June 3, 2022 Russia-Ukraine war

By Rhea Mogul, Hannah Strange, Ivana Kottasová, Adrienne Vogt, Elise Hammond, Aditi Sangal, Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, June 4, 2022
10 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
5:11 a.m. ET, June 3, 2022

Russia will likely control all of Luhansk within two weeks, UK intelligence says

From CNN's Dan Wright and Bex Wright

Pro-Russian troops rides on top of an armoured personnel carrier during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the town of Popasna in the Luhansk Region, Ukraine, on June 2.
Pro-Russian troops rides on top of an armoured personnel carrier during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the town of Popasna in the Luhansk Region, Ukraine, on June 2. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

The UK Ministry of Defence expects Russia to take control of the whole of the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine within the next two weeks, according to its latest intelligence assessment.

In the report, the ministry said that after failing to take Kyiv, Moscow has changed its strategy in Ukraine to focus on the Donbas, the part of eastern Ukraine that is formed of Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

Two parts of the Donbas have been held by Russian-backed separatists since 2014. They have become known as the Luhansk and the Donetsk People's Republics and comprise roughly a third of the total area of the Donbas.

The Ukrainian government in Kyiv asserts the two regions are, in effect, temporarily Russian-occupied. The self-declared republics have not recognized by any governments, other than Russia and its close ally Syria, and the Ukrainian government has steadfastly refused to talk directly with the leaders of either.

The British assessment said: "Russia is now achieving tactical success in the Donbas. Russian forces have generated and maintained momentum and currently appear to hold the initiative over Ukrainian opposition."

It added:

"Russia controls over 90% of Luhansk Oblast and is likely to complete control in the next two weeks. Russia has achieved these recent tactical successes at significant resource cost, and by concentrating force and fires on a single part of the overall campaign."

But the report said that Russia is failing to gain momentum in other areas, where it has been forced into defensive mode.

“Measured against Russia’s original plan, none of the strategic objectives have been achieved. In order for Russia to achieve any form of success will require continued huge investment of manpower and equipment, and is likely to take considerable further time,” it added.

3:35 a.m. ET, June 3, 2022

Ukrainian officials say Russia is suffering "systematic counterattacks" in the south

From CNN's Oleksandra Ochman and Bex Wright

Russia is suffering from “systematic counterattacks” by Ukrainian troops in Kherson in the south of Ukraine, a statement from Operational Command South said on Friday.

“The enemy suffers from systematic counterattacks of our units,” the statement said, adding that Russia brought in 27 infantry fighting vehicles by rail, and unloaded 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Kherson to support their operation.

Two civilians were also injured as a result of the “massive shelling” of the area of Novovorontsovka in the north of the Kherson region.

Russian troops “continue to try to hold the ground” in Kherson, a separate update from the Kherson Regional Military Civil Administration said, and at the border with the neighboring Mykolaiv and Dnipropetrovsk regions, “hostilities are taking place.”

Residents of Kherson and some local communities have been without any internet or phone connection “for the fourth day in a row,” the Regional Military Civil Administration said.

There is also information that ”the occupiers in Kherson have seized passport services” and are now issuing Russian passports to residents, the update said.

In nearby Mykolaiv, Operational Command South said two people were killed and two others injured on Thursday after heavy shelling in the morning, afternoon and evening hit two high-rise buildings and four homes.

However Russia’s “desperate attempt” to retake their lost positions around Mykolaiv “didn’t succeed,” Operational Command South said, adding that two Russian airstrikes also hit their positions, with no losses.

Northeast of Mykolaiv in the Kryvyi Rih area, Russian troops “intensified air reconnaissance and attempted assault operations,” but the attempt was thwarted and they retreated to their former positions.

12:49 a.m. ET, June 3, 2022

Russia's Pacific Fleet starts naval exercises involving more than 40 warships, state media says 

From CNN’s Hannah Ritchie and Josh Pennington 

Russia’s Pacific Fleet has begun a series of week-long exercises involving more than 40 warships and 20 aircraft, state-run news agency TASS reported Friday, citing the Defense Ministry.

The exercises, set to run until June 10, will involve ships searching for "submarines of a mock enemy" and "working out the organization of air defense for tactical groups of ships [to] perform combat training exercises on surface and air targets," the Defense Ministry said in a statement, according to TASS. 

Russia’s command ship the Marshal Krylov, the frigate Marshal Shaposhnikov, and a group of large anti-submarine ships and corvettes, small anti-submarine ships, minesweepers, missile boats and support vessels will all be operating in designated areas of the Pacific Ocean during the exercises, the ministry's statement said. 

The exercises come as Russia's invasion of Ukraine reached the 100-day mark on Friday. 

The Ukrainian military has claimed that Russian units have "suffered significant losses in manpower and equipment" since the war began in late February.  

12:01 a.m. ET, June 3, 2022

It's 7 a.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

After 100 days of war, Russian forces now control about 20% of Ukrainian territory, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The Ukrainian military says fighting continues in multiple parts of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, with Russian forces trying to advance from several directions as they seek to take more of the area. 

Here's the latest on Russia's war in Ukraine:

  • Fighting in the east: Zelensky said Thursday that Ukrainian forces are withstanding the Russian onslaught around the city of Severodonetsk in the Luhansk region. "We have some success in the battles in Severodonetsk,” Zelensky said. “But it's too early to tell.” Reports from Thursday said street fighting continued in the city, which is mostly controlled by Russian forces. 
  • Hundreds in hiding: About 800 people, including children, are hiding in several bomb shelters underneath a chemical factory in Severodonetsk, which has been targeted by Russian missile attacks, the head of Luhansk region military administration said. Those hiding are locals who were asked to leave the city, but refused, according to the official.
  • Ukrainian gains in the south: Ukrainian forces say they have made significant progress during an offensive against Russian positions in the occupied southern region of Kherson. The Territorial Defence AZOV Dnipro unit said armed forces liberated 8 kilometers (about 5 miles) of “occupied territory.”

  • US cyber operation: Cyber Command, the US military's hacking unit, has conducted offensive cyber operations in support of Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia's invasion, the head of the command said. The disclosure underscores how important projecting power in cyberspace has been to the Biden administration as it continues to avoid directly engaging Russia in a shooting war. 
  • NATO chief meets with Biden: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday he had a “great meeting” with US President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and national security adviser Jake Sullivan. “President Putin wanted less NATO and therefore he invaded Ukraine, but he’s getting more,” Stoltenberg told reporters after the meeting. 
8:54 p.m. ET, June 2, 2022

Analysis: After 100 days of war, Putin is counting on the world's indifference

Analysis from CNN's Nathan Hodge

Rewind the clock to February 23, the day before Russia launched its all-out invasion of Ukraine, and one might be tempted to guess that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's days in office were numbered.

After all, Russia's military outspent that of Ukraine by roughly 10 to one. Moscow enjoyed a twofold advantage over Kyiv in land forces; and the nuclear-armed power had 10 times the aircraft and five times the armored fighting vehicles of its neighbor.

A visibly angry Russian President Vladimir Putin had appeared on television just days before, delivering a rambling historical monologue that made clear he expected nothing less than regime change in Kyiv.

The Kremlin leader seemed to be gambling that Zelensky would flee his capital, much as the US-backed president of Afghanistan had left Kabul just a few months earlier, and that Western outrage would subside, albeit with the temporary pain of new sanctions.

100 days later, whatever plans Putin may have had for a victory parade in Kyiv are on indefinite hold. Ukrainian morale did not collapse. Ukrainian troops, equipped with modern anti-tank weaponry delivered by the US and its allies, devastated Russian armored columns; Ukrainian missiles sank the guided-missile cruiser Moskva, the pride of Russia's Black Sea Fleet; and Ukrainian aircraft stayed in the air, against the odds.

In late March, Russia's military began withdrawing its battered troops from around the Ukrainian capital, claiming they had shifted focus to capturing the country's eastern Donbas region. Three months after its invasion, Russia no longer appears to be aiming for a short, victorious war in Ukraine — nor does it seem to be capable of achieving one.

Read the full analysis:

10:59 p.m. ET, June 2, 2022

Zelensky says Ukrainian troops have "some success" in battles in Severodonetsk

From CNN's Tim Lister

Smoke and dirt rise in the city of Severedonetsk, the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas, on Thursday.
Smoke and dirt rise in the city of Severedonetsk, the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas, on Thursday. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)

President Volodymyr Zelenksy said Ukrainian forces are withstanding the Russian onslaught around the city of Severodonetsk in the eastern region of Donbas.

"We have some success in the battles in Severodonetsk. But it's too early to tell. It's the hardest thing there now. As in the cities and communities nearby — Lysychansk, Bakhmut and other cities where [there is] such a powerful attack by Russia," Zelensky said in his daily video message.

Reports from Thursday said that street fighting continued in Severodonetsk. 

"The Russian army uses all its armed capabilities and does not count people at all. It is especially cynical that in the first line of attacks, the occupiers very often use those people who were recruited into their army in the previously occupied territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions," Zelensky said, referring to the militia of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics.

"The longer the war lasts, the more vile, shameful and cynical things Russia will forever write in its history," he said. 

Zelensky also addressed the new rockets and munitions that the US will be sending Ukraine.

"The United States has confirmed that modern HIMARS fire missile systems are being sent to our country. These weapons will really help save the lives of our people and protect our land. I am grateful to President Biden, all our American friends, and the people of the United States for their support," he added.

On the issue of Ukraine's bid to join the European Union, Zelensky said: "It is very important that now — in a few weeks — we are waiting for the answer of the European Union on the issue of candidate status for Ukraine. We are very much looking forward to it."

8:27 p.m. ET, June 2, 2022

Ukrainian forces claim significant progress in southern offensive

From CNN's Tim Lister and Kostan Nechporenko

Ukrainian forces say they have made significant progress during an offensive against Russian positions in the occupied southern region of Kherson.

"In the Kherson region, the Armed Forces have liberated 8 kilometers (about 5 miles) of occupied territory," the Territorial Defence AZOV Dnipro unit posted on Telegram late Thursday.

Ukrainian forces launched the offensive into Kherson from several vantage points to the north last weekend. Since then, there has been little information about the operation, but Ukrainian forces appear to have taken a number of villages in the northern part of Kherson and consolidated a bridgehead across the river Inhulets.

On Wednesday, the head of the Kherson Regional State Administration, Gennady Laguta, said 20 settlements had been liberated.

8:20 p.m. ET, June 2, 2022

20% of Ukraine is under Russian control, President Zelensky says

From CNN's Anastasia Graham-Yooll

One-fifth of Ukrainian territory is under Russia’s control, with Donbas “almost entirely destroyed,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said while addressing Luxembourg's lawmakers on Thursday.

“As of today, about 20% of our territory is under the control of the occupiers, almost 125 thousand square kilometers. This is much larger than the area of all the Benelux countries combined," Zelensky said to the Chamber of Deputies of Luxembourg via video link.   

Zelensky also said fighting continues along the front line that is stretched over “more than a thousand kilometers” along the territories of Kharkiv region to Mykolaiv in the country’s south. He added Ukraine’s Donbas region is “simply devastated,” calling it “once one of the most powerful industrial centers in Europe.” 

Zelensky claimed that more than 30,000 Russian soldiers have been killed since the war began over three months ago. CNN cannot verify those numbers. “That's greater than the death toll of the Soviet Union in 10 years of war in Afghanistan, greater than Russia’s death toll in two Chechen wars,” according to Zelensky.

In his remarks to the lawmakers, the Ukrainian president urged additional sanctions on Russia, asking for more weapons to support Ukraine’s fight along the front line. Zelensky also invited Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel to visit Kyiv and asked for the deputies to support Ukraine’s ambition to join the EU, calling Ukraine a “de facto part of the European Union.” 

Zelensky spoke to the chamber on the 99th day of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Since February, he has addressed dozens of parliamentary assemblies and institutions around the world, gathering support for Ukraine.

8:11 p.m. ET, June 2, 2022

US confirms military hackers have conducted cyber operations in support of Ukraine

From CNN's Sean Lyngaas

Cyber Command, the US military's hacking unit, has conducted offensive cyber operations in support of Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia's invasion, the head of the command has confirmed.

The disclosure underscores how important projecting power in cyberspace — in support of Ukraine's defenses and to potentially deter Russia from conducting cyberattacks against US infrastructure — has been to the Biden administration as it continues to avoid directly engaging Russia in a shooting war.

"We've conducted a series of operations across the full spectrum; offensive, defensive, [and] information operations," Gen. Paul Nakasone said in an interview with Sky News.

A spokesperson for the command did not dispute the accuracy of the article but declined to elaborate on what the command's operations in Ukraine have entailed.

It's a rare public acknowledgment from US military officials of hacking operations that are often shrouded in mystery.

Read more: