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Russia-Ukraine war: ‘intense street fighting’ in Sieverodonetsk with both sides suffering heavy casualties, says UK – live | Russia

Ukraine’s prosecutor general has learned of the death of 24 more children in Mariupol, the southeastern port captured by Russian forces in May, the office said on Saturday.

On Telegram, the office said:

During the recording of criminal offences, it has become known that 24 more children died in Mariupol, Donetsk region, as a result of the indiscriminate shelling by the Russian military.

In total, more than 287 children have died since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb 24, and more than 492 have been injured, according to the statement.

The office added: “These figures are not final, as work is underway to establish them in places of active hostilities, in the temporarily occupied and liberated territories.”

It’s Geneva Abdul taking over from my colleague Rebecca Ratcliffe. I’ll be taking you through the next few hours of coverage from London.

Some further detail here from the UK Ministry of Defence’s latest statement, which includes an update on the situation in Sievierodonetsk – the last pocket of Luhansk province that has not yet been claimed by Russia or Moscow-backed separatists. The small city has become the focus of Russian efforts.

According to the UK MoD:

As of 10 June, Russian forces around Sievierodonetsk have not made advances into the south of the city. Intense street to street fighting is ongoing and both sides are likely suffering high numbers of casualties.

The UK MoD also says that Russia is resorting to inefficient weapon systems that risk “significant collateral damage and civilian casualties” because it is running short of more precise modern missiles:

Since April, Russian medium bombers have likely launched dozens of 1960s era Kh-22 (NATO designation, AS-4 KITCHEN) air-launched, heavy anti-ship missiles against land targets.

These 5.5 tonne missiles were primarily designed to destroy aircraft carriers using a nuclear warhead.

When employed in a ground attack role with a conventional warhead they are highly inaccurate and can therefore cause significant collateral damage and civilian casualties.

Russia is likely resorting to such inefficient weapon systems because it is running short of more precise modern missiles, while Ukrainian air defences still deter its tactical aircraft from conducting strikes across much of the country.

The latest from Ukraine

Hello, I’m Rebecca Ratcliffe and welcome to our rolling coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Here are some of the latest developments:

Kyiv said it had launched new airstrikes in the captured southern region of Kherson, while “very difficult battles” were ongoing, including in the eastern Donbas region and especially around the eastern industrial city of Sievierodonetsk.

The UK Ministry of Defence said “intense street-to-street fighting is ongoing” around Sievierodonetsk but that Russian forces have not made advances into the south of the city. Both sides are likely suffering high numbers of casualties, the UK MoD warned.

Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence told the Guardian on Friday that Ukraine is losing against Russia on the frontlines and is now reliant almost solely on weapons from the west. “This is an artillery war now… and we are losing in terms of artillery,” said Vadym Skibitsky.

The mayor of Mariupol, reduced to ruins by a Russian siege, said there is an outbreak of dysentery and cholera, and that some wells had been contaminated by corpses. Vadym Boichenko warned of thousands more casualties and called for a humanitarian corridor to allow remaining residents to leave the city, which is now under Russian control.

France was ready to assist in an operation to allow safe access to Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odesa, according to an adviser to the French president, Emmanuel Macron. The port is under a de facto blockade by Russia, with grain waiting to be shipped. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sparked warnings of a global food crisis.

The world’s chemical weapons watchdog said Friday it was keeping a close eye on Ukraine to monitor “threats of use of toxic chemicals as weapons”.

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