The hours to come should bring considerable changes to the balance of forces in the area,” he said on Telegram.

02:24 AM

‘Extremely difficult’ front line for Ukrainian forces

The governor of the Luhansk region said on Monday night that the situation was “extremely difficult” along the entire front line there and the Russian army had gathered sufficient reserves to begin a large-scale offensive.

Serhiy Gaidai said Russian forces controlled most of Severodonetsk, apart from the Azot chemical plant, where hundreds of civilians have been sheltering for weeks, and said the road connecting Severodonetsk and its sister city Lysychansk to the city of Bakhmut was under constant shelling.

“Lysychansk has been suffering from massive Russian shelling all day. It is impossible to establish the number of casualties as of yet,” Mr Gaidai said, adding that the shelling had been perhaps the heaviest the city had yet experienced.

Even so, the Russians had yet to complete an encirclement of Ukrainian forces, who were inflicting “significant losses” on them, he said.

02:14 AM

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