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Smoke rises above the territory of the Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk, 18 June 2022 - Sputnik International

LIVE UPDATES: LPR Forces Backed by Russian Troops Have Liberated Severodonetsk, Russian MoD Says

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Moscow launched the special operation in Ukraine on 24 February, as Donbass suffered from intense attacks by Kiev's troops.
Russian forces and the Donbass militias are advancing amid the special operation, liberating multiple cities in the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republic from Ukrainian troops over the past weeks. However, the Ukrainian military is still targeting Donbass cities, which are suffering from the most intensive bombardment since 2015, with multiple civilian casualties.
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01:52 GMT 26.06.2022
UK Ready to Provide Additional $525 Million in Loan Guarantees to Kiev
The United Kingdom plans to support Ukraine with an additional $525 million in guarantees for World Bank lending later this year, the British government says.
"The Ukrainian Government fears it could run out of funding by the autumn unless it is given urgent financial help. To help with this pressing need the UK stands ready to provide another $525 million (or £429 million) in guarantees for World Bank lending later this year," the office of Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a Saturday statement.
According to the release, the new aid brings the total amount of fiscal support including UK loan guarantees to $1.5 billion, while the combined UK economic and humanitarian support to Ukraine this year will now stand at $1.8 billion.
The British government emphasized that Johnson plans to use the G7 summit to encourage more long-term support for Ukraine.
The G7 summit will be held in the Bavarian castle of Schloss Elmau starting from Sunday until Tuesday.
Earlier this month, Johnson said that his unexpected visit to Kiev and his meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on June 17 was to show London's support at a time when other countries are starting to get tired of the Ukraine issue.
Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine on February 24, after the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) appealed for help in defending themselves against Ukrainian provocations. In response to Russia’s operation, Western countries have rolled out a comprehensive sanctions campaign against Moscow and have been supplying weapons to Ukraine.
22:41 GMT 25.06.2022
Spies, Commandos From US, NATO Countries Provide Assistance to Ukraine
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - A covert network of spies and commandos from the United States and its allied countries is helping Ukraine, including by providing intelligence, while dozens of commandos from several NATO countries are also working on Ukrainian territory, the New York Times reported, citing US and European officials.
According to the newspaper, Ukrainian troops depend on help from the United States and its allies, including a hidden network of commandos and spies who provide weapons and intelligence as well as training. The media also said that most of this work is done outside of Ukraine, for example at bases in Germany, France and the United Kingdom.
The media said that several dozen commandos from such NATO countries as the United Kingdom, France, Canada and Lithuania work in Ukraine, adding that some operatives from the US Central Intelligence Agency, despite US President Joe Biden's administration claims that it would not send US troops to Ukraine, are secretly working in Kiev, directing Washington intelligence sharing.
Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine on February 24 after the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk requested help in defending themselves from intensifying attacks by Ukrainian troops.
Since the beginning of the conflict, the West and its allies have been supplying Kiev with weapons and military equipment, including the United States and the United Kingdom, which have spent roughly $6.3 billion and $2.5 billion in military aid, respectively.
22:09 GMT 25.06.2022
Russian Forces Liberate 800 Civilians From Azot Chemical Plant in Severodonetsk - Kadyrov
Russian forces have liberated 800 civilians from the Azot chemical plant in the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), the head of Russia's Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, said on Saturday.
"As many as 800 civilians have been liberated from the territory of the Azot chemical plant. The airport's clearance of remaining armed gangs is being carried out, with its whole territory being under control [of Russian forces]," Kadyrov said on Telegram.
He added that Severodonetsk's industrial area and airport are also liberated, and that the Russian military is conducting clearance of Borivske urban-type settlement.
In a different Telegram post shortly later, Kadyrov said that all civilians have been evacuated from underground facilities of the Azot plant, where they had been used as a "human shield" by holed up Ukrainian militants, and the entire industrial area of Severodonetsk, including its airport, and Borivske have been liberated.
An officer with the LPR People's Militia, Lt. Col. Andrei Marochko, confirmed on his Telegram channel that "the industrial area of the Azot plant in Severodonetsk went under full control of the LPR People's Militia and allied Russian forces."
Later in the day, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said during a briefing that an attempt by Ukrainian armed forces to turn the territory of Azot plant into a persistent hotbed of resistance was thwarted, with the plant is now controlled by units of LPR People's Militia.
The Azot chemical plant occupies almost the half of Severodonetsk's territory. The plant had been under the control of Ukrainian militants for several weeks after they were pushed and encircled there when the city went under the control of Russian and LPR forces. Last week, the Russian military offered safe exit to militants at Azot who agree to surrender. It also called on them to let civilians leave the plant and evacuate via a humanitarian corridor to a non-combat area in the LPR.
18:55 GMT 25.06.2022
Some 25,000 People Evacuated From Ukraine, Donbass to Russia Over the Past Day - Defense Ministry
MOSCOW (Sputnik) -Some 25,000 people have been evacuated to Russia over the past 24 hours from dangerous areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR) and Ukraine, head of the Russian National Defense Control Center, Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev, who also leads Russia's humanitarian response coordination headquarters, said.

"Over the past 24 hours, without the participation of the Ukrainian side, 25,674 people, including 3,803 children, were evacuated to the territory of the Russian Federation from dangerous areas of Ukraine and the Donbass republics," Col. Gen. Mizintsev said at a briefing.

He added that since the start of Russia's special military operation, more than 2.1 million people, including over 333,000 children, have been evacuated to Russia.
Mizintsev added that since March 2, Russia has delivered nearly 336,000 tons of humanitarian cargoes to Ukraine.
17:51 GMT 25.06.2022
Ukrainian Forces Fire 20 Grad Missiles at DPR Settlement, Donetsk Says
17:47 GMT 25.06.2022
G7 Summit to Consider More Russia Sanctions, Ways to Curb Backlash - White House
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The German-hosted summit of G7 leaders will discuss ways of tightening economic sanctions on Russia while shielding their own economies from the fallout of surging energy prices, US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said on Saturday.
"I think leaders are going to be looking for ways to... continue to hold Mr. Putin accountable and to increase the cost of consequences of his war on him and his economy, and, two, minimizing as much as possible the effect of these rising oil prices... on nations particularly on the continent but also around the world," he told a press gaggle en route to Munich.
The summit will be taking place from Sunday to Tuesday in the Bavarian castle Schloss Elmau.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Monday that the US and its allies were working on a collective plan to place a price cap on Russian oil that would allow more crude to reach the market while slashing Russian oil revenues. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov predicted that Western sanctions would have no effect on Russia's oil exports.
17:07 GMT 25.06.2022
LPR Forces Backed by Russian Troops Have Liberated Severodonetsk, Russian MoD Says
Aside from Severodonetsk, the LPR forces backed by the Russian Armed Forces have liberated Borovskoye, Voronovo, and Sirotino, the Russian Defense Ministry said. The left bank of the Seversky Donets River that is within the LPR's borders has come under the Republic's control, the MoD said.
The MoD has confirmed that the Azot plant, which is located in Severodonetsk, is now controlled by the LPR's people's militia.
16:58 GMT 25.06.2022
CNN: Biden and Rest of G7 Leaders Agree to Announce Import Ban on New Gold From Russia
15:38 GMT 25.06.2022
Poland to Suggest Boosting NATO Battlegroups in Eastern Europe to Brigade Size
WARSAW (Sputnik) - Poland will ask NATO at the upcoming summit in Madrid to send more troops to the eastern flank to boost battlegroups to brigade size, Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Saturday.
"We are seeking more troops and we want to increase the combat readiness of allied forces in the event of a threat. I confirm that we want to have a brigade-size group deployed to Poland," Blaszczak told the Polska Times news website.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday that allies planned to endorse a new strategic concept during the leaders' summit from June 28-30 that will refer to Russia as the "most significant and direct threat" to the allied security.
NATO leaders agreed at the 2016 summit in Warsaw to establish four multinational battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland and extended NATO's forward presence to Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia in February, while the United States increased the number of troops in Europe from 70,000 to over 100,000 in the past months
NATO doubled the number of battalion-size battlegroups in the region to eight after Russia began a military operation in Ukraine. A typical NATO battalion consists of 600 to 1,000 troops, while the size of brigades varies from 3,200 to 5,500.
15:37 GMT 25.06.2022
NATO Secretary General Expects Madrid Summit to Be 'Historic'
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The NATO summit in Madrid next week will be "historic" due to the multiplicity of "important decisions" that allies are expected to agree, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told Spanish newspaper El Pais on Saturday.
Another reason making the upcoming summit "historic" is that it will be taking place amid what Stoltenberg said is the biggest security crisis in Europe since World War 2.
The NATO chief said 30 allies will agree the biggest transformation of collective defense since the end of Cold War.
In addition to Ukraine, they will also address terrorism and instability in northern Africa and the Sahel region and coordinate a new aid package for Mauritania, in particular, Stoltenberg was cited as saying.
NATO will hold a summit in Madrid from June 28-30 where it is expected to adopt a new strategic concept outlining the alliance's policies and priorities for the next decade.
15:37 GMT 25.06.2022
Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko  - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.06.2022
Russia
Belarus' Lukashenko Calls Lithuania's Blockade of Kaliningrad 'De Facto Declaration of War'
15:11 GMT 25.06.2022
Russian Air Defences Shoot Down Two Ukrainian Tochka-U Missiles Over Kherson Outskirts - Source
14:59 GMT 25.06.2022
LPR and Russian Forces Fully Control Industrial Zone of Azot Plant in Severodonetsk, People's Militia Says
14:17 GMT 25.06.2022
Erdogan Signals No Progress on Sweden's NATO Bid

"Sweden should take steps regarding such fundamental matters as combatting terrorism," the Turkish president's office said, adding that Ankara "wanted to see binding commitments on these issues together with concrete and clear action."

13:39 GMT 25.06.2022
Zelensky Fires Five Ukrainian Ambassadors Without Specifying Reason
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has dismissed Ukraine's ambassadors to Georgia, Iran, Lebanon, Portugal, and Slovakia, according to decrees published on his official website.
Relieved of duties were ambassadors Sergey Burdilyak in Iran, Ihor Dolhov in Georgia, Yurii Mushka in Slovakia, Inna Ohnivets in Portugal, and Ihor Ostash in Lebanon, by presidential decrees issued on Friday.
The decrees specified neither the reason why the five ambassadors had been dismissed nor their replacement.
12:56 GMT 25.06.2022
Frustration Growing Among US Allies as Russia Sanctions Backfire, Reports Say
Gas station sign in Minnesota expressing sympathy for its customers as US national average gas prices top $5 bucks a gallon. Screengrab of WCCO - CBS Minnesota report. - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.06.2022
Russia
Frustration Growing Among US Allies as Russia Sanctions Backfire, Reports Say
09:38 GMT 25.06.2022
At Least 800 Civilians Liberated From Azot Plant in Severodonetsk, Chechnya Head Kadyrov Says

"As many as 800 civilians have been liberated from the territory of the Azot chemical plant. The airport's clearance of remaining armed gangs is being carried out, with its whole territory being under control [of Russian forces]", Kadyrov said on Telegram.

09:16 GMT 25.06.2022
MoD: Russian Forces Eliminate 300 Ukrainian Troops Near Nikolaev
09:01 GMT 25.06.2022
Ukrainian Soldiers From Lvov Refuse To Depart for Donbass, MoD Says
07:20 GMT 25.06.2022
Ukrainian Shelling Kills Woman in Donetsk's Petrovskyi District - Mayor
A night shelling by the Ukrainian forces has killed at least one woman in Donetsk in the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), Mayor Alexey Kulemzin said on Saturday.

"The Ukrainian armed formations continue to take the lives of civilians. As a result of the night shelling of the Petrovskyi district, a woman born in 1983, who resided at Revyakina, 37 street, died," Kulemzin said on Telegram.

At least four people died and two were injured in the DPR over the past day as a result of the shelling by the Ukrainian military, the DPR Territorial Defense Headquarters said.

"Over the past day, from 8:00 a.m. local time [05:00 GMT] on June 24 to 8:00 a.m. on June 25, four people were killed and two more civilians were injured as a result of the shelling by the Ukrainian armed formations on the DPR's territory," the defense headquarters said.

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