Heavy shelling continues in Ukraine’s key eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, UK says
A family waits to be evacuated by train in Pokrovsk, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, on May 30, 2022.
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The U.K.’s Ministry of Defence says heavy shelling continues in the key eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, with street fighting likely taking place on the outskirts of the town.
In its latest intelligence assessment, the ministry said Russian forces had “achieved greater local successes than earlier in the campaign by massing forces and fires in a relatively small area.”
“This forces Russia to accept risk elsewhere in occupied territory,” the ministry said.
“Russia’s political goal is likely to occupy the full territory of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. To achieve this, Russia will need to secure further challenging operational objectives beyond Sieverodonetsk, including the key city of Kramatorsk and the M04 Dnipro-Donetsk main road,” the ministry said.
— Sam Meredith
Ukrainian court sentences two Russian soldiers to jail for war crimes
A Ukrainian court sentenced two captured Russian soldiers to 11 and a half years in jail on Tuesday for shelling a town in eastern Ukraine, the second war crimes verdict since the start of Russia’s invasion in February.
Alexander Bobikin and Alexander Ivanov, who listened to the verdict standing in a reinforced glass box at the Kotelevska district court in central Ukraine, both pleaded guilty last week.
“The guilt of Bobikin and Ivanov has been proven in full,” Judge Evhen Bolybok said.
Both acknowledged last week being part of an artillery unit that fired at targets in the Kharkiv region from the Belgorod region in Russia.
EU leaders split on Russian gas embargo
European Union leaders are split over whether to target Russian gas imports in the bloc’s next set of sanctions against the Kremlin. It comes shortly after the EU imposed a partial oil ban as part of its sixth package of sanctions.
Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas told reporters that the EU should go even further and discuss a plan to target Russia’s gas imports in its seventh set of economic measures.
Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer abruptly rejected this idea, however, saying it will not be a topic for discussion this time around.
Russia supplies around 40% of the EU’s natural gas and 27% of its imported oil.
— Sam Meredith
Russia hits back at the EU over partial oil embargo, says it will find other importers
The EU’s partial embargo covers Russian oil brought into the bloc by sea, with an exemption carved out for imports delivered by pipeline following opposition from Hungary.
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Russia has suggested it will find other importers for its oil following the EU’s decision to impose a partial embargo.
Russian diplomat Mikhail Ulyanov said via Twitter: “As she rightly said yesterday, #Russia will find other importers.” His comments refer to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
“Noteworthy that now she contradicts her own yesterday’s statement. Very quick change of the mindset indicates that the #EU is not in a good shape,” he added.
The EU’s von der Leyen has said the bloc’s sixth round of economic measures against the Kremlin would effectively cut around 90% of Russian oil imports by the end of the year. She added the EU would soon return to the issue of the remaining 10% of pipeline oil.
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— Sam Meredith
Russian forces claim a third of Sievierodonetsk is now under their control
Smoke rises in the city of Sievierodonetsk during heavy fighting between Ukrainian and Russian troops on May 30, 2022.
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Russian forces claimed to have seized control of one-third of the city of Sievierodonetsk, as they continue their offensive in Ukraine’s Donbas region.
The Donbas refers to two eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk — a major strategic, political and economic target for the Kremlin.
“We can state it already that one-third of the city is under our control already,” Leonid Pasechnik, head of the Russian-backed Luhansk People’s Republic, told Russian state media agency Tass.
Pasechnik conceded that Russian forces had not been able to advance as quickly as hoped in the key eastern city, with fighting currently raging in an urban area.
— Sam Meredith
Zelenskyy says 32 media workers have been killed in the war
A journalist climbs out of a crater caused by a Russian missile strike in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says 32 media representatives have been killed since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says 32 media workers have been killed since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Among them is Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff, a French journalist with the TV channel BFM TV, who suffered a fatal neck wound while riding in an armored evacuation vehicle that was shelled by Russian forces, Sky News reported.
“A little over a month ago, I gave an interview to this particular TV channel,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly address. “This was my first interview with the French media during a full-scale war.”
“My sincere condolences to Frédéric’s colleagues and family,” Zelenskyy said.
— Chelsea Ong
Oil prices rise after EU agrees to ban about 90% of Russian crude
Crude prices rose during Asia hours after EU leaders agreed to ban about 90% of Russian oil by the end of 2022.
The move would immediately affect 75% of Russian oil imports, says Charles Michel, president of the European Council.
The ban is part of the European Union’s sixth sanctions package on Russia since it invaded Ukraine.
“The European Council agrees that the sixth package of sanctions against Russia will cover crude oil, as well as petroleum products, delivered from Russia into Member States, with a temporary exception for crude oil delivered by pipeline,” according to a May 31 statement from the European Council.
That temporary exception covers the remaining Russian oil not yet banned, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said in a press conference.
— Weizhen Tan
Sanctioned Russian billionaire completes the sale of the British soccer team he owned
A British soccer team owned for 19 years by a sanctioned Russian-Israeli billionaire linked to Vladimir Putin has been sold.
Boehly’s simple refusal to countenance any distractions has proved central to the Connecticut billionaire’s successful Chelsea takeover.
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A consortium led by Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly has purchased the Chelsea soccer team from Roman Abramovich, the billionaire who was sanctioned by the British government over his ties to Putin following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in a £4.25 billion ($5.38 billion) deal.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich looks on from the stands during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on April 16, 2016 in London, England.
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Abramovich put the Chelsea team up for sale on March 2, a week after the invasion and a few days before the British government added his name to a list of sanctioned Russian oligarchs. Among other conditions, the sanctions barred the Chelsea team from signing new players or offering new contracts.
With the team now under new ownership, those restrictions will be lifted.
— John Rosevear