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Ukraine updates: 3 killed in Russian strike on Kyiv

Published June 1, 2023last updated June 1, 2023

A child was among those killed in the missile attacks on Kyiv's eastern outskirts, according to Ukrainian officials. NATO's Jens Stoltenberg says Ukraine is ready for its counteroffensive. DW has the latest.

Local residents react near the body of a person killed in a Russian missile strike, at the compound of a municipal clinic
Local residents react near the body of a person killed in a Russian missile strike, at the compound of a municipal clinicImage: Valentyn Ogirenko/REUTERS

Three people, including a child, were killed in an air attack on the Ukrainian capital early on Thursday, city officials said.

The mother of the 9-year-old child and another woman were also killed, officials said. 

Earlier reports spoke of two children having been killed in the attack.

At least 10 people were injured.

Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, said on Telegram that emergency crews had extinguished the fires ignited by falling debris from the missiles. He added that a clinic was among the buildings affected by the strikes.

Police have opened an investigation after witnesses said the victims had been unable to get to safety when an air raid shelter failed to open.

The attacks on Kyiv's eastern outskirts follow a barrage of Russian missiles fired at the capital city this week.

Russian attack on Kyiv kills at least three

Air raid alerts sounded in Kyiv and in most of eastern Ukraine for about an hour on Thursday morning. 

Here are some of the other developments concerning Russia's war in Ukraine on Thursday, June 1:

Some 750 injured Ukrainians treated in Germany

German healthcare facilities have taken in more Ukrainians injured in the war than other EU countries, German authorities have said.

Some 750 injured Ukrainians have been treated in Germany since the war started in February 2022, the BBK said, out of around 2,250 patients.

Norway meanwhile has taken in some 250, with Poland and Spain both treating 230.

Germany's Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said Berlin continues to stand by Ukraine, which is forced to "defend itself against the brutal Russian war of aggression."

Kyiv ready for counteroffensive, NATO chief says

Ukraine is now ready for its longawaited counteroffensive against Russia, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.

"I'm confident that Ukrainian forces now have the capabilities they need to liberate more occupied land," he said in a press conference in Oslo. 

Nevertheless, Stoletenberg stressed the importance of the alliance's continued support to Kyiv. He reiterated a NATO support package in the wraps, which involved multi-year funding and military aid.

Trans-Atlantic coalition to supply US-made jets to Ukraine

"This will ensure Ukraine's deterrence and defense for the longer term," he said.

Stoltenberg spoke on the sidelines of a meeting for NATO ministers in Oslo.

Ukraine's NATO accession should not be on agenda — Hungary

The future NATO accession of Ukraine should not be on the agenda during July's NATO summit, Hungary's foreign minister is insisting.

"We have to be clear on this: the NATO accession of a country currently at war cannot be on the agenda," Peter Szijjarto said on his Facebook page.

Szijjarto added that a timetable for Ukraine's accession should not be discussed either.

Hungary, a member of both the EU and NATO, has been a reluctant supporter of the West's sanctions on Russia. 

Prime Miniser Viktor Orban has had a friendly relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin since he reassumed office as president in 2010.

Russia blocking Black Sea grain deal again: Ukrainian ministry

The Ukrainian Ministry of Renovation and Infrastructure said on Thusday that Russia was blocking registration of ships to all Ukrainian ports, thus stopping a UN-brokered deal allowing the export of grain from Ukraine  despite the conflict there.

"The Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul has announced that it is impossible to draw up an inspection plan for June 1 due to another unjustified refusal of the Russian delegation to register the incoming fleet for participation in the Initiative," the ministry said on Facebook.

Russia did not immediately comment on the status of the deal.

But the director of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), Alexander Bortnikov, said that corridors designated for grain transport under the deal were being used to attack the Russian coast, according to a report by state-owned news agency TASS on Thursday.

In recent weeks, Russia has repeatedly cast doubt on the viability of the deal, among other things complaining that its own agricultural sector was being unfairly hit by sanctions in other areas.

The deal was last renewed in mid-May.

Russia says border town attacked with shells and rockets

The governor of Russia's Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said that the border town of Shebekino had been shelled by Ukrainian forces using Soviet-era Grad rocket systems. He said one residential building in the town had been set on fire and the local administration building damaged, with one resident injured.

Gladkov earlier reported that eight people had been injured by heavy shelling overnight by Ukrainian forces.

He said some local residents had been evacuated.

Russia's Defense Ministry, meanwhile, said on Thursday that its troops had thrice repelled what it called "Ukrainian terrorist formations" who were trying to cross the border into Russia in the Belgorod region.

The reports have not been independently confirmed.

Last week, settlements in the Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, were briefly seized by pro-Ukrainian forces during an incursion

Moscow, Kyiv trade accusations over Belgorod incursion

Hungary's Orban promoting Russia's aims in EU: Opposition lawmaker

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is acting as Russia's "Trojan Horse" in the European Union, Hungarian opposition lawmaker Katalin Cseh has told DW.

"As Hungarians, we know — our parents and our grandparents know — how it feels like seeing Russian tanks on the streets of our cities. We know how dangerous it is to be under that sphere of influence," Cseh said. "Yet here we are: Viktor Orban acting as the Trojan horse of Vladimir Putin at [EU] Council meetings. They are blocking sanctions against basically war criminals."

Cseh, whose Momentum party is part of the liberal "Renew Europe" political grouping in the European Parliament, called for more support for Ukraine.

"If Russia wins, we are the next — we are just next door," she said. 

EU parliamentarians are due to vote on a non-binding resolution questioning whether Hungary can "credibly" take on the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2024.

Among other things, the Council "defines and implements EU foreign and security policy on the basis of guidelines set by the European Council," according to a statement on an EU website.

Under Orban, Hungary has been accused by the EU of not complying with the bloc's laws and undermining the rule of law in the country.

Ukraine's Zelenskyy arrives at EPC summit in Moldova

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has arrived in Moldova to attend the European Political Community summit.

Moldova's President Maia Sandu welcomed Zelenskyy in Mimi Castle in Bulboaca ahead of the summit, which is taking place for the second time.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy shaking hands with Maia Sandu
Zelenskyy, seen here with Moldova's President Maia Sandu, is expected to call for yet more European supportImage: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

Among other things, the meeting is intended to demonstrate European solidarity amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

On the messaging platform Telegram, Zelenskyy said earlier that he is planning to meet others of the 47 leaders attending. He is expected to use the meetings to call for further aid to his country as it defends itself against the Russian attack.

Shortly after arrival, he told reporters that his country was ready to join NATO and waiting for the alliance go give the go-ahead.

At the summit, Zelenskyy said Kyiv wanted a "clear" decision on future NATO membership when the military alliance's leaders meet in Vilnius in July.

He also called for a coalition of nations to supply Ukraine with Patriot air defense systems and fighter jets.

Zelenskyy also said he had called at talks with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for all export restrictions on Ukrainian agricultural products to be removed .

In early May, the EU introduced measures affecting wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seed originating in Ukraine, banning their import into Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.  Those countries may still be used to transit the products.

Russian opposition may be emboldened by Prighozin comments: UK intel

In its latest intelligence update on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the UK Defence Ministry has noted a public call by Russian opposition politician Boris Nadezhdin for a new president to be elected in 2024 so that relations with Europe can be normalized.

It said Nadezhdin's comments were the first such call for President Vladimir Putin to be replaced made on Russian state-approved television since the invasion began and that it occurred despite "limitations on freedom of speech which haven’t been seen since Soviet times." 

The ministry said Russia's opposition was possibly emboldened by "recent vitriolic rhetoric by nationalist figures such as Wagner Group owner Yevgeny Prigozhin," who has not hesitated to criticize Russian leaders over their management of the invasion.

NATO meeting to discuss Ukraine membership

The NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Oslo on Thursday will see efforts to bridge the gaps concerning Ukraine's aspirations to join the alliance.

While the other items on the agenda include increased spending commitments and the selection of a new NATO chief,  the primary point of contention revolves around Kyiv's pursuit of NATO membership.

The decision requires consensus among member nations.

"I cannot anticipate the outcome of the discussions, but what is clear is that all NATO allies agree that NATO's door is open," alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.

Ukraine acknowledges that it cannot join the alliance while the fighting persists on its territory.

Becoming a NATO member would entail Ukraine being covered by Article 5, the alliance's collective defense clause that requires all members to come to its aid in the event of an attack.

Stoltenberg is promoting a 10-year program, amounting to €500 million ($530 million) per year, aimed at assisting Ukraine's military in transitioning to Western standards.

Russia evacuates children from border region

Russia has announced the evacuation of hundreds of children from villages in the border region of Belgorod in response to escalating shelling. The Kremlin called the situation "alarming."

Vyacheslav Gladkov, the regional governor, said on Telegram that authorities had started moving children out of the border districts of Shebekino and Graivoron.

"The question of children's safety in the two districts ... is very important," Gladkov said.

Russia, more than a year into its war against Ukraine, has experienced heightened attacks on its own territory.

Last week, an unprecedented incursion occurred in Belgorod, followed by a drone attack on Moscow this week.

More DW coverage

The European Political Community (EPC) is meeting in Moldova to discuss solidarity with Ukraine. Here's what to expect from the meeting: 

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola has stressed that the EU stands resolutely behind Ukraine amid Moscow's allegations that Kyiv is responsible for drone attacks on the Russian capital. Here's what she said in an interview with DW.

Kyiv says there are over 19,000 Ukrainian children who have been forcibly separated from their families and illegally deported to Russia. Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is spearheading efforts to bring them home. Learn more in the video below.

Ukraine condemns crimes against children in war

ss/nm (Reuters, AFP)

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