Ukraine invasion latest: Russia attacks chemical plant in Donbass

President Zelensky meets with US officials

Russian airstrikes in the Donbass town of Sievierodonetsk hit a chemical plant, prompting President Volodymyr Zelensky to condemn the attacks as “madness”.

A huge orange cloud believed to be nitric acid, which causes eye and skin irritation, rose in the sky over the industrial city, where fighting has been raging for days.

The governor of the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine, Serhiy Haidai, said Russia had targeted the Azot plant from an airplane, causing the release of toxic substances, and urged the residents to stay inside their homes or shelters.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has announced that his country will send four sophisticated medium-range rocket systems and ammunition to Kyiv in an attempt to block Russian advances in Donbass.

Colin Kahl, the Pentagon’s top policy adviser, said the United States received assurances from Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky that these new systems would not be launched on Russian territory.

Read the latest Ukraine-Scotland World Cup play-off updates here.

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About 80% of Sievierodonetsk captured by Russia – official

Russian fighters have captured around 80% of Sievierodonetsk territory as they continue to seize the key city by military force, Lugansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said.

Russian soldiers advanced as they fought fierce street battles with Ukrainian defenders in the city.

In some districts, Russian troops were pushed back by Ukrainian defenders, the governor said.

Arpan RaiJune 2, 2022 5:06 a.m.

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Two monks and a nun killed after the bombing of a monastery

Ukrainian Orthodox Church officials said two monks and a nun were killed after the historic Svyatohirsk Monastery in Donetsk was bombed.

Three other monks were injured in Monday’s shelling, the church said.

The monastery, which housed civilians, was heavily damaged in the attack, church officials said without providing further details.

Sviatohirsk Monastery is one of the most important Orthodox monasteries in Ukraine.

Arpan RaiJune 2, 2022 4:59 a.m.

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Zelensky says 200,000 children were forcibly taken to Russia

At least 200,000 children, including orphans and those separated from their families, are among the Ukrainians who have been forcibly taken to Russia and scattered across the country, Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday.

On International Children’s Day, Mr. Zelensky accused Russia of abducting children to make them forget about Ukraine.

“The purpose of this criminal policy is not just to rob people but to make those who are deported forget about Ukraine and cannot return,” he said.

Ukraine will punish those responsible, Mr Zelensky said, but it will first show Russia on the battlefield that “Ukraine cannot be conquered, our people will not surrender and our children will not shall not become the property of the occupants”.

Ukraine has seen the killing of 243 children during the war, and 446 were injured and 139 others are missing, Zelensky said.

He added that the full picture of Russian brutality is not immediately clear in areas still held by occupation forces.

Arpan RaiJune 2, 2022 4:58 a.m.

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Russian missile hits train tracks in Lviv, five injured

At least five people were injured after a Russian missile struck Lviv in western Ukraine, officials said Thursday.

The missile hit Beskydy rail lines in the Carpathian Mountains, in what appears to be a Russian effort to cut off Ukraine’s key rail link and halt shipments of weapons, fuel and other Western supplies, said an adviser to the country’s interior minister, Anton Gerashchenko.

Damage to the key rail link is not immediately clear and is being assessed, but the head of Ukraine’s railways said the main tunnel was unaffected.

Three passenger trains were delayed after the missile attack, but services resumed soon after, officials said.

Arpan RaiJune 2, 2022 4:29 a.m.

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US plans to sell Hellfire missile-carrying drones to Kyiv

The Biden administration plans to sell Ukraine four MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones that can be armed with Hellfire missiles for battlefield use against Russia, sources say.

The sale could still be blocked by Congress, the sources told Reuters, adding that there was also the risk of a last-minute policy reversal that could derail the plan, which has been under consideration at the Pentagon for several weeks. .

Ukraine has used several types of smaller, shorter-range unmanned aerial systems against Russian forces.

But the Gray Eagle represents a leap in technology as it can fly for up to 30 hours or more depending on its mission and can collect huge amounts of data for intelligence purposes.

Gray Eagles, the military version of the better known Predator drone, can also carry up to eight powerful Hellfire missiles.

The sale is significant because it puts an advanced reusable US system capable of multiple deep strikes on the battlefield against Russia for the first time.

The Biden administration intends to notify Congress of the potential sale in the coming days with a public announcement expected after that, an official said.

Jane DaltonJune 2, 2022 03:10

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UK ‘wants to send rocket systems to Kyiv’

According to the Politico website, Boris Johnson is asking the United States to agree to a plan allowing the United Kingdom to send advanced medium-range rocket systems to Ukraine within weeks.

On Wednesday morning, the prime minister spoke to Joe Biden about transferring the US-made M270 multiple launch rocket systems, it was reported.

This would be followed by a discussion between Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday morning, the person familiar with the schedule said. The United States must officially approve the move due to export regulations.

This follows President Biden’s announcement that he is sending similar weapons.

Jane DaltonJune 2, 2022 2:40 a.m.

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US risks dragging ‘third country’ into war, Russia warns

The Russian foreign minister claimed that a decision by the United States to supply advanced rocket systems and munitions to Ukraine could widen the war and increase the risk of a direct confrontation between Moscow and Washington.

It came after Joe Biden announced that the United States would provide Kyiv with four multiple rocket launcher systems. Maryam Zakir-Hussain reports:

Jane DaltonJune 2, 2022 1:50 a.m.

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Germany promises to send modern air defense missiles

Germany has joined the United States in pledging to equip Ukraine with some of the advanced weapons it has long requested to shoot down planes and destroy artillery. Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the IRIS-T SLM surface-to-air missiles he will send are the most modern air defense system the country has.

They can operate at longer ranges than the Cold War-era anti-aircraft equipment they previously provided.

Germany’s pledge would mark the first delivery of long-range air defense weapons to Ukraine since the start of the war.

Earlier deliveries of shoulder-fired man-portable air defense missiles bolstered the Ukrainian military’s ability to shoot down helicopters and other low-flying aircraft, but did not give it sufficient range to challenge superiority. air force of Russia.

“With this, we will enable Ukraine to defend an entire city against Russian air attacks,” Scholz said.

Radar systems will help locate enemy artillery.

Germany has been criticized, both at home and by allies abroad, for not doing enough.

Jane DaltonJune 2, 2022 01:00

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Hungary postpones EU sanctions against Russia

Hungary is delaying the finalization of the European Union sanctions package against Russia, insisting on removing the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church from the list of those sanctioned, according to three diplomats.

EU leaders agreed in principle earlier this week on a sixth sanctions package against Russia and government envoys were due to turn that political deal into legal text today so that it can enter into force.

Basically, the package includes a decision to ban purchases of all Russian oil and refined products transported by sea six to eight months from the time the package becomes law.

“The deal is on hold because Hungary opposes sanctions against Patriarch Kirill,” an EU diplomat said. Two others confirmed it.

Jane DaltonJune 2, 2022 12:10 a.m.

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Zelensky rejects claim that Trump could have stopped the invasion

Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed the suggestion that Donald Trump could have stopped Russia from invading his country, saying “anyone could become the [US] president,” including those who disliked Ukraine and those who empathized with Vladimir Putin, writes Gino Spocchia:

Jane DaltonJune 1, 2022 11:20 p.m.