This is the live blog on Wednesday, June 1, day 98 of the war in Ukraine. Follow the latest news about the Russian invasion and all the consequences of the war here.
Switzerland is blocking the supply of armored vehicles to Ukraine
08:54 | The Swiss government has again blocked a supply of military equipment to Ukraine. Bern vetoed a Danish request to supply armored vehicles produced in Switzerland to the country of Eastern Europe.
Denmark had wanted to send about twenty Piranha III armored cars, according to the Swiss public television station SRF. However, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) rejected the request. The reason for the refusal was the Swiss policy of neutrality, which prescribes a ban on arms supplies to conflict areas.
In April, Switzerland also blocked the re-export of anti-aircraft ammunition to weapons systems sent by Germany to Ukraine. Polish requests to send Swiss weapons to the neighboring country were also rejected by Bern.
Neutral Switzerland requires countries that buy Swiss-made weapons to obtain a permit if they want to resell them to other countries.
Russian nuclear forces are practicing maneuvers
04:39 | Russian nuclear forces are conducting exercises in Ivanovo province northeast of Moscow. It informs the news agency Interfax based on the Russian Ministry of Defense.
About a thousand soldiers on Tuesday performed “intense maneuvers” with more than a hundred vehicles. This also included Yars vehicles from which intercontinental ballistic missiles can be fired, the ministry said.
As Western countries supply Ukraine with money and weapons, the Kremlin occasionally points to its nuclear weapons to intimidate the West. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in late April that the danger of nuclear war is great.
On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden published an op-ed in The New York Times about the US approach to the war in Ukraine. In it, he called the occasional Russian rhetoric about nuclear weapons “dangerous and extremely irresponsible.” And he wrote: “Let me be clear: any use of nuclear weapons in this conflict, regardless of scale, would be completely unacceptable to us and the rest of the world and would have serious consequences”.
UNICEF: Five million Ukrainian children are dependent on aid
03:11 | More than five million Ukrainian children are dependent on humanitarian aid due to the war in their home country, the UN children’s organization UNICEF reports. These are about 3 million children in Ukraine itself and about 2.2 million children who have fled to other countries because of the conflict.
Since the Russian invasion on February 24, 262 Ukrainian children have died and hundreds of schools have been damaged, UNICEF reports. The organization publishes the figures in connection with the International Day for the Protection of Children, 1 June.
Biden: The United States sends Ukraine more advanced weapons and ammunition
02:57 | US President Joe Biden has decided that the US will provide the Ukrainian military with more advanced missile systems and ammunition, allowing them to more accurately target key targets on the battlefield in Ukraine. He wrote this in a statement to The New York Times on Tuesday.
The president quoted “Javelin anti-tank missiles, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, high-power artillery and precision missile systems, radars, unmanned aerial vehicles, Mi-17 helicopters and ammunition.” The decision, says Biden, fits what he describes in his article as “America’s clear goals: We want a democratic, independent, sovereign and prosperous Ukraine with the means to manage itself and defend itself against further aggression.”
What Biden did not say, but what government sources later confirmed to Reuters and AFP news agencies, is that the United States is also sending Himars-type missile systems (M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) to Ukraine. Himar’s missiles use precision-guided ammunition and have a range of about 80 kilometers. “These systems will be used by the Ukrainians to ward off the Russian advance on Ukrainian territory, but will not be used on targets on Russian territory,” the official said.