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Ukraine war: New Russia sanctions, drone attack on Black Sea fleet, Bakhmut counteroffensive gains

Ukrainian soldiers stand in their positions near Bakhmut, background, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Monday, June 5, 2023.
Ukrainian soldiers stand in their positions near Bakhmut, background, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Monday, June 5, 2023. Copyright Iryna Rybakova/AP
Copyright Iryna Rybakova/AP
By Euronews with AP/AFP
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All the latest developments from the war in Ukraine.

More Russia sanctions over child 'deportations'

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The United Kingdom has imposed sanctions on several Russian figures, including a minister and a well-known journalist, accusing them of aiding Moscow's "forced deportation of Ukrainian children".

The new measures announced by London on Monday target a total of 14 individuals and entities in response to what it called "Russia's attempts to destroy Ukrainian national identity".

The targets are banned from entering the UK and subject to asset freezes. They include Education Minister Sergei Kravtsov and journalist Anton Krassovski, once a figure close to the liberal opposition and LGBT+ activist turned pro-government. 

Last year, Krassovski called for the burning and drowning of Ukrainian children on the Russian broadcaster RT, for which he was dismissed.

Russia is accused of transferring thousands of Ukrainian children to areas under its control as well as on its own territory. According to London, at least 19,000 Ukrainian children are involved.

Vladimir Putin is personally accused by the International Criminal Court of war crimes for  "illegal deportations" since the 2022 February invasion. 

Moscow rejects these accusations.

In total, the UK has sanctioned more than 1,600 individuals and entities in connection with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Kyiv claims counteroffensive gains from Russia

Ukraine claimed on Monday to have taken back 18 sq km  from Russian forces across the whole of Ukrainian territory in a week

This figure included territory around the devastated eastern city of Bakhmut, which fell under Russian control in May after months of gritty warfare. 

Around 7 sq km was "liberated" from the Bakhmut frontline, plus 11 sq km in the south, wrote Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Ganna Maliar wrote on Telegram.

According to her, Ukraine has recaptured 180 sq km in the south of the country since the launch of its counteroffensive in early June, 30 sq km in the east, bringing the total to 210 sq km. 

Despite the deliveries of Western weapons, the Ukrainian army has faced stiff Russian resistance, with Moscow's troops having established solid defences, including formidable minefields. 

On Friday, the head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, Andri Yermak, admitted the counteroffensive was not advancing "quickly", though said Western allies were not pressuring them on this matter. 

Russia repels drone attack on Black Sea port

Moscow says it has thwarted an attempted drone attack on its fleet in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol. 

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Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Moscow-installed governor of Sevastopol, said on Telegram the assault took place early on Sunday morning over the city's harbour and Balaklava and Khersones districts.

Sevastopol is the largest city in Crimea and a major port on the Black Sea, a very strategic location amid the war. 

Russia's air defences and Black Sea fleet reportedly took out a total of nine drones throughout the attack, which officials said caused no damage or casualties.

Russia warns Kyiv over cluster bombs - Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday Moscow has a “sufficient stockpile” of cluster munitions. 

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He warned Ukraine that Russia “reserves the right to take reciprocal action” if it uses the controversial weapons, recently obtained from the US.

Putin claimed Russia hasn't used cluster bombs in the war with Ukraine so far. But their use has been documented extensively by both Moscow and Kyiv, including by The Associated Press and international humanitarian organisations. 

“Until now, we have not done this, we have not used it, and we have not had such a need,” he alleged. 

The munitions, which open in the air and release scores of smaller bomblets over a large area, are seen by Washington as a way of helping Kyiv bolster its offensive and break through deeply entrenched Russian forces. 

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US President Joe Biden made the final decision to send cluster bombs last week.

Handing over the widely banned weapons has been sharply criticised by the US's allies and humanitarian groups, due to their indiscriminate nature and tendency to kill and maim civilians with unexploded bomblets long after a conflict has finished.

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