Ukrainian soldiers remained at the Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk despite Russia’s order to lay down their weapons on Wednesday.
- US President Joe Biden said Washington will provide an additional $ 1 billion in security assistance to Ukraine
- The Russian military said it destroyed a depot in the western region of Lviv, which contained ammunition for NATO-supplied weapons.
- German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi are expected to visit Kyiv on Thursday.
- Ukrainian fighters inside the Severodonetsk Azot chemical plant ignored Russia’s ultimatum to surrender.
- The Russian Defense Ministry accused Ukrainian forces of disrupting efforts to allow civilians to exit the chemical plant on Wednesday.
Here are the latest updates:
No immediate need for Ukraine aid from Congress: White House
The White House does not believe it now needs an additional aid package for Ukraine from Congress after only passing a recently passed $40 billion measure.
“I don’t think we’re there yet,” John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, told reporters on Wednesday.
Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister says the ruble is overvalued: Tass
Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov said that the ruble is overvalued and the industry would be more comfortable if it fell between 70 and 80 against the US dollar from the current 57, Tass news agency reported. .
Belousov, speaking to the agency in an interview, said Russia’s annual inflation by the end of the year will be around 15%. As of June 10, it was 16.69 percent.
NATO arsenal destroyed near the Polish border: Russia
The Russian military said it used long-range missiles to destroy a warehouse in the western Ukraine region of Lviv that contained ammunition for weapons supplied by NATO.
Near the border with NATO member Poland, Russian forces used high-precision Kalibr missiles to destroy the depot near the town of Zolochiv, said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.
Konashenkov said M777 shells, supplied by the United States, were stored there. He said four artillery planes were destroyed elsewhere and that Russian air strikes also destroyed Ukrainian “aviation equipment” at a military airport in southern Mykolaiv.
Ukrainian officials were not immediately available for comment.
German, French, Italian leaders in Kyiv expect unity
The leaders of the three largest countries of the European Union, Germany, France and Italy, are expected to arrive in Kyiv on Thursday to show their support for Ukraine.
The visit by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi took weeks to organize with all three seeking to overcome criticism in Ukraine over their response to the war. .
“We are at a point where we need to send clear political signals, us Europeans, towards Ukraine and its people when it is resisting heroically,” Macron said. .
The trip, which has not been announced for security reasons, comes a day before the European Commission made its recommendation on Ukraine’s EU candidacy, something the biggest European nations have been a fan of.
Ukraine ignores Severodonetsk ultimatum to surrender
Ukraine has ignored Russia’s ultimatum to surrender to the eastern city of Severodonetsk, now largely in ruins after weeks of intense shelling.
Russia asked Ukrainian forces to hide in a chemical plant there to take down their weapons. Ukraine said more than 500 civilians, including 40 children, remained with soldiers inside the Azot chemical plant.
Moscow says it has opened a humanitarian corridor from Azot to allow civilians to flee to Russian-controlled territory. They accused Ukrainian forces of foiling that plan and using civilians as human shields, which Kyiv denies.
West must focus on Ukraine: Pentagon chief
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is at a “critical moment” and the US and its allies can’t help but focus on the three-month conflict, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said.
Austin was speaking at a meeting of dozens of defense ministers on the sidelines of the NATO ministerial meeting.
“We cannot give up and we cannot lose our breath. The stakes are too high,” Austin said at the start of the meeting in Brussels. “Ukraine is facing a pivotal moment on the battlefield… Russia is using long-range firepower to try to overwhelm Ukrainian positions.”
.@SecDef: I’m personally grateful for the important security support that this [Ukraine Defense Contact Group] has offered so far, but we can’t ignore it and we can’t afford to lose steam. The bet is too high. pic.twitter.com/xlpSuLTrLO
– Ministry of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) June 15, 2022
You can read all the updates for June 16 here.