US President Joe Biden has pledged more advanced rocket systems and munitions to Ukraine that would “enable them to more precisely strike key targets on the battlefield,” Biden wrote in a New York Times op-ed.
Here are the latest developments on Russia’s war in Ukraine:
New US rocket systems: Following Biden’s op-ed, senior US administration officials confirmed the US will send Ukraine US-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, known as HIMARS, as part of the country’s 11th package of security assistance. The officials said the HIMARS will be equipped with munitions that will allow Ukraine to launch rockets about 80 kilometers (49 miles). That is far less than the maximum range of the systems but far greater than anything Ukraine has been sent to date.
Russians control “most of Severodonetsk”: Serhiy Hayday, the head of the Luhansk regional military administration, said Russian troops now control most of the city of Severodonetsk — but he has dismissed suggestions that Ukrainian troops in the area will be surrounded. If Russian forces gain control of Severodonetsk, the neighboring city of Lysychansk will be the only urban area of any size in Luhansk to remain under Ukrainian control. Hayday earlier said a Russian air strike in Severodonetsk had hit a tank of nitric acid at a chemical plant and warned people in the city to stay in shelters.
Ukrainian progress: Ukrainian forces have made progress in the regions of Kherson and Kharkiv and are holding back Russian forces in Zaporizhzhia, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday. “Our defenders show extreme bravery, despite the fact that Russia has a substantial advantage in force and weapons,” Zelensky said.
NATO chief visit: Jens Stoltenberg is traveling to Washington, DC, on Tuesday for a working visit, the alliance said in a statement. Stoltenberg will be in the US capital until Friday and is expected to meet top US officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.
US welcomes Ukrainian refugees: More than 23,000 Ukrainians have been authorized to come to the US as part of the Biden administration’s streamlined process for Ukrainian refugees seeking to enter the country, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The Biden administration has committed to accepting up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.
Playing “hunger games with the world”: Ukraine is working on an “UN-led naval operation” with navies of partnering countries to ensure a safe trade route for exporting its agricultural products, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said. Zelensky previously said 22 million tons of grain, accounting for nearly half of Ukraine’s grain export supply, is being held up by Russia’s blockade of the main export routes.
Moscow cuts more gas supplies: Danish energy firm Ørsted has confirmed that Russian state energy giant Gazprom will halt gas supplies starting on June 1 after Ørsted refused to pay for gas in rubles. Finland, Poland and Bulgaria have already been cut off from Russian gas supplies for the same reasons.
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