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Russia’s war against Ukraine: Day 118, June 21 – Update 1 – KyivPost

– Lithuania faces ‘serious’ fallout from rail ban: Russia –

Russia’s security council chief Nikolai Patrushev warns European Union and NATO member Lithuania of “serious” consequences over its decision to ban the rail transit of goods that are subject to EU sanctions between mainland Russia and Kaliningrad, a Russian region wedged between Lithuania and Poland.

He says retaliatory steps “will be taken in the near future” and says they will have a “serious negative impact” on Lithuania.

Russia’s foreign ministry has summoned the EU’s ambassador to Moscow Markus Ederer over the ban.

Lithuania argues that it is merely doing its duty by implementing EU sanctions.

– Eastern city suffers ‘catastrophic’ shelling –

Ukraine says Russian shelling has caused “catastrophic destruction” in the eastern industrial city of Lysychansk, which lies just across a river from Severodonetsk where Russian and Ukrainian troops have been locked in battle for weeks.

Regional governor Sergiy Gaiday says that non-stop shelling of Lysychansk on Monday destroyed ten residential blocks and a police station, killing at least one person.

He added that “fierce fighting” was ongoing at the Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk where hundreds of civilians are believed to be sheltering.

– No EU opposition to Ukraine candidacy –

EU officials say there is no opposition within the 27-nation bloc to granting Ukraine the status of “candidate” for membership.

“There is not a single country which makes problems with the proposal,” Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn tells his EU counterparts.

The announcement comes ahead of a two-day summit starting Thursday that is expected to formalise the candidacies of both Ukraine and neighbouring Moldova, bringing them closer to the West.

– Russian journalist auctions Nobel medal –

A leading Russian journalist raises $103.5 million for children displaced by the war by auctioning off his Nobel Peace Prize gold medal in New York.

Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief of the investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta, won the Nobel prize last year, together with journalist Maria Ressa of the Philippines, for his three-decade fight for freedom of expression.

In March, Novaya Gazeta suspended operations after Moscow passed a law providing for tough jail terms against anyone criticising Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

– Crimea oil rigs attacked –

Three people were injured and seven are missing after Ukrainian forces attacked three oil drilling platforms off the Crimean coast, forcing their evacuation, the peninsula’s Moscow-backed governor Sergey Aksyonov says.

The strikes triggered a fire on one of the platforms which is approaching the oil well, according to Olga Kovitidi, a Russian senator for Crimea.

Russia annexed the peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.

– Americans captured in Ukraine to be ‘held accountable’ –

Two Americans captured in Ukraine while fighting with Kyiv’s military face a possible trial, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying they will be “held accountable” for “endangering” Russian soldiers.

Peskov tells the US network NBC that Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh, both US military veterans, engaged in “illegal activities” by fighting alongside Ukrainian forces and will not be treated as prisoners of war.

Peskov also denies that basketball superstar Brittney Griner, who has been in pre-trial detention in Russia on drug charges since February, is being held hostage for leverage in the war.

The two-time Olympic gold medallist and WNBA champion was detained at Moscow airport in February on charges of carrying vape cartridges with cannabis oil in her luggage, which could carry a 10-year prison sentence.

– Russian TV beamed into Kherson –

A Russian television signal is turned on in the occupied southern region of Kherson, in the latest move aimed at strengthening Moscow’s control over the area.

Russia has already introduced the ruble in Kherson — the city of the same name was the first to fall to Russia within days of the invasion — and begun distributing Russian passports.

– ‘You’re my hero’: Stiller meets Zelensky –

Hollywood star Ben Stiller, a UN goodwill ambassador, tells Zelensky “You’re my hero” as he meets him in Kyiv.

“What you’ve done, the way that you’ve rallied the country, the world, it’s really inspiring,” Stiller, the star of “Meet the Parents” and the “Night at the Museum” tells the Ukrainian actor-turned-president.

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