June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (2024)

Table of Contents
What we covered here Russian accounts report heavy fighting in Zaporizhzhia and acknowledge Ukrainian gains It's past midnight in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know Zelensky says battles are fierce but Ukraine is moving forward and recapturing territory Ultimate goal of counteroffensive is to win back all territories, including Crimea, presidential adviser says Mitch McConnell praises Ukraine's heroism in driving back Russian forces Ukraine's counteroffensive has begun, French president says Putin visits defense ministry hospital and urges wounded soldiers to continue their military service Ukrainian forces recaptured 7 villages in the past week, defense official says Ukrainiantroops make incremental gains in Bakhmut, official says Death toll in southern Ukraine rises to 10 following Kakhovka dam collapse,Kherson military official says Reservoir water levels are dropping after dam collapse, CEO of Ukrainian hydroelectric company says Dam collapse is the "largest catastrophe by Russian invaders" since the war began, Ukraine says NATO's biggest-ever air defense exercise kicks off in Germany Netherlands aims to train Ukrainian pilots this summer, Dutch minister says Nearlyone-thirdof bomb shelters inspected in Ukraine are closed or unsuitable for use, officials say More than 6,000 Shebekino residents in temporary housing following attacks, Belgorod governor says 1 killed and 1 wounded in attack onOrikhiv, Ukraine says More than 2,500 Ukrainians repatriated through prisoner of war exchanges since start of war, Zelenksy says Russians claim counterattack underway in Zaporizhzhia UN nuclear watchdog launches assistance program to Ukraine in response to dam flooding Heavy fighting in southeastern regions of Ukraine It's mid-afternoon in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know. Zelensky signaled Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia is underway. Here’s what to expect Putin says Russia is experiencing "difficult time" How pro-Ukrainian residents of occupied Melitopol feel daily fear Ukrainian forces claim Russian troops blew up small dam in southeast Ukraine loses 16 US-made armored vehicles, group says, but Kyiv's forces still gain territory Water levels recede in Kherson as thousands evacuate on both sides of the Dnipro 1 killed in Donetsk fighting, Ukraine military says Ukraine claims Russia on the defensive in Zaporizhzhia and Kherson Ukraine claims battlefield successes after Zelensky signals counteroffensive is underway. Here's the latest Ukrainian forces have taken another frontline village and advanced on several fronts, defense official says ICC is investigating the devastating dam collapse in southern Ukraine, Zelensky says Death toll rises to at least 14 in NovaKakhovka dam collapse, Ukrainian officials say Ukrainian drone boats attack Russian ship in the Black Sea, Moscow says Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin rejects Russian Defense Ministry efforts to rein in his force Rock band manager Travis Leake named as US citizen detained on drug charges in Russia References
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By Jessie Yeung, Sana Noor Haq, Tim Lister, Schams Elwazer, Aditi Sangal, Leinz Vales, Ramishah Maruf, Maureen Chowdhury and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:02 AM EDT, Tue June 13, 2023

June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (6)

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Ukrainian soldier raises flag in newly liberated village

01:25 - Source: CNN

What we covered here

  • Russian and Ukrainian forces reported intense clashes Monday along the borders of the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions, in Ukraine’s east and southeast.
  • President Vladimir Putin, speaking at an event to mark Russia Day, said the country was experiencing “a difficult time.” He also visited wounded soldiers at a Moscow hospital and urged them to continue their military service once they recover.
  • Ukraine has lost 16US-supplied armored vehiclesin the past few days, according to an open-source intelligence website.
  • The death toll in Ukrainian-controlled areas following the flooding from the NovaKakhovka dam collapse has risen to 10, an official said.

38 Posts

Our live coverage of Russia’s war in Ukraine has moved here.

Russian accounts report heavy fighting in Zaporizhzhia and acknowledge Ukrainian gains

From CNN's Tim Lister, Josh Pennington and Maria Kostenko

Russian-backed officials and military bloggers are reporting intense fighting along the border of Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions, in an area where Ukrainian forces have made gains in recent days.

The fighting is taking place south of the town of Velyka Novosilka along both sides of the Mokri Yaly river, an area where the Ukrainians appear to have had greater success than elsewhere in the initial stages of their counter-offensive.

Late Monday, a senior Russian-appointed official,Vladimir Rogov, spoke of heavy fighting in an area known as the Vremivka ridge, claiming that higher ground remained under Russian control.

Rogov, a member of the Russian-installed Zaporizhzhia administration, said on Telegram that Russian attack helicopters were in action, and that“reciprocal shelling and heavy fighting of ultra-high intensity continues”in the vicinity of the village of Urozhaine.

Rogov conceded that Ukrainian forces were “holding their positions on the northern and eastern outskirts of the village.”

Rogov said heavy fighting about 10 kilometers to the west had turned the area into a “gray zone,” but that Ukrainian units had dispersed from the area —around the village of Levadne.

Russian military bloggers have also been reporting intense combat in the area, with one Telegram channel (Our Donetsk) saying “the enemy managed to deepen and advance through the wooded areas, threatening with further advance to encircle” nearby Russian units.

There is no way to verify these unofficial reports, but they are consistent with a pattern in the fighting that has evolved in the last week.

“Our Donetsk” acknowledged that Russian troops had been forced to abandon Neskuchne — just south of Velyka Novosilka — for a second time,“retreating to positions where they would not be encircled.”

It said the Ukrainians were “accumulating forces” in the area, and heavy fighting continued.

Also late on Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky commented on the fighting in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia border region, saying “the enemy’s losses are exactly what we need.”

By contrast, Russian military bloggers are claiming that Ukrainian efforts to advance south of Orikhiv, in another part of the southern front, have been resisted, with several saying that the Ukrainians had lost a significant number of de-mining tanks in an area known to have been heavily fortified by the Russians with minefields and tank traps.

Geolocated video appears to show Ukrainian armor losses in this area.

It's past midnight in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (7)

Ukrainian servicemen ride atop an armoured personnel carrier vehicle in the Zaporizhzhya region on Sunday, June 11, 2023.

Russian and Ukrainian forces reported intense clashes Monday along the borders of the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions, in Ukraine’s east and southeast.

Ukrainian forces have recaptured seven villages within the last week, according toDeputy Defense MinisterHanna Maliar.

Ukraine has lost 16US-supplied armored vehiclesin the past few days, according to an open-source intelligence website.

Here are more of the latest developments:

  • Ukrainiantroops make incremental gains in Bakhmut:Ukrainian troops made incremental gains in the eastern city of Bakhmut, according to the spokesperson for the Eastern Grouping of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.“There was position fighting there over the past 24 hours. The enemy tried to attack, we counterattacked on the flanks, moving forward from 250 to 700 meters,”Serhii Cherevatyi said on Monday during a national telethon.
  • Russians claim counterattack underway in Zaporizhzhia: The Russian military has launched a counterattack in the area of ​​the Vremivka ledge, where Ukrainian forces have made progress in recent days, according to a leading Russian-appointed official in the area, Vladimir Rogov. Rogov told the Russian Komsomolskaya Pravda radio station: “At the moment, a counterattack has begun on the part of our guys — the 127th division is going into battle, moving forward.”
  • Ukraine’s ultimate goal with their counteroffensive is to win back all territories: Ukrainian President Zelensky’s chief diplomatic adviser Igor Zhovkva said Monday that the “ultimate goal of the counteroffensive campaign is to win back all the territories, including Crimea.”During an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Zhovkva said some counteroffensive actions were already underway, but would not give details.
  • Putin visited a hospital and urged wounded soldiers to continue military service: Russian President Vladimir Putin made a visit to the central Ministry of Defense Hospital in Moscow on Monday and told wounded soldiers that their country needed them. Putin visited the hospital as one of several public appearances to mark Russia Day. He bestowed state awards on fighters wounded in Ukraine and said that he understood the conflict is “not some movie, it’s all happening in reality.”
  • Death toll rises to 10 following Nova Kakhovka dam collapse: The death toll in Ukrainian-controlled areas following the flooding from the NovaKakhovka dam collapse has risen to 10, according to thehead of the Kherson region military administration on Monday.Two more civilians have died due to the flooding in Kherson city, saidOleksandr Prokudin, the region military administration head.

Zelensky says battles are fierce but Ukraine is moving forward and recapturing territory

From CNN's Maria Kostenko
June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (8)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during his nightly address on Monday, June 12, 2023.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address on Monday thatfighting is tough but Ukrainian forces are “moving forward” and recapturing territory.

Zelensky also said that “the most important and hottest” operational areas are in theTavria and the Khortytsia directions, and he received reports from the commanders in those areas during his staff meeting on Monday.

The General of the Ukrainian Land Forces and the General of theTavria operational-strategic group reported “on the success we have achieved, on the front areas where we need to reinforce and on the actions we can take to break more Russian positions,” according to Zelensky.

“We are maintaining and strengthening our operational dominance,” Zelensky said. “I am particularly grateful for Bakhmut as we are increasing our control in this area.”

Some more context: Earlier on Monday,Ukraine’s Deputy Defence MinisterHanna Maliar said that within the past week, Ukrainian forces in the Bakhmut area recaptured 16 square kilometers. On the left flank in Bakhmut, Ukrainian troops advance 1.5 kilometers, and on the right flank, they advanced 3.5 kilometers, according toMaliar.

“This week, as always, will be very meaningful,” Zelensky added in his address. “First, we are preparing new weapons support from our partners for our warriors. Second, we are preparing to involve more global actors in the implementation of the Peace Formula. Third, we are working to make the [NATO] Vilnius Summit truly meaningful.”

Ultimate goal of counteroffensive is to win back all territories, including Crimea, presidential adviser says

From CNN’s Sharon Braithwaite in London and Andrew Carey in Kyiv

Ukrainian President Zelensky’s chief diplomatic adviser Igor Zhovkva said Monday that the “ultimate goal of the counteroffensive campaign is to win back all the territories, including Crimea.”

During an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Zhovkva said some counteroffensive actions were already underway, but would not give details.

He also sought to tamp down any expectations that the campaign would achieve rapid results, saying it could take many months for Ukraine to achieve its aims.

In the same vein, he reminded Amanpour that this was not Ukraine’s first counteroffensive – a reference to the Ukrainian army’s successful advances in September and October when Russian forces were pushed out of the Kharkiv region and the northern part of the Kherson region.

The current push would “probably would not be the last counteroffensive operation,” he added.

He also said that if Ukraine was going to be successful it needed Western partners to supply more artillery and ammunition.

Mitch McConnell praises Ukraine's heroism in driving back Russian forces

From CNN's Nicky Robertson and Kristin Wilson
June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (9)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks from the Senate floor on Monday, June 12.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday praised Ukraine’s military for driving Russian forces “back and out of occupied Ukrainian territory” and lauded the support of the US and NATO allies in assisting in that effort.

Ukraine's counteroffensive has begun, French president says

From CNN’s Joseph Ataman in Paris
June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (10)

French President Emmanuel Macron, center, attends a news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, right, and Polish President Andrzej Duda in Paris, on Monday, June 12.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that a “meticulously” planned Ukrainian counteroffensive started “several days ago” but did not specify where in Ukraine.

Speaking at a press conference with German and Polish leaders in Paris, Macron alsopraised the “excellence” of the tactical sense and organization of Ukraine’s military leaders.

The counteroffensive had been planned over several weeks or months, he added.

Since the beginning of the war, France has “intensified the delivery of arms and munitions, armored vehicles and logistical support” to Ukraine, Macron said. He added that such support would continue.

Putin visits defense ministry hospital and urges wounded soldiers to continue their military service

From CNN's Josh Pennington
June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (11)

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with wounded soldiers on Monday, June 12.

Russian President Vladimir Putin made a visit to the central Ministry of Defense Hospital in Moscow on Monday and told wounded soldiers that their country needed them.

Putin visited the hospital as one of several public appearances to mark Russia Day.

He bestowed state awards on fighters wounded in Ukraine and said that he understood the conflict is “not some movie, it’s all happening in reality.”

Putin’s visit to soldiers comes amid Ukraine’s defense officials claiming to have recaptured several settlements in the Donetsk region.

Ukrainian forces recaptured 7 villages in the past week, defense official says

From Maria Kostenko and Olga Voitovych, CNN Kyiv
June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (12)

A frame from a video purportedly showing Ukrainian soldiers after retaking the village of Storozheve in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, on June 12.

Ukrainian forces have recaptured seven villages within the last week, according toDeputy Defense MinisterHanna Maliar.

In Donetsk and Tavria,“the advance of the offensive troops amounted to 6.5 kilometers,”Maliar said Monday on Telegram. “The area taken under control amounted to 90 square kilometers.”

Maliar said the villages of Lobkove, Levadne, Novodarivka, Neskuchne, Storozheve, Makarivka, and Blahodatne were liberated.

Earlier,Ukraine’sTavria Defense Forces posted a video on Facebook of soldiers holding up the Ukrainian flag inStorozheve,claiming to have recaptured the village in the Donetsk region, but it is not clear when the video was taken.

CNN cannot independently verify battlefield reports.

Ukrainiantroops make incremental gains in Bakhmut, official says

From CNN's Maria Kostenko

Ukrainian troops made incremental gains in the eastern city of Bakhmut, according to the spokesperson for the Eastern Grouping of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

He also said Russian forces fired artillery and rockets at Ukrainian positions on Monday.

“The enemy fired artillery and MLRS at our positions 249 times,” Cherevatyi said, referring to multiple launch rocket systems. There were three combat engagements and two air raids during the day.”

CNN cannot independently verify battlefield reports.

Death toll in southern Ukraine rises to 10 following Kakhovka dam collapse,Kherson military official says

From Maria Kostenko in Kyiv
June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (13)

An aerial view shows a flooded area on June 10 after the Nova Kakhovka dam breached in Kherson, Ukraine.

The death toll in Ukrainian-controlled areas following the flooding from the NovaKakhovka dam collapse has risen to 10, according to thehead of the Kherson region military administration on Monday.

Two more civilians have died due to the flooding in Kherson city, saidregion military administration headOleksandr Prokudin.

“An unidentified woman and a 50-year-old man were found drowned in one of the city’s districts today,”Prokudin said on Telegram.

A further20 people have been injured in the aftermath of the dam collapse, including five police officers and two rescuers, according toProkudin. Additionally, 35 people areconsidered missing, including seven children.

Some context:Ukraine controls the west bank of the Dnipro River and the city of Kherson after itscounteroffensive last year, while Russian troops remain on the east bank in the greater Kherson region.

BothRussiaandUkrainehave accused one another of shelling during the effort to evacuate civilians from areas they control.

Kyiv and Moscow have also blamed one another for causing the breach in the first place, althoughit is unclearwhether the dam was deliberately attacked, or whether the collapse was the result of structural failure.

June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (14)

Reservoir water levels are dropping after dam collapse, CEO of Ukrainian hydroelectric company says

From CNN's Olga Voitovych in Kyiv and Lauren Kent in London

The water inthe reservoir of the NovaKakhovka dam is dropping following the dam’s collapse last week, albeit slower than authorities initially feared, the CEO of*ckrainianhydroelectriccompanyUkrhydroenergo told CNN on Monday.

“The reservoir has decreased by 50%. As for the volume, we estimate that there is 60% to 70% less water in the Kakhovka reservoir than there was before the blow-up,”Ukrhydroenergo CEOIhor Syrota told CNN.

Syrota warned of “severe environmental consequences” if the water falls below critical levels — around 3 meters.

“We hope that the lower hydraulic structure remained intact. If so, the level of the Kakhovka reservoir may remain within 6 to 7 meters. If it is damaged, it falls into the critical zone,”Syrota said.

Syrota added that the water supply to the Crimean peninsula may be restored by “summer of next year.”

“It is clear that the Crimean Canal will be drained, there can be no water there,”Syrota said. “When Crimea is de-occupied, we will address the issue comprehensively — water supply for our four regions and Crimea. I think it will be no earlier than next year, after the floods.”

“If for some reason this (de-occupation) does not happen, it will just be a blocked channel, because we will primarily supply Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia and Mykolaiv regions,” he added. “These are the regions that will now suffer from a shortage of water, both drinking and industrial.”

Dam collapse is the "largest catastrophe by Russian invaders" since the war began, Ukraine says

From CNN’s Zeena Saifi in Abu Dhabi
June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (15)

A satellite image shows the damaged Nova Kakhovka dam in Kherson region, Ukraine, on June 6.

Ukraine’sMinister of Environmental Protection and Natural ResourcesRuslan Strilets told CNN on Monday that the collapse of theNova Kakhovkadam in southern Ukraine last week was the “largest catastrophe by Russian invaders” since the invasion began.

“The blowing up of theNovaKakhovkadam is the largest catastrophe by Russian invaders since the full-scale invasion began in February last year,” Strilets told CNN’s Becky Anderson in an interview on Connect the World.

Nearly one week after the collapse of the dam, evacuation efforts in the southern city of Kherson continue, despite receding water levels.

The minister said the Dnipro River, where the dam is located, is one of the largest rivers in Europe. Due to the dam breach, he says the river’s reservoir has already lost 72% of its water.

“Russia has wasted 18 cubic kilometers of freshwater – this amount of water is enough for the entire planet to consume for two days,” he continued.

Ukrainian authorities havewarnedthat the debris washed along the Dnipro River is turning Odesa’s Black Sea coastline into “a garbage dump and animal cemetery”.

Ukraine’s Environment Minister echoed those concerns saying that about 20,000 wild animals who lived in the flooded areas are now dead.

“We also understand the impact on climate change is that over 50,000 hectares of Ukrainian forest have been flooded, and at least half of them will die.”

NATO's biggest-ever air defense exercise kicks off in Germany

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London
June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (16)

Two Airbus A400M of the German Air Force fly over Wunstorf Air Base in the Hanover region at the beginning of the Air Defender exercise on June 12.

The biggest ever air exercise ofNATOforces kicked off on Monday in Germany, the alliance said in anews release.

Twenty-five nations are taking part in the two-week long Air Defender exercise, with around 10,000 personnel and 250 aircraft, including around 100 from the United States, it said.

Air Defender, hosted and led by Germany, sends “a clear message thatNATOis ready to defend every inch of Allied territory,”North Atlantic Treaty Organization spokesperson Oana Lungescu said.

Lungescu also noted that the exercise demonstrates “the strong bond between Europe and North America, working together inNATO.”

German Air Defense Chief Ingo Gerhartz told CNN’s Nic Robertson on Friday that this exercise demonstrates the defense capability of the alliance.

It is “to prove in the Alliance and to prove to our people, to [the public].. we are fast.. we are quick.. we are first responder, and we are able to defend this alliance andNATOterritory is the red line and we are willing to defend every inch of it.”

Air Defender will help “ensureNATOair forces are trained and ready to respond together. Most of the aircraft will be stationed on several German air bases. Training missions will primarily take place over the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and Southern Germany,”NATOsaid Monday in the news release.

Netherlands aims to train Ukrainian pilots this summer, Dutch minister says

From CNN’s Catherine Nicholls in London
June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (17)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Dutch defense minister Kajsa Ollongren and Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte walk during a visit to a military base in Soesterberg, Netherlands, on Thursday, May 4.

The Dutch are hoping to start training Ukrainian pilotson how to fly F-16 fighter jets this summer, Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren told Reuters in a video interview Thursday.

“This summer is our ambition,” Ollongren said. “It is a very important and significant step that we will start training Ukrainian pilots on the F-16s.”

The Netherlands is now looking at the logistics of training Ukrainian pilots, Ollongren said. Trainers will have to consider the current skill levels of the pilots, their fluency in English, and the planes that they’re used to flying.

Dutch F-35 pilot Laurens-Jan Vijge said that trainers “don’t know yet” exactly what the training of Ukrainian pilots will involve, but that it will include academic, language, and simulator training.

Though Ukrainian pilots will already know how to fly a plane, Vijge said, “to fly a fighter jet and to transition to an F-16… for them would mean different technology.”

Remember: Recently, the Netherlands and Britain said they were building a “international coalition” to help Ukraine procure F-16 fighter jets that Kyiv says are vital to its defense as Russia ramps upits aerial strikes.

CNN’s Lauren Kent, Julia Kesaieva and Brad Lendon contributed reporting to this post.

Nearlyone-thirdof bomb shelters inspected in Ukraine are closed or unsuitable for use, officials say

From Maria Kostenko in Kyiv and Lauren Kent in London

Nearlyone-thirdof bomb shelters inspected by Ukrainian authorities are closed or unsuitable for use, according to an update from Ukraine’sState Emergency Service.

As of June 10, a total of 62,912 bomb shelters in Ukraine have been inspected and 9.3% appeared to be closed with another 23.6% are unsuitable for use,according to theState Emergency Service on Sunday.

In total, fewer than 1% of shelters could not be inspected “due to hostilities,” according to the update.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ordered an audit of all bomb shelters in Ukraine earlier this month after three people were killed when they were unable to access a closed shelter in Kyiv.

The inspections involvednearly2,000 expert groups, including local authorities, National Police, and the State Emergency Service.

More than 6,000 Shebekino residents in temporary housing following attacks, Belgorod governor says

From CNN's Katharina Krebs
June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (18)

A temporary accommodation center in the Belgorod sports complex, where residents who left the Shebekino district are being housed on June 3.

More than 6,000 residents of Russia’s Shebekino district are in temporary accommodation centers in the Belgorod region following attacks on the area, the region’s governor,Vyacheslav Gladkov, said on Telegram on Monday.

Last week,Gladkov saidUkrainian shelling targeted several areas in the border region of Belgorod, including Shebekino.

“460 units of various ammunition were fired in the Shebekino urban district, 26 drops of explosive devices from UAVs were recorded,” Gladkov wrote on Wednesday, adding that in the town of Shebekino, strikes were carried out mainly on residential areas

Galdkov added that the villages of Zhuravlyovka, Tsapovka, Stary, and Kozinka also came under fire, with no reported injuries.

Previous reporting from Anna Chernova was included in this post.

1 killed and 1 wounded in attack onOrikhiv, Ukraine says

From Maria Kostenko in Kyiv

One person was killed and another was wounded in an attack on the city ofOrikhiv, which is on the front line in Ukraine’sZaporizhzhia region, according to thehead of the region’s military administration.

“Three enemy guided aerial bombs hit the town, destroying private houses and communications,” saidthe administration’s top official, Yurii Malashko. “Sadly, a 48-year-old male has died of the wounds. A 32-year old wounded male was immediately taken to a medical facility.”

There were consistent reports of heavy Ukrainian artillery fire Saturday towards Russian positions south of Orikhiv, where Ukrainian forces have also stepped up activities over the last week.

The Russian Defense Ministry on Sunday saidairstrikes and artillery fire by the Vostok brigade had succeeded in pushing back three Ukrainian advances south of Orikhiv.

Previous reporting from Maria Kostenko and Andrew Carey was included in this post.

More than 2,500 Ukrainians repatriated through prisoner of war exchanges since start of war, Zelenksy says

From Maria Kostenko in Kyiv
June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (19)

Ukrainianprisoners ofwar pose for a picture after a swap at an unknown location in Ukraine, in this handout picture released on June 11.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday that2,526 Ukrainians have been returned in prisoner of war exchanges since the start of the Russian invasion.

Russia and Ukraine exchanged more than 200 prisoners of war Sunday, according to statements from officials in Moscow and Kyiv.

Ukraine’s 95 returnees included prisoners of war captured on Snake Island and from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, among a number of different locations, according to presidential aide Andrii Yermak.

“Every time we bring our people back from Russian captivity, we remember our fundamental goal: we will not leave anyone of ours, nothing of Ukraine to the enemy,” Zelenskysaid in a tweet posted with a videoof the swap.

Russians claim counterattack underway in Zaporizhzhia

From CNN's Katharina Krebs and Olga Voitovych

The Russian military has launched a counterattack in the area of ​​the Vremivka ledge, where Ukrainian forces have made progress in recent days, according to a leading Russian-appointed official in the area, Vladimir Rogov.

Rogov told the Russian Komsomolskaya Pravda radio station: “At the moment, a counterattack has begun on the part of our guys - the 127th division is going into battle, moving forward. At the same time, massive support is being provided for the Russian Aerospace Forces. They are working in the direction of Neskuchne, knocking the enemy out of Makarivka.”

Both villages were captured by Ukrainian forces in recent days, according to geolocated social media and Ukrainian official accounts.

Keep in mind: CNN cannot independently verify battlefield reports. But the Ukrainian official’s claim seems to align with unofficial snippets published byRussian journalists and propagandists over the weekend, which have suggested Kyiv’s forces are making some gains in southeastern Ukraine.

June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (20)

CNN’s Josh Pennington contributed reporting to this post.

UN nuclear watchdog launches assistance program to Ukraine in response to dam flooding

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite

The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, said he will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to offer assistance following flooding from a breached dam.

In a tweet Monday, Grossi said, “On my way to 🇺🇦 #Ukraine to meet President @ZelenskyyUa & present a programme of assistance in the aftermath of the catastrophic Nova Kakhovka dam flooding.”

“I will assess the situation at #Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant & conduct a rotation of ISAMZ with a strengthened team,” Grossi added.

ISAMZ is the IAEA’s monitoring presence at the plant, which is in a Russian-occupied area.

More on Zaporizhzhia: The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant receives cooling water – critical for safety – from a nearby thermal plant that is fed upstream from the reservoir adjacent to the breached dam.

Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear power company Energoatom said Saturday that the water level in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant’s cooling pool was “stable.”

The plant sits in Russian-occupied territory along the Dnipro River.

The area and the nuclear complex have been under Russian controlsince the beginning of the war, but the plant is still mostlyoperated by Ukrainian workers.

CNN’s Amy Cassidy and Yulia Kesaievacontributed reporting to this post.

Heavy fighting in southeastern regions of Ukraine

From CNN's Olga Voitovych, Josh Pennington and Tim Lister
June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (21)

A Ukrainian service member rides an armored recovery military vehicle in Donetsk region,Ukraine, onJune 12.

Russian and Ukrainian forces reported intense clashes along the borders of the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions — in Ukraine’s east and southeast — where Kyiv’s military has recaptured a string of villages as part of a much-anticipated counteroffensive.

Much of the fighting is south and southwest of the town of Velyka Novosilka, where Ukrainian troops are attempting to push along the narrow Mokri Yaly river, according to multiple accounts. Ukraine on Saturday seized some small villages along the river, according to geolocated video.

A well-known Russian military blogger, Alexander Kots, said the Ukrainians were advancingalong the river. He is not a Russian official but is frequently embedded with Russian units.

Weather conditions including fog and rain were hindering operations, providing cover for logistics but also preventing planes and drones from taking flight, he added.

Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on Sunday that Kyiv’s advances in the area amount to between five and ten kilometers (three to six miles).

Russian forces are trying to repel Ukraine’s breakthrough with counterattacks, according to the unofficial Russian Telegram channel, Operatsiya Z.

The channel said Monday that Ukrainian forces were trying to take higher ground to “create conditions for advancing,” and assessed that their aim was to advance towards the Russian-occupied hub of Staromlynivka.

Another unofficial Russian Telegram channel, Rybar, said tough battles were taking place after the Ukrainians’ capture of the villages ofNeskuchne and Blahodatne “following the planned withdrawal of Russian fighters from there.”

Rybar claimed that Kyiv’s troops suffered huge losses, but added that “across the whole front line the work of sabotage groups is documented along with intense artillery duels.”

Russian forces fired a total of 74 barrages against several settlements behind the frontlines over the past 24 hours, according to a military official in Zaporizhzhia.

A Russian-appointed official in occupied Zaporizhzhia says that a Ukrainian sabotage group was intercepted overnight Sunday as it tried to approach Russian defensive lines.

Vladimir Rogov, a member of the Russian-installed Zaporizhzhia military-civilian administration, said a Ukrainian reconnaissance group of several dozen fighters had advanced “under the cover of thick fog that descended on our positions after the rain,” near the village of Dorozhnyanka.

“The enemy was suppressed by our fire, suffered losses and rolled back to their original positions,” Rogov said.

Dorozhnyanka is some 25 kilometers (or about 15.5 miles) southwest of an area that’s seen heavy fighting in recent days, with the Ukrainians taking several villages and advancing up to ten kilometers (six miles), according to Ukrainian officials and geolocated video.

Rogov said: “They haven’t taken any heights [either side of a river in the area], but they have to be hit. Now there are heavy battles, our artillery, mortar crews and aviation are working.”

The Russian Defense Ministry has not commented on the fighting in the area.

It's mid-afternoon in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know.

From CNN staff

Fighting has ramped up in the south and east of Ukraine as Kyiv’s military attempts to break through the frontlines and recapture territory from Russian forces in an ongoing counteroffensive in the region.

Here are the latest developments:

  • Heavy fighting in southeastern Ukraine: Russian forces are working to repel Ukraine’s breakthroughs along the borders of the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions where Kyiv’s military has recaptured a string of villages, according to multiple accounts. CNN cannot independently verify battlefield reports.
  • Russia on the defensive? The Ukrainian military claimed on Monday that Russia is on the defensive in the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions where Moscow’s troops “fired artillery” at many small settlements.
  • Small dam explosion: Ukraine has accused Russia of blowing up a small dam at a reservoir near the village of Novodarivka in the southeast. It comes days after the deadly collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam in the southern Kherson region.
  • Nova Kakhovka dam: Ukrainian officials said floodwaters are receding in areas around the Dnipro River after last week’s catastrophic collapse of the dam, with rescue operations ongoing after one of the largest industrial and ecological disasters in Europe for decades.
  • Ukrainian weaponry losses: Ukraine lost 16US-supplied armored vehiclesin the past several days, according to open-source intelligence analysis, after they were either destroyed or damaged and abandoned amid Kyiv’s counteroffensive.
  • “Difficult time” for Russia: Russian President Vladimir Putin said the country is experiencing “a difficult time.” In comments made at a ceremony for Russia Day, the president added: “[These feelings] unite our society even more strongly, and serve as a reliable support for our heroes - the participants in the special military operation.”

Zelensky signaled Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia is underway. Here’s what to expect

From CNN's Sophie Tanno
June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (22)

President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, Ukraine, on June 10.

With a few words, Ukraine’s PresidentVolodymyr Zelenskygave his strongest signal yet that his forces have begun their much-anticipated campaign to regain swathes of territory taken by Russian forces.

The president said “relevant counteroffensive defensive actions are taking place in Ukraine” butremained tight-lippedabout the details.

There has long been speculation of a Ukrainian counteroffensive, not least as it has been talked up by Ukrainian officials.

But the idea of a counteroffensive may be misleading, giving the impression that there was a discrete before and after period of the campaign.

That is why Ukrainian officials like to stress - as Zelensky did with his careful form of words Saturday - that all their actions should be seen as defensive.

Despite all this, the conflict is entering a new stage, and one which may decide its ultimate outcome. Here are some of the factors at play.

Read the full story:

Stringer/Reuters Related article Zelensky signaled Ukraine's counteroffensive against Russia is underway. Here's what to expect | CNN

Putin says Russia is experiencing "difficult time"

From CNN's Anna Chernova
June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (24)

Russian President Vladmir Putin delivers a speech on June 12.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the country is going through a “difficult time” in his opening comments at a ceremony for Russia Day on Monday.

Putin spoke about patriotism and devotion to the “beloved Motherland,” a recurrent theme in his recent public remarks.

“Today, in a difficult time for Russia, [these feelings] unite our society even more strongly, and serve as a reliable support for our heroes - the participants in the special military operation,” Putin said at a ceremony for presenting state awards to “Heroes of Labor.”

He emphasized the “labor and military victories” achieved by previous generations of Russians, adding: “Now we are especially acutely aware of what their achievements mean, their unchanging solidarity, firm determination to stand up for the defense of their native land, to work for the common good and prosperity of the Fatherland.”

Putin’s comments come as Russian troops on the ground in Ukraine work to repel Kyiv’s attempted advances in southeastern regions, where clashes between both sides have escalated in recent days.

How pro-Ukrainian residents of occupied Melitopol feel daily fear

From CNN's Yulia KesaievaandIvana Kottasová

The southern Ukrainian city of Melitopol has long been known for its sweet delights. The name “Melitopol” means “the Honey City” in Ukrainian and the city’s official logo features a cherry, a nod to the deep red fruit the region is famous for.

But life in Melitopol is anything but sweet. The city was captured by Russian troops shortly after Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year.Pro-Ukrainian partisans have remained active in the city, orchestratingseveral attacksagainst the pro-Russian administration installed in the place of its elected leaders. The Zaporizhzhia region in which the city lies is partially occupied by Russia and was illegally annexed last September.

Below is the account of a Melitopol resident in her early 30s who has refused to flee the city and is living under Russian occupation. CNN is not naming her because of concerns for her safety.Her testimony was translated from Ukrainian and edited for brevity.

Read the full story:

Leah Abucayan/CNN/Getty Related article 'Pretending to live a civilian life': How pro-Ukrainian residents of occupied Melitopol feel daily fear | CNN

Ukrainian forces claim Russian troops blew up small dam in southeast

From CNN's Olga Voitovych

Ukraine has accused Russian forces have blown up a small dam at a reservoir in the southeast along the regional border between Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia.

Floodwaters spilled over both banks of the Mokri Yaly River after the dam of a small reservoir near village of Novodarivka was destroyed, according to the Military Media Center.

Novodarivka is one of several villages in the area that Kyiv’s troops have claimed in recent days, amid offensive operations along several points of the frontline in southeastern Ukraine.

It comes days after the deadly collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam in the southern Kherson region, in one of the biggest industrial and ecological disasters in Europe for decades.

Ukraine loses 16 US-made armored vehicles, group says, but Kyiv's forces still gain territory

From CNN's Brad Lendon,Andrew Carey,Kostan Nechyporenko,Uliana PavlovaandMaria Kostenko
June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (26)

A still image taken from a handout video provided by the Russian Defense Ministry's press service on June 10 shows German 'Leopard-2A6' and American BMP M2 'Bradley' tanks destroyed in combat in the Zaporizhzhia region, southern Ukraine.

Ukraine has lost 16US-supplied armored vehiclesin the past several days, according to open-source intelligence analysis, as the country’s military announced its forces had captured three villages from Russia in an offensive in the eastern Donetsk region.

The 16 US Bradley infantry fighting vehicles either destroyed or damaged and abandoned in recent days represent almost 15% of the 109 that Washington has given Kyiv, according to Jakub Janovsky of the Dutch open-source intelligence website Oryx, which has been collecting visual evidence of military equipment losses in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began on February 24, 2022.

The Bradley fighting vehicle, which moves on tracks rather than wheels, can hold around 10 troops and is used to transport personnel into battle while providing supporting fire.

When the first batch of more than 60 Bradleys were sent to Ukraine at the end of January, US Army Lt. Col. Rebecca D’Angelo, commander of the Army’s 841st Transportation Battalion, said the armored vehicles would be important to Kyiv’s offensive operations.

But when Washington announced in January it would supply to Bradleys to Ukraine, CNN military analyst James “Spider” Marks, a retired general, saidthe Bradleys would need the right mix of other abilities, including air support, long-range artillery and incisive intelligence.

“A single piece of equipment like the Bradleys is wonderful, but it needs to be used in conjunction with all those other enablers,” he said at the time.

Air support is one area where Ukraine’s military is lacking, although Kyiv’s forces are expected to get F-16 multi-role fighter jets from Western allies in the future.

The Bradleys are among almost 3,600 pieces of military equipment Ukraine has lost in the war, according to Oryx. Meanwhile, the website says it has documented the loss of more than 10,600 pieces of Russian military equipment.

Read the full story here.

Water levels recede in Kherson as thousands evacuate on both sides of the Dnipro

From CNN's Olga Voitovych in Kyiv, Ukraine
June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (27)

Rescuers from the State Emergency Service help evacuate a resident from a flooded area in Kherson on June 11.

Floodwaters are receding in areas around the Dnipro River following last week’s collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam, according to Ukrainian officials.

Water on the river’s Ukrainian-controlled west bank has fallen by 64 centimeters (25 inches), said Oleksandr Prokudin, head of the Kherson region military administration.

But nearly 50 settlements remained inundated, he said — 32 on the Ukrainian side, and 14 on the Russian-occupied east bank.

Prokudin said more than 3,700 houses are flooded on the Ukrainian side, and evacuations continue despite Russian artillery fire.

More than 2,700 people, including 228 children, have been recued from the west bank of the river, Prokudin said.

He added that Ukrainian forces also rescued more than 100 people stranded on the Russian-held east bank, without giving further details.

Prokudin claimed that Russian forces continued attacking throughout the rescue and evacuation operations, killing three and wounding 12.

Falling waters: Ukraine’s main hydropower company, Ukrhydroenergo, gave similar estimates for how much the water had fallen in Kherson — but said it’s currently not possible to measure water levels upstream.

It added that design work had begun on an emergency dam to replace the one destroyed last week once the area is “de-occupied.”

On the Russian-occupied east bank,Vladimir Saldo, the head of the Moscow-appointed Kherson region administration, said 7,100 people had been evacuated from flooded areas.

He said water levels had receded between 1.5 and 5 meters (about 5 to 16 feet) in settlements along the river, and Russian forces were involved in the clean-up operation.

1 killed in Donetsk fighting, Ukraine military says

From CNN's Josh Pennington

One person has been killed and two others wounded in the city of Avdiivka in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, where heavy fighting continues, according to a senior Ukrainian commander.

Ukrainian gains: Ukrainian forces have made gains in the southeast, recapturing three frontline villages, according to a defense official and the army over the weekend.

CNN cannot independently verify battlefield reports. But the army’s claim seems to align with unofficial snippets published byRussian journalists and propagandists over the weekend, which have suggested Kyiv’s forces are making some gains in southeastern Ukraine.

Ukraine claims Russia on the defensive in Zaporizhzhia and Kherson

From CNN’s Josh Pennington

The Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU) said on Monday that Russia is on the defensive in the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, as Ukraine’s forces ramp up activities along the front line.

The AFU added that Russia “fired artillery” at many small settlements across the region.

In a statement, the Russian Ministry of Defense said Ukraine was “launching more and more attacks in the [Zaporizhzhia] direction” — but claimed it has destroyed Ukrainian armored vehicles.

Ukraine’s military have claimed advances on several fronts over the weekend after President Volodomyr Zelensky gave his strongest signal yet that his forces have begun their much-anticipated campaign to regain swathes of territory taken by Russian forces.

Ukraine claims battlefield successes after Zelensky signals counteroffensive is underway. Here's the latest

From CNN staff
June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (28)

President VolodymyrZelenskyspeaks during a news conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday, June 10.

Ukraine’s military claimed advances on several fronts over the weekend after President Volodomyr Zelensky gave his strongest signal yet that his forces have begun their much-anticipated campaign to regain swathes of territory taken by Russian forces.

Speaking in Kyiv Saturday, the Ukrainian leader said “relevant counteroffensive defensive actions are taking place in Ukraine” butremained tight-lippedabout the details.

Here’s what you should know:

  • Ukraine claims advances: Ukrainian forces have made gains in the southeast, recapturing three frontline villages, according to a defense official and the army. “The settlements of Blahodatne and Makarivka were liberated,” Deputy Defense Minister HannaMaliar said Sunday. A third village,Neskuchne, was also claimed Sunday by a Ukrainian army brigade. CNN cannot independently verify battlefield reports.
  • Elsewhere on the front lines:Maliar said “troops continue offensive actions” around the eastern city of Bakhmut, which has long served as a flashpoint in the conflict. Kyiv’s forces were making progress around the Berkhivka reservoir northwest of the city, and on two fronts south of the city, in one case advancing as much as 1,500 meters (around a mile), she said.
  • Moscow says ship attack repelled: Russia’s Defense Ministry said Sunday the Russian shipPriazovye was attacked in the Black Sea by six unmanned Ukrainian boats. The ship was not damaged and the drone boats were destroyed, according to the ministry, which published video on Telegram purportedly showing the ship’s crew firing and hitting the approaching unmanned boats.CNN is not able to independently verify the ministry’s claims or the authenticity of the video.
  • Dam probe: In his nightly address Sunday, President Zelensky said the International Criminal Court has begun an investigation into theNova Kakhovka dam collapse in southern Ukraine, which has destroyed entire villages, flooded farmland, deprived tens of thousands of people of power and clean water, and caused massive environmental damage. Kyiv and Moscow each blame the other for causing the dam breach, althoughit is unclearwhether it collapsed as the result of structural failure or a deliberate attack..
  • Flood evacuations: At least14 people have died in the flooding, Ukrainian officials said earlier Sunday. Zelensky said 4,000 people have been evacuated from flooded areas “with the worst situation still in the temporarily occupied part of Kherson region.” Meanwhile, Russian state media said 7,000 people have been evacuated from Russian-held areas.
  • Prigozhin defiant: The boss of theRussianprivate military companyWagner said he won’t sign contracts with Russia’s Defense Ministry, rejecting an attempt to bring his force in line. Yevgeny Prigozhin’s comments follow an announcement by the ministry Saturday that “volunteer units” and private military groups would be required to sign a contract with the ministry.
  • Prisoner swap: Russia and Ukraine exchanged almost 200 prisoners of war Sunday, according to officials in Moscow and Kyiv. Some of the Ukrainian POWs had been held by Wagner forces, a Ukrainian official said.
  • US citizen held: The US State Department has confirmed the arrest of American citizen Travis Leake in Russia and said US embassy officials attended his arraignment Saturday. Moscow’s courts of general jurisdiction earlier released a statement on Telegram saying a US citizen had been detained on drugs charges. Ren TV, a tabloid outlet, reported Leake’s statements to police in which he reportedly said: “I don’t understand why I’m here. I don’t admit guilt.”
  • Meanwhile, in Melitopol: The mood in the occupied southern Ukrainian city has changed dramatically over the past month, from “Melitopol is forever with Russia” to thinking where and how they will build defense lines, a resident who has refused to flee tells CNN.

Ukrainian forces have taken another frontline village and advanced on several fronts, defense official says

From CNN's Mariya Knight and Kostan Nechyporenko

Ukraine’s military has recaptured Makarivka, anotherfrontline villagein the eastern Donetsk region, and has advanced on several fronts, the country’s deputy defense minister said Sunday.

A third,Neskuchne, has also been claimed Sunday by a Ukrainian army brigade, though Kyiv defense leaders have not yet commented on that territory. Russian military bloggers havealso made unofficial reportsthat Neskuchne has been recaptured by Ukraine’s troops.

CNN cannot independently verify battlefield reports.

Elsewhere along the front lines:Maliar said “troops continue offensive actions” around the eastern city of Bakhmut, which has long served as a flashpoint in the conflict.

Kyiv’s forces were making progress around the Berkhivka reservoir northwest of the city, and on two fronts south of the city, in one case advancing as much as 1,500 meters (around a mile), according to the deputy defense minister.

Earlier Sunday, other Ukrainian officialsreported similar progressto the northwest and southwest of the city.

“Not a single position was lost on the fronts where Ukrainian troops are on the defensive,” Maliar claimed.

ICC is investigating the devastating dam collapse in southern Ukraine, Zelensky says

From CNN's Mariya Knight
June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (29)

This satellite image shows theNovaKakhovkaDamand hydroelectric plant after itscollapse on June 7.

The International Criminal Court has begun an investigation into theNova Kakhovka dam collapse, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address Sunday.

The collapsein southern Ukraine is one of thebiggest industrial and ecological disastersin Europe for decades. The catastrophe has destroyed entire villages, flooded farmland, deprived tens of thousands of people of power and clean water, and caused massive environmental damage.

Kyiv and Moscow each blame the other for causing the dam breach, althoughit is unclearwhether the dam was deliberately attacked, or if the collapse was the result of structural failure. RussiaandUkrainehave also accused one another of shelling during the effort to evacuate civilians from areas they control —sometimes with deadly consequences.

More from Zelensky:The Ukrainian president said his government is facilitating the ICC investigation by providing “full access to the affected areas, to witnesses, to all information and evidence.”

Zelensky also said his government has helped evacuate 4,000 people from flooded areas in southern Ukraine, “with the worst situation still in the temporarily occupied part of Kherson region.”

Russian state news agency TASS, meanwhile, reported that Russian Emergency Services have evacuated about 7,000 people from areas it controls.

At least14 people have died in the flooding, Ukrainian officials said earlier Sunday.

CNN’s Ivana Kottasová and Gianluca Mezzofiore contributed to this report.

Death toll rises to at least 14 in NovaKakhovka dam collapse, Ukrainian officials say

From CNN's Mariya Knight
June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (30)

A Ukrainian volunteer carries a woman from an evacuation boat in Kherson city on June 9.

At least 14 people have died and more than 2,700 have been evacuated from flooded areas in southern Ukraine afterthecollapse of the NovaKakhovkadam,Ukrainian officials reported on Sunday.

Some 190 children are among the evacuees,said Ihor Klymenko, Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs.

In Ukrainian-controlled flooded areasin the Kherson region, Klymenko said five people have died and 35 people are missing, including seven children. He also said one person has died in the Mykolaiv region.

In the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region, which lies upstream of the shattered dam, almost 162,000 people were without water, he added.

In Russian-occupied flooded territory, at least eight people have died in the town of Oleshky, Oleksandr Prokudin, head of the Kherson region military administration, told Ukrainian media Sunday.

Prokudin accused Russian-installed authorities of obstructing the evacuation from the east bank of the river, “by setting up checkpoints and not letting people out.” He said only people who had switched to Russian passports were being allowed through.

According to the Kherson regional military administration, shelling by Russian forces also continues despite the evacuation efforts.

Key context:Ukraine controls the west bank of the Dnipro River and the city of Kherson after itscounteroffensive last year, while Russian troops remain on the east bank in the greater Kherson region.

BothRussiaandUkrainehave accused one another of shelling during the effort to evacuate civilians from areas they control.

Kyiv and Moscow have also blamed one another for causing the breach in the first place, althoughit is unclearwhether the dam was deliberately attacked, or whether the collapse was the result of structural failure.

Ukrainian drone boats attack Russian ship in the Black Sea, Moscow says

From CNN's Kostan Nechyporenko and Radina Gigova

The Russian shipPriazovye was attacked by six unmanned Ukrainian boats in the southeastern part of the Black Sea on Sunday, Russia’s defense ministry said in a statement.

The ship was not damaged and the drone boats were destroyed, according to the ministry.

Video published on the ministry’s Telegram channel purports to show the ship’s crew firing and hitting the approaching unmanned boats, as explosions are seen in the distance.

CNN is not able to independently verify the ministry’s claims or the authenticity of the video.

A statement from the Russian Ministry of Defense said Priazovye was “monitoring the situation and ensuring security on the routes of the Turkish Stream and Blue Stream gas pipeline” when it was attacked by “six uncrewed surface vessels.”

A similar incident took placeon May 24, when Moscow claims three Ukrainian unmanned boats tried to attack the Russian ship Ivan Khurs, which was also monitoring the pipeline and Turkish route, according to Russian state news agency TASS.

The drones were, likewise, destroyed by the ship’s standard weapons, according to TASS.

Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin rejects Russian Defense Ministry efforts to rein in his force

From CNN's Uliana PavlovaandRadina Gigova
June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (31)

Yevgeny Prigozhin talks to journalists in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on May 30.

The boss of theRussianprivate military companyWagner says he won’t sign contracts with Russia’s Defense Ministry, rejecting an attempt to bring his force in line.

Yevgeny Prigozhin’s comments follow an announcement by the Russian Ministry of Defense Saturday that “volunteer units” and private military groups would be required to sign a contract with the ministry.

The order — signed by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu — said the move would “give the voluntary formations the necessary legal status,” and create “unified approaches” to their work.

The order did not name the Wagner group but the move is seen a way of controlling the influential military force.

Prigozhin — who has publicly feuded with defense chiefs — said the move did not apply to Wagner.

Wagner, he said, would “absolutely” pursue the “the interests of the Russian Federation and the Supreme Commander-in-Chief.”

Prigozhin and Wagner have played a prominent role in the Ukraine war. In May he said his troops had captured Bakhmut in a costly and largely symbolic gain for Russia.

The Wagner chief has previouslycriticized Russia’s traditional military hierarchy, blaming Russian defense chiefs for “tens of thousands” of casualties and stating that divisions could end in a “revolution.”

He also claimed Russian military leaders“sit like fat cats”in “luxury offices,” while his fighters are “dying,” and later accused the Russian Defense Ministry of trying tosabotage his troops’ withdrawal from Bakhmut, claiming the ministry laid mines along the exit routes.

Rock band manager Travis Leake named as US citizen detained on drug charges in Russia

From CNN's Josh Pennington,Raja Razek,Philip Wang,Sandi Sidhu,Heather Chen,Sophie Jeong,Jennifer HanslerandCamila Bernal

The US State Department has confirmed the arrest of American citizen Travis Leake in Russia and said US embassy officials attended his arraignment Saturday.

Moscow’s courts of general jurisdiction earlier released a statement on the social media app Telegram saying a US citizen had been detained on drugs charges.

Leake was detained on Saturday where “the Khamovniki District Court of Moscow took a preventive measure against an American citizen,” it said.

A court statement identified him “Travis Michael Leek.”

It added he had appeared at the Khamovniki District Court of Moscow on June 10 and will remain in custody until August 6, 2023.

On Sunday, the US State Department confirmed Leake’s detention.

Read more here.

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June 12, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news | CNN (2024)

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