Ukraine Daily Summary - Wednesday, June 19 2024

Russian troops beheaded Ukrainian soldier in Donetsk Oblast -- Ukraine to receive Frankenstein air defense tank from Rheinmetall -- Strikes inside Russia: It works, just as we expected -- Ukraine gradually pushing Russian troops out of Kharkiv Oblast -- China's support for Russia's war machine "has to stop" -- and more

Wednesday, June 19

Russia’s war against Ukraine

An image depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin is used for target practice at a training ground in Donetsk Oblast, June 18, 2024. (Roman Pilipey / AFP via Getty Images)

Russian troops beheaded Ukrainian soldier in Donetsk Oblast, Kyiv claims. In a post on social media, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said his office has received information that Russian commanders had given orders “not to capture Ukrainian servicemen, but instead to kill them with inhuman cruelty - by beheading.”

Satellite images show Russian oil refinery ablaze after Ukrainian drone strike. According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s investigative project Schemes, the depot in the Russian city of Azov is run by Azovproduct which can store up to 30,000 tons of oil products.

Zelensky on strikes inside Russia: ‘It works, just as we expected.’ President Volodymyr Zelensky has hailed the success of strikes inside Russia with Western-supplied weapons, saying the ability to hit “Russian terrorists’ positions and launchers near the border… truly matters.”

Putin arrives in North Korea to sign strategic partnership agreement. Russia and North Korea are expected to sign a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement, according to Kremlin-controlled news agency TASS.

‘Deliberate delays’ to F-16 training will mean more jets than pilots, Ukrainian MP says. The U.S. is “deliberately delaying” F-16 training for Ukrainian pilots, resulting in a situation where there will be “fewer trained pilots than fighter jets,” Ukrainian MP Oleksandra Ustinova said to the Times in an article published on June 17.

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Zelensky: Ukraine gradually pushing Russian troops out of Kharkiv Oblast. “Our forces are gradually pushing (Russian troops) out of Kharkiv Oblast. And I thank every warrior and every unit for this, who are clearly fulfilling their tasks, including those who are also replenishing our (prisoner) ‘exchange fund’ with Russian soldiers,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

Media: More than 10,000 Russian soldiers prosecuted for refusing to fight in Ukraine. Using online data from military courts, Mediazona documented 10,025 such cases since September 2022 when the Kremlin announced a first wave of mobilization.

Children being recruited by Russia to set fire to military cars, Ukrainian ombudsman says. Ukrainian children are being recruited by Russia to set fire to military cars parked in cities, Ukraine’s Human Rights Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said on June 18.

Russian occupation of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant cost Ukraine over $5 billion. Ukraine’s nuclear energy agency Energoatom has lost over Hr 210 billion ($5.2 billion) due to Russia’s occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Energoatom’s acting head Petro Kotin said on June 18.

Ukraine to receive Frankenstein air defense tank from Rheinmetall. The Frankenstein air defense tank consists of an advanced German Skyranger anti-aircraft gun mounted on a Leopard 1 battle tank. The system can shoot down both drones and missiles, according to The Telegraph.

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Ukraine war latest: Russia attempts to capture Borova in Kharkiv Oblast

Russian troops are intensifying attacks in the border areas of Luhansk Oblast with the aim of capturing the village of Borova in neighboring Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine’s 3rd Assault Brigade said on June 18.

Photo: Viktor Fridshon/Global Images Ukraine

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Putin lands in North Korea looking for support, weapons, validation

Greeted by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un at the runway and passing by a city saturated with Russian flags, Putin looked happy – he was visiting a country that still considered Russia a vital ally.

Photo: Gavriil Grigorov/Pool/AFP

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Human cost of war

Russian attacks across Ukraine kill 3, injure 28. Russian attacks against Ukraine killed at least three people and injured at least 28, regional authorities said on June 18.

General Staff: Russia has lost 528,620 troops in Ukraine since Feb. 24, 2022. This number includes 1,230 casualties Russian forces suffered just over the past day.

Ukraine This Week: Su-57s, foreign mercenaries, and an internet rumor

International response

Rutte endorsed by Orban as next NATO Secretary General after agreeing to Hungary’s opt-out of Ukraine support. Hungarian Prime Minister endorsed Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s bid to be the next Secretary General of NATO, after Rutte said he supported Budapest opting out of NATO initiatives to support Ukraine, Orban announced on June 18.

Ukraine must win the war first before joining NATO, White House says. His statement came a few days after Kyiv and Washington signed a 10-year bilateral security deal at the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Italy, which is recognized by the parties “as supporting a bridge to Ukraine’s eventual membership in NATO.”

China’s support for Russia’s war machine ‘has to stop,’ says Blinken.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said China was providing support that enables “Russia to keep that defense industrial base going, to keep the war machine going, to keep the war going.”

Media: Italy may send Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine, sources say. “A batch of” Storm Shadow missiles and another SAMP/T air defense system will reportedly be included in the ninth aid package for Ukraine, which Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto will present by the end of June, Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano reported on June 18, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

Russia turns to blackmail, big money in effort to recruit German spies, Berlin officials say. Russia is “working hard” to counter the expulsion of diplomats from Germany by turning to blackmail and the lure of big payouts to recruit spies, Berlin officials said on June 18.

Ecumenical Patriarchate signs global peace summit communique, Rwanda’s signature removed. The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople added its signature to the joint communique of the global pace summit for Ukraine, while Rwanda’s signature has disappeared as of June 17, according to the Swiss government website.

Canada hits Russia with new sanctions for Navalny’s death, human rights violations. The new sanctions target high-level officials in Russia’s investigative agency, penitentiary service, and police force who played a role in the abuse and death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

In other news

Poll: More than 70% of Ukrainians say LGBTQ people should have same rights as any other citizen. Support for LGBTQ+ rights in Ukraine has grown significantly in recent years.

Zelensky signs law on single roaming zone with EU. Under the “roam like at home” (RLAH) program, Ukrainians will not pay additional charges to use their mobile phone for communications and the Internet in the 27 EU countries. The same rules will apply to users of European operators traveling to Ukraine.

France signs deal to sell Caesar howitzers to Armenia. The announcement did not say how many Caesar howitzers would be included in the deal, or when they might start arriving in the country.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Martin Fornusek, Katya Denisova, Nate Ostiller, Chris York, Toma Istomina, Elsa Court, Dmytro Basmat, and Abbey Fenbert.

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