Kharkiv children evacuated as fears of fresh Russian offensive grow

Ukrainian soldiers from the 13th Brigade of the National Guard fire artillery in the direction of Russian border
Ukrainian soldiers from the 13th Brigade of the National Guard fire artillery in the direction of Russian border - Anadolu
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Children are being evacuated from border villages in the Kharkiv region amid fears of a renewed Russian offensive, local authorities have said.

Six villages in the border districts of Zolochiv, located just a few hundred metres from the Russian border, have been subjected to a “mandatory evacuation”.

Authorities have planned for 1,740 people to be taken out of the area.

Viktor Kovalenko, the Head of Zolochiv Village Military Administration, said that just 140 adult men remain there.

Mr Kovalneko said that the situation at the border is no longer as challenging as last week, but he believes that “it is better to be safe”.

He added that some children didn’t want to leave their homes, but he warned that anyone that returned would face “criminal liability”.

Follow the latest updates below

03:26 PM BST

Thanks for following today’s live blog

Thank you for following today’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine. 
We’ll be back soon with more updates and analysis from the conflict.

02:57 PM BST

Ukraine can shoot down Russian warplanes, says US

Ukraine has had permission since the start of the war to use American weapons to shoot down Kremlin aircraft in Russia territory, the White House’s national security spokesman has said.

John Kirby told reporters: “[Ukraine] can shoot down Russian airplanes that pose an impending threat.  And they have. They have since the beginning of the war.”

The clarification came because of confusion over Washington’s recent decision to relax rules on US-supplied weapons striking military targets on Russian soil.

President Joe Biden gave authorisation for the strikes on a limited basis to help Ukraine defend against Russian advances towards the north-eastern Kharkiv region.

Further reassurance that Kyiv’s forces will also be able to land cross-border strikes with air defence will come as a boost because Russia frequently drops glide bombs from around 40 miles behind its borders.

02:39 PM BST

Pictured: Remote-controlled stretchers may be used by Ukraine’s military

Remote-controlled electric stretchers may soon be spotted on the Ukrainian battlefield soon, making it easier to evacuate injured soldiers under fire.

The vehicle, designed by Dmytro Mamonov, a former factory manager, was on display at a Ukrainian manufacturing presentation outside Kyiv last week.

Remote-controlled medical evacuation vehicles for the military
Remote-controlled medical evacuation vehicles for the military - REUTERS
Soldiers ride on a remote-controlled medical evacuation vehicle designed by Dmytro Mamonov
Soldiers ride on a remote-controlled medical evacuation vehicle designed by Dmytro Mamonov - REUTERS

02:15 PM BST

Russia jails US-Russian citizen for 3.5 years for “rehabilitating Nazism”

A man with dual US-Russian nationality was sentenced by a Russian court on Wednesday to three-and-a-half years in prison on charges of “rehabilitating Nazism”.

Yuri Malev was arrested last December over social media posts in which he was alleged to have denigrated the Saint George’s ribbon, a symbol of Russian military valour.

One contained obscene language and the other showed a picture of a corpse wearing the ribbon with a caption saying “how to wear the Saint George’s ribbon correctly”.

American citizen and Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich is also jailed in Russia on espionage charges
American citizen and Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich is also jailed in Russia on espionage charges - Julian Finney

The court in St Petersburg, where Malev was tried, said this showed disrespect for society and insulted the memory of the Great Patriotic War, as Russians refer to World War Two.

Malev admitted guilt, the court said. A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Moscow did not immediately reply to a request for comment on his conviction.

Baza, a Telegram channel with links to Russian law enforcement, said Malev was a resident of Brooklyn, New York. It said he had entered Russia by bus from Estonia two weeks prior to his arrest.

Several Americans and dual citizens are imprisoned in Russia, including former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, and Russian-American journalist Alsu Kurmasheva.

01:51 PM BST

Spanish firm refurbishing tanks for Ukraine hit by Russian hackers

A unit of a Spanish firm that is refurbishing Leopard tanks for delivery to Ukraine, suffered a cyber attack that took its website down, a pro-Russian hacking group has said.

A spokesperson for the aerospace and defence company General Dynamics, which the Spain-based Santa Barbara Systems is a part of, said it was still investigating the root of the website black out.

The company added that all of its operations in Europe were running normally.

The NoName hacking group - whose attacks direct high volumes of internet traffic towards targeted servers to knock them offline - claimed responsibility for the distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on Telegram.

“We sent our DDoS missiles against websites in Russophobic Spain,” the group, which often directs such actions against countries which support Ukraine, wrote on Telegram.

NATO said last month that Russia was behind an intensifying campaign of hybrid attacks on companies and infrastructure in member states, an accusation Russia dismissed as “misinformation”.

01:20 PM BST

Russia to send more military aid and instructors to Burkina Faso

Russia will send additional military supplies and instructors to Burkina Faso to help the west African country boost its defence capabilities and fight terrorism, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.

Burkina Faso, who has been under military leadership since a 2022 coup, has hosted contingents of Russia’s Wagner mercenary force.

“I have no doubt that thanks to this cooperation, the remaining pockets of terrorism on the territory of Burkina Faso will be destroyed,” Dr Lavrov told a press conference during a trip to Burkina Faso.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with Burkina Faso's Foreign Minister Jean Marie Karamoko Traore
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with Burkina Faso's Foreign Minister Jean Marie Karamoko Traore - AFP

01:00 PM BST

Kremlin: US is blackmailing China by threatening sanctions over exports to Russia

The Kremlin has described comments by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen that Washington would not tolerate China increasing its exports of “dual-use” goods to Russia, and would respond with sanctions, as “blackmail”.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Washington’s tone was completely unacceptable and that Moscow stood in solidarity with Beijing.

“We are well aware that our Chinese comrades do not accept such language, do not accept such messages and such threats, such blackmail,” Mr Peskov told reporters.

The United States says that by providing dual-use goods - which can be used for both civil and military purposes - China is fueling Russia’s war effort in Ukraine.

Ms Yellen said on Tuesday that the US Treasury had seen an increase in Chinese exports of dual-use goods and was very concerned about it.

“I have been extremely clear at the highest levels of the Chinese government that this is something we will not tolerate, and that we intend to sanction this activity,” she said.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen - Anadolu

12:50 PM BST

Investigation into Russian and Belarusian influence in Poland is launched

A special commission created to investigate Russian and Belarusian influence in Poland commended its work on Wednesday, the Polish prime minister announced on Wednesday.

At a news conference in Warsaw, Donald Tusk and other officials described the commission as a non-partisan body of experts whose aim is to protect national security.

Its conception comes at a time of security concerns across the region as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine stretches into its third year.

12:22 PM BST

In pictures: Ukrainian firefighters put out fire in Poltova

We reported earlier that the Ukrainian air force said it destroyed 22 of 27 Shahed drones launched by Russian over five regions overnight (see post at 9:46 am)

Some pictures have just come in of Ukrainian firefighters in the Poltova region putting out the blaze caused by the targeted strike.

Aftermath of a Russian drone strike in Poltava region
Aftermath of a Russian drone strike in Poltava region - REUTERS
Firefighters work at a site of a Russian drone strike in Ukraine's Poltava region
Firefighters work at a site of a Russian drone strike in Ukraine's Poltava region - REUTERS

12:04 PM BST

Listen: the latest episode of the Telegraph’s Ukraine podcast

The latest episode of Ukraine: the Latest, The Telegraph’s daily podcast, looks at recent border trouble up in the baltics and discusses the impact of Joe Biden’s decision to let Ukraine strike Russian forces inside Russia.

It also analyses the Kremlin’s recent geopolitical moves in Africa and central Asia from on the ground in Singapore, where two days ago President Zelelnksy made a surprise appearance at the Shangri-la Dialogue, an Asian security forum.

Listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favourite podcast app.

11:24 AM BST

Ukrainians may face blackouts for most of day during winter

Russia’s targeted destruction of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure could leave Ukrainians without electricity for the “vast majority” of the day by winter, Ukrainian officials have said.

The damage on the country’s energy grid is so extensive that Ukrainians should be preparing for “life in the cold and the dark,” one official told the FT,  on the condition of anonymity.

Another official said that Ukraine should be preparing for a “new normal” of frequent blackouts.

Before Russia launched its full-scale invasion, Ukraine produced around 55 GW of electricity, which was among the largest in Europe.

That power generation capacity has now plummeted to below 20 GW, according to Ukrainian officials.

A thermal power plant which was destroyed by a Russian rocket attack in Ukraine
A thermal power plant which was destroyed by a Russian rocket attack in Ukraine - Evgeniy Maloletka/AP

10:51 AM BST

French military instructors in Ukraine would be ‘legitimate target’ for Russia, Lavrov says

Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has said Moscow is prepared to target French military instructors in Ukraine.

Speaking at a joint news conference with his counterpart in the Republic of Congo, Mr Lavrov said he had “reason to believe” the instructors were “already working” in the country.

It comes after top Ukrainian commander Oleksandr Syrskyi said last week that he had signed paperwork allowing French military instructors to visit Ukrainian training centres soon.

“Regardless of whether they are members of the French Armed Forces or simply mercenaries, they represent an absolutely legitimate target for our armed forces,” he said.

10:31 AM BST

Macron to meet Zelensky in Paris on Friday

Emmanuel Macron will host Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky in Paris on Friday for talks on the war-ravaged nation’s needs to defend against the Kremlin, the Elysee palace announced.

“As Russian strikes intensify on the front line and against energy infrastructure, the two presidents will discuss the situation on the ground,” the presidential palace said Tuesday.

The meeting between the two leaders is set to take place after D-Day commemorations.

The Ukrainian president will be welcomed by France’s Armed Forces Minister Sebastien Lecornu with military honours on Friday morning.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and French Fresident Emmanuel Macron shake hands in Kyiv
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and French Fresident Emmanuel Macron shake hands in Kyiv - LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP

10:16 AM BST

Biden to meet with Zelensky in Normandy before attending G7

Joe Biden will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Normandy following the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of D-Day, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday.

“In Normandy, Biden will have the opportunity to meet with President Zelensky and discuss the state of affairs in Ukraine and how we can deepen our support for Ukraine,” Mr Sullivan said.

“In a few days, he will also have the opportunity to meet with President Zelensky again at the G7 summit in Italy.”

President Biden flew to France on Tuesday to mark the 80th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy and meet with President Emmanuel Macron.

Almost 200 D-Day veterans from the United States, Great Britain, and Canada participated in the celebrations.

US President Biden arrived in France to attend the commemoration ceremonies on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of D-Day
US President Biden arrived in France to attend the commemoration ceremonies on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of D-Day - Shutterstock

10:09 AM BST

Ukraine bans dual citizens from leaving

Ukrainians with dual citizenship will no longer be allowed to leave the country and may be drafted into the Armed Forces.

This new regulation, which came into effect on Saturday, impacts American-Ukrainian dual citizens. It isn’t known whether this ban applies to citizens of countries other than the US.

The US Embassy in Ukraine said that American-Ukrainian dual citizens are considered exclusively as Ukrainian citizens while in Ukraine and are subject to the same rights and obligations, including military conscription.

“The US Embassy is limited in our ability to influence Ukrainian law...If you are in Ukraine and cannot leave the country, shelter in place and obey all local orders,” the official note, posted on the US Embassy website, said.

Previously, dual citizens could freely enter and leave Ukraine by deregistering their residence there and registering in the United States.

However, under the new regulations, men aged 18 to 60 with dual citizenship are advised to avoid traveling to Ukraine or to renounce their Ukrainian citizenship to avoid being drafted.

09:46 AM BST

Ukraine downs 22 Shahed drones

The Ukrainian air force said it destroyed 22 of 27 Shahed drones launched by Russian over five regions overnight.

The assault damaged an industrial facility and injured one person in the Poltava region, its governor, Filip Pronin, announced on the Telegraph messaging app.

The Ukrainian military destroyed six drones over the southern region of Mykolaiv, its governor said.

Debris from one of them demolished a private home, and damaged roughly 10 more, but no casualties were reported, he added.

It was reported in February that Russia paid Iran almost $2bn in gold bullion for 6,000 Shahed-136 drones to annihilate Ukrainian cities.

Known as ‘kamikaze’ drones, they are cheap, noisy and expendable and were instrumental in the autumn/winter phase of the war when Russia began terrorising heating supply to grind down Ukrainian morale.

09:31 AM BST

Russian sociologist Kagarlitsky loses appeal against 5-year sentence for ‘justifying terrorism’

Russia’s Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an appeal by sociologist and activist Boris Kagarlitsky against his five-year prison sentence on charges of “justifying terrorism”, the TASS state news agency reported.

Kagarlitsky, 65, is a longtime political dissident and has repeatedly denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a magazine he edited and on his YouTube channel.

A petition calling for his release has been signed by influential supporters from around the world, including former British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.

A Russian court ordered Mr Kagarlitsky to pay a 600,000-rouble ($6,580) fine in December 2023 after finding him guilty of “publicly justifying terrorism” in a video commenting on a Ukrainian attack on the bridge linking Russia to annexed Crimea in October 2022.

09:08 AM BST

Europe’s Ariane 6 rocket debut planned for July 9

Europe’s new Ariane 6 satellite launcher will stage a long-awaited inaugural flight on July 9, the head of the European Space Agency said on Wednesday.

The French-made next generation rocket is intended to  carry forward the space ambitions of the European Union and take the geo navigation satellites into space.

Originally due in 2020, the repeatedly delayed debut comes a year after its predecessor, Ariane 5, was retired.

ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher also told reporters that the plan was for the first commercial launch of Ariane 6 to take place before the end of the year.

The lift-off of Arianespace's Ariane 5 rocket
The lift-off of Arianespace's Ariane 5 rocket - Shutterstock

08:39 AM BST

More than 500,000 Russia troops killed in war

Russia has lost 513,700 troops in Ukraine since the beginning of its full-scale invasion on 24 February 2022, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said on Wednesday.

This number includes 1,280 casualties Russian forces suffered just over the past day.

08:32 AM BST

Kyiv welcomes ‘important’ participation of US VP Harris at Ukraine summit

Kyiv on Wednesday welcomed an announcement that US Vice President Kamala Harris will attend an upcoming summit on Ukraine, despite earlier urging President Joe Biden’s participation.

“It is important news that US Vice President Kamala Harris has been confirmed to participate in the Peace Summit to be held on 15-16 June in Switzerland,” the head of the president’s office, Andriy Yermak, said on social media.

He also announced two upcoming meetings between Biden and President Volodymyr Zelensky, but gave no further details.

US Vice President Kamala Harris
US Vice President Kamala Harris - AP/Matt Rourke

08:12 AM BST

Duolingo deletes LGBT references in Russia after warning from Moscow

Language learning app Duolingo has deleted references in Russia to what Moscow calls “non-traditional sexual relations” after being warned by Russia’s communications regulator about publishing LGBT “propaganda.”

It comes as Russia last year intensified restrictions of what it calls LGBT propaganda amid a wider crackdown on LGBT rights.

“We support LGBTQ+ rights and believe in normalizing LGBTQ+ representation in our content,” a Duolingo spokesperson said.

“Unfortunately, local laws prohibit us from including certain content in Russia. Duolingo’s mission is to expand access to quality education around the world and we’re committed to maintaining access to our product everywhere that is legal to do so.”

Russia has called the “LGBT movement” extremist, which President Vladimir Putin has sought to portray as evidence of moral decay in Western countries.

08:01 AM BST

Zelensky: Russia has ‘robbed an entire generation of Ukrainian children of a normal life’

Volodymyr Zelensky has shared an emotional video depicting some of the children who have been ‘robbed of a normal life’ since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian President said: “Many little Ukrainians will never grow up because they were killed in Russian attacks.”

“Thousands have been kidnapped, transferred from Ukraine to Russia, and scattered among strangers. Most of them are unable to contact their families,” he added.

07:53 AM BST

What are ‘Kamikaze’ Shahed-136 drones?

The Iranian-designed Shahed-136, a one-way attack drone, are being used by the Kremlin in deadly attacks against Ukraine.

Tehran recently announced a newer 236 model, which is propelled by a jet engine.

‌The drones are believed to be upgraded at a production facility in Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan before being deployed by Moscow’s forces.‌

07:41 AM BST

Allies make progress on using Russian assets for Ukraine, US official says

The United States and its G7 partners were advancing discussions on how to generate more urgently needed funds for Ukraine by tapping the value of profits earned on frozen Russian assets, a senior US Treasury official said on Tuesday.

Brent Neiman, assistant secretary for international finance, said a recent decision by the European Union to use the annual flow of windfall profits earned on the immobilised assets could potentially produce billions of dollars per year to help Ukraine stave off Russia’s military invasion.

“One possibility may be to lend a significant amount up front to help Ukraine over the short run and link repayment of that loan to the stream of future windfall profits,” said Neiman, who recently returned from a visit to Ukraine.

If successful, the move would provide an immediate fiscal boost to Ukraine and send a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that he “cannot simply outlast Ukraine and its partners,” he added.

07:32 AM BST

Hello and welcome to our live coverage

We’re bringing you the latest updates from the Ukraine war.

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 3 months with unlimited access to our award-winning website, exclusive app, money-saving offers and more.