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Ukraine war latest: Russian tugboat destroyed, Biden calls Putin 'tyrant bent on domination'

by The Kyiv Independent news desk June 6, 2024 9:04 PM 7 min read
U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden walk with French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron while arriving at a ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day at the Normandy American Cemetery on June 6, 2024 in Colleville-sur-Mer, France. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Key developments on June 6:

  • Ukraine's military intelligence destroys Russian tugboat in Crimea
  • Russian forces using thermobaric munitions in attacks on Chasiv Yar, says Ukraine
  • 'We're not authorizing strikes on Moscow,' Biden says on Ukraine's use of US arms
  • ‘A tyrant bent on domination,’ Biden says of Putin during D-Day speech
  • Ukraine's military intelligence disputes POW figures given by Putin

Ukraine's military intelligence agency (HUR) carried out a naval strike in occupied Crimea overnight on June 6, destroying a Project 498 "Saturn" raiding tugboat, the agency said.

The agency's spokesperson, Andrii Yusov, reported on the vessel's destruction earlier the same day on national television.

The boat was destroyed in Panske Lake, which lies on Crimea's western shores, only a few kilometers from the coastal town of Chornomorske. Ukrainian naval drones operated by the military intelligence agency reportedly destroyed two other boats near Chornomorske overnight on May 30.

The agency published a video of the latest attack, which appears to capture several naval drones ramming into the Russian vessel.

"Another enemy vessel was destroyed tonight in the Black Sea. The naval strike by special units of the Main Directorate of Intelligence (HUR) was successful, resulting in 'minus one' enemy vessel," Yusov said on air on national television.

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Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014 and subsequently expanded its unlawful seizure of the Ukrainian oblasts of Kherson, Donetsk, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia after the full-scale war in 2022.

Russian forces using thermobaric munitions in attacks on Chasiv Yar, says Ukraine

Russian forces are using multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) equipped with thermobaric munitions in attacks on the Donetsk Oblast town of Chasiv Yar, Nazar Voloshyn, the spokesperson for the Khortytsia group of forces, said on national television on June 6.

After capturing Avdiivka in February, Russian forces shifted their focus toward Chasiv Yar, a town on a relatively higher elevation, which could potentially open the way to further advances into the oblast.

Although Russia's renewed assaults in Kharkiv Oblast have been the primary source of attention in recent weeks, the fight for Chasiv Yar has remained tense.

Thermobaric munitions "destroy and burn everything in their path," Voloshyn said. While controversial, thermobaric munitions are not prohibited under international law.

Russia's usage of such munitions in Chasiv Yar "force (Ukrainian) defenders to have no place to defend (from)," Voloshyn said.

Russian attacks are primarily focused on the southern part of the town. Ukrainian defenders still hold the town, Voloshyn said, despite the constant strikes that have been ongoing for months.

Before Russia's full-scale invasion, the town was home to around 12,000 people. As Russia stepped up attacks in the area, only around 670 residents stayed in the town, which local authorities described in May as being "almost destroyed."

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'We're not authorizing strikes on Moscow,' Biden says on Ukraine's use of US arms

Washington is not authorizing Kyiv to carry out long-range strikes with U.S.-supplied weapons on locations far from the border with Ukraine, such as Moscow, U.S. President Joe Biden told ABC News on June 6.

Unconfirmed reports emerged earlier in June that Ukraine had used U.S.-supplied weapons to strike targets inside Russia for the first time, days after Washington allowed Kyiv to use some American weapons to strike inside Russia across the border from Kharkiv and Sumy oblasts.

Ukraine said that the original ban on striking targets in Russia prevented an attack on Russian forces as they were building up before crossing the border into Kharkiv Oblast in the renewed Russian offensive that began on May 10.

President Volodymyr Zelensky on June 2 said the U.S. should also lift the ban on long-range strikes in order to protect lives, arguing that airfields deep inside Russia are used to launch strikes on Ukraine.

Biden did not directly answer a question from ABC News on whether U.S.-supplied weapons have already been used to strike inside Russian territory.

Instead, he responded that the weapons are "authorized to be used in proximity to the border when they're being used on the other side of the border to attack specific targets in Ukraine."

"We're not authorizing strikes 200 miles into Russia and we're not authorizing strikes on Moscow, on the Kremlin," Biden said.

When asked whether the reaction of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the strikes inside Russia concerns him, Biden responded that he has known Putin "for over 40 years" and has been "concerned" by him for 40 years.

"He's a dictator, and he's struggling to make sure he holds his country together while still keeping this assault going," Biden said.

The U.S. is authorizing Ukrainian strikes "just across the border, where they're receiving significant fire from conventional weapons used by the Russians to go into Ukraine to kill Ukrainians."

Russian warships heading for Caribbean exercises, US not notified, AP reports
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‘A tyrant bent on domination,’ Biden says of Putin during D-Day speech

U.S. President Joe Biden used his speech at the 80th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy on June 6 to reaffirm support for Ukraine in its fight against a "tyrant bent on domination."

Speaking in front of 180 World War II veterans, Biden linked the struggle against the fascism of Nazi Germany with that of Kyiv's against Russia.

"We know the dark forces that these heroes fought against 80 years ago; they never fade," he said, adding: "Aggression and greed, the desire to dominate and control, to change borders by force — these are perennial. The struggle between dictatorship and freedom is unending."

Biden was speaking at the event marking the day on June 6, 1944, when 7,000 boats carrying nearly 160,000 troops from eight Allied countries landed on five Normandy beaches.

The landing was the starting point for the liberation of France, and eventually the rest of Western Europe, from Nazi Germany.

Biden said Ukraine was fighting a "tyrant bent on domination" in what was the "the test of ages," and insisted "NATO is more united than ever."

"Isolation was not the answer 80 years ago and is not the answer today," he added.

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Ukraine's military intelligence disputes POW figures given by Putin

Ukraine's military intelligence spokesperson, Andrii Yusov, disputed Russian President Vladimir Putin's claims on the numbers of Ukrainian and Russian prisoners of war (POW) in a comment for the Liga outlet on June 6.

Putin claimed during a meeting with the world's leading news agencies on June 5 that there are around 1,348 Russians in Ukrainian captivity and 6,465 Ukrainian soldiers in Russian captivity.

These numbers do not correspond to reality, especially when it comes to the number of Russian POWs, Yusov told Liga but said that Ukraine would not disclose the real figure.

"Ukraine adheres to its principles, and the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of POWs does not name specific figures," the spokesperson noted. Yusov added that Putin's claims were part of Russian propaganda.

Ukrainian authorities said last November that 2,384 soldiers and civilians remained in Russian captivity. Several prisoner exchanges have taken place since then, most recently on May 31, when 71 Ukrainian service members and four civilians were released.

President Volodymyr Zelensky named a possible all-for-all POW exchange as one of the ideas to be discussed during the upcoming global peace summit in Switzerland in June.

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