Germany to ship ‘most modern air defense system’

Children in Bucha wear traditional dress as they take part in events to mark Children’s Day on June 1, in Bucha, Ukraine. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Russian forces now control most of the city of Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, while new statistics have revealed the horrifying impact the war has had on Ukrainian children.

Here are the latest developments on Russia’s war in Ukraine:

Russians control 70% of Severodonetsk: Serhiy Hayday, the head of the Luhansk regional military administration, said Russian troops are now in control of most of Severodonetsk. “Part of the Ukrainian troops” have now “retreated to more advantageous, pre-prepared positions,” said Hayday, while other troops continue “fighting inside the city.” If Russian forces gain control of Severodonetsk, the neighboring city of Lysychansk will be the only urban area of any size in Luhansk to remain under Ukrainian control.

Scale of suffering among children revealed: At least 243 children have died and 446 others have been injured in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began in February, the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office said on Wednesday, which marks Children’s Day in Ukraine. Meanwhile, UNICEF said the lives of millions of children had been “shattered,” with 3 million Ukrainian children needing humanitarian assistance inside the country, plus more than 2.2 million in refugee-hosting countries.

Pope calls for wheat supplies to resume: Pope Francis has called for the lifting of a blockade on wheat exports from Ukraine, saying the staple food should not be used “as a weapon of war.” Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that 22 million tons of grain cannot be exported due to the Russian blockade, but the Kremlin has repeatedly rejected the accusations that it has blocked grain supplies.

Russian senator dismisses EU oil embargo: The Russian economy will not suffer due to the EU’s partial ban on its oil, due to new markets and rising fuel prices, the speaker of Russia’s Federation Council said on Wednesday, according to Russian state news agency TASS. “We can easily redirect this oil, for which there is a huge demand, to other markets,” Valentina Matviyenko told reporters. “The world market has only a certain volume of production, a certain volume of oil sales. No one’s getting it from the moon.”

Germany to ship “most modern air defense system”: Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday that Germany will send more weapons to Ukraine, including the IRIS-T air defense system. “This will enable Ukraine to protect an entire city from Russian air attacks,” he said.

Ukraine prepares for World Cup playoff: National team football players will play against Scotland in Glasgow on Wednesday night. If they win and then beat Wales in Cardiff on Sunday, the country will secure qualification for the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

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