- Russian shelling has killed at least 15 civilians in the Kharkiv region on Tuesday, including five in the city of Kharkiv, the regional governor states, as Russia steps up attacks in the region.
- Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has described the shelling in Kharkiv as “brutal and cynical”.
- Luhansk’s regional governor says Ukraine’s defenders continue to hold their positions at the Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk.
- Head of the Severodonetsk district military administration has announced that Russia’s forces have taken full control of the front-line village of Toshkivka, near Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.
- Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio says he is leaving the 5-Star Movement party after accusing its leader of undermining Ukraine support.
These are the latest updates:
Moscow legislator facing 10 years for opposing Russia’s Ukraine actions
A court in the Russian capital has extended the arrest of a municipal legislator charged with discrediting the country’s military after his criticism of Russia’s military action in Ukraine.
Moscow’s Meshchansky District Court ordered Alexei Gorinov to be kept in custody pending his trial. Gorinov, a member of the municipal council of Moscow’s Krasnoselsky District, has remained in jail since he was arrested in April after speaking out against Russia’s invasion during the council’s session in March.
Addressing the court on Tuesday, Gorinov rejected the charges and insisted that he was merely expressing his political views, noting that “what I said was my personal opinion and belief.”
He may face a fine or a prison term of up to 10 years if convicted.
Italy’s FM quits party he says undermines Ukraine support
Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio has said he was leaving the 5-Star Movement to form a new parliamentary group backing the government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
Di Maio’s move comes after he accused 5-Star leader and former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of undermining government efforts to support Ukraine and weakening Rome’s standing within the European Union.
“Today’s is a difficult decision I never imagined I would have to take … but today me and lots of other colleagues and friends are leaving the 5-Star Movement,” Di Maio, himself a former 5-Star leader, told a news conference on Tuesday.
Russia only exists by attacking others: Kyiv adviser
Russia is expansionist and exists only by attacking other states, Zelenskyy’s adviser Mykhailo Podolyak has said.
“It attacks in various ways, using its energy resources, its military, migration, using food as a weapon. Ukraine can never sign a deal with Russia in this context,” Podolyak told Jazeera in an interview.
After being asked about ceding land to Russia to prevent further death and destruction, Podolyak said: “any surrender of Ukrainian territory would mean the war would continue with greater intensity and even greater scale.”
“We want to finish this war the right way and that means liberating our territories in full and reestablishing our sovereignty within internationally recognised borders.”
Russian forces seize frontline Donbas village: Ukrainian official
Russian forces have pushed deeper into the Donbas region, with Ukrainian officials announcing the fall of a front-line village near the strategically important cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.
Roman Vlasenko, head of the Severodonetsk district military administration, said on Tuesday that the settlement of Toshkivka is now “controlled entirely by the Russians”.
Toshkivka had a pre-war population of about 5,000 people and is approximately 25km (15 miles) south of Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk region.
Read more here.
Fire tears through gasworks in Kharkiv region after missile raid
A large fire remained uncontrolled at a gas processing factory on Tuesday in the Izyum district in eastern Ukraine, after it was hit by several Russian missile attacks last week.
Kharkiv Governor Oleh Synehubov confirmed on Saturday that Russian attacks had targeted the facility.
On the Telegram messaging app, he said that some other buildings had also been damaged.
On Tuesday, the fire was still blazing and a large plume of smoke could be seen from a distance.
Ukraine’s defenders hold positions at Azot plant: Governor
Russia laid down a curtain of fire in Luhansk Tuesday, where pockets of resistance are denying Moscow full military control of the region.
“Today everything that can burn is on fire,” Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Luhansk region, told The Associated Press news agency.
In the city of Severodonetsk, Ukrainian defenders held on to the Azot chemical plant in the industrial outskirts. He said Russian forces were turning the area “into ruins”.
“It is a sheer catastrophe,” Haidai told the AP in written comments about the plant. “Our positions are being fired at from howitzers, multiple rocket launchers, large-caliber artillery, missile strikes.”
Haidai said on television that 568 civilians were sheltering at the plant, including 38 children. Moscow controls approximately 95 percent of the Luhansk region.
Luhansk ‘toughest area right now’: Zelenskyy
The Luhansk region, where fighting is raging in the key city of Severodonetsk and surrounding areas, is “the toughest area right now”, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said.
“With the help of tactical moves, the Ukrainian army is strengthening its defence in the Luhansk region, which is really the toughest area right now,” Zelenskyy said in his nighttime address, adding Russians were also putting “serious pressure” on Donetsk.
“In the Kharkiv region there is brutal and cynical Russian artillery shelling. It will not give anything to the occupiers, but the Russian army is deaf to any rationality. It simply destroys, simply kills – in this way it shows its command that it is not standing still,” Zelenskyy added.
At least 15 killed in Kharkiv region: Governor
At least 15 civilians were killed in the Kharkiv region by Russian shelling on Tuesday, the regional governor has said.
Five people were killed in the city of Kharkiv itself and 11 wounded, Oleh Synehubov said on Telegram, adding that among the dead was an eight-year-old girl.
Another six people died in Chuhuiv some 40km (25 miles) southeast of Kharkiv and three had died in Zolochiv, 40km (25 miles) to the northwest of the city, he said.
Russian forces were trying to approach Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, which experienced intense shelling earlier in the war, and turn it into a “frontline city,” a Ukrainian interior ministry official said earlier this month. Local police accused Russia of using Uragan multiple rocket launchers.
Read all updates on June 21 here.