- Russia says it has repelled three attempted incursions along its border with Ukraine, by what it casts as pro-Ukrainian fighters, while heavy shelling prompted a partial evacuation of civilians from the area.
- At least 30 Ukrainian fighters were killed, according to Moscow, a claim that was not possible to verify.
- At least three people, including a girl and her mother, have been killed in a Russian missile strike on Kyiv, according to Ukrainian officials.
- President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is in Moldova for a European summit, pressing his case for NATO membership as the military alliance meets in Oslo.
Ukraine is ‘very high’ on the agenda: AJ Correspondent
Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from the European Political Community summit in Moldova, says the war in Ukraine is “very high” on the list of topics leaders will discuss.
“We heard from the Ukrainian leader, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, being the first to arrive, I don’t think that was by chance, saying that he called for European support on the ground, in the air against what he called Russian aggression. [He also] called for the same to be applied to Moldova,” she said.
Dekker explained that topics like security and cybersecurity would also be discussed during the meeting, adding that it’s a “very broad table of topics”.
“The interesting thing about this conference is that even though there are so many things that can be discussed, there is no pressure, there is no agenda, [and] nothing will be signed at the end of the day,” Dekker said.
Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 463
Click here for a roundup of key events on day 463 of the war.
- Chechen troops said to mobilise as Russian children flee border
- Mother, daughter among 3 killed in Russian missile attack on Kyiv
- Iraqi man reported killed fighting for Russia’s Wagner in Ukraine
- Bakhmut falls silent as Russia and Ukraine trade air raids
Zelenskyy calls for a ‘coalition’ of Patriot defence systems and fighter jets
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls for a “coalition” of Patriot air defence systems and modern fighter jets in an address to other European leaders.
“A coalition of Patriots that will put an end to Russian blackmail by ballistic missiles, and a coalition of modern fighter jets that will prove that terror against our citizens has no chance” are “decisive components,” Zelenskyy said in Moldova.
Ukraine has already received some Patriot air defence systems, and some European countries have agreed to train Ukrainian pilots.
China will closely monitor new EU sanctions on Russia
China will closely follow European Union discussions on an 11th Russian sanctions package, which could result in trade restrictions, Shu Jueting, a commerce ministry spokesperson, says.
“China firmly opposes unilateral sanctions that have no basis in international law and are not authorised by the [UN] Security Council as well as long-arm jurisdiction,” Shu said, calling on the EU to “act prudently and to not set a bad precedent”.
The European Commission has proposed a tool to limit trade with third countries deemed to be bypassing sanctions already in place.
Germany has previously raised concerns within the EU over targeting China under the new measures.
On Wednesday, the Dutch and Polish prime ministers said one of the focal points of the proposed measures was sanctions circumvention.
Wagner boss slams army ‘clowns’, says troops will rest for a month
Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin says his troops will continue to fight in Ukraine if his men get a separate section of the front without having to depend on “clowns”.
“If the whole chain [of command] is 100 percent failed and will only be led by clowns who turn people into meat, then we will not participate in it,” said Prigozhin, who appeared to be celebrating his 62nd birthday at a training camp.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” he told Russian reporters with a smile, gazing at a night sky lit up with blasts and red flares.
Prigozhin also confirmed his men would finally hand over Bakhmut to the Russian army and leave the city on June 5.
He said his men wanted to rest at camps in Russian-controlled Ukraine for about a month.
“It has been a tough year. Then we’ll see how it goes,” he said.
NATO members disagree on when Ukraine would join
Moscow cannot stop Ukraine from becoming a NATO member, the alliance’s chief Jens Stoltenberg said.
“All allies agree that Moscow does not have a veto against NATO enlargement,” Stoltenberg told reporters as NATO foreign ministers gathered in Oslo, seeking to dispel any signs of discord ahead of the summit.
“We are moving, allies agree that Ukraine will become a member.”
On Thursday, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy pressed that Kyiv wanted to receive a “clear” decision on its future.
But while Kyiv and its closest allies in Eastern Europe call for concrete steps, Western governments such as the United States and Germany are wary of any escalation.
Luxembourg’s Jean Asselborn warned that NATO’s mutual assistance clause meant the alliance would enter the war with Russia if it accepted Ukraine as a member while the war was ongoing.
Putin is aware of the situation in Belgorod: Kremlin
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov says Russia’s defence ministry, border guards, emergency services and local authorities are constantly reporting to President Vladimir Putin on the situation in the Belgorod region, the TASS news agency reported.
Earlier on Thursday, Belgorod governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said eight people had been wounded and some buildings damaged in overnight shelling by Ukrainian forces.
He added that the town of Shebekino had been set ablaze after being hit by Grad rocket systems.
Russia’s defence ministry also said it thwarted three Ukrainian attacks on the Belgorod region, and more than 30 Ukrainian fighters had been killed, along with four armoured vehicles destroyed.
Air raid shelter fails to open during overnight strike in Kyiv
An overnight missile strike on Kyiv killed three people after an air raid shelter failed to open, the Reuters news agency reported.
“A rocket fragment fell near the entrance to a [medical] clinic four minutes after the air alert was announced. And people headed for the shelter,” Kyiv’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.
But local residents said people were unable to enter the shelter because it was closed.
“The air alert sounded. My wife took our daughter and they ran to the entrance here,” local resident Yaroslav Ryabchuk told Reuters in the Desnyanskyi district.
“The entrance was closed, there were already maybe five to 10 women with children. No one opened up for them. They knocked loudly enough.”
“They tried to enter the shelter, no one opened up for them. My wife died,” he said.