Ukraine Daily Summary - Thursday, June 20 2024

POW allegedly beheaded by Russian troops identified -- Russian soldiers who executed Ukrainian POWs near Robotyne identified -- Russia has moved almost all ground forces from Finland's vicinity to Ukraine -- Russian attack on Kharkiv children's facility injures 1 -- Patriot missiles intended for Switzerland to go to Ukraine -- and more

Thursday, June 20

Russia’s war against Ukraine

Students of gymnasium №21 during a graduation ceremony in a shelter on June 19, 2024 in Kharkiv, Ukraine. The graduation was held in a shelter for the first time since the beginning of the Russian full-scale invasion. Around 16 students attended the celebration. Graduates, teachers and parents also observed a moment of silence for those who died during the war. (Eugene Hertnier/Suspilne Ukraine/JSC “UA:PBC”/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)

After a ‘long lull,’ Ukraine reports intensified Russian attacks near Toretsk in Donetsk Oblast. In a post on Telegram, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said its “intelligence, artillery, aviation, unmanned systems” were all working to repulse five attacks launched simultaneously.

POW allegedly beheaded by Russian troops identified, Ukraine says. Russia is accused of committing numerous war crimes during the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, including the execution of captive Ukrainian soldiers.

Russian soldiers who executed Ukrainian POWs near Robotyne identified, military intelligence says. A video taken in the second half of May captured Russian troops executing four surrendering Ukrainian soldiers near Robotyne, a front-line village in the southern Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

Your contribution helps keep the Kyiv Independent going. Become a member today.

Only 11% of Russians say sanctions have personally affected them or their family, poll shows. The figure has been steadily declining since a high of around 30%, shortly after the beginning of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine in March 2022.

Russia has moved almost all ground forces from Finland’s vicinity to Ukraine, media report. “On average, 80 percent of the equipment and soldiers have been transferred to the war in Ukraine,” a high-ranking military intelligence source told Yle.

Energy Supervision Agency: Electricity supply to improve in August. The situation of limited electricity supply will improve in August 2024 following the completion of scheduled repairs at a number of power units, the head of Ukraine’s Energy Supervision Inspectorate, Ruslan Slobodyan, announced on June 19.

Reporters Without Borders signal ‘shrinking’ press freedom in Ukraine. At least five journalists have been under surveillance or threatened because of publications on corruption since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, the statement read.

Read our exclusives

Ukraine war latest: Russia intensifies attacks near Toretsk, Donetsk Oblast

According to the crowd-sourced DeepState monitoring service, Russian forces were attacking in the direction of the villages of Pivnichne and Druzhba, just east of Toretsk. In comments to AFP, residents of Toretsk reported an increase in attacks on the town.

Photo: Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu via Getty Images

Learn more

Ukraine’s anti-corruption bureau under fire over its handling of leak scandal

For nearly a month, the country’s key anti-corruption agency has been in turbulence. In late May, it was revealed that top employees of the agency were leaking information to suspects in a high-profile corruption investigation, and warning them about upcoming searches.

Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Learn more

Ukraine’s peace summit falls short of engaging Global South — can Ukraine expand its coalition?

While 92 countries participated in the summit, several key countries declined to ultimately sign the communique. Since the original document was released, three countries—Rwanda, Iraq, and Jordan—have seemingly withdrawn their signatures.

Photo: Gabriel Boric/X

Learn more

How Mark Rutte became NATO Secretary General and what it means for Ukraine?

Since becoming Dutch prime minister back in 2010, Mark Rutte has kept a low-key persona in the Netherlands. The 57-year-old is known for cycling to work in The Hague, continuing to teach history one day a week at a local secondary school.

Photo: Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

Learn more

Putin lands in North Korea looking for support, weapons, validation

Greeted by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un at the runway and passing by a city saturated with Russian flags and giant portraits of the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin looked happy – he was visiting a country that still considered Russia a vital ally.

Photo: Gavriil Grigorov/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Learn more

Human cost of war

Rescued man dies in hospital following attack on Kherson. Russian forces attacked the Dniprovskyi district of the city at around 6 p.m. local time on June 19, according to local military administration.

Russian attack on Kharkiv children’s facility injures 1. Moscow has recently intensified attacks against Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, as well as Kharkiv Oblast, with the use of missiles, glide bombs, and drones, destroying energy infrastructure and killing civilians.

International response

CNN: Allies debating what commitment to give Ukraine on NATO membership. The United States and allies are debating what to commit to Ukraine’s NATO membership at the upcoming 75th anniversary summit in Washington, CNN reported on June 19. U.S. officials are reportedly facing criticism from European countries for not willing to go as far as countries closer to Russia would prefer.

US arms company to produce munitions in Ukraine. Northrop’s agreement is the first known deal of its kind between a U.S. defense company and a Ukrainian government for producing arms in Ukraine.

Kyiv-born former US soldier, Trump-whistleblower wins Democratic primary for Congress. Eugene Vindman, who has no previous political experience, delivered a commanding victory over his six Democratic rivals, securing 49.3% of the vote.

Patriot missiles intended for Switzerland to go to Ukraine, Swiss outlet reports.

According to Blick, Bern has an order totalling $340 million with Washington for the PAC-3 variant of the missile.

EU, Ukraine finalize text of security deal. The EU is expected to join 16 countries, including the U.S., Japan, U.K., Germany, and France, that have signed similar bilateral treaties to help Kyiv repel Russia’s aggression.

French far-right leader Bardella says he backs Ukraine, but rules out sending troops or long-range weapons. “My position has not changed, and that is to support Ukraine by providing defense equipment, ammunition, operational logistical support, and defensive weaponry to enable Ukraine to protect itself to hold the front,” National Rally leader Jordan Bardella told reporters at the Eurosatory arms show outside of Paris.

France’s Thales signs military cooperation deals with Ukraine. One of the agreements announces an intention to create a joint venture in Ukraine to boost the delivery of military gear in the country. The deal includes electronic warfare, tactical communications equipment, air defense systems, and radars.

In other news

Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Bureau launches investigation into Deputy Prosecutor General. Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin announced that his office and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) had launched official investigations into the assets of Kostin’s Deputy Prosecutor General, Dmytro Verbytskyi.

Investigators uncover alleged scheme to launder $22.5 million bribe for ex-top tax official. An associate of Roman Nasirov (former head of the State Fiscal Service) and an advisor to the ex-official have been charged in the money laundering case, the NABU reported.

Source: Investigators preparing to charge anti-corruption activist Shabunin. Shabunin, who joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine as a volunteer at the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022 and has served since then, denied the accusations and said the cases were fabricated. He believes the cases to be a political vendetta against him by the President’s Office, including President Volodymyr Zelensky’s deputy chief of staff Oleh Tatarov.

2 police officers charged with firing first shots at protesters during Feb 20, 2014 mass murder. The suspects were the first to fire shots at EuroMaidan protesters on Feb. 20, 2014, according to the investigation. As a result of the Feb. 20 murders, 48 protesters were killed, and 90 others were injured.

Man with Ukrainian documents detained in Bulgaria for espionage. A 23-year-old man with Ukrainian identity documents was detained in Bulgaria and charged with espionage, Bulgarian media reported on June 19.

Want to get the news faster? Follow our website:

Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Martin Fornusek, Nate Ostiller, Chris York, Oleg Sukhov, Kateryna Hodunova, Rachel Amran, and Olena Goncharova.

If you’re enjoying this newsletter, consider joining our membership program. Start supporting independent journalism today.