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Russia claims Ukrainian 'generals' killed

June 19, 2022

Russian officials claim dozens of Ukrainian officers, including generals and members of Ukraine's high command, were killed in a missile strike. NATO chief Stoltenberg said the war "could take years." DW has the latest.

Pictured in this video grab is the March 2022 launch of Kalibr cruise missiles by a Russian Navy guided missile corvette in the Black Sea during a high-precision strike on Ukrainian military facilities located in the Zhitmomir Region. Image taken from Russian Defense Ministry video.
Russia says sea-launched Kalibr missiles were used in the attack (file photo from a March strike)Image: Russian Defense Ministry's press service/ZUMA/picture alliance
  • Western leaders prepare for long war
  • Luhansk governor demands more long-range weapons
  • G7 will support Ukraine 'for as long as necessary,' says Scholz
  • Russia's Defense Ministry claims senior Ukrainian officers eliminated in missile strike

These updates are now closed.

EU seeks release of blockaded Ukrainian grain

EU foreign ministers will discuss ways to free a huge cache of grain stuck in Ukraine due to Russia's Black Sea port blockade at a meeting in Luxembourg on Monday.

More than 20 million tons have been trapped in silos since Russia invaded the country in February.

Brussels says it supports a United Nations effort to resume Ukraine's sea exports in return for facilitating Russian food and fertilizer exports.

Turkey has offered to take an observer role to allow ships to restart exports.

Reuters cited an EU official as saying that there is a "question mark" over whether there will be a need to escort commercial ships through the Black Sea.

Moscow denies responsibility for the halt in Ukrainian exports.

The Kremlin has blamed Western sanctions for the shortage that has sparked a jump in global food prices and warnings by the United Nations of hunger in poorer countries that rely heavily on imported grain.

Foreign Minister: Ukraine prepared to fight Russia with shovels

Ukraine would continue to fight Russia's invasion even if Western arms supplies were to end, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told German public broadcaster ARD.

"If we do not receive weapons, then we will fight with shovels, but we will defend ourselves because this is a war for our survival," he said.

Referring to delays by Germany and other countries in delivering weapons promised to Kyiv, Kuleba continued: "The sooner we receive weapons ... the greater the help for us. If weapons are sent later, we will still say 'Thank you,' but then a lot of time will have been wasted, a lot of people will have died."

He stressed that no one in the West should believe that Ukraine would be more willing to make concessions to Russia without arms deliveries. 

Kuleba acknowledged that his country has significantly fewer weapons at its disposal than Russia, adding that "we cannot win the war with such an imbalance." 

In recent days, he said, the Russians have launched 1,000 missiles at targets in Ukraine alone and that's why Ukraine needs air defense systems.

Moldova bans Russian news to counter propaganda

Moldovan President Maia Sandu signed a law banning the broadcasting of news programs, political TV shows, and war films from countries that have not ratified European Convention on Transfrontier Television, such as Russia. The measure is aimed at Russian propaganda.

The ban does not apply to "entertainment programs that do not contain militaristic content."

According to Moldovan news outlet NewsMaker, the law will come into force next week. It carries severe penalties for disseminating misinformation and deceptive content, including temporarily blocking the media.

The law also prohibits the broadcast of programs and films, regardless of origin, that justify military aggression, deny war crimes and crimes against humanity, or incite hostilities.

UK must have military capable of fighting in Europe — army head

Britain must have a military capable of fighting in Europe and defeating Russia, the new head of the British army Patrick Sanders was quoted as telling troops by local media.

According to the i newspaper, Sanders, who took command of the British army this month, told British troops: "I am the first Chief of the General Staff since 1941 to take command of the Army in the shadow of a land war in Europe involving a continental power."

"Russia's invasion of Ukraine underlines our core purpose — to protect the UK by being ready to fight and win wars on land," Sanders said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ruled out sending British troops to help Kyiv but warned that London would have to show support for the long haul.

In an editorial for The Sunday Times, Johnson called on Ukraine's allies to have "the strategic endurance to survive and eventually prevail."

EU official for human rights arrived in Kyiv

EU Special Representative for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore arrived in Kyiv on Sunday to show his solidarity with Ukraine.

In a video on Twitter, Gilmore said that four months ago he was at a train station in the Polish town of Przemysl and spoke to Ukrainian refugees as they fled Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine.

"Today I am doing a returning journey retracing their steps to see how the war of aggression violated the human rights, to hear from people on the ground, and to talk with the authorities," Gilmore said.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 causing Europe's biggest refugee crisis since World War II.

According to data sourced from national authorities and collated by UNHCR, at least 5.1 million refugees from Ukraine have been recorded across Europe.

Ukraine bans Russian music in media and public spaces

Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada parliament passed the law banning music created by Russian citizens from the radio, TV, and public spaces.

However, a separate list will be drawn up of artists condemning Russian aggression — their compositions will be exempted from the ban.

Restrictions will apply until the liberation of all occupied Ukrainian territories and the cessation of Russian aggression.

Verkhovna Rada also adopted a law banning the import and distribution of books and other publishing products from Russia, Belarus, and the occupied territories of Ukraine.

However, the law does allow for the import of Russian-language books from publishers in other countries once a permit is granted.

Russia says over 50 Ukrainian 'generals and officers' killed in missile strike

Russian forces targeted a Ukrainian command post while senior Ukrainian military officers were holding a meeting, Russian Defense Ministry said. Moscow said they used sea-launched "Kalibr" rockets in the attack on the site near Dnipro, Ukraine's fourth-largest city.

"Over 50 generals and officers of Ukrainian military were eliminated in the strike" including members of the high command, said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.

The spokesman also said Russia destroyed a tank repair plant in Kharkiv as well as 10 howitzers and up to 20 military vehicles in Mykolaiv in separate missile strikes.

Zelenskyy visits troops on southern front

DW was not able to independently verify the claims.

Moscow calls Kaliningrad rail restrictions 'illegal'

A leading Russian policy figure has slammed Lithuanian restrictions on rail transport between the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad and the rest of Russian territory, calling them an "incipient blockade."

"As an EU member state, Lithuania is violating a whole series of legally binding international legal acts," wrote Konstantin Kosachev, who is deputy head of Russia's Federation Council, in a Telegram post. As an example, he cited the partnership agreement between the European Union and Russia, which includes guarantees of non-interference in each other's transport networks.

Since Saturday, Lithuania has banned the rail transport of goods subject to Western sanctions through its territory to Kaliningrad, which lies between Lithuania and Poland.

The governor of Kaliningrad, Anton Alikhanov, has said what he called an "illegal" ban affected 40-50% of all transit goods, such as building materials and metals.

In recent weeks, there have been several calls on Russian state television for a "corridor" to be set up to facilitate access between the main territory of Russia and Kaliningrad. Establishing such a zone would, however, imply a Russian attack on Latvia and Lithuania, both NATO states.

Zelenskyy vows to take back southern regions

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has promised to "take back everything that belongs to us" in the south of Ukraine.

"We will not hand over the south to anyone," he said in an overnight video address made after he returned from a visit to front lines in the region, which has been under attack by invading Russian forces.

He said safe access to the sea would also be restored in the process and that Ukraine would do its utmost to allow safe food exports from its ports with international help when this became possible.

From early on in their invasion, Russian troops have taken large parts of southern Ukraine, including the entire Ukrainian coast on the Sea of Azov and parts of the Ukrainian Black Sea coast.

A Russian commander declared in April that he wanted Russia to take control of southern Ukraine and even the disputed region of Transnistria in neighboring Moldova.

Morale of Russian forces likely to be 'troubled': UK military intelligence

Russian troops invading Ukraine are probably suffering from "especially troubled morale" amid high casualties, combat stress, pay problems and perceived poor leadership, according to an intelligence update from the British Ministry of Defense.

"Cases of whole Russian units refusing orders and armed stand-offs between officers and their troops continue to occur," the update said. It added that Russian authorities could have difficulties in penalizing any dissension in the ranks owing to Moscow's definition of its invasion as a mere "special military operation" rather than a war.

Artillery bombardments by both sides were ongoing in the contested Donbas region as Russian forces focus on the region around Sievierodonetsk, the update said, adding that there had been little change in the front line.

It said Ukrainian forces are likely experiencing "variable" morale and desertions as well.

Two Azovstal commanders transferred to Russia for investigation: TASS

Two leading commanders in Ukraine's efforts to defend the Azovstal steel plant in the southeastern port city of Mariupol have been taken to Russia to undergo "investigative activities," Russia's state news agency TASS reported.

Svyatoslav Palamar, a deputy commander of the Azov battalion, and Serhiy Volynsky, the commander of the 36th Marine Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, were transferred to Russia from the separatist-held Ukrainian province of Donetsk, the agency said, citing an unnamed Russian law enforcement source.

TASS said other Ukrainian officers were also transferred to Russia.

Hundreds of Ukrainian fighters were captured by Russian forces in May after a monthslong brutal siege of the plant, whose underground bunkers and tunnels became the last stronghold for defenders of the city. The fate of the fighters has been uncertain, with Moscow saying at the time that they had been taken to the self-styled Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics.

Kyiv wants all the fighters handed over in a prisoner swap with Moscow, but some Russian lawmakers want some of the fighters put on trial.

Destroyed buildings near the Azovstal steelworks
The Azovstal steel plant and surrounds were the scene of intense fightingImage: Pavel Klimov/REUTERS

Luhansk governor calls for quick delivery of long-range weapons

Serhiy Haidai, the governor of Luhansk, asked the West for additional weapons as Russia pounds his region with artillery. There are "no safe places left," he said.

Haidai called for a quick delivery of long-range weapons before Russians can encircle the city of Lysychansk, cutting it off from Ukrainian supply lines.

Zelenskyy visits troops in southern Ukraine

UK's Johnson, NATO secretary-general prepare for long war

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned his country's allies to prepare for a long war in Ukraine.

In an editorial for The Sunday Times, Johnson called on Ukraine's allies to have "the strategic endurance to survive and eventually prevail."

He urged sustained support or else the European continent risked "the greatest victory for aggression" since World War II. In his 1,000-word missive, Johnson wrote, "Time is now the vital factor."

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also told Bild am Sonntag that the war "could take years."

Scholz: G7 will support Ukraine 'for as long as necessary'

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the Group of Seven nations will underline their commitment to support Ukraine "for as long as necessary" at their upcoming summit in the Bavarian village of Elmau.

In an interview with Germany's dpa news agency published Saturday, Scholz said he wants to use next week's meeting with fellow G-7 leaders to discuss Ukraine's long-term prospects.

"We will continue to support Ukraine for as long as necessary," Scholz was quoted as saying. "We want to make sure that Russian President (Vladimir Putin's) calculations do not work out."

"Putin obviously hopes that everything will fall into place once he has conquered enough land and the international community will return to business as usual," he added. "That is an illusion."

He also praised his predecessor Angela Merkel's diplomatic overtures towards Russia while remaining critical of her energy policy for emphasizing Russian suppliers rather than diversity of supply.

What happened in Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Saturday

Civilians sheltering at the Azot chemical plant in Sievierodonetsk refused to evacuate, the governor of Ukraine's Luhansk region, Serhiy Haidai, said on Sunday. He also said that despite the destruction of all bridges leading to Sievierodonetsk, there are ways to evacuate people from the city and bring needed goods.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited soldiers on the southern front line during a working trip to the Mykolaiv region. Ukraine's defense intelligence directorate said that five Ukrainian civilians have been returned in a prisoner swap with Russia.

Ukraine's prime minister estimates the total cost of damage to infrastructure since the start of the war at $104 billion (roughly €99 billion). Speaking on Saturday at the British-Ukrainian Infrastructure Summit, Denys Shmyhal outlined some of Ukraine's and the EU's financial estimates for the costs incurred since Russia began its invasion on February 24.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said an EU candidate status for Ukraine is "necessary." Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his country joining the European Union would be a gain for the bloc.

German police said they were investigating several hundred potential Russian war crimes in Ukraine, including political and military officials suspected of being linked to the alleged offences. Germany applies universal jurisdiction which allows a foreign country to prosecute crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide, regardless of where they were committed or by whom.

Oil giant BP pledged to end its decades' long partnership with Rosneft over the Ukraine war in February, but the Western company remains Rosneft's largest private shareholder, said Rosneft's chief Igor Sechin. Sechin, a known ally of Russia's President Vladimir Putin, said BP also owns stakes in several large-scale Rosneft projects.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would "love it" if Ukraine could organize the next Eurovision song contest after its Kalush Orchestra won the competition last month. It is customary for the winner of the annual pan-European contest to host the event next year. 

Due to the ongoing war on Ukrainian territory, however, Eurovision officials said the tradition would not be followed this time, and that the UK might be asked step in instead. Ukraine protested the decision.

You can revisit our updates from Saturday here.

ar/sri (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)