June 13 (Reuters) – Ukrainian defenders were fighting fiercely for “every metre” of Sievierodonetsk, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, as Russian forces destroyed a bridge to another city across the river, leaving stranded civilians with just one way out. Read full story
* Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai said: “About 500 civilians remain on the grounds of the Azot plant in Sievierodonetsk, 40 of them are children. Sometimes the military manages to evacuate someone.” The industrial zone was under heavy bombardment, while Russian forces control around 70% of the city.
* Russian forces had destroyed the second of three bridges over the Siverskyi Donets River linking Sievierodonetsk with its twin city of Lysychansk, Gadai said. If the last bridge is destroyed Sievierodonetsk would be cut off, and people would no longer be able to flee in vehicles.
* Southwest of Sievierodonetsk, Russian forces were firing mortars and artillery around a number of settlements, according to Ukraine’s general staff. But it said Ukrainian forces had repulsed Russian attempts to advance towards some communities.
* Russia says its missiles have destroyed a large quantity of Ukrainian weapons in the Donbas region, including weapons sent from the West. Read full story
* President Volodomyr Zelenskiy said Ukraine’s military was gradually liberating territory further west in the Kherson region and had some successes in Zaporizhzhia, too.
* Russian forces fired Kalibr cruise missiles to destroy a depot containing U.S. and European weapons in western Ukraine’s Ternopil region, Interfax reported. Ternopil’s governor said a rocket attack from the Black Sea had partly destroyed a military facility in the city of Chortkiv, injuring 22 people. A local official said there were no weapons stored there. Reuters could not independently confirm the differing accounts. Read full story
* Interfax also said Russian forces had shot down three Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jets near Donetsk and Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine.
* Former McDonald’s restaurants flung open their doors in Moscow under new Russian ownership and with the new name, Vkusno & tochka, which translates as “Tasty and that’s it”. Read full story
* Farmers of Ukraine’s southern Odesa region have begun the 2022 grain harvest, taking advantage of favourable weather. Read full story
* Ukraine has established two routes through Poland and Romania to export grain and avert a global food crisis although bottlenecks have slowed the supply chain, Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister said.Read full story
* Security concerns raised by Turkey in its opposition to Finnish and Swedish NATO membership applications are legitimate, the Western military alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in Finland.
* European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU executive’s opinion on Ukraine’s request to join the European Union would be ready in the coming week.Read full story
* Is it better to engage with Russian President Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine or to isolate him? Should Kyiv make concessions to end the war, or would that embolden the Kremlin? Are ramped up sanctions on Russia worth the collateral damage?
These are some of the questions testing the international alliance that swiftly rallied around Ukraine, officials and diplomats told Reuters. Read full story
* The global nuclear arsenal is expected to grow in the coming years for the first time since the Cold War while the risk of such weapons being used is the greatest in decades, a leading conflict and armaments think-tank said. Read full story
“The key tactical goal of the occupiers has not changed: they are pressing in Sievierodonetsk, severe fighting is ongoing there – literally for every metre,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address on Sunday.
(Compiled by Simon Cameron-Moore and Peter Graff)