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    Actor Ben Stiller seen in Lviv whilst working with UNHCR to support Ukrainian refugees

    Ukraine has “largely neutralized” the threat posed by Russia in the north-west Black Sea, the British Ministry of Defense (MoD) has said.

    In its latest military update, the MoD said Kyiv had successfully used western-donated Harpoon anti-ship missiles against the Russians for the first time, destroying the naval tug Spasatel Vasily Bekh while it was on a resupplying mission near Snake Island on 17 June.

    Through such actions, Ukraine has “undermined the viability of Russia’s original operational design for the invasion, which involved holding the Odesa region at risk from the sea”, the MoD added.

    Elsewhere, the situation in the eastern Donbas region is “extremely difficult”, the Ukrainian governor of Luhansk province has said, warning that Russia was preparing for a large-scale offensive.

    Speaking on Monday evening, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said Moscow was likely to increase its attacks in the build-up to an EU summit on Thursday and Friday.

    “We are defending Lysychansk, Sievierodonetsk, this whole area, the most difficult one. We have the most difficult fighting there,” he said. “But we have our strong guys and girls there.”

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    Russia Nobel Peace Prize winner sells medal for £84m to raise funds for Ukrainian refugees

    A Russian Nobel Peace Prize winner has auctioned off his medal for a record $103.5 million (£84m), with the proceeds to be donated to aid programs for Ukrainian refugees.

    Dmitry Muratov, the editor of Novaya Gazeta, one of Russia’s remaining independent newspapers, was the co-recipient of the awards in 2021.

    His prize was auctioned off in the US by Heritage Auctions, who said: “This award is unlike any other auction offering to present.

    “Mr Muratov, with the full support of his staff at Novaya Gazeta, is allowing us to auction his medal not as a collectible but as an event that he hopes will positively impact the lives of millions of Ukrainian refugees.”

    Rory Sullivan21 June 2022 08:03

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    Ukraine prepares for Russia ‘storm’ in Donbas

    Russia gained some territory in Luhansk on Monday and is preparing for a large-scale assault, the governor of the region has said.

    “It’s a calm before the storm,” Serhiy Gaidai said.

    His comments came as Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said Moscow was likely to increase its attacks in the run-up to an EU summit later this week.

    “We are defending Lysychansk, Sievierodonetsk, this whole area, the most difficult one. We have the most difficult fighting there,” he said. “But we have our strong guys and girls there.”

    Meanwhile, Rodion Miroshnik, a pro-Russian separatist in Luhansk, said the Kremlin’s forces were advancing towards Lysychansk, near the embattled city of Sievierodonetsk.

    “The hours to come should bring considerable changes to the balance of forces in the area,” he said on Telegram.

    Rory Sullivan21 June 2022 07:25

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    Ukraine has stopped Russia controlling Black Sea, claims UK

    Britain’s MoD has claimed that Ukraine’s coastal defense capability has largely rendered Russian attempts to control the sea during its invasion ineffective.

    “Ukrainian coastal defense capability has largely neutralized Russia’s ability to establish sea control and project maritime force in the north-western Black Sea,” the defense ministry said in its latest intelligence update.

    It added that this edge displayed by Ukraine has “undermined the viability of Russia’s original operational design for the invasion, which involved holding the Odesa region at risk from the sea”.

    This comes just days after the Ukrainian forces claimed their first successful use of western-donated Harpoon anti-ship missiles to engage Russian maritime forces.

    “The target of the attack was almost certainly the Russian naval tug Spasatel Vasily Bekh, which was delivering weapons and personnel to Snake Island in the north-western Black Sea,” the British defense ministry claimed.

    It added: “The destruction of the Russian vessel on a resupply mission demonstrates the difficulty Russia faces when attempting to support their forces occupying Snake Island.”

    This is the latest in a series of Russian vessels, including the cruiser Moskva, to be damaged or destroyed by Ukraine during the conflict, the ministry said.

    Arpan Rai21 June 2022 07:02

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    Ben Stiller visits Ukraine on World Refugee Day and calls Zelensky ‘my hero’

    American actor Ben Stiller made a surprise visit to Poland and Ukraine and said that the war-hit country’s president Volodymyr Zelensky is his “hero”.

    Stiller said that seeking safety is a right and it needs to be upheld for every person.

    The 56-year-old actor shared a video on his Instagram account and said: “Hey, I’m Ben Stiller, and I’m here in Ukraine. I’m meeting people who’ve been impacted by the war and hearing how it’s changed their lives.”

    Stiller, is a long-term Goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – the UN refugee agency – and visited Ukraine on World Refugee Day.

    Read the full story here:

    Arpan Rai21 June 2022 06:27

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    More than 1,500 Ukrainians held in Russian prisons – officials

    More than 1,500 Ukrainian civilians are currently lodged in prisons in Russia, the Ukrainian deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

    “They are in Rostov, Kursk, they are in jail, they are being held as prisoners of war, although they should not be,” Ms Vereshchuk said in a news briefing.

    She added that these civilians include Ukrainian priests, volunteers, activists, journalists, and heads of local government agencies.

    Arpan Rai21 June 2022 06:18

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    Ukraine war close to marking four months: Images from frontline

    The war in Ukraine will surpass four months this week, with Russia still intensifying its efforts to capture swathes of territory in the eastern part of the country.

    Officials have called the situation in Luhansk “extremely difficult” along the entire front line, as Russia has gathered the required reserves to start a large scale offensive.

    As of Monday, officials said that the Russian forces have intensified their attacks on two key cities in Donbas ahead of an upcoming EU summit.

    Russia calls its action in Ukraine a “special military occupation”.

    Here are some visuals of the battle in Ukraine from Monday.

    Flames rise from a structure after it was hit by a projectile in Druzhkivka.

    (Getty Images)

    People take cover as a projectile whistles above after one already hit a structure.

    (Getty Images)

    An elderly woman is helped onto a train which is taking evacuees trying to escape the front-line war with Russia in Pokrovsk, Ukraine.

    (Getty Images)

    Soldiers ride on a tank as it is hauled down the highway near Bakhmut, Ukraine.

    (Getty Images)

    Ukrainian servicemen collect destroyed Russian tanks outside the village of Dmytrivka, in Kyiv region

    (AFP via Getty Images)

    Workers of the Liubotinsky Lyceum of Railway Transport and local residents dismantle the ruins of an administrative building, as result of the explosion of a Russian rocket, in Lyubotyn, Kharkiv region.

    (AFP via Getty Images)

    Arpan Rai21 June 2022 05:52

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    Ukraine defending country’s battered east, says Zelensky.

    Volodymyr Zelensky has said his forces are defending the country’s east, which has been witnessing the heaviest Russian onslaught for weeks now, even as the shelling continues.

    “Again shelling of Kharkiv, Odesa, again attempts of brutal offensive actions in Donbas. This is an evil that can only be appeased on the battlefield. We are defending Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk,” Mr Zelensky said.

    He added: “This whole region is the most difficult, there are the hardest battles. But our strong boys and girls are there. The occupiers receive responses to their actions against us. I am grateful to the army and intelligence that provide it.”

    Mr Zelensky added that as per his predictions, “Russia is very nervous about our activity”.

    Arpan Rai21 June 2022 05:25

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    Second US citizen killed fighting Ukraine

    A second American citizen was killed in Ukraine last month, the state department confirmed after an obituary was published in a New York daily.

    The 52-year-old Stephen Zabielski was killed on 15 May in combat, the obituary published in The Recorder said.

    His death was first reported in the news on Monday.

    Zabielski was among thousands of foreign fighters who had joined Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s invasion which began on 24 February.

    A native of New York, Zabielski is survived by his wife, five stepchildren and a grandchild among other family.

    The state department has been in touch with the US citizen’s family and has provided “all possible consular assistance”, a spokesperson for the agency said.

    Arpan Rai21 June 2022 04:33

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    ‘It’s just hell there’: Russia still pounds eastern Ukraine

    The Russians keep deploying additional troops and equipment in the area, he said.

    “It’s just hell there. Everything is engulfed in fire, the shelling doesn’t stop even for an hour,” Haidai said in written comments.

    Only a fraction of 100,000 people who used to live in Sievierodonetsk before the war remain in the city, with no electricity, communications, food or medicine.

    Emily Atkinson21 June 2022 03:00

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    American basketball player Griner faces prosecution, Moscow says.

    US basketball player Brittney Griner who has been detained in Russia is facing criminal prosecution, according to reports.

    RIA news agency cited the Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov as telling American MSNBC television: “Why should we call her a hostage? She broke the Russian law, now she faces criminal prosecution.

    “It’s not about being taken hostage.”

    Emily Atkinson21 June 2022 02:00

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