Ukraine: Putin’s invasion remarks show need to discuss Russia’s ‘immediate de-imperialization’

Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak has responded to Putin’s remarks in which Russia’s leader appeared to hint at further invasions and likened himself to 18th-century czar Peter the Great.

Podolyak said via Twitter that Putin’s comments show why it is ineffective to discuss how Russia is “saving face” over its invasion of Ukraine, and instead should prompt a discussion over Russia’s “immediate de-imperialization.”

— Sam Meredith

‘Impossible’: Hungary foreign minister rules out Russian gas ban in next round of EU sanctions

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said: “When we impose sanctions, then we have to make sure that those sanctions are hurting more those against whom we impose the sanctions than ourselves.”

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto says it is not possible for the European Union to impose a Russian gas embargo in its next package of sanctions.

Speaking to CNBC’s Charlotte Reed on the sidelines of the OECD’s Ministerial Council Meeting in Paris, Szijjarto said: “When we impose sanctions, then we have to make sure that those sanctions are hurting more those against whom we impose the sanctions than ourselves.”

“We have to have a very clear position on the war, which we do have, we condemn Russia for this military aggression. We stand with Ukraine. But we have to take into consideration reality as well,” he added.

Szijjarto said Russia currently supplies 65% of Hungary’s oil demand and 85% of its gas supplies, adding that a lack of available infrastructure means it’s not possible for the landlocked European country to swiftly reduce its reliance on Russian hydrocarbons.

The EU agreed late last month to impose a partial embargo on Russian crude in a bid to cripple President Vladimir Putin’s war machine. The watered-down deal covers Russian oil brought into the bloc by sea, with an exemption carved out for imports delivered by pipeline.

Szijjarto spoke of his frustration that Hungary had been portrayed as a country reluctant to punish Russia’s war in Ukraine after the country opposed a total ban on Russian oil.

When asked about the prospect of the EU targeting Russian gas exports in its next round of sanctions, Szijjarto said: “No, it’s impossible.”

“If you’re not able to import gas from Russia, then the country stops, economy stops, we cannot heat the houses, we cannot run the economy. Our question is who can offer a solution?” he added.

— Sam Meredith

‘We are exhausting the enemy’: Luhansk governor says fierce street fights continue in Severodonetsk

Serhiy Haidai, governor of the eastern Luhansk province, has said fierce street fighting continues in Severodonetsk as Russian forces battle for control of the city.

“The whole free Luhansk region came under heavy shelling,” Haidai said via Telegram, according to a translation.

“Fierce street fights continue in Severodonetsk. We are exhausting the enemy,” he added.

— Sam Meredith

Kremlin struggling to provide basic services to Russian-occupied territories, UK says

The ruined seaside city of Mariupol is at risk of a major cholera outbreak, according to the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense.

Stringer | Afp | Getty Images

Russia is struggling to provide basic public services to the population in Russian-occupied territories, with the ruined seaside city of Mariupol at risk of a major cholera outbreak, according to the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense.

“Access to safe drinking water has been inconsistent, while major disruption to telephone and internet services continues. There is likely a critical shortage of medicines in Kherson, while Mariupol is at risk of a major cholera outbreak,” the ministry said via Twitter.

“Isolated cases of cholera have been reported since May. Ukraine suffered a major cholera epidemic in 1995, and has experienced minor outbreaks since, especially around the Azov Sea coast — which includes Mariupol,” it added. “Medical services in Mariupol are likely already near collapse: a major cholera outbreak in Mariupol will exacerbate this further.”

— Sam Meredith

Zelenskyy says strategically important cities in the Donbas are holding on

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits the positions of Ukrainian troops in Bakhmut city and Lysychansk district, Ukraine, on June 5, 2022.

Ukrainian Presidency/Handout/Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said the country’s forces are holding on to cities in the Donbas region despite sustained pressure from Russian troops.

The Donbas region refers to the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces in the easternmost part of Ukraine. It is a major strategic, political and economic target for the Kremlin.

“Frontlines situation for the day has not seen any significant changes. Sievierodonetsk, Lysychansk and other cities in Donbas, which the occupiers now consider key targets, are holding on,” Zelenskyy said in an evening address to the nation, according to a translation.

“We have a certain positive [development] in the Zaporizhia region, where it is possible to thwart the plans of the occupiers. We are gradually moving forward in the Kharkiv region, liberating our land. We keep defense in the Mykolaiv direction.”

— Sam Meredith

Putin appears to hint at further invasions, compares himself to Peter the Great

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets young entrepreneurs in Moscow on June 9, 2022.

Mikhail Metzel | Afp | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin has appeared to hint at further territorial expansion, in remarks likely to set off alarm bells.

“It’s impossible — do you understand? — impossible to build a fence around a country like Russia. And we do not intend to build that fence,” Putin said at a meeting with young entrepreneurs in Moscow, according to Sky News.

It came as the Russia leader compared himself to Peter the Great on the 350th anniversary of the czar’s birth. Putin sought to draw a parallel between the Kremlin’s raging onslaught in Ukraine and the former Russian monarch’s conquest of the Baltic coast during a war against Sweden in the 18th century.

“When he [Peter the Great] founded the new capital, none of the European countries recognized the territory as Russian. They all recognized it as Swedish territory. The Slavs together with the Finno-Ugric peoples had always lived there, moreover, this territory had been under the control of the Russian state. Same going towards the west — Narva and his first expeditions,” Putin said, according to a translation.

“Why did he go there? He went there to take it back and strengthen it, that’s what he was doing. Well, it seems it has also fallen to us to take back and strengthen [territories], and if we take these basic values as fundamental to our existence, we will prevail in solving the issues we are facing,” he added.

— Sam Meredith

Zelenskyy discusses EU membership with Macron

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy addresses South Korean parliament via video link, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine April 11, 2022. 

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron, and they discussed Kyiv’s entry into the European Union amid Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

In April, Zelenskyy completed the first step in obtaining European Union membership for Ukraine by submitting a lengthy questionnaire.

The two leaders also discussed the latest developments on the ground and additional French security assistance for Ukraine, according to an Elysee Palace readout of the call.

— Amanda Macias

A look at NATO air power and patrols near Ukraine

A Mirage 2000-5F jet fighter takes off from Luxeuil-Saint Sauveur air-base 116, in Saint-Sauveur, eastern France, on March 13, 2022.

Sebastien Bozon | AFP | Getty Images

Since Russia’s late February invasion, the NATO alliance has placed approximately 30 military aircraft on patrol over the skies near Ukraine at all times.

“Spanish jets guard Lithuania’s airspace and France surveillance planes scan the skies while U.S. bombers train with Allied air forces,” wrote NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu.

“In order to deter any potential aggression against Allies, NATO is deploying an unprecedented mix of fighter jets, reconnaissance aircraft and support planes,” she added.

Here’s a look at the airpower the alliance deployed to the region:

NATO’s Eastern Flank Air Domain

NATO

— Amanda Macias

Ukrainian troops hold the front line in the Donetsk region

Ukrainian soldiers hold the line in New York in the eastern Donetsk region.

A Ukrainian service member sits in a trench at a position on the front line, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, near the town of New York, Donetsk region, Ukraine June 9, 2022. 

Gleb Garanich | Reuters

A Ukrainian service member shoots from a machine gun at a position on the front line, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, near the town of New York, Donetsk region, Ukraine June 9, 2022. 

Gleb Garanich | Reuters

Ukrainian service members are seen at a position on the front line, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, near the town of New York, Donetsk region, Ukraine June 9, 2022. 

Gleb Garanich | Reuters

A Ukrainian service member walks at a position on the front line, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, near the town of New York, Donetsk region, Ukraine June 9, 2022. 

Gleb Garanich | Reuters

— Gleb Garanich | Reuters

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