Ukrainians evacuated from eastern city amid battles in Donbas

  • Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has thanked the UK for its “effective support”, following an in-person meeting with the British defence secretary in Kyiv.
  • Estonia has summoned the Russian ambassador to condemn President Vladimir Putin’s “completely unacceptable” praise of Peter the Great.
  • A Ukrainian governor says the country conducted its 11th prisoner exchange with Russia.
  • Amid heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine, 300 Ukrainians left the city of Pokrovsk on a special evacuation train heading to Dnipro and other cities further west.
(Al Jazeera)

Here are the latest updates:

US Defence Secretary warns of “chaos and turmoil’

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has given an impassioned defence of the international rules-based order at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

He told delegates at the security summit that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was an “indefensible assault” on a peaceful neighbour.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is what happens when oppressors trample on the rules that protect us all,” he said. “It’s what happens when big powers decide their imperial appetites matter more than their smaller neighbours.”

Austin warned such disregard for the rules-based international order risked creating a “world of chaos and turmoil that none of us would want to live in.”


EU unity must not be compromised by Ukraine candidate status: France

A decision to give Ukraine candidate status to the European Union has to be done without weakening the bloc and to ensure Kyiv is not left in limbo for years, a French presidential official has said.

The European Commission will give its opinion on Ukraine’s candidacy request on June 17, and the EU’s heads of state are expected to discuss the issue at a summit a week later.

“We know that there are different sensitivities on the subject within the European Union,” the French presidential source told reporters.

“We will pay attention to the unity of the European Council. We believe also that the European Union must come out of this crisis in Ukraine stronger and must not come out weakened.”


Growing concerns about Russian artillery superiority: ISW

The Institute for the Study of War says Ukraine is making more urgent requests for sophisticated Western weaponry as a result of concerns about Russia’s superiority in artillery.

It cites a senior military intelligence official saying that Russian troops have 10 to 15 artillery pieces for every one held by Ukrainian forces.

“Considering the current prevalence of protracted positional battles, especially in the Severodonetsk- Lysychansk area, Ukrainian forces urgently need fresh supplies of artillery systems,” ISW said in latest update on the war. “As Ukrainian forces use the last of their stocks of Soviet-era weapon systems and munitions, they will require consistent Western support to transition to new supply chains of ammunition and artillery systems. Effective artillery will be increasingly decisive in the largely static fighting in eastern Ukraine.”


Russia wants to destroy every city in Donbas: Zelenskyy

Zelenskyy has said his army’s ability to hold off Russian forces in the Donbas region depends on the supply of Western weapons.

“The Ukrainian troops are doing everything to stop the offensive of the occupiers, as much as is possible. As much as the heavy weapons, modern artillery – all that we have asked for and continue to ask for from our partners – allow them,” he said in his nightly video address.

He said that Russia wants to destroy every city in the region.

“Every city – that’s not an exaggeration. Like Volnovakha, like Mariupol. All of these ruins of once-happy cities, the black traces of fires, the craters from explosions – this is all that Russia can give to its neighbours, to Europe, to the world.”


US inflation at new 40-year high as price increases spread

The prices of gas, food and most other goods and services in the United States jumped in May, the Labor Department has said, raising inflation to a new four-decade high and giving American households no respite from rising costs.

The report underscored fears that inflation is spreading well beyond energy and goods whose prices are being driven up by clogged supply chains and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It also sent stock prices tumbling.

“Virtually every sector has higher-than-normal inflation,” said Ethan Harris, head of global economic research at Bank of America. “It’s made its way into every nook and cranny of the economy. That’s the thing that makes it concerning because it means it’s likely to persist.”


Celebrity chef Jose Andres testifies before Congress subcommittee

Celebrity chef and philanthropist Jose Andres, founder of World Central Kitchen, has testified during a US congressional hearing on efforts to address the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

Andres told lawmakers that structural changes and reforms are needed to improve how the international community responds to urgent humanitarian needs around the world.

“The best way America and the international community can be helping Ukraine is not by bringing everything from the outside but is making sure that we keep supporting the local economy, the local infrastructure, investing the money locally, creating jobs locally that will keep Ukraine in the fight for freedom of their country,” he said.


Ukraine conducts 11th prisoner exchange with Russia

A Ukrainian governor said on Friday that his country has conducted the 11th prisoner swap with Russia since February, exchanging four Russians for five Ukrainians.

Mykolaiv region governor Vitaliy Kim wrote on Telegram that one of the freed Ukrainians was local village head Oleh Pylypenko, who Kim said was “kidnapped” by Russian forces on March 10.


Estonia summons Russian envoy to protest Putin remarks

Estonia has summoned the Russian ambassador to condemn President Vladimir Putin’s “completely unacceptable” praise of Peter the Great, a Russian ruler who captured a city that is now Estonian.

Estonia’s foreign ministry said Ambassador Vladimir Lipayev had been summoned “to condemn recent statements by President Putin … including his comments on the Estonian city of Narva,” it said in a statement.

“At a time when Russia is … trying to destroy the statehood and people of Ukraine, it is also completely unacceptable,” it added.


Zelenskyy thanks UK for ‘effective support’

Zelenskyy has thanked the United Kingdom for its “effective support” of Kyiv, following an in-person meeting with Britain’s defence chief.

British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace met Zelenskyy, as well as his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov, during an unannounced two-day visit to Kyiv.

“The head of state thanked the minister for the effective support of Ukraine by the British government in our fight against Russian aggression,” Zelenskyy’s press service said in a statement.

“The war showed who our real friends and partners are, not only strategic, but effectively acting today. Great Britain is one of such friends.”


Ukraine fears a long war might cause West to lose interest

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine grinds on, officials in Kyiv have expressed fears that the spectre of “war fatigue” could erode the West’s resolve to help the country push back against the Russian offensive.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy already has chafed at Western suggestions he should accept some sort of compromise. Ukraine, he said, would decide its own terms for peace.

“The fatigue is growing, people want some kind of outcome [that is beneficial] for themselves, and we want [an] outcome for ourselves,” he said.

Read more here.


Hundreds flee as forces fight for control in Ukraine’s east

Hundreds of people have continued to flee intense fighting in eastern Ukraine as Russian and Ukrainian forces battle for control of key cities and villages in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

Ukrainians left the city of Pokrovsk on a special evacuation train heading to Dnipro and other cities further west.

The train carried about 300 people — mostly women, children, and the elderly — who were forced to leave as the fighting neared their homes.

According to the UN refugee agency, as of Thursday, 4.9 million Ukrainians have fled to other countries in Europe in search of safety since the war began.


Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read all the updates from Friday, June 10 here.

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