The Russian military reports the killing of 360 Ukrainian soldiers in an airstrike. Fierce fighting raged around Sievjerodonetsk. And: A tapped phone call does not reflect well on the Russian troops. All news about the attack on Ukraine can be found here in the ticker.
11:37 a.m.: A phone call intercepted by Ukraine’s main intelligence directorate gives an insight into the state of the Russian armed forces. In it, soldiers of the Donetsk People’s Republic complain that physically unfit people have been forced into service because they don’t want to go to the front voluntarily. In addition, the units would suffer from general disorder and mass intoxication, i.e. they would be drunk all the time.
The rotation of the armed forces is also difficult. Odessa military administration spokesman Maksym Marchenko said that 30 to 40 percent of Russian personnel who left Ukraine refused to return. This forced Russian commanders to send unprepared and unmotivated units into battle on their behalf.
11:14 a.m .: According to their own statements, the Russian military launched further heavy air, rocket and artillery attacks during the night. “In total, more than 360 nationalists and 49 weapon systems and military vehicles were destroyed by air force strikes, including a radio station for air surveillance in Sloviansk in the Donetsk People’s Republic,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Friday. The headquarters of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Donbass is located in the Sloviansk area.
According to Russian information, in addition to main battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, several Soviet-made Grad rocket launchers and four ammunition depots for the Ukrainian artillery and rocket forces in the Donbass region were fired upon. In addition, dozens of command posts and a point for controlling drones in the southern Ukrainian region of Mykolaiv were hit, Konashenkov said. The information could not be verified using independent sources.
09:48: With more than 40 ships and 20 aircraft, the Russian Army’s Pacific Fleet is holding a week-long series of exercises. This is reported by several Russian news agencies, citing a statement by the Russian Defense Ministry. Accordingly, the exercise will take place from June 3rd to 10th.
8:56 a.m .: According to British intelligence services, Russia now controls more than 90 percent of the Luhansk region in Ukraine. It is likely that Moscow will take full control there in the next two weeks, the British Ministry of Defense said in an update on Friday. These tactical advances, achieved by concentrating Russian troops in a single region, have cost Moscow significant resources, it said. On all other fronts the Russians failed to make any progress. Instead, they are now on the defensive there.
Since the beginning of the war, the British government has regularly published intelligence information on the course of the war of aggression in an unusually open manner. Moscow accuses London of a targeted disinformation campaign.
8:01 a.m .: According to their own statements, the Ukrainian military continues to hold positions in the heavily contested city of Sievjerodonetsk, the administrative center of the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine. “Fighting continues in the center of Sievjerodonetsk,” the Ukrainian General Staff said in its situation report on Friday. The enemy is shelling the Ukrainian positions in the city, in the suburbs of Borivsk and Ustynivka, and in the twin city of Lysychansk, which forms a conurbation with Sieverodonetsk.
In addition, the General Staff reported air raids on the village of Myrna Dolyna and unsuccessful attempts to storm the urban settlements of Metyolkine and Bilohorivka in the immediate vicinity of Sieverodonetsk. According to information from Kyiv, the attempt to cut off the conurbation further west from the supply lines by means of attacks in the Bakhmut area has also failed so far.
In the direction of Sloviansk, part of a metropolitan area in the Donetsk region with around half a million inhabitants, Russian attacks are also making slow progress. Assault attempts were made from Lyman, and the fighting continued, the general staff said. Attacks from the north were repelled with heavy enemy losses.
There are no active ground offensives on other sectors of the front due to the Russian concentration on Sieverodonetsk. However, Russian artillery is in action in many places, and sometimes also the Air Force. According to the General Staff, Ukrainian troops have repulsed five attacks in the past 24 hours, destroying five main battle tanks, three artillery systems and two infantry fighting vehicles. There is no confirmation from an independent source for any of the information.
Friday, June 3, 5:10 a.m.: In the embattled city of Sievjerodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, according to Ukrainian and Russian sources, civilians are hiding in bunkers under a chemical plant. The Ukrainian administration of the Luhansk region, which was almost lost to Russia, spoke of about 800 people in the Azot (nitrogen) factory on Thursday. “These are local people who have been asked to leave town but have refused. There are also children there, but not very many,” Governor Serhij Hajdaj told US broadcaster CNN.
Despite the advance of Russian troops in the city, the factory continues to be defended by Ukrainian soldiers. A spokesman for the pro-Russian Luhansk separatists accused Ukrainian gunmen of luring civilians into the plant and using force to prevent them from leaving. This was reported by the agency Tass.
In the southern Ukrainian port of Mariupol, Ukrainian soldiers and civilians had been under fire for weeks in bunkers under the Azovstal steelworks. For the Russian side, the capture of the steel mill in mid-May was an important victory. From a military point of view, however, the chemical plant is less important than Azovstal, said Hajdaj according to Ukrainian press reports.
10:37 p.m .: Alexander Dwornikov should bring Russia and its president victory in Ukraine. To this end, Vladimir Putin sent his general, whose nickname is “Butcher” because he has often acted with great brutality in the past, to Ukraine at the end of April.
At the same time, this was seen as an admission that the Russian plan to overrun Ukraine within a few days had failed. Shortly after his arrival, he tried to coordinate the hitherto uncoordinated actions of the air and land units, the New York Times reports.
According to the report, the “butcher” has not been seen for two weeks and seems to have disappeared. There is therefore speculation as to whether Dvornikov is still responsible for leading Russia’s troops in the Ukraine war.
Although Russia has conquered large areas in recent weeks, Putin’s troops have still not achieved air supremacy. An official reports that Russian pilots continue to be risk-averse. “They fly over the border to launch attacks and then quickly return to Russian territory, rather than staying in Ukrainian airspace to deny access to their opponents. The result is that Russia has still not achieved air sovereignty.”
5:00 p.m .: The Ukrainian military does not want to give up the embattled administrative center of Sievjerodonetsk in the Luhansk region to Russian troops. “The situation is difficult, but it’s better than yesterday. And it is under control,” Deputy Chief of Staff Oleksiy Hromov told journalists in the capital Kyiv on Thursday. The Ukrainian authorities had previously announced that the city was largely under the control of Russian troops.
There are very bloody street fights in the city, Hromow said. Sievjerodonetsk is considered the last major Ukrainian stronghold in the Luhansk region. According to their own statements, pro-Russian troops and the Russian military are about to take power there.
Hromow and Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maljar took stock this Friday with a view to the 100th day of the war. “Our resistance is unbroken after all these months. The enemy has not achieved the goals they have set for themselves,” Maljar said. “We are ready for a long-term war. We are prepared for a long war.” Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of the neighboring country on February 24. The complete capture of the eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk was repeatedly mentioned as a goal. So far this has not been successful.
Maljar praised the fact that the “dynamics of arms deliveries” from the West are finally picking up speed. For security reasons, it did not provide any information on the time and place of the deliveries. Ukraine wants to stop the advance of Russian troops and liberate occupied cities with heavy weapons from the USA and Germany, among others. “It’s about defending ourselves,” she said when asked whether – as Moscow feared – Russian territory could also be attacked.
Deputy Chief of Staff Hromov said that Russia’s airstrikes and artillery shelling are aimed primarily at the “total destruction of infrastructure”, including railway connections. It is about the same procedure, especially with air attacks by Russian troops as in Syria. Even so, they failed to achieve their goals, he said.
1:44 p.m .: The mayor of Mariupol announced in his Telegram channel that Russia is de facto enforcing the death penalty in the city and the surrounding area. Several volunteers and officials were shot because they refused to cooperate with the occupiers. The information cannot be independently verified.
1:15 p.m .: According to Ukrainian President Voldomyr Zelenskyy, Russia currently controls a fifth of the country. The Russian army currently holds many areas, especially in the Donbass. According to Zelensky, around 125,000 square kilometers are under Russian control, i.e. a good 20% of Ukraine’s territory.
300,000 square kilometers are mined, more than five million people have fled abroad because of the war.
10:11 a.m .: In Ukraine, several regions reported air and missile attacks on Thursday night and early in the morning. “Four enemy cruise missiles were fired. They were shot down from the Black Sea,” confirmed the head of the military administration in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, Maxym Kosytskyi, on his Telegram channel on Thursday. Accordingly, the night rocket attack was aimed at railway objects in the Stryi and Sambir districts. Explosions were also heard in the port city of Odessa, in southern Ukraine, in the morning.
While Kosytzkyj spoke of five injuries, the authorities have not yet provided any information on the attacks in Odessa. The spokesman for the regional military administration, Serhiy Brachuk, confirmed an air alert, but at the same time warned local media against publishing damage reports before there were any public announcements.
In northern Ukraine, the authorities have already published such information. The governor of the Sumy region, Dmitro Shyvytskyi, announced on his Telegram channel that rocket fire in Krasnopilya district had completely destroyed a residential building and injured three people. According to Governor Oleh Synehubov, a woman was killed and another injured in the neighboring Kharkiv region. The night shelling hit a school in the Saltivka district of Kharkiv.
8:06 a.m .: The Ukrainian military concede that the Russian offensive in Komyshuvakha was at least “partially successful”. The urban settlement is south of the city of Lyssychansk, a stage destination for the Russians. Lysychansk and Sieverodonetsk are separated only by the Seversky Donets River.
The attack from the south is intended to protect the Russian armed forces from having to cross this river again, according to the military experts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) in their most recent analysis. During the campaign, the Russian military made several unsuccessful attempts to cross the river using floating bridges.
According to the Ukrainian general staff, another such attempt failed outside the city of Sloviansk. There, Russian troops coming from Lyman tried to take the village of Raihorodok on the Siwerski Donets, but were repulsed.
6:21 a.m .: Russian troops are taking building by building in the strategically important industrial city of Sievjerodonetsk in eastern Ukraine. They now controlled “80 percent of the city,” said regional governor Serhij Gajdaj on Thursday night. Ukrainian army chief Valeriy Zalushnyi said his soldiers in Luhansk were facing the “most difficult situation” at the moment.
“The enemy has an operational advantage in terms of artillery,” he admitted in a telephone conversation on Wednesday with his French colleague Thierry Burkhard, according to Kyiv. He advocated converting his troops to NATO types of weapons “as soon as possible”. “It would save lives.” Ukraine is hoping for multiple rocket launchers recently promised by US President Joe Biden, which promise greater range and accuracy.
“The situation in the east is really difficult,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told US broadcaster Newsmax in an interview published on Wednesday. “Every day we lose 60 to 100 soldiers who are killed in combat and about 500 are wounded.”
You can read more reports on the Ukraine conflict on the following pages.