Ukraine forces push thru heading to Mariupol ……
NATO holds a MAJOR military air exercise in Europe that must give the Russians the jitters…..
Kyiv says it has retaken another village in eastern Ukraine, as the campaign to push back Russian forces takes shape.
Here’s what we’re covering:
Ukraine claims it has recaptured another village in the east.
The latest U.S. aid package will include more Bradley and Stryker fighting vehicles.
The question of NATO membership for Ukraine looms as the leaders of France, Germany and Poland meet.
NATO nations begin their biggest air force drills since the end of the Cold War.
Residents of a Ukrainian city are asked to cut water use by nearly half.
More than 2,500 Ukrainians have returned home in prisoner exchanges so far.
A Ukrainian refugee has won 500,000 euros in a Belgian lottery…..
Russia has arrested an American expatriate on drug charges, according to the U.S. State Department.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
- Four of the villages in Donetsk — Neskuchne, Storozheve, Blahodatne and Makarivka — are about 80 miles north of the long-occupied city of Mariupol, which witnessed near-destruction after heavy Russian bombing last year. Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed in a statement to have repelled attacks in the area; Ukraine made no mention of losses that were inevitably incurred as part of the advance. The other communities — Lobkove, Levadne and Novodarivka — are in Zaporizhzhia.
- The Institute for the Study of War confirmed Ukraine’s territorial gain but noted this was not yet a “breakthrough” in an analysis Sunday. Ukrainian military officials have repeatedly refused to share details to maintain the element of surprise. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in confirming the start of the counteroffensive, said last week that his military commanders were in a “positive mood.”
- The American detained in Moscow was identified as Michael Travis Leake, a State Department spokesperson said, adding that embassy officials were present for his arraignment over the weekend. Leake is reportedly a musician and is accused of selling drugs, a Russian court document said. His detention follows the recent detentions of journalist Evan Gershkovich of the Wall Street Journal and basketball player Brittney Griner, who was later released.
- Representatives of the International Criminal Court visited the Kherson region following last week’s collapse of the Kakhovka dam, Zelensky said in his nightly address. Ukraine and Russia have blamed each other for the dam’s rupture. Ukraine has asked the ICC to investigate what the government has described as an “ecocide.”
- A meeting between President Biden and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has been pushed to Tuesday, alongside other events scheduled for Monday that were postponed after Biden experienced discomfortfollowing a root canal performed over the weekend. On the official agenda is support for Ukraine and the upcoming NATO summit in Lithuania. The meeting comes amid jockeying for Stoltenberg’ successor, whose second four year term ended last September but was extended after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
- Shelling and explosions were reported in the Russian-occupied towns of Tokmak and Melitopol in the Zaporizhzhia region of southeastern Ukraine, local leader Vladimir Rogov said on Telegram. Ukrainian forces are trying to advance in the area and the fighting is “tough,” he added.
- Russian forces fired on boats evacuating civilians in the flooded Kherson region, killing three people and injuring 10, regional governor Oleksandr Prokudin said on Telegram. Three boats carrying 21 people, most of them elderly, were leaving the Russian-occupied area across the Dnieper River at the time of the attack, he added. The Kherson region has been badly affected by flooding since the destruction of the Kakhovka dam.
- One-third of nearly 63,000 bomb shelters surveyed by Ukrainian authorities are either shut down or unusable, the country’s emergency services department said on Facebook. The survey was initiated after Kyiv residents, including a child, were killed by debris in an attack during which the nearest shelter was closed.
- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged “full support and solidarity” to Moscow on Monday, Russia’s national day. In a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kim expressed hope that the two countries would continue to strengthen ties. “Justice is sure to win and the Russian people will continue to add glory to the history of victory,” the message read. Last year, the White House accused the North Korean government of covertly funneling artillery shells to aid Russia in its war in Ukraine.
- At a meeting in Paris on Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Polish President Andrzej Duda discussed the question of NATO membership for Ukraine. Ahead of an annual NATO summit in July, Ukrainian officials and some European countries have pushed for a clearer path to membership, while other countries prefer to focus on short- and medium-term security support — leaving the membership debate for later. In recent weeks, the Biden administration and NATO allies have been sketching out plans for military support beyond the current offensive, with talk of bilateral or multilateral security pacts of some sort.
- “It is of fundamental importance for Europe’s security that Russian imperialism be extinguished,” tweeted the account of the office of the Polish president after the meeting.
- An investigation is underway at Radio New Zealand after several news stories on the public broadcaster’s website were apparently edited to present pro-Russian sentiment. Paul Thompson, the company’s chief executive, said he was disappointed that “pro-Kremlin garbage has ended up in our stories.” The company said Monday that the journalist, who has since been placed on leave, may have been altering stories for years before being detected last week…..