A cyclist rides by an apartment building heavily damaged by a rocket on June 09, 2022, in Sloviansk, Ukraine. Despite the damage and fire caused by the attack, which occurred about a week ago, about 15 residents, mostly elderly, remain in the building. In recent weeks, Russia has concentrated its firepower on Ukraine's Donbas region, where it has long backed two separatist regions at war with the Ukrainian government since 2014.
biden: ukraine's zelenskyy didn't want to hear us info on

Biden: Ukraine’s Zelenskyy didn’t want to hear US info on possible Russian invasion: live updates – USA TODAY


President Joe Biden, speaking to donors at a Democratic fundraiser in Los Angeles, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy “didn’t want to hear it” when U.S. intelligence gathered information that Russia was preparing to invade.

The remarks came as Biden was talking about his work to rally and solidify support for Ukraine as the war continues into its fourth month.

“Nothing like this has happened since World War II. I know a lot of people thought I was maybe exaggerating. But I knew we had data to sustain he” — meaning Russian President Vladimir Putin — “was going to go in, off the border.”

“There was no doubt,” Biden said. “And Zelenskyy didn’t want to hear it.”

Although Zelenskyy has inspired people with his leadership during the war, his preparation for the invasion — or lack thereof — has remained a controversial issue.

Mykhailo Podoliak, an adviser to the head of Ukraine’s President’s Office, responded to Biden’s comments Saturday in Interfax Ukraine, saying that while the level of aggression from Russia was a shock, the country quickly rallied its military presence to fight back.

Ukraine understood the intentions of the Russians, expected one or another aggressive scenario, prepared for it, which sharply broke the original Russian plans,” Podoliak wrote to Interfax. “I think it is pointless to blame the country, which is more than 100 days (into) a full-fledged war against a much more resourceful opponent, if key countries have failed to prevent the militaristic appetites of the Russian Federation, knowing them well.”

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A cyclist rides by an apartment building heavily damaged by a rocket on June 09, 2022, in Sloviansk, Ukraine. Despite the damage and fire caused by the attack, which occurred about a week ago, about 15 residents, mostly elderly, remain in the building. In recent weeks, Russia has concentrated its firepower on Ukraine's Donbas region, where it has long backed two separatist regions at war with the Ukrainian government since 2014.

Latest developments:

►At least two civilians have been hospitalized following Russian shelling on the outskirts of Ukraine’s second largest city, according to regional emergency services.

►Mykhaylo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, told the BBC that Ukrainian forces were losing between 100 and 200 troops a day.

►Intense fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine is prompting hundreds of people to flee further west.

A deceptive, uneasy calm in Kyiv

KYIV, Ukraine — In the outdoor gym on Venice Beach, the name given to an inviting stretch of sand on the majestic Dnieper River that courses through the capital of Ukraine, Serhiy Chornyi is working on his summer body, up-down-up-downing a chunky hunk of iron.

The aim of his sweat and toil isn’t to impress the girls in their bright summer bikinis. Working out is part of his contribution to Ukraine’s all-hands-on-deck war effort: The National Guardsman expects to be sent eastward to the battlefields soon and doesn’t want to take his paunch with him for the fight against Russia’s invasion force.

“I’m here to get in shape. To be able to help my friends with whom I’ll be,” the 32-year-old said. “I feel that my place is there now. … There is only one thing left: to defend. There is no other option, only one road.”

So goes Kyiv’s bitter summer of 2022, where the sun shines but sadness and grim determination reign, where canoodling couples cannot be sure that their kisses won’t be their last as more soldiers head to the fronts; where flitting swallows are nesting as people made homeless weep in blown-apart ruins, and where the peace is deceptive, because it’s shorn of peace of mind.

— Associated Press

A street musician performs in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, June 10, 2022. With war raging on fronts to the east and south, the summer of 2022 is proving bitter for the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. The sun shines but sadness and grim determination reign.

Death sentences for 3 Ukraine foreign fighters in DNR is ‘war crime’: UN

The United Nations on Friday condemned the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic after three foreign fighters for Ukraine were given death sentences by a court in the region. 

“Such trials against prisoners of war amount to a war crime,” OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said in a press release.

The men, Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner and Moroccan Saaudun Brahim, were captured while defending the southern port city Mariupol, the UN said.

Another UN spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, on Thursday said that the UN has and “always will” oppose the death penalty in all cases, according to the press release.

“We would call on the combatants who have been detained to be afforded international protection and to be treated according to the Geneva Conventions,” he added, according to the release.

— Ella Lee

More:Putin’s war in Ukraine is driving a hidden horror: Sex trafficking of women and children

Ukraine: Ban on men leaving country likely won’t lift until martial law is lifted

Ukraine is unlikely to lift its ban on men aged 18 to 60 leaving the country until martial law has been lifted, Ukraine’s President’s Office said Friday. 

The decision was made in response to a petition requesting that nation lift the ban, which said that the rule shows “signs of abandoning the values of freedom.”

“A person who was forced to become a ‘defender’ will not be effective in defending Ukraine,” the petition, filed on May 18, reads. “Free people of Ukraine are able to defend their free homeland on the basis of free will. We need to believe in the People of Ukraine, not break their knees.”

The petition was signed by more than 27,000 people. 

In its response, Ukraine’s President’s Office cited numerous Ukrainian laws and the nation’s constitution, which say that “it is the duty” of Ukrainian citizens to protect the nation and that the right to leave the country “may be limited” under conditions of martial law or state emergency. 

— Ella Lee

Mourners including relatives gather during the funeral ceremony of slain Ukrainian serviceman Ruslan Skalskyi at Lychakiv cemetery in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, on June 11, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

German IRIS-T air defense system to arrive in Ukraine in October, ambassador says

A German modern air defense system will arrive in Ukraine in October, Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andriy Melnyk told Ukraine’s Novoye Vremya Saturday.

“The IRIS-T system is the only thing I have thanked the Chancellor and the government for in recent months,” Melnyk said, according to NV. “We have been working on it since the first days of the war. This system is the coolest in the world.”

Melnyk added that the cost of the system is some $1 million euros, which will be paid for out of the German Ministry of Defense’s budget to help Ukraine.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced the deal earlier this month, saying the nation would give Ukraine the “most modern air defense system available in Germany.”

“In this way, we will give Ukraine the opportunity to protect the entire city from Russian air raids,” Scholz said at the time, according to European Pravda. 

— Ella Lee

Ukraine soccer club Shakhtar survives into 9th year of exile

The story of Shakhtar Donetsk — playing only away games since conflict in its Donbas region started in 2014 and the full invasion by Russia shut down Ukrainian soccer this year — might be unique in world soccer.

Shakhtar’s sporting director Darijo Srna told The Associated Press his club was “the only one in the history of football” to have endured such tests.

Unable to use its stellar $400 million stadium since 2014, forced to live and play in adopted home cities across Ukraine, Shakhtar has now had no competitive games since December because of the Russian invasion.

Still, Srna is working around uncertainty over the club’s roster to plan for a new season in the Champions League and renewal of the Ukrainian Premier League.

“They attack our country, our land,” said Srna, a former Shakhtar captain whose shirt number 33 was retired by the club. “But in the end we are still here, we are still alive.”

— Associated Press

Read the whole story here:Ukraine soccer club Shakhtar survives into 9th year of exile

Russia is gaining control of another crucial eastern Ukraine city. How it’s unfolding in maps

The focus of Russia’s war in Ukraine has turned to the eastern Donbas, which includes the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Russia claims to control 97% of Luhansk. 

Sievierodonetsk is one of just two Luhansk cities not yet completely under Russian control. Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai told the Associated Press that “maybe we will have to retreat, but right now battles are ongoing in the city.” 

Russian forces continue efforts to gain control over the eastern outskirts of Sievierodonetsk. The Russian army is again in control of most of the city with the fighting ongoing for the Azot industrial zone, where Ukrainian forces are embedded. However, the Russians have made little progress in encircling the wider area of Sievierodonetsk from the north and south, according to the U.K. Ministry of Defense. 

— Karina Zaiets, Janet Loehrke

See all the maps here:Russia gaining control of another crucial eastern Ukraine city

Russia’s central bank cuts interest rates to prewar level

Russia’s central bank cut interest rates back to their prewar levels Friday, saying inflation and economic activity were developing better than expected despite sweeping Western sanctions imposed in response to the war in Ukraine.

The bank lowered its key rate by 1.5 percentage points, to 9.5%. The rate had been as high as 20% in the wake of the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine and the resulting sanctions by the U.S., European Union and other nations that restrict dealings with Russian banks, individuals and companies.

Economists say that over time the sanctions will corrode growth and productivity, but the central bank has managed to stabilize Russia’s currency and financial system through drastic measures such as high interest rates, restrictions on flows of money out of the country and a requirement that importers sell their foreign currency earnings for rubles.

Ukraine: Russia said to be using more deadly weapons in war

Ukrainian and British officials warned Saturday that Russian forces are relying on weapons with the potential to cause mass casualties as they try to make headway in capturing eastern Ukraine and as fierce fighting depletes resources on both sides.

Russian bombers have likely been launching heavy 1960s-era anti-ship missiles in Ukraine, the U.K. Defense Ministry said. The Kh-22 missiles were primarily designed to destroy aircraft carriers using a nuclear warhead. When used in ground attacks with conventional warheads, they “are highly inaccurate and therefore can cause severe collateral damage and casualties,” the ministry said.

Both sides have expended large amounts of weaponry in what has become a grinding war of attrition for the eastern region of coal mines and factories known as the Donbas, placing huge strains on their resources and stockpiles.

Contributing: Associated Press

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