Russia-Ukraine live news: Nuclear use risk highest in decades | Russia-Ukraine war News

  • An arms research institute says the risk of nuclear war is higher today than any time since the height of the Cold War.
  • Russian flags fly on a highway to the strategic port city of Mariupol, with the sign to the city’s entrance is painted in the Russian flag colours.
  • Kremlin-installed officials in occupied southern Ukraine have celebrated Russia Day on Sunday and began issuing Russian passports to residents in Melitopol, Russian state-owned RIA Novosti reported.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russian casualties since the start of the war may pass 40,000 in June.
  • Pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk have upheld the death sentences of two Britons and one Moroccan for fighting with the Ukrainian army.
(Al Jazeera)

Here are the latest updates:

Russian-owned successor of McDonald’s opens in Moscow

Three months after McDonald’s suspended operations in Russia, hundreds of people streamed into its famous former outlet on Moscow’s Pushkin Square as the restaurant reopened Sunday under a Russian owner and a new name.

The logo is different, but still evokes the golden arches: a circle and two yellow oblongs — representing a beef patty and french fries. It wasn’t until a couple of hours before the Pushkin Square restaurant opened that the Russian chain’s new name was announced: Vkusno-i Tochka (Tasty-period).

Fifteen of the former McDonald’s were set to reopen in Moscow on Sunday. Oleg Paroev, the chain’s general director, said he aims to have 200 open by the end of the month.

McDonald’s sold its 850 restaurants to businessman Alexander Govor, who held licences for 25 franchises in Siberia.

Staff members wait for visitors at a newly opened fast food restaurant in a former McDonald's outlet in Bolshaya Bronnaya Street in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, June 12, 2022
Staff members wait for visitors at a newly opened fast food restaurant in a former McDonald’s outlet in Bolshaya Bronnaya Street in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, June 12, 2022 [Dmitry Serebryakov/AP]

Kyiv exhibition showcases remnants of Russia’s war on Ukraine

An exhibition has opened in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv showcasing the paraphernalia of the war underway in the country.

From captured vehicles and collected remnants of missiles, all the way to slippers, toothbrushes and burner phones that the Russian military used and left behind, have been put on display at the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War.

Head of Educational Department Dmytro Hainetdinov said that many of the objects were collected by the museum’s staff while visiting newly liberated areas in order to “highlight some particular facets of the war waged by Russia on Ukraine”.

“The purpose of this exhibition is to raise the awareness of people of this war with the help of authentic artefacts,” Hainetdinov said.

Russian boots are displayed at an exhibition in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Russian boots are displayed at an exhibition in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Sunday, June 12, 2022. Objects discarded by the Russian military are part of an exhibition focusing on the devastation of the ongoing war [Natacha Pisarenko/AP]

Arms research institute says global nuclear arsenals expected to grow

The global stockpile of nuclear weapons could soon rise again for the first time since the Cold War due to global tensions, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has said.

“Russia has even made open threats about possible nuclear weapon use in the context of the war in Ukraine,” SIPRI said in a summary launching its yearbook 2022.

“Although there were some significant gains in both nuclear arms control and nuclear disarmament in the past year, the risk of nuclear weapons being used seems higher now than at any time since the height of the cold war,” SIPRI Director Dan Smith said.

The past year saw a slight reduction in the total number of nuclear warheads to an estimated 12,705 worldwide. Around 90 percent of all nuclear weapons are held by the United States and Russia.


Zelenskyy accuses Russian generals of using soldiers as ‘cannon fodder’

Zelenskyy has said Moscow’s tactics had not changed in the war and that poorly-trained Russian reserves were now being deployed in the battle for Donbas, where “every metre” is being fought over.

“The Russian army is trying to deploy reserve forces in Donbas. But what reserves can they have now?” Zelenskyy asked in his daily address to the nation.

“It seems that they will try to throw into battle poorly trained conscripts and those who were gathered by covert mobilisation,” he said.

“Russian generals see their people simply as the cannon fodder they need to gain an advantage in numbers,” he added.


Russian war casualties may top 40,000 this month: Ukraine president

Zelenskyy has said that Russian casualties since the start of the war may pass 40,000 in June.

Speaking to the nation on Sunday in his 109th daily address since the start of the Russian invasion, Zelenskyy also reiterated Ukraine’s call for advanced air defence systems from the West.

He said that such defences could have averted many tragedies, including an air attack on Ternopil on Sunday which injured 10 people, including a 12-year-old girl.

Zelenskyy said that such incidents were replacing Peter the Great and novelist Leo Tolstoy as how the world now thought of Russia.


Russia destroys bridge over Ukrainian river, cutting escape route

Russian forces have blown up a bridge linking the embattled Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk to another city across the river, cutting off a possible evacuation route for civilians, local officials have said.

Russian forces have taken most of the city, but Ukrainian troops remain in control of an industrial area and the Azot chemical plant, where hundreds of civilians are sheltering.

But the Russians had destroyed a bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River linking Severodonetsk with its twin city of Lysychansk, governor of Luhansk Serhiy Haidai said.

“If after new shelling the bridge collapses, the city will truly be cut off. There will be no way of leaving Severodonetsk in a vehicle,” Haidai said, noting the lack of a ceasefire agreement and no agreed evacuation corridors.


Russian flags seen at entrance to Mariupol

A new city sign painted in the colours of the Russian flag was unveiled on the outskirts of Mariupol, replacing a monument which had been in the blue and gold of Ukraine.

Russian flags were also being flown on a highway into the port city, which is now entirely under the control of Moscow-backed forces.

According to Kremlin-installed authorities, the seaport is now ready to operate as usual and was being used to ship goods to and from Russia.

People stand near the name of the city of Mariupol written in Russian and painted in the colours of the Russian national flag during celebration of Russia Day in Mariupol, June 12, 2022
People stand near the name of the city of Mariupol written in Russian and painted in the colours of the Russian national flag during celebration of Russia Day in Mariupol, June 12, 2022 [AP Photo]

For the news updates on June 12, please see here.