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Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 107 of the invasion – The Guardian
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Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 107 of the invasion – The Guardian 

Vladimir Putin compares his actions in Ukraine to conquests of Peter the Great; Zelenskiy says Ukraine ‘holding on’ to key frontline cities in Donbas
The UK foreign secretary, Liz Truss, will raise the case of Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, the two British men sentenced to death by a pro-Russian court in occupied Ukraine, when she speaks to Ukraine’s foreign secretary, Dmytro Kuleba, on Friday. Truss has already called it a “sham judgment” and said it had “absolutely no legitimacy”. The UK’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, is appalled by the death sentences and has ordered ministers to do “everything in their power” to secure their release, a spokesperson said.
A British MP has said the only person who can immediately resolve the situation with the two men is the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Robert Jenrick described the sentencing as a “war crime”, “absolutely outrageous” and “a flagrant breach of international law”. He said the two men were being “essentially used as hostages” by pro-Russian forces in the region.
The two British men and a Moroccan national were captured while fighting in the Ukrainian army in Mariupol and have been sentenced to death by pro-Russia officials after a days-long process described as a “disgusting Soviet-era show trial”. A court in Russian-controlled east Ukraine convicted 28-year-old Aslin, from Newark-on-Trent, 48-year-old Pinner, from Watford, and Saaudun Brahim on charges of “terrorism”.
Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said two British nationals and one Moroccan were sentenced to death in the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) had committed crimes on the territory of the self-proclaimed state. Lavrov declined to comment on the cases, saying they are under the jurisdiction of the DPR, which is internationally recognised as part of Ukraine. A senior Ukrainian official said Russia wants to use the men as “hostages” to put pressure on the west over peace negotiations.
Britain’s defence secretary, Ben Wallace, travelled to Kyiv to meet Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov, to discuss the UK’s support of Ukraine. During his two-day visit, Wallace met with Zelenskiy to discuss how the UK would continue to give support “to meet Ukraine’s needs as the conflict enters a different phase”, the MoD said. Zelenskiy said he was grateful for Britain’s support of Ukraine, adding that the war “highlights who is our friend […] I believe Great Britain is a friend”.
Ukrainian troops claim they have advanced in fierce street fighting in Sievierodonetsk but say their only hope of turning the tide is with more artillery to offset Russia’s massive firepower. Zelenskiy said the country was “holding on” to key frontline cities in Donbas. “Sievierodonetsk, Lysychansk and other cities in Donbas, which the occupiers now consider key targets, are holding on,” he said, adding that Ukraine had had some success in Zaporizhzhia.
Serhiy Haidai, Ukraine’s governor of Luhansk, has said: “The whole free Luhansk region came under heavy shelling. Fierce street fighting continues in Sievierodonetsk. We are exhausting the enemy.”
Russia is looking for weak points in Ukrainian defences near the Siverskyi Donets river in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian defence ministry spokesperson Oleksandr Motuzyanyk has said. He told national television that Russian forces had not abandoned attempts to launch storming operations in the area.
Oleh Synyehubov, the governor of Kharkiv, has said that Russia has not been able to advance in his region, despite extensive shelling.
Mariupol’s mayor, Vadym Boychenko, warned cholera and other deadly diseases could kill thousands of people in the Russian-occupied city in southern Ukraine as corpses lie uncollected amid rising temperatures. Boichenko said wells had been contaminated by the corpses of people killed during weeks of Russian bombardment and siege. Mariupol is at risk of a major cholera outbreak, the UK’s defence ministry said in its latest report.
Ukraine’s military intelligence directorate said it believes Russia has the economic resources to continue the war at its current pace “for another year”. The Kremlin “probably will try to freeze the war for a while in order to convince the west to lift sanctions, but then continue the aggression” it said, adding that Russia’s goal “is all of Ukraine and not only Ukraine”.
Ukraine’s defence ministry said it had struck Russian military positions in the southern Kherson region, one of the first areas to be seized by Moscow’s troops after it invaded the country in February. The ministry said there was “a series of strikes on enemy bases, places of accumulation of equipment and personnel, and field depots around five different settlements in the Kherson region”. It has not been possible to independently verify these claims.
Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence has said Ukraine is losing against Russia on the frontlines and is now almost solely reliant on weapons from the west to keep Russia at bay. “This is an artillery war now,” said Vadym Skibitsky. The frontlines were now where the future would be decided, he told the Guardian, “and we are losing in terms of artillery”.
Russia is struggling to provide basic public services to the population in Russian-occupied territories and Mariupol is at risk of a major cholera outbreak, the UK Ministry of Defence has said.
Zelenskiy lobbied again for more weapons from the west, comparing Russia’s invasion to Covid and describing weapons and sanctions as a vaccine. “Weapons and sanctions are … a vaccine … against Covid-22 brought by Russia,” Zelenskiy said via video link at a gala to celebrate Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of the year.
The number of Russian soldiers killed since Putin ordered his troops into Ukraine could now be as high as 20,000, according to the latest assessment by western officials. Previous estimates, given several weeks ago, were about 15,000. The official did not speculate on the number of Ukrainians killed in the war.
Putin paid tribute to the tsar Peter the Great, drawing a parallel between what he portrayed as their twin historic quests to win back Russian lands. After visiting an exhibition in Moscow dedicated to the 350th birthday of the 18th-century ruler on Thursday, Putin told a group of young entrepreneurs that “you get the impression that by fighting Sweden he was grabbing something. He wasn’t taking anything, he was taking it back”.
Ukrainian military casualties are between 100 and 200 a day, according to Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Zelenskiy, who spoke with the BBC on Thursday. The Ukrainian president said last week that the Ukrainian army was losing 60 to 100 soldiers a day.
The Kremlin said no agreement had been reached with Turkey on exporting Ukrainian grain shipments across the Black Sea. Turkey has been pushing for an agreement between Russia and Ukraine to ease the global food crisis by negotiating safe passage for grain stuck in Black Sea ports, but its efforts have been met with resistance. Ukraine says Russia is imposing unreasonable conditions and the Kremlin says shipment is dependent on ending sanctions.
Nato’s deputy chief, Mircea Geoană, said he was “confident” that Sweden and Finland would join the military alliance, despite objections from Turkey. Ankara has some “legitimate” concerns “when it comes to terrorists”, Geoană said, adding that he did not see any real risk to the Nordic countries from Russia in the period up until they become fully fledged Nato members.
Finland’s government is planning to amend border legislation to allow the building of barriers on its eastern frontier with Russia, it said. The move to amend border legislation comes as the Finnish government rushes to strengthen border security amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Finland’s move to join the Nato military alliance.
Swedish foreign minister Ann Linde has said in parliament that Sweden aims to make constructive progress in talks with Turkey over the Nordic country’s application to join Nato.
Nearly 5 million Ukrainians have been registered across Europe since the beginning of the war, according to figures by the UN’s refugee agency. Far more will have actually left the country, with UNHCR data showing that more than 7.3m border crossings out of Ukraine had been recorded by 7 June. Another 2.3m crossings had been registered back into the country. The war in Ukraine has “caused one of the largest human displacement crises in the world”, the UNHCR said.
Russia may be getting more revenue from its fossil fuel sales now than before its invasion of Ukraine, according to one US official. Increases in global oil prices have offset the impact of import bans, the US energy security envoy, Amos Hochstein, told lawmakers during a Senate hearing. Russia had been able to sell more cargoes to other buyers, including major energy consumers China and India, by offering it at a discount to oil from other origins, he said.
Zelenskiy said he had a phone conversation with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, in which “special attention was paid to Ukraine’s path to the EU”. “We are coordinating steps,” he said.

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