Putin warns that Moscow will hit new targets if the west supplies Ukraine with long-range missiles – as it happened – The Guardian

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Vladimir Putin said today that Moscow would strike at new targets if the west supplied Ukraine with long-range missiles, hours after several explosions rocked the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.

The Russian leader said long-range missile supplies being sent to Ukraine meant that “we will draw the appropriate conclusions and use our arms … to strike targets we haven’t hit before”.

He did not specify which targets he meant.

That’s all from me, Samantha Lock, for now. Please join me a little a later when we launch our new live blog covering all the latest developments from Ukraine.

Here is a comprehensive run-down of where things currently stand as of 3.30am.

  • Russia struck Ukraine’s capital Kyiv with missiles early on Sunday for the first time in more than a month. A railway depot was hit in the eastern suburb of Dniprovsky. Five cruise missiles fired from the Caspian Sea were launched from Tu-95 bombers, one of which was intercepted, Ukraine’s air force said, in an attack that represented a change of approach on the part of Russian forces.
  • A Russian cruise missile “flew critically low” over the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear power plant, in the south of the country, at about 5.30am, apparently heading for Kyiv. Ukraine’s nuclear energy company Energoatom said Russian forces “still do not understand that even the smallest fragment of a missile that can hit a working power unit can cause a nuclear catastrophe and radiation leak” in a statement on Sunday.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Moscow will hit new targets if the west supplies Ukraine with long-range missiles. “We will strike at those targets which we have not yet been hitting,” Putin told Rossiya state television, without specifying what those targets were. The comments were made in response to a pledge from the US went through with the delivery of Himars rocket artillery that the White House promised last week.
  • Ukrainian forces have counterattacked and retaken half of the city of Sievierodonetsk in the east of the country, officials said. “It had been a difficult situation, the Russians controlled 70% of the city, but over the past two days they have been pushed back,” Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Gaidai told Ukrainian television. “The city is now, more or less, divided in half.” The Institute for the Study of War, a US thinktank, also said Ukrainian forces were “successfully slowing down Russian operations” in Donbas and were making “effective local counterattacks in Sievierodonetsk”.
  • President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited his troops on Ukraine’s eastern frontlines in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as well as the southeastern region of Zaporizhzhia on Sunday.
  • A Russian general, Maj Gen Roman Kutuzov, was killed in eastern Ukraine, a Russian state media journalist said on Sunday, adding to the string of high-ranking military casualties sustained by Moscow. There was no immediate comment from the Russian defence ministry.
  • Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Serbia has been cancelled after countries around Serbia closed their airspace to his aircraft, according to local media reports. A senior foreign ministry source told the Interfax news agency that Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro had closed their airspace to the plane that would have carried Moscow’s top diplomat to Belgrade on Monday. “Our diplomacy has yet to master teleportation,” the source said.
  • Britain is to supply long-range rocket artillery to Ukraine, including a handful of tracked M270 multiple launch rocket systems, which can hit targets up to 80km (50 miles) away. UK defence secretary Ben Wallace said the decision to ship the rocket launchers was justified because “as Russia’s tactics change, so must our support to Ukraine”.
  • Spain is also to supply Ukraine with anti-aircraft missiles and Leopard battle tanks in a step up of its military support to the country, according to government sources cited by newspaper El Pais. Spain will provide essential training to the Ukrainian military in how to use the tanks, according to the reports.
  • Nato kicked off nearly a two-week US-led naval exercise on the Baltic Sea on Sunday with more than 7,000 sailors, airmen and marines from 16 nations, including Finland and Sweden whom aspire to join the military alliance. “It is important for us, the United States, and the other Nato countries to show solidarity with both Finland and Sweden in this exercise,” US Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said.
  • A Ukrainian lawmaker, Yevhen Yakovenko, was detained at the Moldovan border at the request of the International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol, Moldova’s border police said on Sunday. Viorel Tentiu, the head of Interpol in Moldova, said in a statement that Yakovenko was put on the list following accusations from Belarus of bribery and corruption.
  • Russia’s sanctions against Gazprom Germania and its subsidiaries could cost German taxpayers and gas users an extra €5bn ($5.4bn) a year to pay for replacement gas, the Welt am Sonntag weekly reported, citing industry representatives.
Elena Holovko sits among debris outside her house damaged after a missile strike in Druzhkivka, eastern Ukraine, on Sunday.

Spain is to supply Ukraine with anti-aircraft missiles and Leopard battle tanks in a step up of its military support to the country, according to government sources cited by newspaper El Pais.

Spain will also provide essential training to the Ukrainian military in how to use the tanks, according to the reports as cited by Reuters. Training would take place in Latvia, where the Spanish army has deployed 500 soldiers within the framework of Nato’s Enhanced Advanced Presence operation.

A second phase of training could take place in Spain, according to the sources cited by El Pais.

The paper said Spain’s defence ministry is finalising a delivery to Kyiv of low-level Shorad Aspide anti-aircraft missiles, which the Spanish army has replaced with a more advanced system.

Spain has so far supplied ammunition, individual protection equipment and light weapons.

Russia’s sanctions against Gazprom Germania and its subsidiaries could cost German taxpayers and gas users an extra €5bn ($5.4bn) a year to pay for replacement gas, the Welt am Sonntag weekly reported, citing industry representatives.

In May, Russia decided to stop supplying Gazprom Germania, which had been the German subsidiary of Gazprom, after Berlin put the company under trustee management due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Since then, the Bundesnetzagentur energy regulator, acting as trustee, has had to buy replacement gas on the market to fulfil supply contracts with German municipal utilities and regional suppliers.

Welt am Sonntag reported that Economy Minister Robert Habeck estimates an extra 10m cubic meters per day are required, which would currently cost about €3.5bn a year.

Further costs arise from the filling of the Rehden natural gas storage facility which Habeck ordered on Wednesday, it said.

The paper also said the additional costs would be passed on to energy suppliers and end customers in the form of a gas levy from October.

Nato kicked off nearly a two-week US-led naval exercise on the Baltic Sea on Sunday with more than 7,000 sailors, airmen and marines from 16 nations, including two aspiring to join the military alliance, Finland and Sweden.

The annual BALTOPS naval exercise, initiated in 1972, is not held in response to any specific threat. But the military alliance said that “with both Sweden and Finland participating, Nato is seizing the chance in an unpredictable world to enhance its joint force resilience and strength” together with two Nordic aspirant nations, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Finland and Sweden decided to apply to join Nato in May as a direct result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, despite repeated warnings from Moscow against joining the western military alliance.

#BALTOPS22 is kicking off.

BALTOPS 22 provides a unique training opportunity that strengthens combined response capability critical to preserving the freedom of navigation and security in the Baltic Sea region.#StrongerTogehter#WeAreNATO pic.twitter.com/dE5LTbj1TV

— NATO Joint Force Command Brunssum – JFCBS (@NATOJFCBS) June 4, 2022

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#BALTOPS22 is kicking off.

BALTOPS 22 provides a unique training opportunity that strengthens combined response capability critical to preserving the freedom of navigation and security in the Baltic Sea region.#StrongerTogehter#WeAreNATO pic.twitter.com/dE5LTbj1TV

— NATO Joint Force Command Brunssum – JFCBS (@NATOJFCBS) June 4, 2022

Ahead of the naval drill, which involved 45 vessels and 75 aircraft, the top US military official said in Sweden the host of the BALTOPS 22 exercise that it was particularly important for Nato to show support to the governments in Helsinki and Stockholm.

It is important for us, the United States, and the other Nato countries to show solidarity with both Finland and Sweden in this exercise,” US Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Saturday during a news conference aboard the large amphibious warship USS Kearsarge, which was moored in central Stockholm.

Milley said from Moscow’s perspective, Finland and Sweden joining Nato will be “very problematic” and leave Russia in a difficult military position as the Baltic Sea’s coastline would be almost completely encircled by Nato members, except for Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad and the Russian city of St. Petersburg and its surrounding areas.

The United States has never before moved such a large warship as the 843-foot USS Kearsarge in the Swedish capital, where it sailed through narrow passages in the Stockholm archipelago, Milley said.

As Nato’s close partners, Finland and Sweden have participated in the naval drill since the mid-1990s.

Vice Adm. Gene Black, commander Naval Striking and Support Forces Nato and US Sixth Fleet, added:

In past iterations of BALTOPS we’ve talked about meeting the challenges of tomorrow. Those challenges are upon us – in the here and now.”

BALTOPS 22 is scheduled to end in the German port of Kiel on June 17. Participating nations include Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

These countries will exercise a myriad of capabilities demonstrating the inherent flexibility of maritime forces. Exercise scenarios include amphibious operations, gunnery, anti-submarine, air defence, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal, unmanned underwater vehicles, and medical response, according to an official statement.

#BALTOPS hosted by 🇸🇪 in conjunction with the celebration of the Swedish Navy's 500th anniversary.
Read more about the Swedish Navy and the #BALTOPS22 excercise https://t.co/1zPpTA5yO0 @Forsvarsmakten @NATO https://t.co/SzD5JXdcT7

— Sweden at NATO (@SwedenNato) June 1, 2022

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2022 #BALTOPS hosted by 🇸🇪 in conjunction with the celebration of the Swedish Navy’s 500th anniversary.
Read more about the Swedish Navy and the #BALTOPS22 excercise https://t.co/1zPpTA5yO0 @Forsvarsmakten @NATO https://t.co/SzD5JXdcT7

— Sweden at NATO (@SwedenNato) June 1, 2022

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Serbia has been cancelled after countries around Serbia closed their airspace to his aircraft, according to reports.

A senior foreign ministry source told the Interfax news agency that Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro had closed their airspace to the plane that would have carried Moscow’s top diplomat to Belgrade on Monday

“Our diplomacy has yet to master teleportation,” the source said.

Serbia, which has close cultural ties with Russia, has fended off pressure to take sides over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has not joined western sanctions against Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic agreed last month that Russia would continue supplying natural gas to Serbia, while other countries have been cut off for refusing to pay for Russian gas in roubles.

Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić will address the nation on Monday night regarding the cancellation of Lavrov’s visit to Belgrade, according to local media reports.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited his troops on Ukraine’s eastern frontlines on Sunday to understand the position of Ukrainian defenders as Russia’s assault on Donbas continues.

According to a release from his office, Zelenskiy visited command posts and frontline positions of Ukrainian troops in the area of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region and Lysychansk in the Luhansk region.

“The president heard information on the operational situation in these parts of the front, as well as a report on the logistics of Ukrainian defenders,” the statement read.

Earlier in the day, Zelenskiy visited frontline troops in the southeastern region of Zaporizhzhia.

Russia’s assault on ​Donbas continues.

Oleksandr Starukh, governor of the Zaporizhzhia region told Zelenskiy that some 60% of the region’s territory is under Russian occupation, with more than 2,700 infrastructure objects either damaged or destroyed.

Humanitarian hubs have been set up in the Zaporizhzhia region to shelter residents of the temporarily occupied territories and settlements where hostilities continue.

“Over the last 15 days the largest number of people have come from the Kherson region. They also come from Mariupol,” Starukh said.

Zelenskiy’s office later said the president also visited a medical facility in the region and spoke with people forced to leave their homes, including from Mariupol, which is now in Russian hands after being under siege for weeks.

He promised action to ensure that all displaced people would be properly rehoused.
“We will truly help you tackle this issue,” the president’s office quoted him as saying.

It’s 2am in Kyiv. Here’s where things stand:

  • A Ukrainian lawmaker, Yevhen Yakovenko, was detained at the Moldovan border at the request of the International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol, Moldova’s border police said on Sunday. Viorel Tentiu, the head of Interpol in Moldova, said in a statement that Yakovenko was put on the list following accusations from Belarus of bribery and corruption.
  • Russia has announced that it destroyed tanks supplied by eastern European countries in airstrikes on Kyiv. On Sunday, Kyiv’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, said that Kyiv had been targeted by “several explosions in Darnytsky and Dniprovsky districts of city”, the first such strikes on the capital since 28 April.
  • Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited frontline troops in the south-eastern region of Zaporizhzhia, his office said on Sunday, a week after a similar trip to the north-eastern Kharkiv region. “I want to thank you for your great work, for your service, for protecting all of us, our state,” he said.
  • Vladimir Putin said today that Moscow would strike at new targets if the west supplied Ukraine with long-range missiles, hours after several explosions rocked the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. The Russian leader said long-range missile supplies being sent to Ukraine meant that “we will draw the appropriate conclusions and use our arms … to strike targets we haven’t hit before”.
  • A Russian general, Maj Gen Roman Kutuzov, was killed in eastern Ukraine, a Russian state media journalist said on Sunday, adding to the string of high-ranking military casualties sustained by Moscow. There was no immediate comment from the Russian defence ministry.
  • Ukraine’s deputy defence minister has reaffirmed the country’s need for continous military assistance from western countries in order to overcome Moscow’s military campaign. “We have already entered into a protracted war and we will need constant support,” Ganna Malyar told local media on Sunday.

That’s it from me, Maya Yang, today as I hand the blog over to my colleague, Samantha Lock, in Australia. Thank you.

A Ukrainian lawmaker, Yevhen Yakovenko, was detained at the Moldovan border at the request of the International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol, Moldova’s border police said on Sunday.

Reuters reports:

Yakovenko was placed in a pretrial detention centre, a press service representative of the border police said.

Viorel Tentiu, the head of Interpol in Moldova, said in a statement that Yakovenko was put on the list following accusations from Belarus of bribery and corruption.

A search of public records for wanted persons on the Interpol website for Yakovenko’s name did not produce any results on Sunday night.

Ukraine and Belarus officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Yakovenko was elected to the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, from the Donetsk region, according to information on the parliament’s website.

Fears have grown recently that Moldova could be drawn in to the conflict in neighbouring Ukraine, after pro-Russian separatists in a breakaway region reported a number of attacks and explosions there, which they blamed on Kyiv.

Moldova, a country of around 2.6 million people wedged between Ukraine and Romania, has taken a decisive pro-Western political turn since President Maia Sandu took office at the end of 2020, defeating a Moscow-aligned incumbent.

The country has an ethnic Romanian majority but a large and influential Russian-speaking minority, and close economic ties to Moscow.

Russia has announced that it destroyed tanks supplied by eastern European countries in airstrikes on Kyiv.

“High-precision, long-range missiles fired by the Russian Aerospace Forces on the outskirts of Kyiv destroyed T-72 tanks supplied by eastern European countries and other armoured vehicles that were in hangars,” Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

On Sunday, Kyiv’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, said that Kyiv had been targeted by “several explosions in Darnytsky and Dniprovsky districts of city”, the first such strikes on the capital since April 28.

Several cruise missiles were fired towards Kyiv by Russian TU-95 planes from the Caspian Sea, one of which was destroyed, said the Ukrainian air force.

A firefighter stands in front of a destroyed production depot of the Darnytsia freight cars repair plant, which was targeted early morning by Russian airstrikes in Kyiv, on June 5, 2022.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited frontline troops in the south-eastern region of Zaporizhzhia, his office said on Sunday, a week after a similar trip to the north-eastern Kharkiv region.

Reuters reports:

“I want to thank you for your great work, for your service, for protecting all of us, our state,” the statement quoted the Ukrainian president as saying, adding that he held a minute of silence for fallen troops.

Zelenskiy’s office later said the president also visited a medical facility in the region and spoke with people forced to leave their homes, including from Mariupol, which is now in Russian hands after being under siege for weeks.

He promised action to ensure that all displaced people would be properly rehoused.

“We will truly help you tackle this issue,” the president’s office quoted him as saying.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Vladimir Putin said today that Moscow would strike at new targets if the west supplied Ukraine with long-range missiles, hours after several explosions rocked the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.

The Russian leader said long-range missile supplies being sent to Ukraine meant that “we will draw the appropriate conclusions and use our arms … to strike targets we haven’t hit before”.

He did not specify which targets he meant.

Images have emerged from the Russian missile attack this morning that struck a facility working on railway cars used for grain transport.

pic.twitter.com/uqeppwbLjn

— Simon Shuster (@shustry) June 5, 2022

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The target of the Russian missile attacked in Kyiv this morning was a facility that works on railway cars to transport grain. Officials let us in to have a look. The place is gutted pic.twitter.com/uqeppwbLjn

— Simon Shuster (@shustry) June 5, 2022

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