Russia is conducting a military operation in Ukraine together with the armed forces of the Donbass republics. The West is reacting with repeated deliveries of arms to Ukraine and unprecedented sanctions. Read the latest developments here.
06/17/2022 9:15 p.m
Images of the shelling of a Donetsk district
The Telegram channel Ukraine.ru has released more short videos showing the aftermath of Ukraine’s continued shelling of Donetsk, including a panoramic view of the shelled district. It is the Kiev Rayon (or city district) of Donetsk.
Putin: Special operation in Donbass saved the West
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the military operation in Donbass was a lifeline for Western countries because it allowed them to blame all their problems on Moscow. He said this at the 25th Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Putin declared that Western countries would shift the responsibility for all economic problems onto Russia. He assured:
“You yourself have made a mess and are looking for the culprits… We may have been happy to hear that we are so omnipotent: inflation is rising in the West and in the US, in Europe, we are doing something that is driving everyone crazy drives… But that’s not true.”
The Russian head of state is certain that the rising food and oil prices, as well as the problems in the energy sector, are the result of flawed EU and US policies.
Putin also stressed that Ukraine had mined the Black Sea ports, which prevented grain exports. He also expressed fears that the Kiev regime could ship Ukrainian grain as payment for Western arms, further aggravating the global food crisis. And the Russian President added that there are five or six options for exporting Ukrainian grain. He said:
“The Kiev authorities should decide for themselves how to proceed without being guided by their masters on the other side of the ocean.”
Lukashenko fears encirclement by Poland
In a speech, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko implied that Poland wanted to annex western Ukraine. According to a report published on the President’s official website, this project is supported by the USA and financed with arms deliveries. Lukashenko warned against an encirclement of Belarus:
“We will have to react because we cannot allow ourselves to be completely surrounded by Poles. That is dangerous.”
The security situation requires additional forces to be kept on the southern border. Ten units are stationed there to reinforce the border troops, Lukashenko continued. In this context, the President emphasized that it is the West that is trying to draw Belarus into the Ukraine conflict. He has never received any requests for military assistance or intervention in Ukraine from the Russian side.
Baerbock wants to support possible EU accession of Ukraine
Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) supported the two states’ aspirations for EU membership in response to the EU Commission’s recommendation that Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova be granted EU candidate status. “Ukraine also defends the values of Europe. That’s why the EU shouldn’t slam the door in her face,” said the Green politician on Twitter.
For the first time, an application for accession is also about the question “whether we are able to act strategically at a historical moment instead of according to a formula,” she adds. “Russia’s war” is a historic turning point for Europe, Bearbock continued. “How we decide now will shape the situation in Europe for a long time, even if the accession process remains long and arduous.”
LVR People’s Militia reports start of surrender of Ukrainian fighters at Azot plant in Severodonetsk
Ukrainian units entrenched in the Severodonetsk Azot Plant have begun to surrender. This was announced to local media by the officer of the People’s Militia of the Lugansk People’s Republic Andrei Marochko. He said:
“In the course of the special military operation at the site of the Azot industrial plant in the city of Severodonetsk, some Ukrainian servicemen actually made the right decision and began to surrender.”
The number of soldiers who surrendered and their affiliation with certain units could not be specified for security reasons, Marochko added.
The former member of the Ukrainian parliament, Ilya Kiwa, also reported on Friday on his Telegram channel about the beginning of the capitulation at the Azov plant. He wrote:
“At the Severodonetsk Azot plant, the encircled Ukrainian forces, including special forces of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, representatives of the Right Sector and foreign mercenaries, have begun to surrender.”
Frontex counts around 6 million Ukraine refugees in the EU
According to the EU border protection agency Frontex, more than 5.7 million people have fled the country to EU member states since the start of the Ukraine war on February 24. The agency announced this on Twitter on Friday. Around 2.8 million people have traveled back to Ukraine. “The borders of Poland and Romania continue to be subject to the greatest pressure,” said Frontex.
Kyiv announces plans to take back Crimea by military means
The Ukrainian Presidential Envoy for Crimea Tamila Taseva has said that Kyiv’s tactics in retaking the peninsula changed after the start of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine on February 24. From now on, military action will be taken. Talking to the TV station Ukraine 24 said Taschenwa:
“On the Crimean issue, approaches to retrieving this territory changed after February 24. We are aware that we now have to rely primarily on our Ukrainian armed forces.”
The spokeswoman also said that if Crimea were recaptured by Kyiv, the Russians who moved to the peninsula after Crimea became part of the Russian Federation would be expelled from the territories. According to Taschenva, Kiev’s key position is “the return of our territories to the Ukrainian side without any ultimatums” and a return to the 1991 borders, including Crimea and Donbass. While some heads of state are trying to persuade the Ukrainian authorities to compromise on the issue, Kyiv would not respond, the spokeswoman said.
Russia’s security chief: The West wants to turn Eurasia into a hotbed of conflict
According to Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, the West is trying to turn Eurasia into a hotbed of conflict where countries are at war with one another.
On Friday, Patrushev said at a CSTO meeting in the Armenian capital Yerevan:
“We consider the continued efforts by the US and its allies to undermine post-Soviet alliances such as the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) to be a threat.”
And he added:
“The West’s long-term goal is to turn Eurasia into a hotbed of conflict, into a region of warring countries like Ukraine, into puppet states or into colonies.“
From July 1st: Ukraine introduces visas for Russian citizens
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky announced on Friday that from July 1, Russian citizens will have to apply for a visa before entering Ukraine.
“According to the planned decision of the Cabinet of Ministers, from July 1, 2022, Ukraine will introduce a visa requirement for the entry of Russian citizens,” he wrote on Telegram. The step was taken “in the context of combating unprecedented threats to national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state,” Zelenskij justified the measure.
So far, Russian nationals have been allowed to stay in Ukraine for 90 days without a visa.
Hundreds of refugees from Ukraine end up on the streets of Britain
Hundreds of Ukrainian families have been left homeless in Britain despite visas. The British newspaper reports Guardians citing official surveys. Since the end of February, at least 480 Ukrainian families with children and 180 single adults have applied for homeless assistance.
Although the UK government stressed that the Homes for Ukraine and Family Visa programs would ensure refugees get housing, both bodies have failed people, the report said. “We are disappointed and saddened, but not surprised” at the failure of the refugee shelter, Lauren Scott, executive director of the aid organization Refugees at Home, told the Guardians. And further:
“We urgently need a common national contingency plan to help families who are failing to find accommodation. Across the country, there is no consistent approach to matching guests with new hosts, no standard way for Ukrainians to change their visa sponsors, and none unified mechanism for transferring funds from one host to another.”
The organization “Homes for Ukraine” helps Ukrainian refugees to find temporary and free accommodation in the UK. Each household that takes in a refugee as part of the project is then entitled to a payment of 350 pounds (approx. 410 euros).
UK government family visas for Ukrainian refugees are free. They are issued for three years and allow refugees to live, work, study and access public funds in the country. However, such documents can only be requested by people who have relatives in the UK.