Russia-Ukraine war: Germany investigates several hundred possible war crimes; UK ‘with Ukraine for the long haul’, says Boris Johnson – live | Ukraine

Russia is sending a large number of save troops to Sievierodonetsk from other battle zones to try to gain complete control of the frontline eastern city, the governor of Ukraine’s Luhansk vicinity said on Sunday.

“Today, tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, they will throw in all the reserves they have … because there are so many of them there already, they’re at basic mass,” Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Gaidai said on national television.

He said Russian forces already controlled most but not all of Sievierodonetsk.

Hundreds of mourners have gathered in Ukraine’s capital for a well-known Kyiv activist who was killed after taking up arms against Russian invaders.

The 24-year-old Roman Ratushnyi had been a teenage protester during months of displays that toppled Ukraine’s pro-Russian leader in 2014.

He was also known as an environmental campaigner in Kyiv who led a fight to preserve a wooded park from development, AP reported.

Poppies were lain on his coffin at a memorial service, before mourners walked in a silent column behind his coffin to a great plaza in central Kyiv where three months of protests helped overthrow then-president Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.

Mr Ratushnyi’s sacrifice symbolises that of Ukraine’s post-independence generations, who are giving up their best years, and sometimes their lives, in the cause of freedom.

Pjotr SauerPjotr Sauer

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has said “Ukraine will definitely win” during a working trip to the southern city of Mykolaiv, as relentless fighting in the country’s east continued on Saturday.

The president handed out medals and posed for selfies with servicemen in what appeared to be an underground shelter, according to a video posted to his official Telegram account.

“Our brave men. Each one of them is working flat out,” he said. “We will definitely keep up out. We will definitely win.”

Russian forces reached the outskirts of Mykolaiv in early March but were then pushed back to the eastern and southern edges of the vicinity, where fierce fighting continues.

Updated at 11.46 EDT

Ukraine’s defence intelligence directorate said on Saturday that five Ukrainian civilians had been returned in a five-for-five prisoner swap with Russia.

It did not say whether the exchanged Russians were combatants, Reuters reported.

The directorate said four of the five Ukrainian civilians had been taken prisoner during Russia’s occupation of parts of the Kyiv vicinity, from which Russian forces withdrew at the end of March.

It also said the dead body of a Ukrainian civilian was recovered in the exchange.

Updated at 11.43 EDT

Hundreds of mourners have gathered in Kyiv to say their goodbyes to a young Ukrainian activist who was killed fightingon the frontline.

Roman Ratushnyi, 24, died on Saturday while battling Russian forces in Izium, which has been placed under relentless shelling, according to Associated Press.

He was among the demonstrators who had helped topple the country’s pro-Russia leader in 2014, and did not hesitate to take up arms when Vladimir Putin launched his invasion in February.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry was among those to pay tribute to Ratushnyi, tweeting:

From the first day of Maidan, 17yo Roman joined the protests and was among the students beaten by police. At his 24 he decided to defend Ukraine from Russians.

We will always remember our brave defenders.

#Kyiv says goodbye to Roman Ratushnyi, #Ukrainian activist, defender.

From the first day of Maidan, 17yo Roman joined the protests and was among the students beaten by police. At his 24 he decided to defend #Ukraine from #Russians.

We will always remember our brave defenders🕯️.

— MFA of Ukraine 🇺🇦 (@MFA_Ukraine) June 18, 2022

Updated at 11.10 EDT

Several hundred possible war crimes committed by Russian troops in Ukraine are being investigated by German authorities.

Its federal police says it has received leads in the triple digits involving both political and military officials, reports AFP.

“Our clear goal is to clarify those responsible for atrocities, to prove their actions by our investigations and bring them to justice,” its head, Holder Muench, told Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

German investigators could be sent to Ukraine, he additional, but they would need an international mandate to do so.

Ukraine last month declared 15,000 suspected war crimes had been reported since the war began.

Chief prosecutor Iryna Venediktova said some 600 suspects had been identified, and included “top military, politicians, and propaganda agents of Russia”.

Russia has denied targeting civilians or involvement in war crimes.

Lithuanian authorities have said a ban on the transit by their territory to the Russian community of Kaliningrad of goods that are unprotected to EU sanctions will take effect from Saturday.

News of the ban came on Friday, by a video posted by Kaliningrad’s governor, Anton Alikhanov, Reuters reported.

The EU sanctions list includes coal, metals, construction materials and progressive technology, and Alikhanov said the ban would cover about 50% of the items that Kaliningrad imports.

Its immediate start was confirmed by the cargo arm of Lithuania’s state railways service in a letter to clients following “clarification” from the European Commission on the mechanism for applying the sanctions.

Updated at 09.44 EDT

The British chief minister has urged the European Broadcast Union (EBU) to reverse its decision to move the Eurovision song contest from Ukraine to the UK.

The EBU decided to move the popular contest from Ukraine citing security risks and is currently in talks with the BBC.

Boris Johnson: Ukraine deserves to host Eurovision song contest – videoBoris Johnson: Ukraine deserves to great number Eurovision song contest – videoDan SabbaghDan Sabbagh

Oleksandr’s war lasted only a week. The 36-year-old, a Ukrainian electrician working in Gdansk, hurried back to join up after Russia invaded and was deployed on 10 May to guard a chest-high trench in Donbas against the odds.

“We were shelled regularly during the day. There was not 10 minutes without Russian shelling,” he said, describing a fearful human cost. “Every day one person was killed and another associate wounded. Big losses, really big losses.”

On the seventh day, 16 May, it was over. A Russian drone had hovered over Oleksandr’s position near Avdiivka and, armed with the location, the invaders hurled one shell, then another, closer, and finally a third, closer nevertheless.

It felt as if he had been “hit by a stone” in his right arm, Oleksandr said, but it was worse: “I looked at my sleeve and then I tried to move my hand. It was just hanging.” Hastily he applied a tourniquet and sought refuge behind the lines.

Updated at 08.35 EDT

Boris Johnson has said it is important for the UK to show it stands steadfastly Ukraine amid what he described as ‘Ukraine fatigue’.

Important to show UK is with Ukraine for the long haul, Boris Johnson says – videoImportant to show UK is with Ukraine for the long haul, Boris Johnson says – video

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