Russia-Ukraine live news: Kyiv says battle in Donbas ‘terrifying’

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Russia-Ukraine live news: Kyiv says battle in Donbas ‘terrifying’

    The battle for the key eastern city of Severodonetsk is taking a “terrifying” human toll, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said. Russia’s main goal in Ukraine is to protect the breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. Ukraine’s national police chief says authorities are investigating the killings of more than 12,000 Ukrainians in the war. All of the bridges in Severodonetsk have been destroyed, making it impossible to bring in humanitarian supplies or evacuate citizens, the local governor has said.

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Here are the latest updates:

12 mins ago (20:51 GMT)

Battle for Severodonetsk taking ‘terrifying’ human toll: Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said the battle for Severodonetsk was taking a “terrifying” toll as Russian forces threaten to take the strategic eastern city.

“The human cost of this battle is very high for us. It is simply terrifying,” Zelenskyy said on Telegram in his daily address to the Ukrainian people.

“The battle for the Donbas will without doubt be remembered in military history as one of the most violent battles in Europe,” he added. “We are dealing with absolute evil. And we have no choice but to move forward and free our territory.”

29 mins ago (20:35 GMT)

Ukraine exhumes seven bodies of people it says were killed by Russian forces

Ukrainian investigators have exhumed seven bodies from makeshift graves in a forest near Kyiv.

The bodies were found outside the village of Vorzel, less than 10 kilometres (6 miles) from the town of Bucha, where Kyiv alleges that Russian forces who occupied the area carried out systematic executions in an abortive attempt to capture the capital. Russia denies that.

“This is another sadistic crime of the Russian army in the Kyiv region,” regional police chief Andriy Nyebytov said on Facebook.

39 mins ago (20:24 GMT)

Moroccan sentenced to death in Donetsk is not a mercenary, father says

The father of a Moroccan man sentenced to death by a court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) on mercenary charges has said his son should be treated as a prisoner of war as he is a Ukrainian national who handed himself in voluntarily.

Morocco-born fighter Brahim Saadoun received Ukrainian nationality in 2020 after undergoing a year of military training as a requirement to access aerospace technology studies at a university in Kyiv, his father Tahar Saadoun said in an email to the Reuters news agency.

He handed himself in “voluntarily” and should be treated as a “prisoner of war”, the father said.

“We as a family suffer from the absence of contact with the lawyer to exchange legal information and this adds to our ordeal,” he said.

53 mins ago (20:10 GMT)

Russia’s key goal in Ukraine is to protect Moscow-backed republics: Peskov

Russia’s main goal in Ukraine is to protect the Moscow-backed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, Russia’s RIA state news agency has cited Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.

“In general, the protection of the republics is the main goal of the special military operation,” Peskov said.

Donetsk and Luhansk are two breakaway Russian-backed entities in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, which Russia says it is fighting to remove entirely from Kyiv’s control.

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read all the updates from Monday, June 13, here.