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June 19, 2024
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Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 395 of the invasion

Russian attacks on Ukraine leave at least 10 civilians dead; UN says both sides in war have summarily executed PoWs

At least 10 civilians were killed and 20 wounded from long-range Russian bombardments in several parts of Ukraine on Friday, officials said. The casualties included two people who died in heavy Russian shelling of the town of Bilopillia in Sumy province in northern Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s office said.

The United Nations has said it is “deeply concerned” by what it said were summary executions of prisoners of war by both Russian and Ukrainian forces on the battlefield. A new report from the UN’s office of the high commissioner for human rights said its monitors had documented dozens of the executions by both sides, that the actual number was likely higher and that they “may constitute war crimes”.

The Russian former president Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow was readying for a Ukrainian counteroffensive that “everyone knows” Kyiv is preparing for. Medvedev, who is deputy chair of Putin’s powerful security council, warned that Moscow was ready to use “absolutely any weapon” if Ukraine attempted to retake the Crimean peninsula that Russia annexed in 2014.

Russian forces attacked northern and southern stretches of the front in eastern Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region on Friday. Ukrainian military reports described heavy fighting along a line running from Lyman to Kupiansk, as well as in the south at Avdiivka on the outskirts of the Russian-held city of Donetsk.

The US president, Joe Biden, has said he believed China has not sent arms to Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. “I’ve been hearing now for the past three months China is going to provide significant weapons to Russia … They haven’t yet,” he told a news conference on Friday. “Doesn’t mean they won’t, but they haven’t yet.”

Ukraine claimed Russian forces were “running out of steam” in Bakhmut and its commanders have started to raise the prospect of an unlikely turnaround in the besieged eastern Ukrainian city.

Three women were among at least five people killed after a Russian missile struck one of the “invincibility points” providing refuge and basic services for Ukrainian civilians in the eastern city of Kostiantynivka in the Donetsk region, local officials said. The Russians attacked overnight on Thursday with S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, prosecutors said

Air force commanders from Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark have agreed to create a unified Nordic air defence aimed at countering the rising threat from Russia, they said. The intention is to be able to operate jointly based on already known ways of operating under Nato, according to statements by the four countries’ armed forces. The Danish air force commander, Major General Jan Dam, said: “Our combined fleet can be compared to a large European country.”

About 10,000 civilians, many of them elderly and with disabilities, are living in “very dire conditions” in and around Bakhmut, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Several thousand civilians are estimated to remain in the city itself and be “spending almost the entire days in intense shelling in the shelters”, the ICRC’s Umar Khan said.

The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, has said the “friendship” between China and Russia has limits, and that Europe should welcome any attempts by Beijing to distance itself from Moscow’s war in Ukraine. He said China “has not crossed any red lines for us”, adding that Beijing’s proposals to end the war showed it did not want to fully align with Russia.

The bodies of 83 Ukrainian soldiers killed fighting in the war have been returned from the Russian side, a Ukrainian official said. Separately, Kyiv said it handed over an undisclosed number of seriously wounded Russian soldiers.

Seven Ukrainian children have been reunited with their families after being forcibly taken to Russian-occupied Crimea, the Kherson regional military administration said.

The security situation around the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv will have to improve before its ports can be included in a deal allowing the safe export of Ukrainian grain, a senior Ukrainian official has said. The deal was extended this month, but Kyiv and Moscow differ over how long the extension will last.

The son of a Russian regional governor who was due to be extradited from Italy to the US has disappeared, according to reports. US authorities have accused Artyom Uss, the son of the governor of the Siberian region of Krasnoyarsk, of illegal oil and weapons trade, money laundering, and sanction violations.

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