June 9, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Ed Upright, Jack Guy, Adrienne Vogt, Aditi Sangal, Kathleen Magramo and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 2:54 a.m. ET, June 10, 2022
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9:42 p.m. ET, June 8, 2022

Food is now part of Russia's "arsenal of terror," says EU chief

From CNN’s Niamh Kennedy in London  

Food has become part of Russia's “arsenal of terror,” European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday.  

In an address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, von der Leyen stressed the urgent need to restore Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, as a remedy to the looming global food crisis.

“This is a cold, callous and calculated siege by Putin on some of the most vulnerable countries and people in the world. And therefore now, Honorable Members, food has become now part of the Kremlin's arsenal of terror, and we cannot tolerate it,” Von der Leyen told EU lawmakers.  

The EU’s sanctions against Russia “do not touch basic food commodities,” the EU Commission chief stressed.  

“They do not affect the trading of grain or other foods between Russia and third countries. And the port embargo specifically has full exemption on agricultural goods,” she added, highlighting the need to counter Russian "disinformation" about the food crisis.  

Her remarks come as Russian and Turkish foreign ministers held meetings in Ankara on Wednesday to discuss issues related to grain exports from Ukraine.

Von der Leyen thanked the United Nations for its “efforts” to help restore Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, reiterating that the “majority of Ukrainian grain can only be exported” through these routes. 

There is an expectation for the EU to show the “same solidarity” it has “shown to Ukraine when it comes to addressing the food crisis in the world,” she added, committing the bloc to this task.  

9:41 p.m. ET, June 8, 2022

Ukraine files 8 more war crimes cases, says prosecutor general

From CNN's Oleksandra Ochman and Mick Krever

Ukraine has filed eight more war crimes cases involving Russian soldiers, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said on national television on Wednesday.

“We are not just talking about combatants who came to the theater of operations, but about those who came to rape, loot, kill civilians,” Venediktova said.

On May 23, a 21-year-old Russian soldier was sentenced to life in prison for killing an unarmed man in Ukraine's first war crimes trial since Russia's invasion.

Another two Russian soldiers were convicted for “violating the laws of war” by the Kotelevsky district court of Poltava region on May 31.

Venediktova said that prosecutors are investigating about 16,000 war crimes cases.

9:41 p.m. ET, June 8, 2022

Zelensky says he discussed "enhancing defense support" with German leader

From CNN's Mick Krever

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday that he had discussed improving his country's defenses during a phone call with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

“Had a phone conversation with Olaf Scholz,” Zelensky said on Twitter. “Discussed enhancing defense support for [Ukraine] & ensuring global food security. Raised the issue of RF [The Russian Federation]'s compliance with international rules of treatment of war prisoners. Stressed the importance of decisions on the integration of [Ukraine] in [The European Union].

In recent months, the German government and Chancellor Scholz have come under pressure from Ukraine and politicians at home for not doing enough to help Ukraine defend itself against the Russian invasion.

But at the end of April, Germany agreed to deliver Gepard anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine, and last week it said it will supply Ukraine with seven self-propelled howitzers.

While relations between the two countries have improved, ''we have to make sure that the positive dynamic is maintained and we all move forward and that right decisions are being taken,'' Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on May 12.