June 7, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Eliza Mackintosh, Jack Bantock, Sana Noor Haq, Helen Regan, Adrienne Vogt, Mike Hayes and Kathleen Magramo, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, June 8, 2022
33 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
8:54 p.m. ET, June 7, 2022

Zelensky warns of "most difficult winter" to come

From CNN's Mariya Knight

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. (Office of President of Ukraine)

The next winter would be very difficult for Ukrainians, President Volodymyr Zelensky warned during his nightly address on Tuesday.

"In the current situation due to Russia's aggression, this will indeed be the most difficult winter of all the years of independence," he said.

Zelensky said he had discussed in a meeting with government officials and representatives of the largest state-owned energy companies "setting up a headquarters to prepare for the next heating season.”

He said there are "issues of purchasing a sufficient amount of gas for the heating season, coal accumulation, and electricity production."
"At this time, we will not be selling our gas and coal abroad. All domestic production will be directed to the internal needs of our citizens," he added.

Ukraine's energy sources: Zelensky said that in light of "the historical accession of Ukraine to the unified energy network of Europe" it will be possible to reduce Russian energy consumption by the neighboring countries and increase Ukraine's "foreign exchange earnings."

Zelensky also said he was planning to repair heat and power plants damaged or destroyed by Russian attacks. "Implementation of this program in the coming months is one of the top tasks for the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine," he said.

10:07 p.m. ET, June 7, 2022

"I hate them": Ex-Russian president threatens to make unnamed enemies "disappear"

From CNN's Mariya Knight, Zahid Mahmood and Zahra Ullah

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in a profanity-laced Telegram post on Tuesday that his previous entries have been “harsh” because he hates “them” — without specifying who.

"I am often asked why my Telegram posts are so harsh. The answer is — I hate them," Medvedev said. "They're bastards and scum. They want to kill us, Russia. And as long as I'm alive, I'll do everything to make them disappear."

Who does he mean? Medvedev, currently deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin, did not specify who he was referring to. However, he has previously been critical of Western government sanctions and responses to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Medvedev has previously warned the United States that Moscow has the "might to put all of our brash enemies in their place," has referred to Polish politicians as “imbeciles”, and slammed reports of war crimes in Bucha as Ukrainian propaganda.

8:35 p.m. ET, June 7, 2022

Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Russia made "a big mistake" invading Ukraine

From CNN's Inke Kappeler in Berlin

Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel answers questions from journalist and author Alexander Osang at the Berliner Ensemble in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, June 7.
Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel answers questions from journalist and author Alexander Osang at the Berliner Ensemble in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, June 7. (Fabian Sommer/dpa/AP)

Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday there was no justification for Russia’s "brutal disregard" of international law in launching its invasion of Ukraine.

“The attack on Ukraine was a big mistake on Russia's part and an objective breach of all the rules of international law and everything that allows us to live together in peace in Europe,” Merkel said in an interview with German journalist Alexander Osang.
“If we go through the centuries and say which piece of territory belongs to whom, then we will only have war, and that is absolutely unacceptable.”

Merkel said she did not reproach herself for "not having tried hard enough" to prevent Russia's actions in the years leading up to the Feb. 24 invasion.

"It's a great sadness that it didn't succeed, but I don't blame myself now for not trying," she said. “I would feel very bad if we had said, 'oh with that man you don't need to talk at all,'" she said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia and Europe being neighbors conditioned certain relations, Merkel said. "You cannot ignore each other. That will not be possible in the future either."

Ukraine and NATO: Merkel said she was convinced that any plan to make Ukraine a candidate for NATO membership during her time in office would have been tantamount to a declaration of war, from Putin's perspective.

Merkel also said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is "incredibly courageous in his fight against corruption," but "at that time Ukraine was a country dominated by oligarchs," which would have prevented it from joining NATO.

"And that's why I was strictly against it," she explained.

Merkel also showed respect for Zelensky’s "will" to fight. 

"At the very beginning, not only did Russia make a serious miscalculation about conquering Kyiv, but his answer to the offer that he could leave the country, ‘I don't need a ride, I need weapons,’ was also very clear and also really inspired my respect," Merkel said. 

"Ultimately, Ukraine is a geopolitical hostage of the West. Putin's hatred, Putin's hostility is against the Western model. Putin's hostility goes against the Western democratic model."

European unity: Merkel said she was very glad that Germany recently decided to buy armed drones from Israel. “It's been a very tough struggle to invest in military deterrence. That's the only language Putin understands," she said.

"The annexation of Crimea was a deep cut," Merkel said. “For me it was then perfectly clear that we are not dealing with someone who wishes us well with our way of life. Nevertheless, we cannot get rid of him."

"Now it is very, very important that the European Union sticks together."

7:24 p.m. ET, June 7, 2022

High-ranking Russian official visits Melitopol as referendum preparations are underway

From CNN's Kostan Nechyporenko and Jennifer Deaton

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s First Deputy Chief of Staff Sergey Kiriyenko visited the Russian-occupied Ukrainian city of Melitopol on Tuesday, according to the pro-Russian self-proclaimed Mayor Galina Danilchenko.

She announced his visit in a video posted on Telegram and added that Melitopol was starting preparations for a referendum.

The city is “very grateful to the Russian Federation for the help and support that we are receiving in building this life. We know that our future lies in unity with Russia. The Russian Federation is here forever. And now we are starting to prepare for the referendum," Danilchenko said.

Melitopol is a key city in southeastern Ukraine’s Zaporizhizhia region. It's also a neighbor to the Kherson region that has been under Russian control since the beginning of the invasion in late February.

Hennadii Lahuta, the Ukrainian head of the Kherson Military Administration who is a pro-Kyiv official, confirmed that preparations were underway for an upcoming referendum to be held "by autumn" in Russian-held areas of southern Ukraine.

The area was preparing for referendum on "the inclusion of the region into the Russian Federation," Lahuta said in a Tuesday telethon broadcast on Ukrainian television channels of the Russian-occupied city of Kherson.

After Russian-backed separatists took control in 2014 of parts of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions in the Donbas in eastern Ukraine, people's republics were declared in both areas. 

4:36 p.m. ET, June 7, 2022

Bodies of 210 Ukrainian soldiers who died in Mariupol now repatriated, defense ministry says

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva and Ben Wedeman

Smoke rises following an explosion at a plant of Azovstal Iron and Steel Works during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine May 11.
Smoke rises following an explosion at a plant of Azovstal Iron and Steel Works during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine May 11. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

As of Tuesday, the bodies of 210 Ukrainian soldiers have been repatriated by Ukraine, according to Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense Main Intelligence Directorate. 

“The process of returning bodies of fallen defenders of Mariupol is ongoing,” due to the efforts of the POW Treatment Coordinating Staff, the statement said.

It said most of the bodies returned to Ukraine were those of the “heroic defenders of Azovstal," so Ukrainian soldiers at the massive Azovstal steel factory in Mariupol, the last bastion of Ukraine’s defense in that southern port city, before it fell to Russian and Russian-backed forces.

The Coordination Staff on behalf of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is working to get the bodies of all the deceased returned, as well as some 2500 POWs believed held in the custody of Russian or Russian-backed forces.

“All fallen soldiers must return to the territory controlled by Ukraine. And each of them will be lead to the last journey with honors due to the heroes,” the statement said.

The statement adds that work continues to bring home “all captured Ukrainian defenders."

CNN’s Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman reported this week on workers at Kyiv’s central morgue examining the contents of scores of body bags containing the remains of those Ukrainian soldiers killed in the two-month siege of Mariupol. 

Ukraine and Russia have conducted an exchange of bodies as part of the agreement that ended that siege. 

3:38 p.m. ET, June 7, 2022

It's Tuesday night in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know.

From CNN Staff

Ukrainian troops fire with surface-to-surface rockets MLRS towards Russian positions at a front line in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas on June 7.
Ukrainian troops fire with surface-to-surface rockets MLRS towards Russian positions at a front line in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas on June 7. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukrainian troops are locked in fierce street battles with Russian soldiers in the industrial city of Severodonetsk, while other towns are under increased air assault, as fighting rages in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

Parts of the Ukrainian cities of Rubizhne and Severodonetsk are significantly destroyed, new satellite images taken on Monday by Maxar Technologies show.  

Constant, intense fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces has been happening for weeks in both cities. Ukrainian forces in the cities have held on, despite intense bombardments by Russian artillery. 

Russian forces continue to try to advance into — and past — the two key cities in Ukraine's Donbas region. 

A number of buildings in northern Severodonetsk have been destroyed by military strikes, satellite images show.

Russia claimed on Tuesday that it had opened a land corridor to Russian-occupied Crimea, allowing civilians and goods to pass through the eastern Ukrainian territory now under its control. 

Here are more of the latest headlines from the Russia-Ukraine war:

  • Mykolaiv regional governor reports continued shelling: Shelling continues in the southern Mykolaiv region, according to Vitalii Kim, the head of the Mykolaiv region military administration. Kim said two people were killed in the past 24 hours. An administrative building, outpatient clinic, stadium and district council in the city of Bashtanka were also shelled, he said. Kim said there are more than 3,700 damaged or destroyed properties in the Mykolaiv region.  
  • Unburied bodies and contaminated drinking water spark fears of cholera outbreak in Mariupol: In Mariupol, the ravaged southeastern Ukrainian port city now under Russian occupation, fears have shifted from relentless bombardment to deteriorating sanitary conditions: sewage seeping into drinking water and fears of a cholera outbreak. On Monday, one of the city's exiled local officials said that Russian officials now in control of Mariupol were considering imposing a quarantine in the city, where decomposing corpses and garbage were contaminating drinking water, putting remaining residents at risk of cholera and other diseases. “There are talks about quarantine. The city is being quietly closed," said mayoral adviser Petro Andriushchenko, a reliable source of information from residents remaining in the city.
  • War in Ukraine is impacting energy and food prices around the globe, US treasury secretary says: US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen conceded on Tuesday that inflation is at “unacceptable levels,” but also sought to underscore it is not a problem exclusive to the United States. “Putin’s war in Ukraine is having impacts on energy and food prices globally,” Yellen told lawmakers. “We are not the only country experiencing inflation. You can see that in virtually every developed country around the world.” Speaking during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Tuesday, Yellen pointed to the Biden administration’s record-setting release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. “Energy and gasoline prices, while very high, they would be higher without that,” Yellen said of the emergency oil release. 
  • Russia claims it has opened a land corridor to Crimea through occupied Ukrainian territory: Russia's Ministry of Defense claimed on Tuesday that it had opened a land corridor to Russian-occupied Crimea, allowing civilians and goods to pass through the eastern Ukrainian territory now under its control. Russian defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, said in a conference call on Tuesday that the military, working with Russian Railways, had restored 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) of train tracks and opened roads to allow "full-fledged traffic" between Russia, eastern Ukraine's Donbas region and Crimea, the peninsula annexed by Russian forces from Ukraine in 2014. The supply of water through the North Crimean Canal -- a lifeline for Crimea -- had also resumed, Shoigu said.
  • Zelensky says he's glad "very important ally" Johnson will remain UK prime minister: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday that he was “very happy” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had won a confidence vote on Monday, as he is “a true friend of Ukraine.” “I am glad that we have not lost a very important ally,” Zelensky told the Financial Times in a broadcast interview. “This is great news.” He added: “I cannot comment on the internal situation. I do not know all the details. So I beg pardon to Mister Johnson about this. I think that he is much better informed about the details than I am.” But “Boris is very concrete in supporting Ukraine,” Zelensky said.
  • UK foreign secretary says more sanctions on Russia are "in the pipeline": British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the United Kingdom will not back down in its support for Ukraine and that more sanctions on Russia are "in the pipeline," according to a readout of Monday's cabinet meeting. "She said the UK would not back down in its support, with further sanctions in the pipeline and continued work with global allies on how to help Ukraine rebuild in the future," the cabinet readout said. Prime Minister Boris Johnson also reiterated that the UK will remain at the forefront of supporting Ukraine. 
3:35 p.m. ET, June 7, 2022

Ukraine is "giving maximum effort" to unblock seaports, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs

From CNN's Victoria Butenko in Kyiv, Lauren Kent and Josh Pennington

Odesa's port stands on the shore of the Odessa Gulf of the Black Sea and is the largest commercial sea port of Ukraine, pictured on March 30.
Odesa's port stands on the shore of the Odessa Gulf of the Black Sea and is the largest commercial sea port of Ukraine, pictured on March 30. (Rick Mave/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

Ukraine is "giving maximum effort" to unblock seaports and prevent a global food crisis, according to a statement from the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"Together with the UN and our partners, we are trying to create a humanitarian corridor for the export of Ukrainian agricultural products," the ministry said on Tuesday.

"Ukraine has already started supplying grain to the world market by truck, rail, and river transport. We are doing all we can, but this issue can be definitively resolved by unblocking Ukrainian ports," the statement added. "We appeal to all interested partners, together with Ukraine, to focus their efforts on finding a balanced solution that will lift the Russian blockade of ports, while at the same time provide clear security guarantees for the Ukrainian Black Sea coast and relevant humanitarian corridors."

The ministry also said that it could not exclude the possibility that Russia would use a sea corridor as a way to attack Odesa and southern Ukraine, adding that "for this reason, effective security guarantees are required to restore export activities."

"Such guarantees should be provided by supplying Ukraine with appropriate weapons to defend the coast from threats coming from the sea and by involving naval forces of third countries to patrol the relevant area of the Black Sea," the statement said.

The ministry also noted its appreciation for "Turkey's efforts to unblock Ukrainian ports," although an agreement has yet to be reached between Turkey, Russia and Ukraine. The statement added that authorities "will reject any agreements that do not factor in the interests of Ukraine."

The statement comes as global leaders have condemned a months-long blockade by Russian forces at key ports in Ukraine and Russia is coming under increasing fire for fueling a growing global food crisis.

Russia claimed Monday that it has created conditions for two maritime humanitarian corridors to allow for the safe movement of ships in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, according to a statement posted to Telegram.

2:49 p.m. ET, June 7, 2022

Satellite images show significant destruction in Severodonetsk and Rubizhne in eastern Ukraine

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

Smoke rises from explosions in the village of Bohorodychne.
Smoke rises from explosions in the village of Bohorodychne. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)

Parts of the Ukrainian cities of Rubizhne and Severodonetsk are significantly destroyed, new satellite images taken on Monday by Maxar Technologies show.  

Constant, intense fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces has been happening for weeks in both cities. Ukrainian forces in the cities have held on, despite intense bombardments by Russian artillery. 

Russian forces continue to try to advance into — and past — the two key cities in Ukraine's Donbas region. 

A number of buildings in northern Severodonetsk have been destroyed by military strikes, satellite images show.

Just outside of the city, satellite images show a Russian multiple rocket launch systems pointed toward the city. Scorch marks around one of the systems is a telltale sign that its rockets have targeted Severodonetsk. Towed artillery nearby are also pointed toward the city.

Russian rocket launch systems point towards Severodonetsk from a field outside of the city.
Russian rocket launch systems point towards Severodonetsk from a field outside of the city. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)

Damaged buildings are seen in Severodonetsk, Ukraine.
Damaged buildings are seen in Severodonetsk, Ukraine. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)

Additional satellite images from eastern Ukraine display the result of Russian artillery and military strikes.

Explosions in the village of Bohorodychne can be seen near a blown bridge.

In the village of Dolyna, smoke is rising from an incoming artillery salvo. In the images, craters from past explosions can also be viewed in a nearby field.  

A field full of craters outside of the village of Dovhenke shows just how many artillery strikes have fallen in the area, as it is completely covered. Nearby, a massive 130-foot (40-meter) crater is seen near what was a group of buildings. It's unclear whether the crater is from the bomb that exploded there or a target on the ground that was hit.  

Craters from artillery strikes dot a field outside the village of Dovhenke.
Craters from artillery strikes dot a field outside the village of Dovhenke. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)
A large crater can be seen near what was a group of buildings outside the village of Dovhenke.
A large crater can be seen near what was a group of buildings outside the village of Dovhenke. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)

2:06 p.m. ET, June 7, 2022

Mykolaiv regional governor reports continued shelling

From CNN's Olga Voitovych and Karen Smith

Shelling continues in the southern Mykolaiv region, according to Vitalii Kim, the head of the Mykolaiv region military administration.

Kim said two people were killed in the past 24 hours. An administrative building, outpatient clinic, stadium and district council in the city of Bashtanka were also shelled, he said.  

Kim said there are more than 3,700 damaged or destroyed properties in the Mykolaiv region.  

“This number is growing every day. For example, the largest grain storage facilities of Ukraine were destroyed the day before yesterday,” he added.

But hospitals, pharmacies, shops, markets, coffee shops and even restaurants are open in region, he said.

“There is no humanitarian crisis. Our only crisis is invaders from Russia and shelling,” Kim said.

Ukrainian forces over the past week have been pressing forward with an offensive on Russian-occupied Kherson to the southeast of Mykolaiv, reportedly retaking some previously occupied villages. On Sunday, a Russian missile destroyed a large grain storage facility in Mykolaiv, according to the spokesperson for the Ukraine’s Operational Command South.