EU announces another 205 million euros in humanitarian aid for Ukraine
From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London
The European Commission has announced another 205 million euros ($220 million) in aid for Ukraine, due to the "soaring" humanitarian crisis in the country.
"This brings the total EU humanitarian assistance in reaction to the war to 348 million euro, of which 13 million is dedicated to Moldova to support displaced people arriving in the country," according to Balazs Ujvari, the EU Commission's spokesperson for budget and human resources, humanitarian aid and crisis management.
7:52 a.m. ET, June 9, 2022
Russia "continues to press by sheer mass," says Ukrainian defense minister
From CNN's Victoria Butenko, Yulia Kesaieva, and Mick Krever
Acknowledging that Russia has the wherewithal to continue advancing on some parts of the frontline, Ukraine’s defense minister on Thursday said that he is dissatisfied with the “tempo and quantity” of weapons arriving to Ukraine.
“The Kremlin continues to press by sheer mass. It stumbles and faces strong rebuff. It suffers huge casualties," he said. "But yet still has forces to advance in some parts of the front.”
Echoing President Volodymyr Zelensky's previous comments, Reznikov said that up 100 Ukrainian soldiers were being killed every day, and up to 500 wounded.
Ukraine, he said, had “already received, bought on the market, manufactured and handed over to the Armed Forces of Ukraine a significant number of weapons.”
“These numbers would have been enough for a victorious defence operation against any army in Europe. But not against Russia. The Russian Moloch still has a lot of means for devouring human lives for to satisfy its imperial ego," said Reznikov.
“That is why we emphasize: Ukraine desperately needs heavy weapons, and very fast. We have proved that, unlike many others, we do not fear the Kremlin," he said. "But as a country we cannot afford to be losing our best sons and daughters.”
6:23 p.m. ET, June 9, 2022
It’s mid-afternoon in Kyiv. Here’s what you need to know
Russia has taken control of most of the strategic city of Severodonetsk, say Ukrainian officials, while concerns are growing over a looming global food crisis caused by the war.
Here are today's latest headlines from the Russia-Ukraine war:
Key city largely under Russian control: The battle for the key eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk continues to rage, and local officials say that Russia is now largely in control. “Our armed forces control part of the city -- the industrial zone, and the surrounding neighborhoods," said Oleksandr Striuk, head of Severodonetsk’s city military administration.
Russia integrating Kherson region: Vladimir Saldo, the Russian-appointed leader of the region, claimed that "integration has begun and will continue intensively," without providing any further details.
Global food crisis looms: The war threatens to “unleash an unprecedented wave of hunger and destitution” around the world, the United Nations Secretary-General said on Wednesday. The conflict may push 47 million people into acute food insecurity, according to a UN projection. And Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that millions of people around the world may starve if Russia fails to allow Ukraine to export grain from its ports.
Russia claims first grain exports: The first rail cars carrying Ukrainian grain from the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol have departed for Crimea, according to Eugeny Balitsky, a leader in the Russian-backed military administration of the occupied portion of Zaporizhzhia region. Balitsky said he hoped the grain would find its way to Turkey and the Middle East.
Russia making progress, says official: Russia’s ambassador to the UN said the country's military is progressing according to plan in its so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine. “The progress is being made, that’s clear,” Vasily Nebenzya told the BBC in an interview broadcast Wednesday.
7:13 a.m. ET, June 9, 2022
War in Ukraine could push 47 million people into acute food insecurity, UN says
From CNN's Mick Krever and Ivana Kottasová in London
The conflict in Ukraine could increase the number of “acute food insecure people” around the world by 47 million this year, to a total of 323 million, according to new projections from the United Nations.
The war has disrupted vital agricultural production and exports, and increased energy prices, which all have an impact of the availability and price of food, according to a joint report from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP).
Food prices have risen by 17% since January, according to the FAO price index. The price of cereals is up by more than 21%.
That 47 million would come on top of the 276 million people that WFP estimates were already facing acute hunger before the war. The largest increases are likely to be seen in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the report.
Ukraine and Russia account for a large portion of the world’s agricultural supply. More than half of the world’s supply of sunflower seed, important for cooking oil, came from Ukraine and Russia before the start of the war, according to the FAO.
In the five years before the war, the two countries on average were responsible for 19% of global barley production, 14% of wheat and 4% of maize. Africa and the Middle East are particularly dependent on Ukrainian and Russian wheat exports.
“In March 2022, almost half of the area planted with winter wheat and about 40 percent of area planted with rye for the 2022 harvest were in occupied or war-affected areas. While areas affected by direct fighting have shifted, the uncertainty about damages, losses and the actual harvestable area remains. Between 20 and 30 percent of these areas may remain unharvested in 2022,” according to the report.
8:48 a.m. ET, June 9, 2022
Russian soldiers purportedly left propaganda messages for students after wrecking school
From CNN's Sanyo Fylyppov and Ivana Kottasová
When Ukrainian forces regained control of Katyuzhanka, a village north of Kyiv that had been under Russian occupation for more than a month in March, they found the local school wrecked. Any equipment that hadn't been stolen was smashed, there was a makeshift cemetery in the school yard and deep trenches had been dug across the football pitch.
Inside one of the destroyed classrooms, written in chalk on a big, green blackboard hanging on the wall just below a portrait of Isaac Newton, was a letter addressed to the pupils and signed "the Russians."
It read: "Children, we're sorry for such a mess, we tried to save the school, but there was shelling. Live in peace, take care of yourselves and don't repeat the mistakes your elders made. Ukraine and Russia are one people!!! Peace be with you, brothers and sisters!"
The note, written in Russian, as opposed to Ukrainian — the school's language of instruction — was one of several left on blackboards and whiteboards scattered around the building. "We are for the peace in the whole world," another one said.
CNN cannot independently verify who wrote the notes.
Mikola Mikitchik, the principal of the Secondary School of Katyuzhanka, told CNN last month he felt disgusted when he found the notes.
"They wrote 'Russians and Ukrainians are brothers' and at the same time they robbed the school ... they ruined computers, they took out hard drives, they took away laptops, printers, they left nothing at the school! It's barbarism and hypocrisy," he said.
The integration of Kherson into Russia has started, claims Russia-appointed leader
From CNN's Julia Presniakova and Mick Krever
The integration of the Ukraine’s Kherson region into Russia is underway, the Russian-appointed leader of the region claimed on Thursday.
“We are sure that Russia is with us, and we are with Russia forever,” Vladimir Saldo said via Telegram. “Integration has begun and will continue intensively.”
Saldo offered no further details on what “integration” means.
The city of Kherson, in the south of Ukraine, has been under Russian control since the early days of the invasion.
But the Ukrainian military has in recent weeks stepped up its counterattacks on Russian positions in the Kherson region.
A senior official in Russia's governing United Russia party, Andrei Turchak, visited Kherson last week.
“We feel that we are already together with Russia,” Saldo said. “There is confidence that in a common big family all problems will be solved systematically and we will adequately respond to all requests of the time.”
5:11 a.m. ET, June 9, 2022
Battle for Severodonetsk "developing quite dynamically" after "difficult" night, say officials
From CNN's Julia Presniakova and Mick Krever
The battle for the eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk continues to rage as local officials say that Russia now controls most of the key city.
“The night was difficult,” said Oleksandr Striuk, head of Severodonetsk’s city military administration, on national television Thursday morning. “Our armed forces control part of the city -- the industrial zone, and the surrounding neighborhoods.”
Striuk said that around 10,000 people remained in the city. The industrial zone -- which contains the Azot chemical plant, where last week some 800 people were said to be sheltering -- came under heavy shelling overnight, he said.
There were no casualties at the chemical plant overnight and “the bomb shelter also survived,” said Serhiy Hayday, head of the Luhansk region military administration via Telegram on Thursday.
“The blasts damaged at least two plant shops in the chemical plant,” Hayday said. “One of them is a key one -- for the ammonia production 1-B. However, no chemicals emissions were into the environment -- all fertilizers and chemicals, according to the owner of the enterprise, were removed from the territory on the second day of the war.”
Earlier Thursday, in an interview on national television, Hayday said that “street fights” continue to rage in the city.
The situation there is developing quite dynamically,” Hayday said.
“Russia is constantly firing on the part that is controlled by the Ukrainians. They are constantly firing artillery, and very powerfully," he added. "And they dismantle the houses floor by floor. In this sense, it is very difficult.”
Hayday said that he believed that Russia wanted to capture the whole city by the weekend, in time for Russia Day on Sunday, but that they would not achieve that goal.
“As soon as we have long-range artillery so that we can hold artillery duels with Russian artillery, our special forces can clear the city in two to three days," he said.
A National Guard commander fighting for control of the city told national television on Thursday that his forces were “catastrophically short of artillery barrels.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday evening that “in many ways, the fate of our Donbas is being decided there,” in Severodonetsk.
On Wednesday Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya, said that his military is progressing according to plan in its so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine.
“You will see the liberation of all the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts," he said. "That will hopefully take place soon.”
5:05 a.m. ET, June 9, 2022
First rail cars with grain depart occupied Melitopol, says Russia-backed leader
From CNN's Olga Voitovych and Mick Krever
The first rail cars carrying Ukrainian grain from the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol have departed, headed towards Crimea, a leader in the Russian-backed military administration of the occupied portion of Zaporizhzhia region said on Wednesday.
“I inform you with pride and joy that the first railway wagons, 11 wagons, went with grain from the Melitopol elevator in the direction of Crimea,” Eugeny Balitsky said on Solovyov live, an online video platform. “It can be predicted that in the near future these deliveries will be increased hundreds of times.”
Balitsky said he hoped the grain would find its way to Turkey and the Middle East in quotes cited by state-run broadcaster Russia-24.
"We send grain through the Russian Federation. The main contracts are being concluded with Turkey. The first trains have already gone through Crimea, went in the direction of the Middle East," he said, noting that "it was a traditional market for Ukraine."
4:06 a.m. ET, June 9, 2022
Ukraine war threatens "unprecedented wave of hunger and destitution," says UN Secretary-General
From CNN's Kristina Sguelia and Mick Krever
The war in Ukraine threatens to “unleash an unprecedented wave of hunger and destitution” around the world, the United Nations Secretary-General said on Wednesday.
“For those on the ground, every day brings new bloodshed and suffering,” Antonio Guterres said in New York. “And for people around the world, the war, together with the other crises, is threatening to unleash an unprecedented wave of hunger and destitution, leaving social and economic chaos in its wake.”
This year’s crisis is about “lack of access,” he said. “Next year’s could be about lack of food.
“Make no mistake: no country or community will be left untouched by this cost-of-living crisis.”