Key events

Ukrainian forces destroy ammunition depot in the village of Rykove – official

More on that ammunition depot story in Russian-controlled territory.

Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesperson for the Odesa military administration, said on Sunday Ukrainian forces destroyed a “very significant” ammunition depot near the Russian-occupied port city of Henichesk in the southern region of Kherson.

“Our armed forces dealt a good blow in the morning – and a very loud one – in the village of Rykove, Henichesk district, in the temporarily occupied territory of the Kherson region,” Bratchuk said in a morning video message on Sunday. “There was a very significant ammunition depot. It was destroyed.”

Reuters could not independently verify the information. And there was no immediate comment from Russia on the alleged attack.

Ukrainian media posted videos showing a vast plume of smoke rising far on the horizon with sounds of blasts and burning projectiles flying into the sky.

Rykove is located on a railway line about 20km from Henichesk, a port city along the Sea of Azov in southern Ukraine, which has been occupied by Kremlin forces since the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The Uk Ministry of Defence says heavy fighting is continuing to be focused in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, western Donetsk Oblast, and around Bakhmut.

It says both sides are suffering high casualties, with Russian losses likely the highest since the peak of the battle for Bakhmut in March.

Meanwhile, BBC Russia and the Mediazona news outlet continues to collect data about the casualties sustained by the Russian military in Ukraine.

Since their latest update on 4 June, 1,058 names have been added to the list of casualties. The bi-weekly total is lower than it was during active fighting for Bakhmut, but they are still collating names from that period.

By 16 June, they had verified the deaths of 251 Russian officers ranked Lieutenant Colonel or above.

Most of those killed in action come from the Sverdlovsk and Chelyabinsk regions, Bashkiria, Buryatia, and the Volgograd regions.

The outlets note the real death toll is much higher and the number of soldiers missing in action or captured is not known.

Opening summary

Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine, I’m Christine Kearney bringing you the latest news.

Ukrainian forces have destroyed an ammunition depot near the Russian-occupied port city of Henichesk in the southern region of Kherson, Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesperson for the Odesa military administration, said on Sunday.

“There was a very significant ammunition depot. It was destroyed,” Bratchuk said in a morning video message on Sunday.

More details to come, in other key developments:

  • Vladimir Putin on Saturday gave African leaders pushing for negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow a list of reasons why he believed many of their peace proposals were misguided, pouring cold water on a plan already largely dismissed by Kyiv. The African leaders were seeking agreement on a series of “confidence building measures”, telling the Russian president it was time to negotiate an end to fighting, which they said was harming the entire world.

  • After presentations from the Comoran, Senegalese and South African presidents, Putin challenged the assumptions of the plan. He reiterated his position that Ukraine and its western allies started the conflict and said Russia had never refused talks with the Ukrainian side, but these had been blocked by Kyiv. Moscow says any peace must allow for “new realities”, meaning its declared but globally unrecognised annexation of five Ukrainian provinces, four of which it only partially controls – a red line for Kyiv.

  • South Africa’s president told Putin that the fighting had to stop. “This war must be settled … through negotiations and through diplomatic means,” said Cyril Ramaphosa after talks in the suburbs of St Petersburg.

  • Ukraine’s deputy defence minister, Hanna Maliar, confirmed troops were “engaged in active moves” to advance the counteroffensive in the south. Ukrainian forces around Bakhmut, captured by Russia last month, were trying to push Russian forces out from the outskirts of the devastated city. Russia did not officially acknowledge Ukrainian advances and said it inflicted heavy losses on Kyiv’s forces in the previous 24 hours.

  • Two people died after a Russian missile strike on a village in the Kharkiv region in the north-east of Ukraine, said the regional governor, Oleh Synehubov. Synehubov said on Telegram that Russian forces shelled the village of Huryiv Kozachok. An anti-tank guided missile hit a car driving towards the village, which is near the border with Russia.

  • Jens Stoltenberg was expected to be asked to remain as Nato secretary general for another year, a Reuters source said. Stoltenberg’s term has been prolonged three times and he is due to step down in September after nine years. The Norwegian had broad support and continued to be an effective leader, said the source, who requested anonymity. The chances of Stoltenberg being asked to stay on have increased as Nato’s summit in Vilnius has neared, with allies fearing any show of disunity during Russia’s war in Ukraine.

  • Russia’s defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, visited a military factory in western Siberia and stressed the need “to maintain the increased production of tanks”, the defence ministry said. Agence France-Presse reported that Shoigu said this was necessary “to satisfy the needs of Russian forces carrying out the special military operation” in Ukraine.

  • Moscow said troops destroyed three drones targeting an oil refinery in the southern border region of Bryansk. The regional governor, Alexander Bogomaz, said: “Russian air defence systems repelled an overnight attack by the Ukrainian armed forces on the Druzhba oil refinery in the district of Novozybkov. Thanks to the professionalism of our military … three aerial drones were destroyed.”

  • Vladimir Putin confirmed Russia had deployed its first tranche of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. He said nuclear weapons would only be used in the event of a threat to the existence of the Russian state. Speaking at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday, the Russian president also said there was a “serious danger” that the Nato military alliance could be pulled further into the Ukraine war.


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