June 6, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Mike Hayes, Meg Wagner, Andrew Raine, Amy Woodyatt, Jack Guy and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, June 7, 2022
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9:55 a.m. ET, June 6, 2022

Ukraine Ministry of Defense: Russian missile and air attacks increase on several fronts

From CNN's Tim Lister

Ukraine's Ministry of Defense says that Russian forces have launched missiles and air strikes against a number of targets across Ukraine, as they try to break down Ukrainian defenses and hit key infrastructure.

Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, the Defense Ministry spokesperson, said Russia was carrying out "intense fire and assault operations along the entire line of combat confrontation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions."

Seven aircraft had launched guided missiles from above the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, while coastal missile systems in Crimea were also active.

On the ground, Motuzyanyk said the Russians had made some advances, including north of Sloviansk, where they were advancing in the Sviatohirsk area toward the Siverskiy Donets River. He said the Russians were carrying out "engineering reconnaissance of the area, preparing for the possible forcing of a water barrier." But in other districts on this front they had been repulsed, he said.

Sloviansk is a key target of the Russian operation, and Russian forces have been edging closer to the city in recent weeks.

Further east in Severodonetsk, Motuzyanyk said Ukrainian units were holding back "the offensive of the Russian aggressor, who seeks to surround our troops in the area of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, as well as to block the main logistics routes.....Units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are fighting hard against the occupiers in the eastern and central parts of the city. The enemy spares neither people nor equipment. With the support of artillery, the enemy conducts assault operations to achieve its goal of taking control of the city," he said.

The Russians are also continuing efforts to break through Ukrainian lines defending the route between Lysychansk and Bakhmut, but had been repulsed, Motuzyanyk said.

Further south, an attempt to break through towards the border of Donetsk region had been thwarted. Ukrainian forces had "inflicted heavy losses and forced several enemy sabotage groups to retreat" as they tried to reach the settlements of Rivnopol and Novosilka, close to the regional border with Zaporizhzhia.

In the northern region of Kharkiv, Motuzyanyk said that enemy fire continued against settlements to the north and east of the capital city in an effort to prevent Ukrainian forces reaching the border with Russia.

In the south, the Russians appear to be trying to win back ground that had been lost to a Ukrainian offensive over the last week. Motuzyanyk said that Ukrainian troops were holding off a Russian counter-attack near the settlements of Lozove and Bila Krynytsia. In the same region, Russian troops were firing on Ukrainian positions along the entire line of contact between Mykolaiv and Kherson, he said.

9:19 a.m. ET, June 6, 2022

At least 1 dead after shelling of residential area of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva, Mick Krever, and Tim Lister

At least one person is dead and several more injured after Russia shelled a residential area of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine, according to the regional council.

“This morning Mykolaiv was being shelled chaotically again,” Hanna Zamazieieva, head of Mykolaiv regional council, said on Telegram. “Civil residential houses in different districts of the city with no military objects were shelled.”

Over the past week, Ukrainian forces have been pressing an offensive on Russian-occupied Kherson, to the southeast of Mykolaiv, reportedly retaking some previously occupied villages.

On Sunday, a Russian missile destroyed a large grain storage facility in Mykolaiv, according to the spokesperson for the Ukraine’s Operational Command South.

8:44 a.m. ET, June 6, 2022

Russia loses another general in Donbas

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

A Russian general has died in Donbas, Russian state media said, citing the Telegram channel of a war correspondent Sunday. 

The Russian general was identified as Roman Kutuzov by Russian state media and Ukrainian Armed Forces.

“According to military correspondent Alexander Sladkov’s Telegram channel, Kutuzov, a native of the Airborne Forces, led people into the attack and died in battle,” Russia 24 said. 

Ukrainian Armed Forces also said Kutuzov had died.

"Major General Roman Kutuzov, Commander of the 1st Army Corps (Orcs) of the [DPR], has been officially denazified and demilitarized,” the Armed Forces of Ukraine said Sunday in a Facebook post.

Prior to being sent to the Donetsk People’s Republic, Kutuzov served as chief of staff of the 29th combined-arms army of the Eastern Military District of Russia, according to Ukrainian independent news agency UNIAN journalist Roman Tsymbalyuk.

7:44 a.m. ET, June 6, 2022

First Russian strikes on Kyiv in weeks among key developments from this weekend

From CNN's Jack Guy

Smoke rises after several missiles hit Kyiv, Ukraine on June 5.
Smoke rises after several missiles hit Kyiv, Ukraine on June 5. (Sergi Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images) 

This weekend saw continued heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine, as well as the first Russian strikes on Kyiv in weeks.

Russian forces launched five cruise missiles toward the Ukrainian capital from the Caspian Sea at 6 a.m. local time Sunday.

One missile was destroyed by Ukraine’s air defense unit, and the rest hit “infrastructure facilities in the north of the Ukrainian capital,” the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a statement.

Several of the missiles hit the Darnytsia Carriage Repair Plant, injuring one railroad worker, according to Oleksandr Kamyshin, CEO of the Ukrainian state railroad enterprise Ukrzaliznytsia. Passenger trains were not delayed by the attacks, he said.

“I officially declare that there is no military equipment on the plant’s territory. This plant repaired cargo carriages, including those we use for grain export,” Kamyshin said.

“Their real target is the economy of Ukraine and the civilian population,” he said. “They also want to block our opportunity to export Ukrainian products to the West.”

On Monday, the UK defense ministry’s latest intelligence assessment said the missile attack was probably an attempt to disrupt the supply of Western military equipment to frontline Ukrainian units.

In addition, the ministry said, Russian forces have probably moved multiple air defense assets to Snake Island in the Black Sea, and it is likely that these weapons are intended to provide air defense for Russian naval vessels operating around Snake Island.

“Russia’s activity on Snake Island contributes to its blockade of the Ukrainian coast and hinders the resumption of maritime trade, including exports of Ukrainian grain,” it added.

Heavy fighting continued over the weekend in eastern Ukraine, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he visited troops in some of the most heavily bombarded front-line positions in the Luhansk region on Sunday.

In his nightly address, Zelensky said: “We were in Lysychansk, and we were in Soledar.”

Both places have been under heavy Russian attack for weeks, suffering missile, rocket and aerial bombardment.

Elsewhere in the east of the country, Ukrainian forces regained some territory in the city of Severodonetsk through a series of counterattacks, but, by Monday, Russian forces had turned the tide.

“The fiercest battles continue here,” Serhiy Hayday, head of Luhansk Regional Military Administration, said on Monday morning. “Our defenders managed to counterattack for a while – they liberated almost half of the city. However, now the situation has worsened for us again.”

7:40 a.m. ET, June 6, 2022

UN watchdog warns of "clear and present risk" at nuclear power plant in Russian-controlled Ukraine

From CNN's Mick Krever in London

There is a “clear and present risk to the safety, security and safeguards” at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is currently controlled by Russia, the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog said Monday.

Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said that “at least five of the seven indispensable pillars of nuclear safety and security have been compromised at the site.”

In remarks to the IAEA’s Board of Governors, Grossi reiterated that he was “working actively to agree, organize and head an IAEA-led International Mission” to the facility, in order to “carry out essential nuclear safety, security and safeguards work at the site.”

Some background: The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been under Russian control since early March. Grossi visited the now-defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant north of Kyiv, which was briefly occupied by Russian forces, at the end of April.

“Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia NPP site remains under the control of the Russian forces there. I have repeatedly expressed my grave concern at the extremely stressful and challenging working conditions under which Ukrainian management and staff are operating the plant," Grossi said.

“The situation at Zaporizhzhia NPP has not only raised serious and pressing humanitarian concerns but is also a clear and present risk to the safety, security and safeguards at the nuclear power plant.”

“There are indications from Ukraine regarding their concern about interruptions in the supply chain of spare parts to Zaporizhzhia NPP. This means now at least five of the seven indispensable pillars of nuclear safety and security have been compromised at the site. The Ukrainian regulator has informed us that they have ‘lost control over’ the facility’s nuclear material that is subject to the Safeguards Agreement between Ukraine and the IAEA," he added.

He concluded by saying that “the urgent need for us to be there is clear to all.”

6:54 a.m. ET, June 6, 2022

Ukraine's military intelligence head visited an embattled eastern city

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva and Mick Krever

Ukraine's military intelligence chief has visited the embattled city of Severodonetsk amid reports that the Ukrainian position there has worsened.

The country's defense ministry said Monday that Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov has been to the eastern city, though it is unclear when the visit took place.

Some background: After reclaiming territory from Russia over the weekend, the Ukrainian position in Severodonetsk has deteriorated on Monday, the region’s top official said on Ukrainian television Monday.

“The fiercest battles continue here,” Serhiy Hayday, head of Luhansk Regional Military Administration, said on Monday morning. “Our defenders managed to counterattack for a while ­-- they liberated almost half of the city. However, now the situation has worsened for us again.”

Hayday said that the Russians are using “standard scorched-earth tactics,” and that evacuation of the approximately 15,000 civilians remaining in the city is impossible because of intense fighting.

Budanov “inspected the work of the Intelligence units in the city of Severodonetsk,” the Intelligence Directorate said on its official Telegram channel.

“Budanov got acquainted with the operational situation on this section of the front and determined the further actions of the units of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.”

The statement added that that Russia is targeting most of its shelling at the neighboring city of Lysychansk, which sits on strategic high ground across the Siverskyi Donets River from Severodonetsk.

5:06 a.m. ET, June 6, 2022

More civilians now ready to flee Donetsk with casualties suffered "almost every day," says official

 From CNN's Taras Zadorozhnyy and Mick Krever

An increasing number of civilians are now ready to evacuate from the Ukrainian-controlled Donetsk region, the top regional official said on Monday.

“People who didn't try, and didn't want, to leave in the beginning when it was safer are leaving now,” Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk Regional Military Administration, said on Ukrainian television.

“We evacuate them both from frontline settlements and from the cities of Bakhmut, Soledar, and Slovyansk. Now the pace has increased," he said.

Some background: Fighting in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions has intensified in recent weeks, with stepped-up Russian attacks on the city of Sloviansk, and an intense urban battle for Severodonetsk, the eastern-most city controlled by the Ukrainian government.

A CNN team in eastern Ukraine on Monday saw long lines of civilian cars driving west from the Ukrainian-controlled portion of the Donetsk region.

Civilian casualties almost daily: Kyrylenko said that the evacuations are “extremely dangerous.”

“Every day we evacuate people, even from the frontline. This is much more difficult to do under or between shelling, because the movement of an evacuation bus or a small car does not mean that the occupiers will not shoot at it," he said.

He said that the front line in the Donetsk region “has remained unchanged over the past day,” and that “almost every day we have civilian casualties.”

3:44 a.m. ET, June 6, 2022

"Fiercest battles" as Ukrainian position in Severodonetsk worsens: regional official

From CNN's Maria Kostenko and Mick Krever

After reclaiming territory from Russia over the weekend, Ukrainian forces in the eastern city of Severodonetsk are under renewed attack, the region’s top official said on Monday. 

The fiercest battles continue here,” Serhiy Hayday, head of the Luhansk regional military administration, said in a television interview.

“Our defenders managed to counterattack for a while ­– they liberated almost half of the city. However, now the situation has worsened for us again.”

Hayday said the Russians are using “standard scorched-earth tactics,” and that evacuation of the approximately 15,000 civilians remaining in Severodonetsk is impossible because of intense fighting.

He said Russia is targeting most of its shelling at the neighboring city of Lysychansk, which sits on strategic high ground across the Siverskyi Donets River from Severodonetsk.

“From there, it is much easier to defend and maintain a defensive line,” Hayday said. “They are still destroying houses and humanitarian aid centers.”

He said a further 15,000 civilians remained in Lysychansk and that police are managing to evacuate a small number of them

Finally, he said that Russia has devoted a “simply incredible” number of troops and equipment to bombarding the main access road to Lysychansk and Severodonetsk, which runs between Bakhmut and Lysychansk.

“The Russians do not control this road, but the entire route is being shelled,” he said. “The Russians have amassed huge reserves. Time will tell whether they will have enough strength to take this route.”

5:29 a.m. ET, June 6, 2022

Russia’s attack on Kyiv likely an attempt to disrupt supply of Western arms: UK intelligence

From CNN’s Sophie Jeong in Hong Kong. Previous reporting from Julia Presniakova, Victoria Butenko, Yulia Kesaieva and Bex Wright

A fireman stands near the production shop of the Darnytsia Carriage Repair Plant in Kyiv, Ukraine on June 5.
A fireman stands near the production shop of the Darnytsia Carriage Repair Plant in Kyiv, Ukraine on June 5. (Sergei Chuzavkov/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

A Russian missile attack on Kyiv on Sunday was likely an attempt to disrupt the supply of Western military equipment to frontline Ukrainian units, the UK's Ministry of Defense said in its latest intelligence assessment on Monday.

One of the missiles was intercepted by Ukraine’s air defense unit, but the rest hit “infrastructure facilities in the north of the Ukrainian capital,” the General Staff of Ukraine's armed forces said on Sunday.  

Vadym Denysenko, an adviser to Ukraine's Minister of Internal Affairs, said one military target was hit, and one civilian target.

Several of the missiles hit the Darnytsia Carriage Repair Plant, injuring one railway worker, according to Oleksandr Kamyshin, CEO of the Ukrainian state railway enterprise Ukrzaliznytsia.

But passenger trains were not delayed by the attacks, he said.

Kamyshin denied Russian reports that his company was housing military equipment, and invited journalists to verify that by visiting the plant.

The UK Ministry of Defense also said that heavy fighting continues in the eastern city of Severodonetsk and that Russian forces continue to push towards the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk in the Donetsk region. 

Russian forces have likely moved multiple air defense assets to Snake Island in the Black Sea, including SA-15 and SA-22 systems and it is likely that these weapons are intended to provide air defense for Russian naval vessels operating around Snake Island, the ministry said. 

Russia's activity on Snake Island contributes to its blockade of the Ukrainian coast and hinders the resumption of maritime trade, including exports of Ukrainian grain,” it added.