Five things you need to know about Russia’s war against Ukraine today

1. Russia kilos Kharkiv ‘in similar approach as Mariupol’

Russian forces pounded Kharkiv and surrounding countryside with rockets, killing a minimum of 20 individuals on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, in what Kyiv known as a bid to pressure it to drag assets from the principle battlefield to guard civilians from assault.

The strikes on Ukraine’s second largest metropolis have been the worst for weeks within the space the place regular life had been returning since Ukraine pushed Russian forces again in a serious counter-offensive final month.

Kharkiv prosecutor Mikhailo Martosh advised Reuters that it was most likely attributable to a number of rocket launchers, as he stood amid the ruins of cottages in a rural space on town’s outskirts.

Medical staff carried the physique of an aged lady out of the rubble of a burnt-out storage and into a close-by van.

“She was 85 years old. A child of the war (World War Two). She survived one war, but didn’t make it through this one,” stated her grandson Mykyta. “There is nowhere to flee to… She didn’t want to go anywhere from here.”

“Russian forces are now hitting the city of Kharkiv in the same way that they previously were hitting Mariupol – with the aim of terrorising the population,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych stated in a video deal with.

In Mykolaiv, a Russian missile strike on Wednesday killed a minimum of one particular person and broken buildings together with a college, the native mayor stated. Regional Governor Vitaliy Kim stated earlier that seven missiles had hit the southern metropolis.

In the principle battlefield metropolis of Sievierodonetsk, the place Russia has claimed to have Ukrainian forces surrounded since final week, scenes filmed by a contract journalist made clear the battle was not over, with Ukrainian troops capable of resupply their garrison by crossing a river in inflatable rafts.

Inside Russia, a fireplace tore via an oil refinery simply 8 km (5 miles) from the Ukrainian border, after what the refinery described as a cross-border assault by two drones.

Production was suspended at Russia’s Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery, on the Russian facet of the frontier with Donbas territory managed by pro-Russian separatists.

There was no quick Ukrainian remark. The native emergency service, cited by Interfax, stated nobody was harm and the blaze was put out.

Ukrainian forces declare to have scored a ‘important’ victory towards Russian forces after launching a brand new try and re-take Snake Island within the Black Sea.

2. Over half of Russian separatist pressure lifeless or wounded, claims UK

Wednesday’s intelligence replace by the British Ministry of Defence says the pro-Russian pressure within the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) seems have misplaced over half its forces to loss of life or damage, by its personal reckoning.

It says figures revealed by the separatists imply “the casualty rate is equivalent to around 55% of its original force”. This “highlights the extraordinary attrition Russian and pro-Russian forces are suffering in the Donbas”, it provides.

On 16 June the DPR acknowledged 2128 army personnel killed in motion and 8897 wounded, the UK ministry says. It provides that on either side the power to generate and deploy reserve models is prone to be essential to the end result of the conflict.

3. Ukrainian journalist and soldier ‘coldly executed’, says Reporters Without Borders

A Ukrainian photojournalist and a soldier accompanying him seem to have been “coldly executed” in the course of the first weeks of the conflict in Ukraine as they searched in Russian-occupied woods for the photographer’s lacking digicam drone, Reporters Without Borders stated on Wednesday.

The press freedom group stated it despatched investigators again to the woods north of the capital, Kyiv, the place the our bodies of Maks Levin and serviceman Oleksiy Chernyshov have been discovered on 1 April. The group stated its workforce counted 14 bullet holes within the burned hulk of the pair’s automobile, which remained on the spot.

Some of Levin and Chernyshov’s belongings, together with the soldier’s ID papers and components of his bulletproof vest and the photographer’s helmet, have been recovered, Reporters Without Borders stated.

A Ukrainian workforce with metallic detectors additionally positioned a bullet buried within the soil the place Levin’s physique had been, it stated. The group stated that discovering suggests “he was probably killed with one, perhaps two bullets fired at close range when he was already on the ground.”

A jerrycan for gasoline was additionally discovered near the place Chernyshov’s burned physique was discovered, it added.

Reporters Without Borders stated its findings “show that the two men were doubtless coldly executed.”

4. Microsoft says Russian cyber spying targets 42 Ukraine allies

State-backed Russian hackers have engaged in “strategic espionage” towards governments, assume tanks, companies and assist teams in 42 international locations supporting Kyiv, Microsoft stated in a report on Wednesday.

“Since the start of the war, the Russian targeting (of Ukraine’s allies) has been successful 29% of the time,” Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote, with information stolen in a minimum of one-quarter of the profitable community intrusions.

Nearly two-thirds of the cyber espionage targets concerned NATO members. The United States was the prime goal, adopted by Poland, the principle conduit for army help flowing to Ukraine. In the previous two months, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Turkey have seen stepped-up concentrating on,

A putting exception is Estonia, the place Microsoft stated it has detected no Russian cyber intrusions since Russia invaded Ukraine. The firm credited Estonia’s adoption of cloud computing, the place it is simpler to detect intruders.

“Significant collective defensive weaknesses remain” amongst another European governments, Microsoft stated, with out figuring out them.

Microsoft stated Ukraine’s cyber defences “have proven stronger” total than Russia’s capabilities in attacking Ukrainian targets.

The report additionally assessed Russian disinformation and propaganda geared toward “undermining Western unity and deflecting criticism of Russian military war crimes” and wooing individuals in nonaligned international locations.

Using synthetic intelligence instruments, Microsoft stated, it estimated “Russian cyber influence operations successfully increased the spread of Russian propaganda after the war began by 216 percent in Ukraine and 82 percent in the United States.”

5. Zelenskyy goes on a charm offensive ahead of EU candidacy decision

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has gone on a charm offensive ahead of a pivotal summit on whether Ukraine can become a candidate for EU membership.

Brussels gave Ukraine and Moldova the green light but the final decision rests with the European Council, which is made up of the leaders of EU countries.

In a flurry of tweets, Ukraine’s president said he’d spoken to leaders from across the bloc to thank them for supporting Kyiv’s bid to be a candidate.

A senior government figure overseeing the country’s push to join the European Union said Wednesday that she’s “100%” certain all 27 EU nations will approve making Ukraine a candidate for membership.

Olha Stefanishyna, a deputy prime minister, said the decision could come as soon as Thursday, on the first day of the two-day EU leaders summit in Brussels.

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