These are the major developments as the war enters its 480th day.
This is the situation as on Sunday, June 18, 2023.
- According to Ukrainian military officials, Ukrainian forces advanced in the southern sector of their counteroffensive, while President Volodymyr Zelensky said movement was “the most important thing” in the counteroffensive.
- Oleh Sinhubov, the regional governor of Kharkiv, said two people were killed when a Russian missile hit a car while driving towards the village of Khuriv Kozachok on the border with Russia.
- Alexander Bogomaz, the governor of Russia’s Bryansk region, which borders Ukraine, said air defense units repelled a Ukrainian drone attack on a pumping station on the Druzhba oil pipeline.
- Ukrainian authorities say 16 people have died and 31 are missing in floods caused by the destruction of the Russian-held Nova Kakhovka dam. “Sixteen people died: 14 in Kherson region and two in Mykolive region. 31 people are still missing,” Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs said. Russia earlier announced 29 deaths in areas under its control.
- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa – who is in Russia as part of a peace-seeking delegation – has told his Moscow counterpart Vladimir Putin that the war in Ukraine must stop. Ramaphosa outlines the 10 points of the African Peace Initiative, which seeks agreement on a series of “confidence-building measures”.
- Putin has challenged the assumptions of the African plan – predicated on adopting internationally recognized borders – reiterating his position that Ukraine and its allies started the conflict long before Russia launched its full-scale offensive in February last year. Putin claimed that it was the West, not Russia, that was responsible for last year’s sharp rise in global food prices and claimed that it was Kiev, rather than Moscow, that rejected peace talks.
- US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Washington had not changed its nuclear stance as Putin confirmed for the first time that Russia had installed nuclear weapons in Belarus.
- Jens Stoltenberg may be asked to stay on as NATO secretary general for another year, Reuters news agency reported, citing a source familiar with the discussions and a US official.
- Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia would consider the “behavior” of Western media and their country’s “attitude” toward Russian journalists abroad whether to recognize their journalists for Russia’s main forum, state-owned TASS news agency reported.