- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the main church in the Svyatohersk Lavra, one of the country’s holiest Orthodox Christian sites, had been burned down following a Russian attack.
- He says street fighting continues in the city of Severodonetsk, where the situation remains “extremely difficult”.
- Serhiy Hayday, governor of Luhansk province, says Ukrainian forces that previously controlled only 30 percent of the eastern city launched a counterattack and recaptured another 20 percent.
- Military experts say that the outcome of the battle of Severodonetsk could determine which side has the impetus for a protracted war of attrition.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin was quoted by the RIA news agency as saying that Moscow easily deals with US weapons systems sent to Ukraine and has already destroyed dozens.
Here are the latest updates:
Active emergency workers at the site of the Kyiv explosion
Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, said that “several explosions” occurred early Sunday morning in the capital’s Darnitsky and Dniprovsky regions.
“Services are already running on the site. More detailed information later,” he wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
Strong explosions heard in Kyiv: report
Reuters news agency reported that loud explosions were heard in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.
The agency quoted an eyewitness as saying that smoke was seen in the city after the explosions.
The report added that the sirens sounded earlier in most parts of Ukraine, including the Kyiv region.
US Defense Secretary hosts Ukraine aid meeting in Brussels
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he will host a meeting next week of a contact group set up to coordinate aid to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian attacks.
The meeting of the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group will take place in Brussels on June 15, according to the Kyiv Independent news website.
“Defense leaders from around the world will be there to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s unprovoked invasion,” Lloyd said in a tweet.
While in Brussels, the defense minister will also attend a NATO meeting that will discuss Sweden and Finland’s efforts to join the security alliance.
Finally, I am going to Brussels, Belgium 🇧🇪 to personally host the next meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. Defense leaders from around the world will be present to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s unprovoked invasion. (5/6)
– Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (SecDef) 4 June 2022
US envoy visits Borodinka, pledges accountability
Bridget Brink, the US envoy to Ukraine, visited Borodinka, northwest of Kyiv, where Russian forces have been accused of war crimes.
“Borodinka has suffered horribly,” Brink said in a tweet late Saturday night.
“My testimony to the atrocities of the brutal Russian war, including the families killed in their homes, strengthens my resolve to do everything in our power to hold the perpetrators of these terrible crimes to account.”
Borodinka suffered terribly. Bearing witness to the atrocities of the brutal Russian war, including the families killed in their homes, only reinforces my determination to do everything in our power to hold the perpetrators of these horrific crimes to account. pic.twitter.com/vPQ7AzKzPc
– Ambassador Bridget Brink (@USAmbKyiv) 4 June 2022
Germany faces €5 billion annually affected by Russian gas sanctions
The weekly Welt am Sonntag, citing industry representatives, reported that Russian sanctions against Gazprom Germania and its subsidiaries could cost German taxpayers and gas users an additional 5 billion euros ($5.4 billion) annually to pay for alternative gas.
In May, Russia decided to stop supplying Gazprom Germania, which was a subsidiary of Germany’s Gazprom, after Berlin placed the company under trustee management due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Since then, the Bundesnetzagentur energy regulator, as trustee, has had to purchase alternative gas from the market to fulfill supply contracts with German municipal utilities and regional suppliers.
Welt am Sonntag reports that Economy Minister Robert Habeck estimates the need for an additional 10 million cubic meters per day, which would currently cost around 3.5 billion euros ($3.7 billion) annually. It added that other costs arise from filling the natural gas storage facility in Riden, which Habic ordered on Wednesday.
The newspaper also said the additional costs would be passed on to energy suppliers and end customers in the form of a gas tax from October.
Welt am Sonntag said the Economy Ministry refused to comment on the scale of the costs incurred, and no one in the ministry immediately responded to a request emailed for comment.
Ukraine plans to resume soccer leagues in August
The head of the Ukrainian Football Association said that Kyiv plans to resume competitive football in the country in August despite being attacked by Russia.
Andrei Pavlko told the Associated Press news agency that the Ukrainian president had approved the decision.
“I spoke with our president, Volodymyr Zelensky, about how important it is for football to be a distraction,” Pavlko said in Cardiff.
“We talked about how football has a very big power to help people think about the future because now people are, of course, not in a good mindset. They are in the worst mood. We talked about how football can help us think about the future.”
This is the future with players being able to take to the field again in Ukraine to provide fun sporting moments.
“So we made the decision with the president that we will resume the Ukrainian championship in August,” Pavlko said through an interpreter. “In Ukraine we will play at all levels. So the English Premier League, the first and second professional leagues, and the women’s championship.
“At all levels we will start in August. The decision was made with the President of Ukraine.”
Street fighting continues in Severodonetsk, says Zelensky
The Ukrainian president described the situation in Severodonetsk as “extremely difficult” and said street fighting continued in the eastern city.
“Russian forces again fired at the border areas of the Sumy region, Mykolaiv region, cities, residents of the Zaporizhzhya region, the Kharkiv region,” said Zelensky in his evening speech.
“The situation in Severodonetsk, where street fighting continues, remains very difficult. It is also difficult in Lysychansk, Marinka, Kurakhove and other cities and communities of the Donbass. Constant air strikes, artillery and missile attacks. By this morning, the total number of different Russian missiles used against Ukraine is already 2,503″.
Zelensky criticizes the Russian bombing of the Orthodox monastery
Ukraine’s president said the main church in the Svyatohersk Lavra, one of the country’s holiest Orthodox Christian sites, was burned down in the wake of the Russian bombing.
News of the destruction of part of the monastery came as Russian forces escalated their attacks in the Donetsk region.
“On this day, the 101st day of a full-scale war, in the Donetsk region of the Svyatohersk Lavra, the All Saints’ Skate burned. “The fire caught up as a result of the attack of Russian artillery,” Zelensky said in his evening speech.
“They are ready to burn everything: the Orthodox churches and everything else in Ukraine.”
He claimed that three monks in the Svyatohersk Lavra were killed in Russian bombing, and said 113 Orthodox churches had already been destroyed or damaged by Russia since the invasion began in February.
Russian and Ukrainian military officers blamed each other for the damage to the Svyatohersk Lavra.
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s ongoing coverage of the Russo-Ukrainian War.
Read all updates from Saturday 4 June here.