- Luhansk governor says Russian forces are largely in control of Severodonetsk, the city in which Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the fate of the Donbas is being decided.
- Two British nationals and a Moroccan captured while fighting for Ukraine could face the death penalty in one of Russia’s proxies in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s RIA state news agency says.
- Russia and Turkey have voiced support for a safe corridor in the Black Sea to allow Ukrainian grain exports, but Kyiv has rejected the proposal, saying it is not credible.
- A mayoral aid in the city of Mariupol says about 50 to 100 bodies have been found in each of two out of five high-rise buildings searched, calling it an “endless caravan of death”.
- The Institute of International Finance estimates Russia’s economy will shrink by 15 percent this year.
Here are the latest updates:
Russia still feels too strong to negotiate: Zelenskyy
Zelenskyy has said that for Russia to join in negotiations to end the war “is simply not possible now because Russia can still feel its power.”
Speaking via a video link to US corporate leaders Wednesday, through a translator, he added: “We need to weaken Russia and the world is supposed to do it.”
Zelenskyy said Ukraine is doing its part on the battlefield and called for even tougher sanctions to weaken Russia economically. He told the business leaders: “We need to switch Russia off the global financial system completely.”
He also said Ukraine is willing to negotiate with Russia to end the war — but “not at the expense of our independence.”
Russian and Turkey voice support for grains safe corridor
Russia and Turkey have voiced support for a safe corridor in the Black Sea to allow Ukrainian grain exports, but Kyiv has rejected the proposal, saying it was not credible. This came after a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara.
Putin previously pledged that Moscow wouldn’t use the safe corridors to launch an attack, but both Ukrainian and EU officials cast doubt on the pledge. But Lavrov promised Wednesday that Moscow would not “abuse” its naval advantage if Ukraine removed mines from its ports and would “take all necessary steps to ensure that the ships can leave there freely.”
Turkey said it would facilitate and protect the transport of the grain in the Black Sea but the head of Ukraine’s grain traders group scoffed at this.
“Turkey doesn’t have enough power in the Black Sea to guarantee security of cargo and Ukrainian ports,” Ukrainian Grain Union chief Serhiy Ivashchenko said Wednesday. He said it would take three to four months to remove sea mines, and also alleged that it was Russia that mined the area.
Volkswagen offers pay-offs for employees who quit major Russia plant: Reports
Volkswagen s offering pay-offs to employees at one of the company’s two plants in Russia if they agree to quit voluntarily, the Kommersant newspaper has said, citing union sources.
The paper said the offer – which in some cases would amount to six months’ salary – was aimed at the 200 people working at the Nizhny Novgorod plant.
Volkswagen announced in March that production at its Kaluga and Nizhny Novgorod sites would be suspended until further notice because of Western sanctions, and vehicle exports to Russia will be stopped with immediate effect.
Ukraine’s PM thanks EU for vote in favour of candidate status
Ukraine’s prime minister has thanked the Europe’s parliament for voting in favour of making his country a candidate for European Union membership.
“Deputies approved the resolution also calling for providing weapons to #Ukraine to fight the aggressor. Grateful to @EP_President & @Europarl_EN for solidarity with Ukrainian people. We will win together!,” Denys Shmyhal wrote on Twitter.
Some 438 members voted in favour of the resolution to make Ukraine a candidate, 65 voted against and 94 abstained.
The European Parliament recommended granting #EU candidate status for 🇺🇦! Deputies approved the resolution also calling for providing weapons to #Ukraine to fight the aggressor. Grateful to @EP_President & @Europarl_EN for solidarity with Ukrainian people. We will win together!
— Denys Shmyhal (@Denys_Shmyhal) June 8, 2022
Ukraine parliament speaker pleads for EU candidate status
The speaker of Ukraine’s parliament has made a plea for his country to become a candidate for European Union membership, a move that would bring his nation closer to the EU without guaranteeing its admittance.
Ruslan Stefanchuk, chairman of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, told EU lawmakers Wednesday that failing to give Ukraine a sign of an open door would be a clear signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin that “he can be totally going forward without any punishment.”
European heads of state and government are expected to consider Ukraine’s bid for EU candidate status at the end of June. The European Parliament already passed a resolution in favour of making Ukraine a membership candidate.
Millions hurt as Ukraine war hikes prices
A UN report has said the war in Ukraine is increasing the suffering of millions of people by escalating food and energy prices, coming on top of ills from a growing financial crisis, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.
The UN Global Crisis Response Group report said the war “has exacerbated a global cost-of-living crisis unseen in at least a generation” and is undermining the UN goal of ending extreme poverty around the world by 2030.
The group was appointed by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to assess the effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russia launched at least 2100 missiles towards Ukraine: Visegrad
Russia has launched at least 2,100 missiles against Ukraine since the start of the invasion, according to information collected by Visegrad. More than 600 of the missiles were launched from Belarus.
Visegrad, a cultural and political alliance of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia, published a timeline video with a map of Ukraine showing where the missiles landed.
Russia has launched at least 2100 missiles against Ukraine since the start of their invasion.
More than 600 of them were launched from Belarus. pic.twitter.com/A4GJimVYPw
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) June 8, 2022
Two Britons, Moroccan risk death penalty in Donetsk court
Two British nationals and a Moroccan who were captured while fighting for Ukraine could face the death penalty after pleading guilty in a court of one of Russia’s proxies in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s RIA state news agency has reported.
Video published by RIA showed Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner and Moroccan Brahim Saadoun in a courtroom cage with white bars. RIA said Pinner and Saadoun had pleaded guilty to actions aimed at the violent seizure of power.
The video appeared to show Aslin pleading guilty to a lesser charge involving weapons and explosives. He was seen standing in the cage and leafing through a sheaf of legal documents as the charge was translated to him.
Severodonetsk now largely under Russian control: Governor
The eastern Ukraine city of Severodonetsk is now “largely” under Russian control after fierce fighting, while its twin city of Lysychansk is suffering enormous destruction, the region’s governor says.
Moscow’s forces “control a large part of Severodonetsk. The industrial zone is still ours, there are no Russians there. The fighting is only going on in the streets inside the city”, Serhiy Haidai, governor of the Luhansk region, said on Telegram.
Severodonetsk, which had a pre-war population of 100,000, and the city of Lysychansk are wedged between Russian forces in Luhansk province.
Read more here
‘Endless caravan of death’ in Mariupol, says local official
Workers are removing bodies from the ruins of high-rise buildings in the devastated Ukrainian port city of Mariupol and transporting them in an “endless caravan of death”, a mayoral aide says.
Petro Andryushchenko said on the Telegram app that in a search of about two-fifths of the buildings, they have found from 50 to 100 bodies in each. They are taking the bodies to morgues and landfills.
Ukrainian authorities estimate at least 21,000 civilians were killed and hundreds of buildings destroyed during a weeks-long Russian siege of Mariupol. Reports have surfaced of mass graves holding thousands of bodies.
Russia claimed full control of Mariupol last month.
Severodonetsk defenders are inflicting big losses, Zelenskyy says
Volodymyr Zelenskyy says defenders in the city of Severodonetsk are inflicting major losses on Russian troops during what he called a “fierce and difficult” battle.
“In many respects, the fate of the Donbas is being decided there,” he said in an online address.
Russian economy to shrink by 15 percent: Trade group
Hard hit by sanctions, Russia’s economy will shrink by 15 percent this year and another 3 percent in 2023, wiping out 10 years of economic gains, the Institute of International Finance, a global banking trade group, said in an analysis.
President Vladimir Putin said earlier this week that unemployment and inflation are decreasing, backing up his frequent claims that Russia is succeeding despite Western sanctions.
Still, the finance institute argued the sanctions, partly by encouraging foreign companies to abandon Russia, “are unraveling its economy, wiping out more than a decade of economic growth, and some of the most meaningful consequences have yet to be felt”.
UN pursuing deal on Ukraine grain, Russian fertilisers
The United Nations says it is pursuing a deal that would allow grain exports from Ukraine through the Black Sea and unimpeded access to world markets for Russian food and fertilisers.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told UN correspondents without the deal, hundreds of millions of people in developing countries face the threat of an unprecedented wave of hunger.
“Ukraine’s food production and the food and fertiliser produced by Russia must be brought into world markets despite the war,” Guterres said.
Russia escalates pressure on domestic opponents of invasion
Russia stepped up its campaign against domestic opponents of its invasion, extending the detention of Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr, a journalist Russia accuses of spreading “false information” about Russia’s military. Russia previously adopted a law criminalising “false information” about the war, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Amid pressure to come out in support of the war, some public figures have fled the country. Pinchas Goldschmidt, the chief rabbi of Moscow, fled to Israel following pressure to make public statements in support of the invasion.
Read more here
Ukraine files eight more war crime cases
Ukraine filed eight more war crimes cases in court in addition to three sentences already handed down to Russian soldiers.
In total, Ukraine has now opened more than 16,000 investigations into possible war crimes during Russia’s invasion, prosecutor Iryna Venediktova said in televised remarks.
“Every day we see an increase [in investigations],” she added. “We are talking about people who didn’t just come as military combatants … but also came to rape, kill civilians, loot, humiliate and so on.”
Moscow denies allegations its troops have committed war crimes.
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.
Read all the updates from Wednesday, June 8, here.