A snapshot of recent news from sources around the world on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin. Image – Russia Presidential Press and Information Office

Political Developments

Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to North Korea this week to further solidify ties with Pyongyang, which has emerged as a key supplier of artillery ammunition for the Russian military. The two sides announced a new strategic pact that calls for each to help the other in the event one faces invasion.

The European Union unveiled a new set of sanctions targeting the Russian economy on Thursday, the 14th such package in response to Russia’s war in Ukraine. The measures ban the re-export of Russian LNG in E.U. waters, Reuters reported, while also sanctioning several LNG projects.

78 countries that attended the Swiss peace conference issued a joint statement calling for Ukraine’s “territorial integrity” to be the starting point of any negotiations aimed at ending the war. Russia and China did not attend the summit.

Northrop Grumman has made an agreement with Kyiv to begin manufacturing medium caliber ammunition inside Ukraine. The project will be funded by the Ukrainian government.

Military Assistance to Ukraine

In response to the new Russia-North Korea strategic agreement, South Korea said this week that it could reconsider its policy towards the supply of weapons to Ukraine. To date, Seoul has refrained from delivering lethal arms, choosing instead to send demining equipment and other humanitarian aid.

The U.S. will delay the delivery of Patriot missile interceptors to other countries while it prioritizes shipping the air-defense weapons to Ukraine, the Financial Times reported on Thursday. Switzerland is reportedly one of the affected countries, according to Swiss media, which reported the delay earlier in the week.

Romanian media reported on Thursday that the Romanian government plans to send a Patriot air-defense system to Ukraine, one of only two in service with the Romanian military. Bucharest is hoping its NATO allies will supply it a “similar or equivalent system” to compensate for the donation.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said over the weekend that the U.S. is still working to get F-16s to Ukraine in the summer months. “I’m optimistic that that will happen,” Austin said.

Italian media outlet Il Fatto Quotidiano reported on Tuesday that Rome is preparing a new military assistance package for Ukraine that will include the SAMP/T air-defense system and Storm Shadow missiles.

Rheinmetall plans to supply a modified Leopard 1 main battle tank to Ukraine featuring a Skyranger turret with a 35mm gun, a company official said this week. The vehicle would be used for close air-defense.

The first batch of drones purchased through a coalition effort has already been delivered to Ukraine, Latvian Defense Minister Andris Sprūds said on Tuesday. Another batch will be delivered soon, according to the minister.

KNDS confirmed in a press release issued on June 18 that Kyiv has an active order for 54 RCH 155 self-propelled howitzers.

Ukrainian soldiers want more electric scooters to increase mobility, according to Latvian firm Mosphera. Latvia donated several of the company’s ruggedized electric scooters in 2023, and Ukraine has an open request for more. Mosphera said it is ready to provide additional units if approved by the government. Latvian military aid to Ukraine has totaled around 370 million euros ($395 million).

At the Eurosatory defense exhibition, ammunition manufacturers Nammo and KNDS called for increased investment from European governments to increase production of materials needed to make 155mm artillery rounds for Ukraine. The EU says European annual production rates reached one million shells in January, while a new investment unveiled in March is intended to double production rates by the end of 2025.

Battlefield Updates

As many as 700,000 Russian soldiers are active as part of Russia’s war in Ukraine, President Putin said in a televised meeting with veterans of the war.

Ukrainian troops captured a Russian ‘turtle tank’ in fighting over recent days. Russia has begun deploying the heavily-armored vehicles — which are resistant to anti-tank weapons and carry electronic warfare systems to jam drones — in an effort to support offensive breakthroughs.

Russia intensifies airstrikes in eastern Ukraine with upgraded Soviet-era glide bombs and more airbases. Ukraine is also working on its own glide bombs, Air Force Commander Serheii Golubtsov said in an interview.

Ukrainian Navy spokesman Dmytro Pletenchuk told RBC-Ukraine in an interview published on June 17 that Russia has begun shifting cargo transport from the Kerch bridge to a ferry crossing.

A Russian court issued an arrest warrant for a Ukrainian air-defense commander over the shoot-down of an A-50U early warning aircraft in February. Moscow had previously blamed the loss of the aircraft on friendly fire.

The U.S. has shifted its messaging regarding Ukraine’s ability to strike Russian forces inside Russia. For most of the war, the Washington has prevented Ukraine from using U.S. weapons against targets inside Russia. The U.S. then shifted its position in response to Russia’s assault on Kharkiv, granting Ukraine authority to strike Russian forces inside Russia, but only in that region. Washington has now told Ukraine it may strike targets inside Russia anywhere Russian forces are crossing the border.

Russia launched new attacks on Ukraine’s power grid, firing nine missiles and 27 Shaked drones at energy facilities in central and eastern Ukraine. Air defense systems intercepted all of the drones and five cruise missiles, but several structures were hit, causing extensive damage. Seven workers were also injured. Meanwhile, Ukraine launched drone attacks against Russian oil facilities, hitting a refinery and oil storage depots.