- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the main church at Sviatohirsk Lavra, one of the holiest Orthodox Christian sites in the country, burned down following a Russian attack.
- He says street fighting continues in the city of Severodonetsk, where the situation remains “extremely difficult”.
- Serhiy Haidai, the governor of Luhansk province, said Ukrainian forces that previously controlled only 30 percent of the eastern city mounted a counterattack and recaptured another 20 percent.
- Military experts say the outcome of the Battle of Severodonetsk could determine which side has the momentum for a prolonged war of attrition.
- Russia’s RIA news agency quotes Russian President Vladimir Putin as saying Moscow easily copes with US weapons systems sent to Ukraine and has already destroyed dozens of them.
Here are all the latest updates:
Powerful explosions heard in Kyiv: report
Reuters news agency says powerful explosions were heard in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.
Citing a witness, the agency said smoke was seen in the city from the explosions.
Previously, air raid sirens had sounded across much of Ukraine, including the Kyiv region, the report added.
U.S. Secretary of Defense to Host Ukraine Aid Meeting in Brussels
Lloyd Austin, the US Secretary of Defense, said he will host a meeting next week of a contact group set up to coordinate aid to Ukraine to defend against Russian attacks.
The Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting will take place in Brussels on June 15, according to the Kyiv Independent, a Ukrainian news site.
Lloyd said in a tweet that “defense leaders from around the world will be there to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine following Russia’s unprovoked invasion.”
While in Brussels, the Defense Secretary will also attend a NATO meeting which will discuss offers from Sweden and Finland to join the security alliance.
Finally, I will go to Brussels, Belgium 🇧🇪 to organize the next in-person meeting of the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group. Defense leaders from around the world will be there to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine following Russia’s unprovoked invasion. (5/6)
— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) June 4, 2022
US envoy visits Borodyanka, swears accountability
Bridget Brink, the US envoy to Ukraine, visited Borodyanka, a town northwest of Kyiv where Russian forces have been accused of committing war crimes.
“Borodyanka suffered horribly,” Brink said in a tweet on Saturday night.
“Witnessing witness to the atrocities committed in Russia’s brutal war, including families killed in their own homes, only strengthens my resolve to do all we can to hold the perpetrators of these horrific crimes to account.”
Borodyanka suffered horribly. Witnessing the atrocities committed in Russia’s brutal war, including families killed in their own homes, only strengthens my resolve to do everything in our power to hold the perpetrators of these horrific crimes to account. pic.twitter.com/vPQ7AzKzPc
— Ambassador Bridget A. Brink (@USAmbKyiv) June 4, 2022
Germany faces 5 billion euros a year hit by Russian gas sanctions
Russia’s sanctions against Gazprom Germania and its subsidiaries could cost German taxpayers and gas users an additional 5 billion euros ($5.4 billion) a year to pay for replacement gas, the weekly Welt reported. am Sonntag, citing industry representatives.
In May, Russia decided to stop supplying Gazprom Germania, which was Gazprom’s German subsidiary, after Berlin placed the company under trustee management due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Since then, energy regulator Bundesnetzagentur, acting as trustee, has had to buy replacement gas on the market to fulfill supply contracts with German municipal utilities and regional suppliers.
Welt am Sonntag reported that Economy Minister Robert Habeck estimates that an additional 10 million cubic meters per day are needed, which would currently cost around 3.5 billion euros ($3.7 billion) per year. Other costs stem from filling the natural gas storage facility in Rehden, which Habeck commissioned on Wednesday, he said.
The newspaper also said the additional costs would be passed on to energy suppliers and end customers in the form of a gas tax from October.
The economy ministry declined to comment on the scale of the costs incurred, Welt am Sonntag said, and no one at the ministry immediately responded to an emailed request for comment.
Ukraine plans to restart football leagues in August
The president of the Football Federation of Ukraine has said Kyiv plans to resume competitive football in the country in August despite attacks from Russia.
Andriy Pavelko told the Associated Press news agency that the Ukrainian president approved the decision.
“I have spoken with our chairman, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, about the importance of football as entertainment,” Pavelko said in Cardiff.
“We talked about how football has a very big power to help people think about the future because now people, of course, are not in a good frame of mind. They are of the worst We talked about how it would be possible for football to help us think about the future.
It’s a future where players can return to the pitch in Ukraine to deliver uplifting moments of sporting joy.
“So we made the decision together with the president to resume the Ukrainian championship in August,” Pavelko said through an interpreter. “In Ukraine, we will play at all levels. So the Premier League, and the first and second professional divisions, and the women’s league.
“At all levels, we will start in August. The decision was taken together with the President of Ukraine.
Street fighting continues in Severodonetsk, says Zelenskyy
Ukraine’s president described the situation in Severodonetsk as “extremely difficult” and said street fighting continued in the east of the city.
“Russian troops again fired on the border areas of the Sumy region, Mykolaiv, towns and residents of the Zaporizhzhia region and the Kharkiv region,” Zelenskyy said in his evening speech.
“The situation in Severodonetsk, where street fighting continues, remains extremely difficult. It is also difficult in Lysychansk, Marinka, Kurakhove and other cities and communities in Donbass. Constant airstrikes, artillery and rocket attacks. As of today’s morning, the total number of various Russian missiles used against Ukraine is already 2,503.”
Zelensky denounces the Russian bombardment of an Orthodox monastery
Ukraine’s president said the main church at Svyatohirsk Lavra, one of the holiest Orthodox Christian sites in the country, burned down as a result of Russian shelling.
News of the destruction of part of the monastery came as Russian forces stepped up their attacks in the Donetsk region.
“On this day, the 101st day of a full-scale war, in the Donetsk region, in the Sviatohirsk Lavra, the Skete of All Saints burned down. It caught fire as a result of the attack of the Russian artillery,” Zelenskyy said in his evening speech.
“They are ready to burn everything: the Orthodox churches as well as anything else in Ukraine.”
He claimed three monks at Sviatohirsk Lavra had been killed in Russian shelling and said 113 Orthodox churches had already been destroyed or damaged by Russia since the invasion began in February.
Russian and Ukrainian military officers blamed each other for damage to Svyatohirsk Lavra.
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Russian-Ukrainian war.
Read all the updates from Saturday June 4 here.