White House confirms Ukraine to get priority on air defense missile deliveries

The U.S. will prioritize deliveries of air defense missiles to Ukraine over other countries' orders, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby announced on June 20.

"The United States government has made the difficult but necessary decision to reprioritize near-term planned deliveries of foreign military sales to other countries, particularly Patriot and NASAMS missiles, to go to Ukraine instead," Kirby said, as reported by AFP.

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden hinted at this move.

"We let it be known to those countries that are expecting air defense systems from us in the future that they're going to have to wait," Biden said after signing a 10-year security deal with President Volodymyr Zelensky at the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Italy on June 13. "Everything we have is going to go to Ukraine until their needs are met. And then we will make good on the commitments we made to other countries."

In a post on social media on June 20, Zelensky thanked President Biden for the decision.

"The partnership between Ukraine and the United States is strong and unwavering. Together, we are protecting life against terror and aggression," Zelensky said. Also on June 20, Romania announced it would transfer a Patriot air defense system to Ukraine.

Kyiv received its first Patriot battery from Washington in early 2023, and since then, this advanced U.S. anti-air system has been crucial in Ukraine's defense of its skies. Germany has also delivered two of its systems, with a third on the way.

Ukraine has been urging its partners to provide additional air defenses as Russia intensifies strikes against Ukrainian population centers and infrastructure. Patriot systems are highly effective at intercepting Russia's ballistic and cruise missiles.

Poland, Romania, and Germany are among the European countries with pending orders for Patriot systems, and Spain has orders for Patriot launchers.

American missiles for the Patriots manufactured for Switzerland will be delivered to Ukraine despite contractual obligations, the Swiss outlet Blick reported, citing undisclosed sources.

On June 13, the U.S. denied reports that it is planning to deliver another Patriot battery to Ukraine.

Russia attacked a DTEK's thermal power plant

Russia attacked a DTEK's thermal power plant: serious damage reported

On the night of June 20, Russia launched a shelling attack on a DTEK thermal power plant, causing significant damage to the station's equipment.

"Another tough night for the Ukrainian energy industry. The Russians shelled one of DTEK's thermal power plants," the DTEK press service reported.

Three workers were injured in the attack, and energy workers are currently working to repair the damage.

This marks the seventh massive attack on DTEK's thermal power plants by Russia in the past three months. Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the company's thermal power plants have been shelled more than 180 times. These attacks have injured 53 workers and killed three.

Ukraine needs $9.5 billion for rapid recovery in 2024

Ukraine needs $9.5 billion for rapid recovery this year, focusing on the defense industry, energy, housing, agriculture, natural resources, and the IT sector, the Finance Ministry announced on June 20.

The material costs of Russia's full-scale invasion continue to grow as Moscow's forces regularly strike Ukraine's cities and infrastructure with missiles and drones.

A report developed by the Ukrainian government and international partners estimates that Ukraine will need $15.3 billion for recovery in 2024. Part of this has already been financed from the state budget and by donors, reducing the amount needed to $9.5 billion.

Speaking at the Invisso Conference in London on June 18, Deputy Finance Minister Olha Zykova emphasized the importance of consolidating efforts with partners to create a favorable investment environment, which is essential for sustainable economic growth.

"Creating a favorable environment for investment involves improving access to financing for investment projects, providing war and political risk insurance, and introducing state support mechanisms," Zykova said. "The Government of Ukraine is actively cooperating with several partners and is committed to implementing steps to improve this process."

The World Bank estimated in February that Ukraine's post-war recovery would cost $486 billion over a 10-year period. Kyiv has been diligently searching for new sources of income, both domestically and internationally, to meet these needs.

Ukraine has begun receiving the first tranches of the 50-billion-euro ($54 billion) four-year Ukraine Facility program from the EU, and the Group of Seven (G7) has promised to provide a $50 billion loan by the end of this year, covered by revenue from frozen Russian assets.

These efforts are in addition to contributions from other donors, including individual countries and international organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Russians hit the village of Rozkishne in Donetsk Oblast

On June 20, Russian forces attacked the village of Rozkishne in Donetsk Oblast with cluster munitions, killing three people and injuring four others.

The Donetsk Oblast Prosecutor's Office and Vadym Filashkin, Head of Donetsk Oblast Military Administration, reported the attack.

"The army of the aggressor state attacked the territory of Illinivka hromada in the Kramatorsk district on June 20, 2024, at 12:20, using cluster munitions from Smerch multiple-launch rocket systems," the Prosecutor’s Office stated. [A hromada is an administrative unit designating a village, several villages, or a town, and their adjacent territories.]

In Rozkishne, a 64-year-old woman and two men, aged 30 and 42, were killed.

Two men, aged 32 and 37, a 57-year-old woman, and a 14-year-old teenager suffered blast injuries and shrapnel wounds. They were taken to the hospital.

The attack also damaged four houses, two cars, and a gas pipeline in the settlement.