Russia has increased pressure on Ukraine with rocket fire on the capital Kyiv and threats of further escalation. Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin warned that Russia would respond with attacks on Ukraine should the West give long-range missiles to the country under attack. Meanwhile, several rockets fell in Kyiv and its suburbs. According to British information, Ukrainian troops are counterattacking in the city of Sievjerodonetsk in the east of the country, which has been heavily fought over for days.

Heaviest shelling of Kiev in weeks

Since the withdrawal of Russian troops from the region around Kyiv at the end of March, the capital has rarely been the target of rocket attacks, most recently at the end of April. Now the city experienced heavy shelling again. The military leadership in Kyiv announced that military and civilian infrastructure had been hit. According to the information, at least one injured person was treated in the hospital, and there were no deaths. People posted pictures and videos of fires and clouds of smoke on social networks. Impact noises were also heard. There was an air alert for almost two and a half hours on Sunday morning.

Kyiv contradicts Russian representation

The Russian military claimed that T-72 tanks and other military equipment that had been delivered from Eastern European countries were destroyed in the rocket attacks on the outskirts of Kyiv. They were housed in a plant that repairs railway carriages, said Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov. However, Kiev’s rail chief Olexander Kamyshin rejected this, saying there were no tanks there. According to him, four rockets landed there.

On Telegram, Kamyshin wrote that wagons for transporting grain used for export were destroyed in the attack. There was no military equipment at all on the site. Rather, Russia wants to prevent Ukraine from exporting goods to the West, according to the railway boss.

Putin: Combat drones “crack like nuts”

Russia was also verbally armed this Sunday: Putin threatened Ukraine with severe attacks if it got western missiles with a long range. The aim of the western arms deliveries is to prolong the conflict in Ukraine as much as possible, said the Kremlin chief.

With a view to the delivery of state-of-the-art HIMARS multiple rocket launchers announced by the USA, he was calm: the Ukrainian armed forces are already using such systems made by Russia, and the US deliveries would rather replace destroyed weapons. Nevertheless, it is crucial here which missiles would be used. Russian air defenses, Putin said, have now destroyed most of the combat drones in Ukraine. “Our air defense systems crack them like nuts.”

Ukrainian counterattack in Sieverodonetsk

In the east of the country in particular, the situation in Ukraine seemed to be getting more and more precarious. British intelligence now indicates that Ukrainian troops have counterattacked in the heavily contested city of Sieverodonetsk. The deployed Russian forces are also reserves of the self-proclaimed “Luhansk People’s Republic,” the Ministry of Defense said in London. These troops are poorly equipped and trained, lacking heavy equipment compared to regular units.

First report of Germans killed on the Ukrainian side

On Saturday, Ukraine officially informed for the first time about the death of a German volunteer fighter in the fighting. The International Legion for the Defense of Ukraine said three volunteers from France, Australia and the Netherlands were among the “fallen brothers in arms”. The names of the four men were also given, but not the time or place of their deaths.

Exchanged bodies for the first time

According to authorities in Kyiv, Ukraine and Russia have handed over the bodies of 160 soldiers to the other side. The exchange took place on June 2 along the front line in the Zaporizhia region, it said. According to Ukrainian information, further negotiations on the exchange of prisoners of war are ongoing on both sides. Thousands of Ukrainian fighters are in Russian violence, including the defenders of Mariupol, who held the fort there at the Azovstal steel plant until Kyiv gave up the city in May.

More articles on the Ukraine war:

You can read all further developments in our live ticker on the Ukraine war.