Ukraine conflict day 119: 'Indiscriminate violence' reported by medical charity MSF
Children ride a bike and a scooter on a road in front of a destroyed building in the village of Novoselivka, outside Chernigiv. /AFP/Sergei Chuzavkov

Children ride a bike and a scooter on a road in front of a destroyed building in the village of Novoselivka, outside Chernigiv. /AFP/Sergei Chuzavkov

• Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the military situation in Luhansk was challenging.  

• His advisor Oleskiy Arestovych said Russian forces could cut off Lysychansk, and the fiercely-contested city of Sievierodonetsk across the Siverskyi Donets river, from Ukrainian-held territory. 

• Ukraine's second biggest city Kharkiv came under Russian attack overnight, Arestovych said. 

Russian and Turkish delegations have agreed to continue consultations on safe vessel departures and grain exports from Ukrainian ports, the Russian defense ministry said. 

Ukraine said its grain exports in the first 22 days of June fell 48 percent from a year earlier to 907,000 tonnes.  

• The Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery in Russia's Rostov region, bordering Ukraine, suspended operations after what may have been a drone strike, regional governor Vasily Golubev said. 

• Britain said there were no restrictions on Russians working in the UK after a Russian lawmaker said members of their delegation to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe had been denied visas. 

Seven Russian missiles hit the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv on Wednesday, regional governor Vitaliy Kim said. 

Moscow's response to Lithuania's ban on the transit of goods sanctioned by the EU to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad will not be exclusively diplomatic but practical, the spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry said. 

• Russian reduction of gas flows to Europe are "very rogue moves," a senior European Commission said, saying plans to step up coal use in the bloc would be temporary and climate goals remained intact. 

People attend the burial of Ukrainian serviceman Vladislav Andreev killed in the Donetsk region, at Bucha's cemeter. /AFP/Sergei Supinsky

People attend the burial of Ukrainian serviceman Vladislav Andreev killed in the Donetsk region, at Bucha's cemeter. /AFP/Sergei Supinsky

'Shocking' civilian casualties 

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said medical data and patient accounts to its staff in Ukraine show a shocking lack of effort to spare and protect civilians caught up in hostilities.

The medical charity, which set up a hospital train in Ukraine following Russia's invasion in February, said the patients and injuries it saw painted a grim picture.

"The war in Ukraine is being conducted with an outrageous lack of care to distinguish and protect civilians," MSF said in a statement, pointing out that more than 40 percent of the wounded on the train were elderly people and children.

They came in with blast wounds, traumatic amputations, shrapnel, and gunshot wounds, it said.

"This points to a lack of respect for civilian protection, which is a serious violation of international humanitarian law."  

Between March 31 and June 6, MSF said it had medically evacuated 653 patients by train from war-affected areas in eastern Ukraine to hospitals in safer parts of the country.

During the 20- to 30-hour journey, many patients shared their experiences with the staff.

"Most patients we talked to when designating who is responsible for their injuries pointed at Russian and Russian-backed military forces," MSF said.

"Although we cannot specifically point to an intention to target civilians, the decision to use heavy weaponry en masse on densely populated areas means that civilians are inescapably, and are therefore knowingly, being killed and wounded," he said.

MSF found that blast injuries caused 73 percent of the war-related trauma cases it handled, with 20 percent caused by shrapnel or gunshots and the rest by other violent incidents.

More than 10 percent of the war trauma patients had lost at least one limb, with the youngest such patient just six years old.

Sievierodonetsk 'hell'

Ukraine said Wednesday that the eastern industrial city of Sievierodonetsk was "hell" as Russian forces moved to encircle two key cities in the Donbas, where Moscow has concentrated its military efforts.

"For four months, all our positions have been under fire from everything -- and I just want to emphasise this -- from all the weapons that the Russian army has," the Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Gaiday said in a statement on social media.

"It's just hell out there," he added, referring to Sievierodonetsk, which has been heavily shelled for weeks by Russian forces who are trying to gain complete control of the city.

"Our boys are holding their positions and will continue to hold on as long as necessary," he added.

Russian forces in recent days have made territorial gains south of Sievierodonetsk and moved closer to its sister city of Lysychansk, separated by the river Donets.

Gaiday said Russian forces were "trying to encircle the city" of Lysychansk, but Ukrainian troops still controlled the city.

"Lysychansk is being heavily shelled with heavy caliber weapons," he added, describing "colossal destruction."

Gaiday said that people were steadily being evacuated from Lysychansk and that "we are slowly taking people out."

However, in Sievierodonetsk, hundreds of civilians seeking refuge in the Azot chemical plant were unable to leave due to the scale of the fighting, he said.

"Evacuation is possible if there is an agreement at the highest level if there will be a ceasefire and a clearly defined route," Gaiday said.

Source(s): Reuters ,AFP

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