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Ukraine news live – Russia ‘launches dozens of missiles hitting military sites’

Governor Serhiy Gaidai said Ukrainian troops had been ordered to move to new positions

Joe Middleton,Stuti Mishra
Saturday 25 June 2022 16:00
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Ukrainian drone strikes major Russian oil refinery

Russia has fired missiles at military bases and launched air strikes on a chemical plant in a renewed assault on Saturday, Ukraine officials said.

Serhiy Gaidai, governor of the Luhansk region, said Putin’s forces attacked Sievierodentsk’s industrial zone and have attempted to enter and blockade Lysychansk.

The latest Russian advances appear to bring the Kremlin closer to taking full control of Luhansk, one of Moscow’s stated war objectives, and sets the stage for Lysychansk to become the next main focus of fighting.

Dozens of Russian missiles rained down on military facilities in western and northern Ukraine on Saturday, local officials added, as Europe’s biggest land conflict since World War Two entered its fifth month.

The governor of the Lviv region in western Ukraine, Maxim Kozytskyi, said six missiles were fired from the Black Sea at the Yavoriv base, with four hitting the base and two being intercepted and destroyed before hitting their target.

Vitaliy Bunechko, governor of the Zhytomyr region in the north of the country, said strikes on a military target killed at least one soldier.

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Vladimir Putin ally warns London ‘will be bombed first’ if World War 3 breaks out

London will be the first strategic Nato target to be hit by Russian missiles should World War Three erupt, a close ally of presdient Vladimir Putin has claimed.

Speaking on Russian state TV Andrey Gurulyov, an MP sat on Moscow’s defence committee, described a full-scale invasion of Nato’s Baltic state members.

Gurulyov, a former military commander and member of the pro-Putin United Russia party, said: “We’ll destroy the entire group of enemy’s space satellites during the first air operation.

“No-one will care if they are American or British, we would see them all as NATO.”

My colleague Emily Atkinson has more:

Vladimir Putin ally warns London ‘will be bombed first’ if World War 3 breaks out

‘It’s crystal clear that the threat to the world comes from the Anglo-Saxons,’ Andrey Gurulyov said

Maryam Zakir-Hussain25 June 2022 16:00
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West sends supplies to Ukraine

Ukraine‘s top general Valeriy Zaluzhnyi wrote on the Telegram app on Saturday that U.S.-supplied HIMARS rocket systems are now working and hitting targets in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine.

Leaders of the Group of Seven rich democracies are expected to demonstrate long-term support for Ukraine and discuss how to tighten the screws on Russia at a three day summit in Germany starting on Sunday.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who will take part, said he feared Ukraine could face pressure to agree a peace deal with Russia and that the consequences of Putin getting his way in Ukraine would be dangerous to international security.

In a major sign of support, European Union leaders this week approved Ukraine‘s formal candidacy to join the bloc - a decision that Russia said on Friday amounted to the EU’s “enslaving” of neighbouring countries.

Russia says it sent troops into Ukraine to degrade its southern neighbour’s military capabilities and root out people it called dangerous nationalists.

Ukraine says Russia has launched an imperial-style land grab and it will never surrender its territory to Russia.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain25 June 2022 15:30
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Missile strikes in west and north Ukraine

Governors of western and northern regions have reported multiple missile attacks, indicating that Russia was not limiting its assault to eastern territories.

“48 cruise missiles. At night. Throughout whole Ukraine,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter. “Russia is still trying to intimidate Ukraine, cause panic and make people be afraid.”

The governor of Lviv region in western Ukraine, Maxim Kozytskyi, said in a video posted online that six missiles were fired from the Black Sea at the Yavoriv base near the border with Poland. Four hit the target but two were destroyed.

In the north, Vitaliy Bunechko, governor of the Zhytomyr region, said strikes on a military target killed at least one soldier, adding that nearly 10 missiles had been intercepted and destroyed.

In the south, Oleksandr Senkevych, mayor of Mykolaiv near the Black Sea, said five cruise missiles hit the city and nearby areas on Saturday. The number of casualties was being clarified. Reuters was not able to independently confirm the various reports.

Russia denies targeting civilians. Kyiv and the West say Russian forces have committed war crimes against civilians.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain25 June 2022 15:00
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Russian aggression in Ukraine forcing NATO to ‘look again’ at boosting military capability

Russia’s war in Ukraine is forcing Nato to “look again” at boosting military capability, a top defence chief has said.

Sir Tony Radakin, chief of the defence staff, was asked by LBC’s Nick Ferrari if he was concerned about comments made by defence secretary Ben Wallace that Western countries could struggle to mount a long-term offensive against Russia.

Sir Tony said the military alliance was looking at its resources and the speed it could respond if there was an escalation with Russia, but that the “collective defence” of Nato gives the UK and its allies “extraordinary power”.

Russian aggression forcing NATO to ‘look again’ at boosting military capability

Sir Tony Radakin said that Russian aggression ‘will be met in a very clear way’

Maryam Zakir-Hussain25 June 2022 14:30
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Mayor says Ukrainian troops have 'almost left' Sievierodonetsk

The mayor of Ukraine‘s Sievierodonetsk said Ukrainian troops had “almost left” the strategic frontline city after holding out for weeks against advancing Russian forces.

Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk did not confirm whether a full withdrawal was underway. On Friday, regional authorities said Ukraine was set to pull back its troops there.

“Unfortunately, they have almost left the city,” Stryuk said on national television.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain25 June 2022 13:54
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Russian aggression in Ukraine forcing NATO to ‘look again’ at boosting military capability

Russia’s war in Ukraine is forcing Nato to “look again” at boosting military capability, a top defence chief has said.

Sir Tony Radakin, chief of the defence staff, was asked by LBC’s Nick Ferrari if he was concerned about comments made by defence secretary Ben Wallace that Western countries could struggle to mount a long-term offensive against Russia.

Sir Tony said the military alliance was looking at its resources and the speed it could respond if there was an escalation with Russia, but that the “collective defence” of Nato gives the UK and its allies “extraordinary power”.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin has warned of Russia’s aggression

Sam Rkaina25 June 2022 13:00
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Eurovision Song Contest winners still hope Ukraine can host next year

Eurovision Song Contest winners Kalush Orchestra hope Ukraine is able to host next year’s event despite organisers ruling it out.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) on Thursday said the “severe” risk of air raids in Ukraine alongside the “high” risk of mass casualties contributed to the decision that the “necessary requirements for hosting” the competition were not met.

Folk-rap group Kalush, speaking from Glastonbury ahead of their first UK performance since winning Eurovision in Turin, thanked Prime Minister Boris Johnson for saying the event should take place in Kyiv.

Frontman Oleg Psyuk said: “Thank you very much to Boris (Johnson) for his support and (to) everybody (who) sends their support.

“So right now there (are still) a lot of discussions (going on) in Ukraine. Maybe Ukraine will be invited (to host Eurovision),” he added.

“And we altogether hope Eurovision will be in Ukraine.”

The BBC is in talks with the EBU about hosting the event, with the UK’s Sam Ryder finishing runner-up to Kalush in Italy.

Speaking to reporters at RAF Brize Norton after returning from an unannounced visit to Kyiv, Mr Johnson on Friday said he believed it should be possible for the contest to go ahead in Ukraine, despite the ongoing conflict with Russia.

“The Ukrainians won the Eurovision Song Contest. I know we had a fantastic entry, I know we came second and I’d love it to be in this country,” he said.

“But the fact is that they won and they deserve to have it. I believe that they can have it and I believe that they should have it. I believe that Kyiv or any other safe Ukrainian city would be a fantastic place to have it.”

It comes after the EBU announced that following a “full assessment and feasibility study” it had concluded the “security and operational guarantees” required to put on the competition in Ukraine could not be fulfilled by its public broadcaster, UA:PBC.

Eurovision Song Contest winners Kalush Orchestra (Eurovision 2022/PA)

Sam Rkaina25 June 2022 12:36
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Vladimir Putin ally warns London ‘will be bombed first’ if World War 3 breaks out

London will be the first strategic Nato target to be hit by Russian missiles should World War Three erupt, a close ally of presdient Vladimir Putin has claimed.

Speaking on Russian state TV Andrey Gurulyov, an MP sat on Moscow’s defence committee, described a full-scale invasion of Nato’s Baltic state members.

Gurulyov, a former military commander and member of the pro-Putin United Russia party, said: “We’ll destroy the entire group of enemy’s space satellites during the first air operation.

“No-one will care if they are American or British, we would see them all as NATO.”

Vladimir Putin ally warns London ‘will be bombed first’ if World War 3 breaks out
Sam Rkaina25 June 2022 12:00
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Ukraine ‘learnt hard lesson’ during 2014 battles

South of Sievierodonetsk, Ukrainian soldiers have withdrawn from the towns of Hirske and Zolote in the face of overwhelming Russian forces, said Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

He said Ukraine’s military had learnt the hard lesson of trying to defend positions at all cost during battles with pro-Russian forces in 2014.

“Now, for the first time, we have a precedent where our boys retreated in an orderly fashion,” he said in an online video post.

Ukraine’s foreign minister played down the significance of the possible loss of more territory in the Donbas.

“Putin wanted to occupy the Donbas by May 9. We are (there) on June 24 and still fighting. Retreating from a few battles does not mean losing the war at all,” Dmytro Kuleba said in an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington-based think tank, said in a late Friday note: “Ukrainian forces will likely maintain their defenses around Lysychansk and continue to exhaust Russian troops after the fall of Sievierodonetsk”.

It said Ukrainian forces would likely take higher ground in Lysychansk which may see them repel Russian attacks and that Russian forces would need to cross the river from Sievierodonetsk which will require additional time and effort.

Sam Rkaina25 June 2022 11:30
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Lysychansk ‘will be under Russian control in week and a half'

Vitaly Kiselev, an official in the Interior Ministry of the separatist Luhansk People’s Republic - recognised only by Russia - told Russia’s TASS news agency that it would take another week and a half to secure full control of Lysychansk.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, but abandoned an early advance on the capital Kyiv in the face of fierce resistance bolstered by Western arms.

Since then Moscow and its proxies have focused on the south and Donbas, an eastern territory made up of Luhansk and its neighbour Donetsk, deploying overwhelming artillery in some of the heaviest ground fighting in Europe since World War Two.

On Saturday, Russia again launched missile strikes on military and civilian infrastructure in the north near Ukraine’s second-biggest city Kharkiv through to Sievierodonetsk in the east, said the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces.

Several regional governors reported shelling attacks on towns across Ukraine on Saturday.

Russia denies targeting civilians, but Kyiv and the West say Russian forces have committed war crimes against civilians.

Ukraine on Friday again pressed for more arms, with its top general, Valeriy Zaluzhniy, telling his U.S. counterpart in a phone call that Kyiv needed “fire parity” with Moscow to stabilise the situation in Luhansk.

Sam Rkaina25 June 2022 11:00

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