June 10, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Jeevan Ravindran and Hannah Strange, CNN

Updated 0001 GMT (0801 HKT) June 11, 2022
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12:47 p.m. ET, June 10, 2022

EU membership candidate Serbia must support sanctions against Russia, German chancellor says

From CNN's Inke Kappeler in Berlin

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, left, shakes hands with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic after a joint press conference in Belgrade, Serbia, on Friday.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, left, shakes hands with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic after a joint press conference in Belgrade, Serbia, on Friday. (Andrej Isakovic/AFP/Getty Images)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he expects sanctions against Russia to be supported by all countries applying for EU membership, including Serbia. 

"It is a terrible, a senseless war that has been started for an imperialist vision of Russia. That is why it is so important that the European Union, and all of us, stand in solidarity with Ukraine and help it defend itself against this attack,“ Scholz told Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic during a joint news conference in Belgrade on Friday.

"The sanctions will not simply disappear when the weapons are silent,“ Scholz said. "Russia must come to an understanding with Ukraine,“ he added.

"It is clear that an agreement must also ultimately clarify the question of Kosovo's recognition, because it is inconceivable that two countries that do not recognize each other will become members of the EU,“ Scholz said during an earlier joint news conference with Kosovo's Prime Minister Albin Kurti in Pristina on Friday. 

"Today I ask both sides once again for a clear commitment to this dialogue. Everyone must approach each other, as difficult as it sometimes is,“ he added. Vucic has rejected "threats“ and "pressure“ against Serbia when it comes to the recognition and dialogue with Kosovo. 

Remember: Kosovo and Serbia are both aspiring EU membership. Scholz said the EU council will make a decision on Ukraine's accelerated EU accession after the recommendation of the EU commission.

11:57 a.m. ET, June 10, 2022

Macron could visit Ukraine after EU decision on Ukraine candidacy, Élysée source says

From CNN’s Xiaofei Xu and Elias Lemercier in Paris 

French President Emmanuel Macron could make his first visit to Ukraine since the Russian invasion after the European Union decides at the end of June on Kyiv's application to join the union, an Élysée Palace source told journalists at a briefing on Friday.

“We are waiting for the commission to give us its opinion. The decision could be to give Ukraine candidate status,” the source said.

“We will define the time of the visit according to these parameters,” the source added.

The Élysée source emphasized that Macron wants to visit Ukraine in a way most useful to the country.

Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, many Western leaders have visited the country, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. But Macron has yet to visit Kyiv, despite the active role he has played throughout the crisis.

Macron was recently slammed by Ukrainian leaders for remarks in which he said "we must not humiliate Russia" in order to pursue diplomacy.

11:40 a.m. ET, June 10, 2022

Former US President Barack Obama says "human costs will continue to mount" in Russia-Ukraine war

From CNN’s AJ Davis in Atlanta

Former President Barack Obama speaks during the Copenhagen Democracy Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Friday.
Former President Barack Obama speaks during the Copenhagen Democracy Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Friday. (Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/Getty Images)

Former US President Barack Obama said the human costs in Russia’s war on Ukraine will “continue to mount.”

“Make no mistake: this war is far from over. The human costs will continue to mount," he said at the Copenhagen Democracy Forum on Friday. 

During the town hall event, he said Ukraine needs to remain strong until this conflict comes to an end.

“But we’ve also witnessed the Ukrainian peoples’ heroic resistance to Russian aggression. They’ve united to defend not just their sovereignty, but their democratic identity, and have rallied much of the world behind the values of self-determination and human dignity,” he said. 

He noted that what Putin is doing in Ukraine is not an isolated incident and commented on the parallels of what is happening in Russia, to what is happening within the United States.

“On every continent, we are seeing democratic backsliding … So if we want democracy to flourish, we will have to fight for it, nurture it, and demonstrate its value in improving the lives of ordinary people,” he said.

Obama praised countries for opening their arms to Ukrainian refugees and touched upon Finland and Sweden’s desire to join NATO

“Because of this courage and solidarity, Vladimir Putin is failing to achieve his aims inside of Ukraine and beyond … Russia is cut off from resources and revenue, and many of its best and brightest have left – a blow to its present and future," he added.

1:29 p.m. ET, June 10, 2022

McDonald’s replacement in Russia will open Sunday on Russia Day

From CNN's Anna Chernova and Chris Liakos

(Sistema PBO)
(Sistema PBO)

Russia on Sunday plans to open its own fast-food restaurants replacing the iconic McDonald’s, a spokesperson for the new managing firm Sistema PBO told CNN Friday. 

The first 15 restaurants of the chain will open in Moscow and the surrounding region on June 12, she said, adding that “in the near future, openings of other points throughout Russia will follow.”

According to the press office, the new name of the chain and plans for the future will be announced later.

The company’s new logo shared with CNN has “the main symbols of the restaurant” depicted on it — what is supposed to be two sticks of yellow fries and an orange burger. The green background, the press office told CNN, symbolizes “the quality of products and service that guests are accustomed to.”

On Sunday, Russia will also celebrate its national day, originally known as Independence Day, commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of State Sovereignty.

McDonald’s decided to leave the country and sell its Russia business following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in line with many other Western businesses.

10:19 a.m. ET, June 10, 2022

Ukraine believes Russia can continue war "at its current pace" for a year 

From CNN's Olga Voitovych and Mick Krever

Ukraine’s military intelligence directorate believes that Russia can continue the conflict for another year, warning that Ukraine is significantly outgunned on the frontlines. 

“The Kremlin leadership probably will try to freeze the war for a while in order to convince the West to lift sanctions, but then continue the aggression,” the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense’s Main Intelligence Directorate said via Telegram. “Russia's economic resources will allow the occupying country to continue the war at its current pace for another year.”

“Ukraine has one artillery piece to 10 to 15 Russian artillery pieces,” Vadym Skibitsky of the Main Intelligence Directorate said in an interview with The Guardian, and distributed by the Main Intelligence Directorate. “Therefore everything now depends on what weapon the Western partners give us.”

Nonetheless, he said that Ukraine believes that Russia is running out of modern weaponry.

“We have noticed that Russia is carrying out far fewer missile attacks and it has used Kh-22 missiles,” Skibitsky said. “They are old 1970s Soviet missiles. This shows that Russia is running low on high-precision missiles.”

9:47 a.m. ET, June 10, 2022

UK defense secretary vows to work "even more closely" with Ukraine during visit to Kyiv

From CNN's Olga Voitovych, Sharon Braithwaite and Mick Krever 

UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, right, who made an unannounced visit to Kyiv this week, agreed to work “even more closely” with Ukraine during meetings with President Volodymyr Zelensky.
UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, right, who made an unannounced visit to Kyiv this week, agreed to work “even more closely” with Ukraine during meetings with President Volodymyr Zelensky. (President of Ukraine)

UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, who made an unannounced visit to Kyiv this week, agreed to work “even more closely” with Ukraine during meetings with President Volodymyr Zelensky and Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov.

“The three agreed to work even more closely going forward in support of their shared goal of enabling Ukraine to liberate itself from illegal Russian occupation,” according to a UK Ministry of Defence press release. “They also discussed the range of equipment and training the UK is currently providing and what further support we can offer to help Ukrainian forces to defend their country.”

It is unclear when the meeting took place. The defense ministry said that the two-day trip took place “this week,” and Zelensky posted video of the meeting on his official Telegram channel on Friday afternoon.

Zelensky told Wallace during the meeting that “war is a great manifestation of who our true friends are,” and that the UK had proven itself to be one.

“I am very grateful for such a truly united work. These words are constantly moving into action, and this is a very important difference between Ukraine's relations with the UK and other countries,” Zelensky said. “Weapons, finances, sanctions are three things in which the United Kingdom has consistently shown its leadership.”

The British readout said that the meetings focused on how the UK could continue to provide “operationally effective lethal aid that meets the current and future threats facing Ukraine” as the war “enters a different phase.”

8:04 a.m. ET, June 10, 2022

Russian Central Bank cuts interest rates for second time in 2 months

From CNN's Robert North

Russia’s Central Bank has cut interest rates for the second time in two months, reducing rates to 9.5% down from 11%. The bank said inflation is slowing faster than expected.

The bank also said “the decline in economic activity” is smaller than it forecast in April, though it added that the economic environment remains “challenging.” It comes after the bank cut rates from 14% to 11% on May 26. 

The central bank said inflation in Russia is currently 17%, compared to forecasts of 17.8% in April. It now predicts that the rate will drop to between 5% and 7% in 2023 and return to 4% in 2024.

The decline is “largely due to a correction in prices for a small group of goods and services, after they went up sharply in March,” according to the bank. It said that fall is in part due to a rise in the Russian ruble.

Some background: Rates were hiked as high as 20% in the immediate aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February as the bank tried to prevent Western sanctions triggering a financial crisis.

The ruble crashed to a record low to the US dollar in the wake of the invasion as the West froze about half of Russia’s $600 billion foreign currency reserves. Hundreds of multinational companies have quit the country, and Russia has been banned from buying key Western technology and services.

Russia’s currency has since rebounded, propped up by capital controls aimed at forcing businesses and investors to buy rubles, plus soaring global energy prices.

But Russia’s economy is hardly on a solid footing. Capital controls and emergency reserves can last only so long, and a possible default looms. The Kremlin claimed on May 31 that Russia has the money and a willingness to pay its debt so there was no objective reason for a default.

CNN's Mark Thompson and Clare Sebastian contributed reporting to this post.

8:06 a.m. ET, June 10, 2022

UN “concerned” by the death sentences of the three foreign fighters in Donetsk

From CNN's Chris Liakos and Sharon Braithwaite

The United Nations says it is “concerned” by the death sentences of the three foreigners in Donetsk, adding that “according to the Chief Command of Ukraine, all men were part of Ukrainian armed forces and, if the case, should not be considered as mercenaries.”

Responding to reporters during a press briefing in Geneva Friday, UN Human Rights spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said: “The UN Human Rights Office is concerned that on 9 June, the so-called ‘supreme court’ of self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ sentenced to death three servicemen from Ukrainian armed forces, but citizens of foreign countries, captured in Mariupol, for being mercenaries and for the attempted seizure of power in the so-called ‘republic’."

A court in the pro-Russian, self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) sentenced Moroccan citizen Brahim Saadoune and British citizens Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner to death on Thursday, after accusing them of being “mercenaries” for Ukraine.

Shamdasani said that since 2015 the UN has observed that “the so-called ‘judiciary’ in self-proclaimed ‘republics’ has not complied with essential fair trial guarantees, such as public hearing, independence and impartiality of the court and the right not to be compelled to testify.”

“Such trials against prisoners of war amount to a war crime. In the case of the use of the death penalty, fair trial guarantees are all the more important,” Shamdasani said.

7:57 a.m. ET, June 10, 2022

Putin’s statement on Peter the Great proves "bloody seizure under contrived pretexts," says Ukrainian official

From CNN's Olga Voitovych and Mick Krever

A Ukrainian official on Friday responded to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim that like Peter the Great, his fate was to “take back and fortify” what was rightfully Russia’s land.

“Putin’s confession of land seizures and comparing himself with Peter the Great prove: there was no ‘conflict,’ only the country’s bloody seizure under contrived pretexts of people’s genocide,” Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the head of the Office of the Ukrainian President, said via Twitter.

“We should not talk about ‘saving [Russia’s] face,’ but about its immediate de-imperialization,” he said.

Podolyak was likely referring to French President Emmanuel Macron's remarks last week that the world “must not humiliate Russia,” to enable diplomatic talks.

Putin on Thursday argued that Peter the Great was not conquering, but rather fighting over territory that rightfully belonged to Russia.

"Why did he [Peter the Great] go there? He took back and fortified. And it looks like our fate is to “take back and fortify” too.”

In an interview broadcast on the BBC Thursday, Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya insisted that “the aims of the operation were announced publicly." "It was neutrality of Ukraine, demilitarization and Nazification of the country. And the liberation of Donbas was the primary goal, which is being implemented at the moment,” he said, repeating Russia's claims to justify its invasion.