- Russia’s foreign ministry will on Tuesday summon the European Union’s ambassador to Moscow over Lithuania’s ban on the transit of goods under EU sanctions through Kaliningrad, the region’s governor says.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy states the two eastern cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk are experiencing the “most difficult” fighting.
- Luhansk’s governor says Russians have entered the industrial part of Severodonetsk, where about 300 civilians may be sheltering in the Azot chemical plant.
- He says the situation in the city and surrounding areas is “just hell”, describing everything as being “engulfed in fire”.
- Actor Ben Stiller has visited Kyiv and met with Zelenskyy, telling him: “You’re my hero.”
Here are all the latest updates:
Russian Nobel Peace laureate sells medal for $104m to aid Ukraine children
The Russian co-winner of last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, journalist Dmitry Muratov, has sold his prize medal for $103.5 million at an auction on to raise money for displaced children affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The full purchase price of the medal of Muratov will benefit UNICEF’s humanitarian response for Ukraine’s displaced children, Heritage Auctions, which conducted the auction, said in a statement.
Muratov, editor of Novaya Gazeta newspaper, fiercely critical of the Kremlin won the 2021 the Nobel Peace Prize with journalist Maria Ressa of the Philippines.
Novaya Gazeta, one of Russia’s last remaining independent news outlets, said at the end of March that it would suspend operations until the end of the war in Ukraine after it received a second warning from the state censor for allegedly violating the country’s “foreign agent” law.
Ben Stiller visits Kyiv, meets Zelenskyy
Actor Ben Stiller visited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Monday, telling him: “You’re my hero.”
“You’re amazing. You quit a great acting career for this,” Stiller told Zelenskyy.
“What you’ve done and the way that you’ve rallied the country and for the world, it’s really inspiring.”
Stiller’s visit included a stop in Irpin, the scene of heavy fighting early in the Russian invasion.
Moscow to summon EU ambassador over Kaliningrad transit ban: Governor
Russia’s foreign ministry will on Tuesday summon the European Union’s ambassador to Moscow over Lithuania’s ban on the transit of goods under EU sanctions through Kaliningrad, the governor of Kaliningrad said on Monday.
“This is, of course, a situation, that can be resolved by diplomatic means,” Anton Alikhanov told Russian television.
“As far as I know, tomorrow Marcus Ederer, the European Union ambassador to Russia, will be summoned to the foreign ministry … and he will be told of the appropriate conditions involved here.”
Vilnius banned the transit of goods under EU sanctions through Lithuanian territory to and from the Russian exclave sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland, citing EU sanction rules.
‘Most difficult’ fighting in Severodonetsk, Lysychansk: Zelenskyy
Two key cities in eastern Ukraine are witnessing the “most difficult” fighting, Zelenskyy has said, as Russian forces intensified pressure in the area and captured territory along a front-line river.
“We are defending Lysychansk, Severodonetsk, this whole area, the most difficult one. We have the most difficult fighting there,” Zelenskyy said during an evening address, after predicting Moscow would escalate attacks ahead of an EU summit expected to welcome Kyiv’s bid to join the bloc.
Moscow’s separatist proxies claimed to have captured Toshkivka, a town on the mostly Ukrainian-held western bank of the Siverskyi Donets river, south of Severodonetsk, which has become the main battlefield city in recent weeks.
Zelenskyy also said shelling in Kharkiv and Odesa continued, and described Russia’s offensive in Donbas, where forces have been concentrating their overwhelming artillery firepower, as “brutal”.
Ukraine governor: Russian troops enter Severodonetsk industry zone
Russian troops have entered the industrial part of the heavily besieged city of Severodonetsk, according to Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai.
“It’s just hell there. Everything is engulfed in fire, the shelling doesn’t stop even for an hour,” Haidai said on Telegram.
The Azot chemical plant is the only part of the area not yet taken by Russian troops, Haidai said. The villages nearby are also under constant fire. About 300 civilians are sheltering in the Azot plant, according to Ukrainian deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk, though the situation is constantly changing.
Haidai also said the road connecting Severodonetsk and its sister city Lysychansk to the city of Bakhmut was under constant shell fire.
Read all updates for June 20 here.