- Ukraine says it has retaken eight settlements in the past two weeks as its counteroffensive gets under way.
- NATO leaders will not invite Ukraine to join the military alliance at a summit in Vilnius in mid-July, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirms.
- The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region says seven people were injured in Ukrainian shelling of Valuyki town.
- Russian troops are “highly likely” relocating to the eastern city of Bakhmut and the southeastern region of Zaporizhia, according to the UK Ministry of Defence.
UK to uphold sanctions until Moscow pays compensation to Kyiv
Britain introduced new legislation to maintain Russian sanctions until Moscow pays compensation to Ukraine, the British foreign ministry says.
“As Ukraine continues to defend itself against Russia’s invasion, the terrible impacts of Putin’s war are clear. Ukraine’s reconstruction needs are – and will be – immense,” British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said.
“Through our new measures today, we’re strengthening the UK’s sanctions approach, affirming that the UK is prepared to use sanctions to ensure Russia pays to repair the country it has so recklessly attacked,” he added.
No formal invitation for Ukraine at NATO summit: Stoltenberg
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says members of the military alliance will not issue a formal invitation for Ukraine to join at a summit in Lithuania in mid-July.
“At the Vilnius summit and in the preparations for the summit, we are not discussing to issue a formal invitation,” he told reporters after meeting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, adding that the leaders would talk about how to move Ukraine closer to NATO.
Stoltenberg also warned against accepting a frozen conflict in Ukraine.
“We all want this war to end, but a just peace cannot mean freezing the conflict and accepting a deal dictated by Russia,” he said.
Russian spy chief points to ‘suspicious’ Ukrainian nuclear activity
Russia’s spy chief says he hopes the UN nuclear watchdog and the European Union will investigate Ukraine’s nuclear activity.
The head of Russia’s SVR foreign intelligence service, Sergey Naryshkin, said in a statement that his service had information that a batch of “irradiated fuel” had secretly been sent from the Rivne nuclear plant for disposal at a spent fuel storage facility in Chernobyl.
He said the action was “suspicious” and could only be explained by Kyiv intending to create a “dirty bomb”, which combines radioactive material with conventional explosives.
Russia has previously accused Ukraine, without providing evidence, of planning to use such a weapon.
Discussions will continue at Russia-Africa summit next month: Kremlin
The Kremlin says it will continue to talk to a delegation of African countries seeking to mediate in the conflict with Ukraine at a Russia-Africa summit next month.
On Saturday, President Vladimir Putin gave the delegation who visited St Petersburg a list of reasons why he believed many of their peace proposals were misguided.
The group of African leaders on Friday met Zelenskyy in Ukraine, where he said peace talks would begin only when Moscow withdraws its forces.
Zelenskyy speaks to British PM about defence needs
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he spoke to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak about Kyiv’s defence needs and further cooperation between the two countries.
On Twitter, Zelenskyy wrote: “I had a phone call with the Prime Minister of the UK, Rishi Sunak. We discussed the defence needs of Ukraine and our further cooperation to expand Ukraine’s capabilities on the battlefield, in particular through long-range weapons.
“We coordinated our positions with Rishi Sunak on the eve of the NATO Summit in Vilnius. It is important for Ukraine to get concrete membership prospects. We also discussed steps to implement the Peace Formula and prepare security guarantees for Ukraine.
“I emphasized the need to increase sanctions pressure on Russia, particularly because of ramping up production of Russia’s missiles using Western components.”
Sweden says defence plans must focus on Russian threat
A special parliamentary defence committee says Sweden’s defence must focus on the threat posed by Russia and a military attack could not be ruled out.
“Russia’s aggressive actions have led to a structural and greatly deteriorated security situation. Russia has further lowered its threshold for military use of force and exhibits a high-risk propensity,” the committee said in a report.
“Sweden thus needs to design its security policy and adapt its defence in accordance with the scope of the threat posed by Russia for a long time to come,” it said.
The Nordic nation has been scrambling to bolster its defences and applied to join the NATO military alliance in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Swedish security and defence policy should be designed to deal with the long-term threat Russia is judged to pose to European and global security,” the report added.
“An armed attack against Sweden cannot be ruled out.”
Wagner chief jokingly asks Politico for help in securing F-35 jets
The head of Russia’s Wagner Group has sarcastically asked the US news outlet Politico for help in acquiring US-made F-35 fighter jets.
“So, F-35s. If it’s possible, as we previously discussed, to buy up supplies via New Zealand. They may need to refuel in Hawaii, but I don’t really foresee a problem,” Yevgeny Prigozhin said in response to a question from Politico.
In the voice note response, Prigozhin also offered Politico an introduction to Viktor Bout, the Russian arms dealer who was freed in a prisoner swap with the US women’s NBA star Brittney Griner.
“I’m sure you know Viktor Bout well,” he said.
“I’ve already talked to him. He’s ready to handle all deliveries. But we’ll assume you are a party in this dialogue from the side of the United States of America.”
Moscow declines UN offer of flooding help due to security concerns: Kremlin
The Kremlin says Moscow’s decision to decline United Nations help in areas flooded by the Nova Kakhovka dam breach is due to security concerns and “other nuances”.
On Sunday, the UN said Russia had declined its offers of help as the death toll rises.
The dam’s collapse on June 6 unleashed floodwaters on both the Ukrainian- and Russian-controlled sides of the Dnipro River in the southern region of Kherson, destroying homes and cutting off food and water supplies to residents.
Russian fertiliser producers suffering due to pipeline closure
Russia’s TogliattiAzot chemical fertiliser producer is suffering “colossal losses” due to the shutdown of the Togliatti-Odesa ammonia pipeline to Ukraine, the TASS news agency reports.
According to TASS, Uralchem, the parent company of the fertiliser producer, said a new ammonia terminal in the southern Russian port of Taman would fully cover the export needs of ammonia producers.
The Togliatti-Odesa pipeline has been shut down since Moscow invaded Ukraine in February last year.
Russia has repeatedly said the reopening of the pipeline is a key condition for renewing the Black Sea grain export deal, which allows Ukraine to export farm goods from its ports on the Black Sea.
Russia warns of mosquito-borne diseases after dam breach
The Russian Ministry of Defence says flooding in the Kherson region after the breach of the Nova Kakhovka dam could lead to mosquito-borne infections, such as the West Nile Virus.
Earlier in June, an explosion at the dam led to widespread flooding and fears of an environmental and humanitarian catastrophe.
Visits to Russia and Ukraine were ‘encouraging’: South Africa
South Africa’s president says the visit by an African delegation to Russia and Ukraine over the weekend was “encouraging”, Russia’s TASS news agency reports.
In a weekly address to the nation, Cyril Ramaposa said: “One of the key achievements of the peace mission has been the positive reception we have received from both sides, which we have found encouraging and which gives reason for optimism that the proposals [submitted by us] will be considered.”
“We have presented [to the leaders of the Russian Federation and Ukraine] a 10-point proposal, which, in our opinion, can contribute to various efforts made by various parties to end the conflict.”
The proposal calls for de-escalation, an urgent start of negotiations, the release of prisoners and the return of children.
UN says Russia rejected offer to help residents after dam collapse
Russia repelled attack on village in counteroffensive zone: Defence ministry
Russia’s defence ministry says its forces thwarted a Ukrainian attempt to take the village of Novodonetske in the eastern Donetsk region of Ukraine, one of the areas where Kyiv’s counteroffensive has been focused.
The ministry said in a statement that marines from Russia’s Pacific Fleet pushed back the overnight attack and destroyed Ukrainian armoured vehicles.
It released a video of what it said was the aftermath of the battle, showing what one soldier heard talking in it said was a captured French-made tank.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify this report.
Gazprom continues sending gas to Europe via Ukraine
Russian natural gas giant Gazprom has announced it will send 41.1 million cubic metres of gas to Europe via Ukraine on Monday.
European Commission data shows that last year’s European imports of Russian pipeline gas were 62 billion cubic meters, 60 percent below the average of the previous five years.
In April, Gazprom warned that Europe would struggle to refill its gas storage to last year’s levels after the continent ended the winter heating season with relatively low stockpiles.
Moscow says it thwarted ‘Ukrainian terrorist plots’ against Russian-backed officials
Russia’s FSB security service has said in a statement that it thwarted a series of Ukrainian “sabotage and terrorist plots” targeting Russian-installed law enforcement and government officials in Russian-controlled territory in the southern Zaporizhia region of Ukraine.
The FSB said it had opened criminal cases against an unnamed woman it described as “an accomplice” on charges related to “terrorism” and illegal possession of explosives.
There was no immediate comment from Ukraine on the Russian allegations.
Deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus not time-limited: Russia
Russia’s deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus is not time-limited, state news agency TASS quoted a senior Russian diplomat on Monday as saying.
Russia announced earlier in June about placing tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, a close ally which borders Ukraine.
“As for the possible time frame for the presence of Russian tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus, the Russian-Belarusian agreements do not imply any restrictions in this regard,” TASS quoted Alexei Polishchuk, director of the Russian foreign ministry’s department of former Soviet states, as saying.
Polishchuk said the weapons could hypothetically be removed from Belarus if the United States and NATO “refrained from undermining the security and sovereignty of Russia and Belarus”.
Ukraine claims eight settlements liberated in past two weeks
Ukraine’s forces have liberated eight settlements in the past two weeks, Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said on Monday.
This includes Piatykhatky, a village in the southern Zaporizhia region. A Russian-installed official also confirmed that Ukraine had recaptured Piatykhatky.
Seven injured in Ukrainian shelling of Russia’s Belgorod: Governor
Seven civilians, including a child, were injured in Ukrainian shelling of the Valuyki town area in Russia’s Belgorod border region overnight, its governor has said.
Five multistorey buildings and four houses were damaged, with one building on fire, Vyacheslav Gladkov said.
Separately, Roman Starovoyt, the governor of the Kursk region, north of Belgorod and also bordering Ukraine, said Ukrainian forces shelled two villages there. There were no casualties, according to preliminary information.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify these reports.
Drones, cruise missiles shot down overnight: Ukraine
The air force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine claims that four Shahed drones and four Kaliber cruise missiles were shot down overnight.
It said on its Telegram channel that the cruise missiles were launched from a submarine in the Black Sea, while the drones were launched from the eastern coast of the Sea of Azov.
Russian troops reportedly relocating to Bakhmut, Zaporizhia sectors
The UK’s Ministry of Defence claims that Russian troops have begun relocating from the eastern banks of the Dnipro to shore up defences around Bakhmut and Zaporizhia.
They say this is likely due to Moscow’s perception that a Ukrainian attack across the river is much less likely due to the Kakhovka dam collapse.