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Russia blacklists journalists over Ukraine coverage

June 14, 2022

Several prominent journalists working for British news outlets have been banned entry to Russia over what Moscow describes as "one-sided" coverage on Ukraine. DW has more.

A member of the press stands in front of a building damaged by shelling in Ukraine
Russia has clamped down on reporting critical of its war on UkraineImage: Yaghobzadeh Alfred/ABACA/picture alliance
  • Russia sanctions dozens of UK journalists
  • Germany announces plan to bailout Gazprom subsidiary
  • Ukraine says 'discrete evacuations' carried out from Sievierodonetsk, fighting ongoing
  • Russia says its main goal is the defense of Donbas 'republics,' claims increased shelling from Kyiv
  • Germany seeks to make sanctions 'more effective'

This live updates article has been closed. For the latest on Russia's invasion, please click here.

Zelenskyy stresses EU values in Danish press conference

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy took part in a press conference with Danish media on Tuesday.

He called for sustained European and global unity to defeat the Russian invasion.

"There were concrete steps to strengthen our army with weapons. Then there were steps to strengthen our economy, financial support. And then there were steps to weaken the Russian economy," Zelenskyy said according to his website.

"This is a policy of sanctions against Russia. It is in these three areas that we need the unity of the world and Europe. It is not easy, but our strength depends on it."

He also rejected concerns about anti-corruption infrastructure in Ukraine, regarding the country's bid to join the European Union.

He pointed to laws that have been passed on judicial reform, as well as the continuation of public services online despite the ongoing war.

"I believe that because Ukraine fights and defends the values shared with the European Union, it should be at least a candidate for EU membership. Ukraine has long deserved to be a member of the EU, but there is a certain procedure," Zelenskyy said.

Ukraine has received only 10% of requested weapons — defense ministry

Ukraine's Defense Ministry said the country has only received a fraction of the arms it requested from Western allies to fend off Russian troops.

"From what we said we need, we got about 10 percent," deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar said in televised remarks. She added that there should be "a clear time frame" for deliveries.

"We need to know clear deadlines because every day there's a delay, we're talking about the lives of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians," she said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reiterated his urgent appeal for heavy weapons.

In a statement on Tuesday, Zelenskyy expressed gratitude for what had been delivered so far, but that "it must come faster" if peace is to be achieved.

"We have shown our strength, and now it is very important that our Western partners show this strength together with us," Zelenskyy said.

Map showing Russian military presence in Ukraine
Ukrainian officials appealed for more heavy weapons as Russia continues to focus fighting in eastern Ukraine

Russian, Belarusian tennis players allowed to compete at US Open

Tennis players from Russia and Belarus will be allowed to compete in the US Open tournament this year despite athletes facing barred in other sports over the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Russian and Belarusian tennis players will be allowed to compete under a neutral flag, the head of the US Tennis Association told the Associated Press.

While athletes from the two countries were allowed to play in the French Open under a similar arrangement, Wimbledon organizers said it would bar all athletes from both countries. The Wimbledon ban drew criticism from major tennis associations.

The US Open is set to kick off on August 29 in New York.

Germany to bailout former Gazprom subsidiary to lock-in gas supply

The German government announced plans on Tuesday to bailout Gazprom Germania in an effort to keep the firm from bankruptcy and to secure the country's natural gas supplies.

The bailout will total between €9 billion and €10 billion ($9.4 billion and $10.4 billion), with the funds coming from the state development bank KfW, reported news agency DPA.

Gazprom Germania is no longer part of the Russian state-owned firm Gazprom, after the parent company split from the German subsidiary at the beginning of April.

The subsidiary has since been under state trusteeship by the German government. Chancellor Olaf Scholz's coalition defended the move as necessary to maintain Germany's gas supply.

Russia imposed sanctions on Gazprom Germania in mid-May, causing a "financial imbalance" in the firm, the German government said in a statement.

The logo of Gazprom Germania
Russia split from its German subsidiary in April, and then imposed sanctions on it in mid-May, putting the firm under considerable financial strainImage: Fernando Gutierrez-Juarez/dpa ZB/picture alliance

Russia bans dozens of British journalists

Russia's Foreign Ministry blacklisted a total of 49 British citizens on Tuesday, including 29 journalists and members of British news organizations.

Prominent reporters with the BBC, broadcaster Sky News, as well as The Guardian and The Financial Times were among those who have been banned entry to Russia.

"The British journalists on the list are involved in the deliberate dissemination of false and one-sided information about Russia and the events in Ukraine and Donbass," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said another 20 British citizens with links to the defense industry were also on the blacklist.

"It's sad, but not entirely surprising," said Mark Galeotti, an expert on Russia who was among those banned.

Russia says it will open Sievierodonetsk humanitarian corridor

Russia has said it plans to set up a humanitarian corridor on Wednesday that would evacuate hundreds of civilians from the Azot chemical plant in the city of Sievierodonetsk.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the humanitarian corridor would be in place between 8 a.m. (0500 GMT) and 8 p.m. local time.

The ministry said the evacuees would be transported to the city of Svatove in the separatist-held region of Luhansk.

Moscow has refused to allow those trapped - up to 560 people - to flee to Lysychansk, which is under Ukrainian control.

A spokesman for the Russian defense ministry called on Ukrainian fighters at the plant to lay down their weapons and surrender. He promised that their lives would be spared.

The two British citizens who reportedly surrendered in April in Mariupol, after a weeks-long siege, were sentenced to death earlier this month by pro-Moscow separatist authorities.

Germany seeks to make sanctions 'more effective' 

In a bid to make sanctions against Russia "more effective," German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany would create a national register for assets subject to sanctions or of unclear origins. 

"Russia's aggression against Ukraine has shown that sanctions urgently need to become more effective — especially against Russian oligarchs and their hidden assets," Scholz said at an event hosted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international body dedicated to combating and preventing money laundering.  

Scholz added that the German government would also set up a special hotline for whistleblowers to report possible sanctioned assets. 

Humanitarian situation in Sievierodonetsk 'worsening day by day'

DW correspondent in Ukraine, Rebecca Ritters, said people in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk were running out of food and medicine. With no running water or electricity, the city is in an "increasingly dire condition" that is "worsening day by day." 

Russian soldiers have completely surrounded the city, Ritters said, adding that street fighting was ongoing, but Russia controls most of Sievierodonetsk.

In a chemical plant in the city, Ukrainian soldiers are holding out, while some 500 civilians are believed to be sheltering inside, she added, recalling scenes from the Mariupol steel plant

The chemical plant is being bombarded, Ritters said, noting the danger posed to civilians sheltering there due to toxic chemicals at the facility. 

Ritters added that Russian forces are also bombarding Sievierodonetsk's sister-city Lysychansk, where civilians were being taken in recent days. 

A map showing where fighting is occurring in eastern Ukraine
Fighting has mostly been concentrated in eastern Ukraine

Russia offers to evacuate civilians from Sievierodonetsk to separatist region

Russia's Defense Ministry said it could establish a humanitarian corridor — in coordination with pro-Moscow separatist leaders of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine — to evacuate civilians out of the key Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk. 

"Guided by the principles of humanity, the Russian armed forces and the formations of the Luhansk People's Republic are ready to organize a humanitarian operation to evacuate civilians," the ministry said, adding that civilians would be transported to Luhansk.

Ukrainian officials said earlier on Tuesday that some evacuations were underway, although they were difficult to execute after bridges connecting the city to Ukrainian-held regions were destroyed. 

Gazprom says repairs restraining Nord Stream deliveries

Russia's Gazprom said it would be reducing the daily gas deliveries via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany to 100 million cubic meters per day.

The energy giant cited delayed repair works by the German company Siemens. 

The pipeline runs from Russia to Germany. It can usually carry 167 million cubic meters, according to Gazprom. 

A spokesperson for the German Economy Ministry said gas supplies are still secure, adding, "We are monitoring the situation and examining the facts of the case."

Nord Stream is the older of two gas pipelines for Russian gas to Germany. The newest project, Nord Stream 2, was put to a halt after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.  

Last month, a third of Russian gas that is piped to Europe through Ukraine was cut off when Kyiv suspended Russian gas flows via one of the two transit points. 

Pope Francis lauds 'brave' Ukrainians, but says war was 'perhaps in some way provoked' 

Pope Francis has expressed support for Ukraine and condemned "the cruelty of Russian troops" in the war, according to a text of a conversation he had with editors of Jesuit media. 

Still, Francis insisted that there were no "good guys and bad guys'' and that Russia was in some ways provoked by NATO's expansion east.

"We do not see the whole drama unfolding behind this war, which was perhaps somehow either provoked or not prevented," he said, adding that such a statement didn't make him "pro-Putin." 

"It would be simplistic and wrong to say such a thing," he said.

Germany says training of Ukrainian forces on weapons to be completed soon

German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said Ukrainian troops receiving training on using German howitzers would soon complete their exercise and therefore be able to use the weapons in the war in Ukraine.

Germany has been criticized for not delivering the weapons it promised Ukraine. Chancellor Olaf Scholz argued that Ukrainian troops had to be trained on the advanced weapons first. 

"The training on the Panzerhaubitze 2000 will soon be completed so that it can be used in battle in Ukraine," Lambrecht told reporters during a visit to a military base in the western German town of Rheinbach.

The Panzerhaubitze 2000 is one of the most powerful artillery weapons in the German army's inventories. It can hit targets at a distance of 40 kilometers (25 miles).

Russia says separatist leaders would listen to UK's appeal on sentenced Britons

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said he was "sure" pro-Moscow separatist leaders in eastern Ukraine would be willing to listen to an appeal from the UK over two Britons sentenced to death for fighting for Ukraine

But Britain had not contacted Russia about the issue, Peskov told reporters. 

Last week, a court in the breakaway "Donetsk People's Republic" in eastern Ukraine sentenced two British nationals and a Moroccan to death for "mercenary activities."

Earlier on Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she "will do whatever is necessary to secure" their release when asked if she would be willing to negotiate with the separatist leaders. 

Ukraine says Sievierodonetsk 'not isolated' after bridges destroyed

Oleksandr Stryuk, the head of the Sievierodonetsk city administration, said that "massive shelling" destroyed a third bridge in the key eastern Ukrainian city, "but the city is not isolated." 

"There are communication channels even if they are quite complicated," Stryuk told Ukrainian television.  

He said Ukrainian forces "continue to defend the city" after the bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River, linking the city to Ukrainian-controlled Lysychansk, was destroyed. 

"Russian troops are trying to storm the city, but the military is holding firm," Stryuk said. 

On Monday, Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said the Russian military destroyed all bridges connecting the city, making civilian evacuations and humanitarian aid deliveries difficult. 

But Stryuk said evacuations were still being carried out "every minute when there is a lull and there is a possibility of transportation."

"But these are discrete evacuations, done one by one, and every possible chance is taken," he added.

UK vows to work for 'secure release' of jailed Britons in Donbas

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she would work on assuring the release of two British nationals who have been sentenced to death by pro-Moscow separatists in the eastern Ukrainian Donbas region.

Asked by BBC radio if she would negotiate with the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic,"  Truss said, "I will do whatever is necessary to secure their release."

"I have assured the families that I will do what is most effective to secure their release and I am not going to go into our strategy live on air... The best route is through the Ukrainians." 

UK intelligence: Russian forces likely made 'small advances' in Kharkiv

The British Defense Ministry said in its regular intelligence report that Russian forces likely made "small advances" in the northeastern Kharkiv for the first time in weeks. 

The report added that the city of Sievierodonetsk in the eastern Donbas region remains the main focus of Russia in its war in Ukraine.

According to the ministry, Russia's defense industry could struggle to meet the "demands" arising from the war in Ukraine, "partially due to the effects of sanctions and lack of expertise."

The report noted that a top Russian defense official had recently predicted that defense spending would see a 20% increase, around 700 billion rubles (around €11 billion, $12 billion). It said such funding is allowing Russia's "defense industrial base to be slowly mobilized to meet demands placed on it by the war in Ukraine."

"Russia's production of high-quality optics and advanced electronics likely remain troubled and could undermine its efforts to replace equipment lost in Ukraine," the report added. 

Lithuania to buy 18 howitzers from France

Lithuania has agreed to buy 18 Howitzer's from France, both countries' defense ministers announced.

Lithuania borders Russia and is seeking to bolster its arsenal due to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. It has decided to inject an additional €300 million ($312 million) into its 2022 defense budget.

Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas said that the howitzers will "significantly strengthen" the capabilities of the country's armed forces.

Ukraine has lost a quarter of sown area — Deputy Agriculture Minister

Ukrainian Deputy Agriculture Minister Taras Vysotsky said that the number of fields tilled in Ukraine has dropped by a quarter since the start of Russia's invasion.

Vysotsky predicted the harvest would be sufficient for domestic needs. Domestic demand has fallen since many millions have fled the country.

Ukraine's deputy agriculture minister said that Russia's export blockade was prompting a decline in export-oriented crops, and that farmers were relying on less demanding crops such as soybeans.

Germany will continue to supply state-of-the art weapons to Ukraine — Scholz

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke before his meeting with Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger and reiterated Berlin's commitment to supply Ukraine with modern weaponry.

"It is clear that Ukraine needs additional weapons for its defense," Scholz said, adding that Germany has supplied Ukraine with arms since the start of the invasion.

"In this critical phase we are considerably expanding our support: We will supply Ukraine with a state-of-the-art anti-aircraft system and an artillery detection radar, among other things," the chancellor went on to say.

Scholz said that the arms would be supplied in coordination with European and NATO partners. He added that it was important that Germany and its allies defend "every square inch of NATO territory," and that Berlin would increase its presence on NATO's eastern flank.

Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy criticized Scholz and German officials in an interview with broadcaster ZDF, and urged Berlin not to prioritize its relations with Russia over Ukraine's defense.

"We need from Chancellor Scholz the certainty that Germany supports Ukraine," he said. "He and his government must decide: there can't be a trade-off between Ukraine and relations with Russia."

Scholz has countered criticism that Germany was being slow in delivering heavy weapons to Ukraine, arguing that Ukraine's soldiers must first receive training to use such advanced weapons. 

"This is about really heavy equipment. You have to be able to use that, you have to be trained for that," Scholz said, adding that Ukrainian forces were currently undergoing training in Germany. 

'Ukraine needs more heavy weaponry' — Defense Ministry advisor Sak

Yuri Sak, an advisor for Ukraine's defense minister, told DW that "Donbas is not lost. The fighting continues."

"It is very intense fighting. It is very dynamic fighting. And of course, we are outnumbered."

Sak said that Russian forces have "superiority when it comes to heavy artillery."

"They are literally barraging the cities and villages of Luhansk region as well as Donetsk region with a view to destroy them," he added.

Sak said that the "only thing we need now actually is more heavy weaponry from our international partners."

"If we receive it on time, there will be less suffering."

"Had we received it before, there would have been less suffering of civilians as well, because we would be able to repel the Russian aggressor more efficiently," Sak went on to say.

Sak argued that Ukraine needs more heavy weaponry because the ratio of shelling is "absolutely disproportionate" and that Russian forces fire "around 50,000 rounds a day."

Kremlin says 'main goal' protection of Donbas 'republics'

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by Russia's RIA state news agency as saying that Moscow's main goal was the protection of the self-proclaimed "people's republics" in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions that make up Ukraine's eastern Donbas.

"In general, the protection of the republics is the main goal of the special military operation," Peskov said.

Donetsk separatist leader Denis Pushilin said that there had been increased fighting and shelling in the region, adding that all necessary forces will be involved to counter Kyiv.

Denis Pushilin speaks to journalists in Mariupol on June 12
Donetsk separatist leader Denis Pushilin claims that Kyiv has increased shelling in DonbasImage: YURI KADOBNOV/AFP

"All necessary forces, including the allied ones, including the forces of the Russian Federation, will be involved in order to counter the enemy," Pushilin said.

Russia's claims about increased shelling in the Donetsk region could not be independently verified.

What happened in Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Monday

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to take concrete steps to defend Ukraine.

Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said that the Russian military destroyed all three main bridges in the frontline Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk. Haidai said that the Azot chemical plant in the city came under fire from Russian forces.

The Ukrainian government suspended exports of fossil fuels.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said that according to the latest intelligence, both Russia and Ukraine were using heavier weapons than before in the most recent stages of the war.

Amnesty International accused Russia of war crimes in the northeastern Ukrainian city in Kharkiv. The organization said that attacks in Kharkiv killed hundreds of civilians.

Russian forces said they struck an arms depot in the town of Chortkiv in Ukraine's western Ternopil region. Ternopil regional governor Volodymyr Trush said that the strike left 22 people injured.

You can revisit our updates from Monday, June 13, here.

fb, sdi/aw (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)