June 8, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Helen Regan, Jack Guy and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:22 p.m. ET, June 9, 2022
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1:59 a.m. ET, June 8, 2022

Bodies of 210 Ukrainian soldiers who died in Mariupol now repatriated, Defense Ministry says

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva and Ben Wedeman

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 2,500 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. 


10:12 p.m. ET, June 7, 2022

At least 2 hospitals hit by military strikes in Severodonetsk and Rubizhne, new satellite images show

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

A satellite image shows damage caused by military strikes in Severodonetsk, Ukraine, on June 6.
A satellite image shows damage caused by military strikes in Severodonetsk, Ukraine, on June 6. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)

Military strikes have hit at least two hospitals in the Ukrainian cities of Severodonetsk and Rubizhne, new satellite images taken on Monday by Maxar Technologies show. 

Significant portions of Severodonetsk have been destroyed by fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces. The Ukrainians have maintained their defensive positions in the city, so far thwarting attempts by the Russians to take the city.

Even hospitals and their surrounding areas have not been spared by military strikes. In central Severodonetsk, a number of buildings in a hospital complex — a large red cross is seen painted on the roof — have been destroyed.

In southern Rubizhne, another hospital has been destroyed. The buildings surrounding it, including a pharmaceutical company, have also been destroyed.

11:38 p.m. ET, June 7, 2022

Russian Defense Ministry claims it created 2 maritime humanitarian corridors in seas around Ukraine

From CNN's Tim Lister and Lauren Kent

The Russian Defense Ministry said 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 on Monday.

The statement comes amid international condemnation over Russia's months-long blockade of key ports.

"The Russian Federation is taking the whole range of measures to ensure the safety of civil navigation in the waters of the Black and Azov Seas," the ministry claimed in the statement. "There remains a danger to navigation and damage to port infrastructure from the drift of Ukrainian mines torn from anchors along the coast of the Black Sea states."

Some context: Global leaders have condemned a months-long blockade by Russian forces at key ports in Ukraine — including Mariupol on the Sea of Azov and Odesa on the Black Sea — which has left more than 20 million tons of grain stuck inside the country. The Ukrainian Navy said Monday that approximately 30 Russian ships and submarines continued the blockade of civilian shipping in the Black Sea.

According to the Russian statement, the maritime humanitarian corridor in the Sea of Azov will operate around the clock to allow ships to exit the port of Mariupol,

Meanwhile, in the Black Sea, the Russian Defense Ministry said a maritime humanitarian corridor will operate during working hours "to leave the ports of Kherson, Mykolaiv, Chornomorsk, Ochakiv, Odesa, and Yuzhne in the southwestern direction from the territorial sea of Ukraine."

The ministry also accused Ukrainian authorities of not taking steps to solve the issue of blocked ships.  

On Tuesday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov restated that Ukraine must de-mine the coastal waters for grain ships to pass and ensured Russia will facilitate their passage and won't use the de-mined sea corridors to attack Ukraine. 

Ukraine has also accused the Russians of placing mines in the Black Sea.

CNN’s Anna Chernova contributed reporting to this post.

8:57 p.m. ET, June 7, 2022

War in Ukraine is impacting energy and food prices around the globe, US treasury secretary says 

From CNN’s Matt Egan

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. 

She also emphasized that the US is not immune to global energy shocks. 

“We are part of global oil markets that are subject to geopolitical influences,” Yellen said. “Given the global nature of these markets, it’s virtually impossible for us to insulate ourselves from shocks like the ones that are occurring in Russia that move global oil prices.”  

She added it is critical that the US becomes “more dependent on the wind and the sun that are not subject to geopolitical influences.” 

8:56 p.m. ET, June 7, 2022

Severodonetsk situation "is consistently difficult," says city official

From CNN's Maria Kostenko and Mick Krever

The military situation in Severodonetsk “is consistently difficult,” according to the head of Severodonetsk’s city military administration.

“Our armed forces have consolidated their positions, holding the borders in the city that they have occupied,” Oleksandr Striuk said on national television.

“The fighting does not subside. The orcs [Russian forces] are throwing more and more forces; lots of artillery and equipment are concentrated here, assaulting the city. The orcs are trying to advance, we stop them.”

“Our armed forces are doing their best to defend the city," Striuk said, adding that between 10,000 and 11,000 people remain in the city.

Some background: The battle between Russian and Ukrainian forces for Severodonetsk has intensified over the last week.

Russian artillery, aircraft and helicopters have been occupying the area in an attempt to gain control of the eastern Ukrainian city, according to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Two people were injured after Russian forces shelled a mining college in Lysychansk, which sits on strategic high ground across the Siverskyi Donets River from Severodonetsk, according to Serhiy Hayday, head of the Luhansk Region Military Administration.

Hayday said Russia was using “sabotage and reconnaissance groups” in the village of Bilohorivka, just west of Lysychansk and Severodonetsk. That town also sits on high ground next to the Siverskyi Donets River, and was the site of a massive Ukrainian rout of a Russian assault last month.

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva and Olga Voitovych contributed reporting to this post.

8:08 p.m. ET, June 7, 2022

Russia claims it has opened a land corridor to Crimea through occupied Ukrainian territory

From CNN’s Anna Chernova

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.

According to an official readout of the call, Shoigu said the land corridor allowed Russia to begin delivering goods to Mariupol, Berdiansk and Kherson, southeastern Ukrainian port cities that have been seized by Russia since it launched its invasion in late February.

He claimed the Mariupol and Berdiansk ports were operating normally and were ready to ship grain, amid international condemnation over Russia's months-long blockade of key ports that has left millions of tons of grain languishing in Ukraine.

As instructed by Supreme Commander (Russian President Vladimir Putin), we are ready to load grain in the ports,” Shoigu said.

Earlier Tuesday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov restated that Ukraine must de-mine the coastal waters for grain ships to pass and ensured Russia will facilitate their passage and won't use the de-mined sea corridors to attack Ukraine.

“President Putin… said that Ukraine should de-mine the approaches to the ports, which will allow the ships, after being checked by our military to ensure that the ships do not import weapons, to enter the port, load with grain and then, if necessary, even with our help, proceed to the international waters,” Peskov told reporters on a regular conference call.

Some background: The minister's comments come as global leaders have condemned a months-long blockade by Russian forces at key ports in Ukraine — including Mariupol on the Sea of Azov and Odesa on the Black Sea — which has left more than 20 million tons of grain stuck inside the country. In a UN Security Council speech Monday, European Council President Charles Michel accused the Kremlin of "using food supplies as a stealth missile against developing countries" by holding hostage millions of tons of Ukrainian grain and blockading Ukraine's ports.

CNN's Sana Noor Haq, Eliza Mackintosh, Maegan Vazquez and Sam Fossum contributed reporting to this post.