War in Ukraine: Latest developments

AFP , Sunday 5 Jun 2022

Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine.

KYIV, Ukraine
Smoke rises after a Russian missile strike in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, June 5, 2022. (AP


Pope calls for 'real negotiations' to end war

Pope Francis renews a call for "real negotiations" to end what he calls the "increasingly dangerous escalation" of the conflict in Ukraine.

"I renew my appeal to the leaders of nations: Please do not lead humanity to destruction," the pontiff says from St Peter's Square.

On Saturday, the 85-year-old pope confirmed his desire to visit Ukraine, but said he wanted to wait for "the right moment".

Putin warns against missiles for Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin warns Moscow will strike new targets if the West supplies long-range missiles to Ukraine and says new arms deliveries to Kyiv are aimed at "prolonging the conflict".

If Kyiv is supplied with long-range missiles, "we will draw the appropriate conclusions and use our arms... to strike targets we haven't hit before," Putin is quoted by Russian news agencies as saying, without specifying which targets he means.

Strikes on Kyiv

Ukrainian officials say Russian missiles have hit railway infrastructure sites in Kyiv, in the first such strikes on the capital since April 28.

"The strikes targeted the infrastructure of Ukrainian Railways," says Serhiy Leshchenko, a member of the company's supervisory board and adviser to the Ukrainian presidency.

Russia claims it destroyed "T-72 tanks supplied by eastern European countries and other armoured vehicles that were in hangars" on the city's outskirts.

Ukraine says Russians losing ground

A regional governor says Russian forces have lost ground in Severodonetsk, a key city in eastern Ukraine.

"The Russians were in control of about 70 percent of the city, but have been forced back over the past two days," Lugansk regional governor Sergiy Gaiday writes on Telegram.

The region of Lugansk has been partly controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014, and Severodonetsk is the administrative capital of the Ukrainian part.

Zelensky blames Russia for church blaze

Ukrainian President Zelensky says a wooden church on one of Ukraine's most sacred Orthodox sites has been destroyed by Russian bombing.

"Russian artillery again hit" the All Saints Skete of the Holy Dormition Sviatogirsk Lavra, Zelensky says on Telegram, with a video showing the church in eastern Ukraine ablaze.

The Ukrainian leader says 300 civilians including 60 children had sought shelter from bombs at the church amid fierce fighting in the Donbas region.

Russia's defence ministry blames "Ukrainian nationalists".

Ukraine seeks football World Cup berth

Away from the battlefield, Ukraine is to play against Wales in Sunday's play-off final as they aim to reach their first football World Cup since 2006.

"Everyone will fight to the end and give their all, because we will play for our country," Ukraine player Oleksandr Zinchenko says.

But Wales captain Gareth Bale says any sympathy with Ukraine will be set aside: "We understand what it would do for Ukraine, but we want to get to a World Cup."

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