Russia Ukraine news today: Besieged farmers fear harvest ‘hell’ as Kremlin strangles economy

Ukrainian soldiers describe what life is like in the trenches

Besieged farmers have warned of a harvest from “hell” as Vladimir Putin’s troops try to choke off the Ukrainian economy and bring Kyiv’s war effort to its knees.

Tonnes of grain and other crops have been wiped out due to the fighting and farmers see the Kremlin’s shelling of the Nika-Tera port facility in the southern city of Mykolaiv on 4 June as just the most dramatic example of a wider assault on a pillar of Ukraine’s economy – and the world’s.

“Agriculture is one of the few business sectors that is working… Of course they want to destroy it,” Volodymyr Onyschuk, a farmer, said near a pile of Russian shell casings on his 2,000 hectare wheat and sunflower holding near Mykolaiv.

“They want to end this stream of income into the country,” he added, warning of a harvest from “hell” in the coming weeks.

Elsewhere, Volodmyr Zelensky said that the battle for Donbas, Ukraine’s eastern-most region bordering Russia, will go down in history as one of the “most brutal battles” in Europe’s history.

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Russia strikes weapons depot in Ukraine with cruise missiles – RIA

Russia struck an artillery weapons depot with Kalibr cruise missiles in Ukraine’s Chernihiv region, the RIA news agency reported on Tuesday, citing the Russian defence ministry.

Russian air defence forces shot down a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter jet and an Mi-24 helicopter, the TASS news agency reported, citing the ministry.

Matt Mathers14 June 2022 09:55

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Four injured in shelling of Russian town bordering Ukraine, official says

Four people were injured on Tuesday by shelling in a Russian town in the Bryansk region on the border with Ukraine, the regional governor said.

The incident occurred in the town of Klintsy, some 50 kilometres (miles) from the Ukrainian border.

“A few houses were damaged and four people injured, according to preliminary information,” regional governor Alexander Bogomaz wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

Reuters was unable to immediately verify the report.

Matt Mathers14 June 2022 09:41

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Besieged farmers fear harvest from ‘hell’

Besieged farmers have warned of a harvest from “hell” as Vladimir Putin’s troops try to choke off the Ukrainian economy and bring Kyiv’s war effort to its knees.

Tonnes of grain and other crops have been wiped out due to the fighting and farmers see the Kremlin’s shelling of the Nika-Tera port facility in the southern city of Mykolaiv on 4 June as just the most dramatic example of a wider assault on a pillar of Ukraine’s economy – and the world’s.

“Agriculture is one of the few business sectors that is working… Of course they want to destroy it,” Volodymyr Onyschuk, a farmer, said near a pile of Russian shell casings on his 2,000 hectare wheat and sunflower holding near Mykolaiv.

“They want to end this stream of income into the country,” he added.

Crops will be vulnerable to fire caused by shelling, he said, and that could be “hell” for farmers when the harvest season begins in coming weeks.

Matt Mathers14 June 2022 09:14

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UK foreign secretary says she’ll do whatever it takes to free Britons from Donbas

British foreign secretary Liz Truss said on Tuesday she would do whatever was necessary to secure the release two British nationals who have been sentenced to death by Russian proxy authorities in Donbas.

Asked whether she was prepared to negotiate directly with the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Truss told BBC Radio: “I will do whatever is necessary to secure their release.”

“I have assured the families that I will do what is most effective to secure their release and I am not going to go into our strategy live on air … The best route is through the Ukrainians.”

Matt Mathers14 June 2022 09:06

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Pope criticises Russia over cruelty in Ukraine but says war perhaps provoked

Pope Francis has taken a new series of swipes at Russia for its actions in Ukraine, saying its troops were brutal, cruel and ferocious, while praising “brave” Ukrainians for fighting for survival.

But in the text of a conversation he had last month with editors of Jesuit media and published on Tuesday, he also said the situation was not black and white and that the war was “perhaps in some way provoked”.

While condemning “the ferocity, the cruelty of Russian troops, we must not forget the real problems if we want them to be solved,” Francis said, including the armaments industry among the factors that provide incentives for war.

“It is also true that the Russians thought it would all be over in a week. But they miscalculated. They encountered a brave people, a people who are struggling to survive and who have a history of struggle,” he said.

Matt Mathers14 June 2022 08:48

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Russia has committed war crimes in Kharkiv through indiscriminate shelling, claims Amnesty

Russia’s indiscriminate shelling of civilian infrastructure – including children’s playgrounds – in the city of Kharkiv is a war crime, Amnesty International has claimed.

Hundreds of Ukrainian civilians have died and scores of others have been maimed in Russian attacks on Kharkiv, the organisation said.

Located close to the border with Russia, the northeast Ukrainian city, which was home to 1.5 million people before Vladimir Putin launched his invasion, has been widely hit by banned cluster munitions and unguided rockets in violation of humanitarian law, according to the new research.

My colleague Rory Sullivan has more:

Maryam Zakir-Hussain14 June 2022 08:03

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Pope Francis says he refuses distinction between “good and bad” in Ukraine war

Pope Francis refused the distinction between “good and bad” in the war in Ukraine, he was quoted as saying by daily La Stampa, which reported Pope’s conversation with editors of Jesuit European cultural magazines.

Asked if he was in favour of Russia‘s president Vladimir Putin, the Pope answered: “No, I am not, I am simply opposed to reducing complexity to distinction between good and bad”.

Pope Francis hopes to meet Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church in September in Kazakhstan, he added.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain14 June 2022 07:52

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UN calls Ukraine artillery attacks ‘extremely troubling’

A U.N. spokesman has called Ukrainian artillery attacks in Donetsk that killed five people “extremely troubling”.

Stephane Dujarric said officials had seen reports of the hospital attack.

“This is extremely troubling,” Mr Dujarric said. “Any attack on civilian infrastructure, especially health facilities, is a clear violation of international law.”

The Donetsk News Agency earlier showed pictures of burning stalls at the Maisky market and several bodies on the ground.

“We had a hit to the market – there were many people here,” Yan Gagin, an adviser to the separatists’ self-styled government, told RIA news agency from the market.

Ukraine routinely denies carrying out any attacks on the two regions, the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, where separatists seized large swathes of land in 2014.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain14 June 2022 07:39

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Ukraine has a weapons wishlist for the West as war reaches crucial point

Officials will be going to Brussels on Wednesday with a breakdown of what is needed to counter Russian forces, writes Kim Sengupta, with Kyiv insisting that supplies can make a critical difference in the Donbas.

Vladimir Putin’s expectation of a blitzkrieg that would lead to the capture of the capital, Kyiv, and the country’s second city, Kharkiv – and allow him to impose regime change – have been thwarted.

But the euphoria over Ukrainian resilience and resistance, and Russian retreat, has been replaced by deep trepidation over the unfolding course of the conflict in the Donbas.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain14 June 2022 07:27

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Five killed, 22 injured in Ukrainian artillery attacks in Donetsk, Russian-backed separatists say

At least five people were killed on Monday in the Russian-backed separatist Ukrainian region of Donetsk in what separatist officials said has been an upsurge in Ukrainian shelling.

Separatist officials and Russian news agencies reported several Ukrainian artillery strikes, including on a market. Russian news agencies later reported a shell had fallen on a maternity hospital in the city of Donetsk, triggering a fire and prompting staff to send patients into the basement.

There was no independent confirmation of any of the attacks and Reuters could not ascertain whether they had taken place. There has been no immediate reaction from Kyiv to the reports.

Russia‘s state TASS news agency said separatist officials had reported five dead. Donetsk’s separatist leader Denis Pushilin pledged to mobilise more Russian forces to counter Ukraine.

Russian agencies reported that a child was among those killed and that at least 22 people were injured. On Monday evening, citing a Russian correspondent, they reported the shelling of the maternity hospital.

“Thanks to the quick action of staff, there were no injuries,” RIA news agency said.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said officials had seen reports of the hospital attack.

“This is extremely troubling,” Dujarric said. “Any attack on civilian infrastructure, especially health facilities, is a clear violation of international law.”

The Donetsk News Agency earlier showed pictures of burning stalls at the Maisky market and several bodies on the ground.

“We had a hit to the market – there were many people here,” Yan Gagin, an adviser to the separatists’ self-styled government, told RIA news agency from the market.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain14 June 2022 07:20