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Ukraine war: Missiles over Kyiv, Russia struggles to hold territory, Zaporizhzhia under threat

Sappers inspect a damaged Russian tank installed as a symbol of war in central Kyiv
Sappers inspect a damaged Russian tank installed as a symbol of war in central Kyiv Copyright AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
Copyright AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
By Euronews with AFP/AP
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Follow the latest developments from the war in Ukraine

Ukraine repels missile attack on Kyiv

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Ukraine claimed on Friday to have shot down 12 Russian missiles, including six hypersonic Kinjals, that were fired toward Kyiv – this just as a delegation of African leaders arrive to promote a peace plan

According to the Ukrainian Air Force's official Telegram channel, the projectiles destroyed included six hypersonic Kinjal missiles, six Kalibr cruise missiles and two reconnaissance drones. The head of the military administration, Sergei Popko, said that all the missiles were intercepted over the capital region.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and several other senior African political figures arrived in Ukraine on Friday morning to promote a plan that would provide a roadmap to Russian-Ukrainian peace negotiations.

Putin calls Zelensky a "disgrace to the Jewish people"

Appearing at an economic conference in Russia today, Vladimir Putin has shared some of his thoughts on Volodymyr Zelensky, whom he, his government and Kremlin-backed media outlets have repeatedly said is leading a "Nazi" regime despite being Jewish.

In remarks delivered on stage in St Petersburg, Putin commented: "I have a lot of Jewish friends, since childhood. They say Zelensky isn't a Jew. He is a disgrace to the Jewish people."

The appearance also saw Putin claim that the Ukrainian counteroffensive has "no chance of success" in the southern part of the country. However, the Russian army  separately admitted on Friday that fighting was underway for control of two towns on Ukraine's southern front, an  for the first time that it had ceded territory.

Moscow has been insisting since the start of the Ukrainian counteroffensive in early June that the Ukrainian military is failing in its efforts and that all attacks have been repulsed, while Kyiv claims to have liberated a handful of towns and around a hundred square kilometres, mainly on the southern front.

The fact that fighting is taking place over these villages means that the Russian lines have been pushed back a few kilometres to the south and east around this exposed area of Vremivka, on the border of the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions, both of which are partially occupied by Russia.

US says Ukraine has sufficient supplies for counteroffensive

Ukraine still has sufficient capacity and firepower to carry out its counter-offensive despite initial losses, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Thursday after a meeting at Nato headquarters with the Ukrainian defence minister.

"This is a war. So we know there will be damage on both sides", he stressed during a press briefing at the end of a meeting of members of the Ukraine contact group, where Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov and Ukrainian military commanders updated western allies on the situation and outlined their military requirements.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that his forces are repelling the offensive and that Ukrainian losses have been "catastrophic". Moscow has also claimed to have taken German Leopard tanks and American Bradley tanks supplied to Ukrainian forces.

"I think the Russians showed us those same five vehicles about a thousand times from ten different angles," scoffed Austin.

"War is unpredictable and we will continue to provide Ukraine with what it needs to succeed", he said.

UK reports senior Russian general was killed this week

The British Ministry of Defence reported this morning that a senior Russian military official appears to have been killed in Ukraine several days ago.

"General-Major Sergei Goryachev was almost certainly killed in a strike on a command post on or around 12 June," said the ministry in its daily update on the Ukrainian conflict.

If true, the killing would make Goryachev the first Russian general confirmed dead in combat in Ukraine this year. He was the chief of staff of the 35th Combined Arms Army, elements of which were present during the mass murder of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

Nuclear threat continues at Zaporizhzhia po

The chief of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, has raised concerns for the safety of Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.

The nuclear watchdog director was in Ukraine on Thursday to check on the potential risks to the plant following the destruction of the Kakhovka dam in a devastating explosion earlier this month.

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The Kakhovka reservoir normally provided water to cool the facility's reactors to prevent a meltdown, but the dam's destruction has severely compromised this vital system, according to Grossi.

"On the one hand we can see that the situation is serious, the consequences are there, and they are real," he said. "At the same time there are measures that are being taken to stabilise the situation."

The plant remains under Russian control, having been captured shortly after the invasion.

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