- Russian President Vladimir Putin has told an event in St Petersburg that the country has weathered economic sanctions imposed as a result of the invasion of Ukraine.
- The European Union’s executive arm has backed Ukraine’s bid for EU candidacy status.
- UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a surprise visit to Kyiv and offered to provide training to Ukrainian troops.
Here are the latest updates:
China’s Xi addressed St Petersburg economic forum
Russia invited Chinese President Xi Jinping to address the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday.
Speaking by video link, Xi told the forum that it was necessary to “build an open world economy and reject attempts at decoupling, supply disruption, unilateral sanctions and maximum pressure”, state media reported on Saturday.
China has urged talks to end the war in Ukraine and has not condemned Russia for the invasion.
Ukrainian defence remains ‘strong’ around Severodonestsk, Lysychansk: ISW
Russia is deploying more forces to support its offensive in the Severodonetsk and Lysychansk area, but Ukraine’s defences remain “strong”, according to the latest update from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
“The Russian military has concentrated the vast majority of its available combat power to capture Severodonetsk and Lysychansk at the expense of other axes of advance and is suffering heavy casualties to do so,” the US-based think tank said.
— ISW (@TheStudyofWar) June 18, 2022
‘Milestone achievement’: Save the Children welcomes declaration on urban attacks
Save the Children has welcomed a political declaration designed to protect civilians in cities and towns with a commitment to avoid explosive attacks on urban areas.
After three years of negotiations, Ireland presented the final draft of the declaration in Geneva on Friday.
“This is a milestone achievement in recognising a trend in modern conflict that is having a devastating impact on the lives of children,” James Denselow, head of the conflict team at Save the Children UK, said in a statement. “It recognises the unique vulnerabilities children have to the weapons of modern war and their proximity to too many front lines. It could be a significant step forward in the push to stop the war on children”.
The gavel falls on the final negotiations!
This Political Declaration is a major milestone in strengthening the protection of civilians from the devastating effects of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas #EWIPA
🇮🇪 thanks all delegates for their strong engagement in the process pic.twitter.com/N5KTbROYma
— Ireland UN Geneva (@IrelandUNGeneva) June 17, 2022
Russia frees medic who filmed horror of Mariupol siege
Russia has freed a Ukrainian medic whose footage was smuggled out of the besieged city of Mariupol by an Associated Press team, Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy has announced.
Yuliia Paievska, known in Ukraine as Taira, used a body camera to film her team’s efforts over two weeks to save the wounded, including both Russian and Ukrainian soldiers.
She transferred the clips to the AP journalists, one of whom fled with it embedded in a tampon on March 15. Taira and a colleague were taken prisoner by Russian forces the next day.
US high-tech drone sale to Ukraine hits snag: Reuters
The Reuters news agency is reporting that the United States’ plans to sell four MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones to Ukraine have been put on hold because of concerns the sophisticated surveillance equipment could fall into enemy hands.
The technical objection to the sale of the armable drones was raised during a deeper review by the Pentagon’s Defense Technology Security Administration, which is charged with keeping high-value technology safe from enemy hands, Reuters said, citing two people familiar with the plan.
TikTok pressed on whether it allows ‘pro-war’ propaganda
Republican senators in the United States have written to TikTok Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew about reports the social media site had allowed Russian state-approved media content but barred other videos.
“Recent reports indicate TikTok… has allowed Russian state media to flood the platform with dangerous pro-war propaganda. No company should find itself in the position of amplifying the Kremlin’s lies, which fuel public support for Russia’s war of choice in Ukraine,” the letter said.
The senators wrote they were “deeply concerned” that TikTok “is enabling the spread of pro-war propaganda to the Russian public, which risks adding to an already devastating human toll for both Ukrainians and Russians.”
UN says civilian casualties exceed 10,000
The United Nations says more than 10,000 civilians, including hundreds of children, have now been killed or injured in the war in Ukraine.
Some 4,509 people had been killed and 5,585 injured as of midnight in Kyiv (21:00 GMT) on June 16, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said in its daily update. The dead include 294 children, the OHCHR said.
“Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes,” the statement said, adding that the actual figures were probably much higher.
Read all the updates from June 17, here.