UKRAINE: News of day
Courtesy of: Council on Foreign Relations (USA) and Transitions (Czech Republic)
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Top of the Agenda
Russia Destroys Last Bridge Into Besieged Eastern Ukrainian City Ukrainian forces said they are battling Russian troops (Reuters) trying to storm Severodonetsk after Russia destroyed a bridge linking the city to nearby Ukrainian-controlled territory. The city is now the site of the war’s biggest fight as Russia has shifted its focus there after it failed to capture the capital, Kyiv. Ukrainian officials said they are trying to evacuate more than five hundred civilians trapped inside a chemical plant in the city.
Kyiv has said it is losing between one hundred and two hundred soldiers each day in the war. A senior advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to Western allies (NYT) for increased weapons support ahead of a meeting of Western defense ministers scheduled for tomorrow in Brussels.
“Even a limited Russian victory will send a dangerous signal to the world that the West is weak and aggression pays. We must send lots more aid to Ukraine now to avert the loss of [the eastern Ukrainian region of] Donbas and to enable a counteroffensive to retake ground already occupied, but not yet fortified, by the invaders,” CFR’s Max Boot writes for the Washington Post.
“Learning from its earlier missteps, Russia is treading more carefully [in the Donbas], relying on longer-range bombardments to soften Ukrainian defenses. It seems to be working,” the Associated Press writes.
U.S., Chinese Officials Hold ‘Substantive, Productive’ Meeting
During a 4.5-hour meeting in Luxembourg, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi discussed (SCMP) Taiwan, North Korea, and Ukraine. A White House statement called the meeting “candid, substantive, and productive.”
This timeline traces U.S.-China relations.
Taiwan: A foreign ministry spokesperson said the Taiwan Strait is an international waterway (SCMP), contradicting a Chinese official’s statement a day earlier that Beijing has sovereign and administrative rights to the strait.
13 June 2022
THE BIG STORY: MOSCOW SAYS EUROPE ‘WILL CEASE TO EXIST’ IF UKRAINE SUPPLIED WITH NUKES
What happened: After a Polish member of the European Parliament urged arming Ukraine with nuclear weapons, the Kremlin threatened that this would lead to the destruction of Europe, Newsweek reports.
More context: Poland’s Radoslaw Sikorski told a Ukrainian media outlet Saturday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had violated the 1994 Budapest Memorandum that led to Ukraine dismantling its large Soviet-era nuclear arsenal, and so Ukraine’s allies have the right to supply it with nuclear weapons. In response, the head of the Russian State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, posted on social media yesterday that "Sikorski provokes a nuclear conflict in the center of Europe. He does not think about the future of either Ukraine or Poland. If his proposals are implemented, these countries will disappear, as well as Europe.”
Worth noting: Amnesty International has documented the apparent use of cluster bombs and other banned weapons in a 40-page report accusing Russia of war crimes that killed hundreds in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. In a visit to Kyiv on Saturday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the commission is expected to finish its assessment of Ukraine’s bid for EU candidacy this week, Politico reports.
* NEWS FROM THE REGIONS
Central Europe and the Baltics
• Despite months of claims by Czech politicians that many Romani refugees from Ukraine are not eligible for refugee aid because they have dual Ukrainian-Hungarian citizenship, police say the actual number is tiny, Romea reports. In an interview on Czech public television, Czech Police spokesman Ondrej Moravcik said out of some 5,500 passport checks, only about 150 people had dual citizenship.
• Human Rights Watch has put out an alert on a Ukrainian teacher the group says was forcibly sent to Russia. During the Russian occupation of Ukraine’s Chernihiv region in March, Russian forces reportedly detained teacher Viktoria Andrusha after accusing her of passing military information to Ukrainian authorities. Andrusha was later sent to Russia, though her location is currently unknown. Andrusha is just one of a number of Ukrainian civilians who are missing after apparently being forcibly deported to Russia since the invasion of Ukraine in February, HRW notes.
• Ukrainians forced to flee Moscow’s war by going to Russia are subjected to torture and detention in filtration camps after a waiting period that can take weeks, the Guardian reports. Many refugees from eastern Ukraine are unable to make it westward and escape into Russia is their only option, the report notes.
• China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has warned Central Asian nations not to get involved in global politics and international conflicts, Eurasianet reports. In comments related to the Ukraine war during a meeting with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Kazakhstan last week, Wang said “the region should be on guard against attempts by forces outside the region to draw regional countries into major power conflicts and force them to take sides.
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