Russia hit relief center in Kherson, killing 2 civilians

Russian troops struck a relief center in Kherson on June 29, killing two civilians and injuring two more, according to Kherson Oblast Governor Oleksandr Prokudin.

The attack occurred when residents came to the place, known as the "invincibility center," to receive humanitarian aid, Prokudin said.

According to the Prosecutor General's Office, warehouses and other civilian infrastructure facilities were damaged in the attack.

Earlier the same day, Russian forces hit Kherson Oblast's settlement of Bilozerka. A 71-year-old woman was killed, two more people were wounded, and at least 12 residential buildings were damaged.

Kherson and other regional settlements on the west bank, such as Bilozerka, have been continuously subjected to Russian shelling since Ukrainian forces liberated them in November 2022.

Russian forces were pushed to the river's east bank, where they have since been firing at the liberated territories, regularly resulting in civilian deaths and injuries.

Ukrainian authorities start training to prepare for possible Russian attack on Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

Large-scale special exercises have begun in Ukraine to prepare for a potential Russian attack on the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the state nuclear energy agency Energoatom reported on June 29.

Energy workers, medics, rescuers, police, and other services in Kherson, Mykolaiv, Dnipropetrovsk, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts are involved in the exercises.

They will work through the algorithms for reacting to such an emergency and protecting the civilian population. Energoatom urged residents to stay calm if they see the training.

Earlier, Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said that evacuation headquarters had been set up in the oblasts surrounding the plant in Enerhodar, Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Ukraine plans to evacuate residents within a 30-50 kilometer radius.

On June 23, Ukraine's military intelligence head Kyrylo Budanov told the New Stateman that Russia had completed preparations for an attack on the nuclear power plant, mined the plant's cooler, and placed the equipment loaded with explosives near four of the six power units.

Prigozhin, Putin may still be negotiating

Recent reports suggest that parties involved in the deal to end the Wagner Group's brief rebellion, including Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, may still be negotiating specifics of the deal, the Institute of the Study of War reported on June 28.

An independent Belarusian monitoring group called the Hayun Project cited flight tracking data from June 27 that could suggest Yevgeny Prigozhin's plane left the Machulishchy airfield and flew to Moscow before immediately flying to St. Petersburg.

Previous reports indicated that Prigozhin initially tried to get in contact with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin as the Wagner column made its way north from Rostov, but Putin refused to speak with him.

Pro-Russian social media channels claimed that Prigozhin returned to Russia to negotiate with Russian officials and Wagner Commander's Council. The ISW could not confirm whether Prigozhin did fly to Russia, but he likely returned to work out details of the deal mediated by Lukashenko.

Additionally, other pro-Russian sources speculate that the failed rebellion already has "widespread impacts on the Russian command structure," the ISW wrote.

Russian authorities arrested Army General Sergei Surovikin on June 28. According to the ISW, this move could suggest that the Kremlin intends to purge the Russian Defense Ministry of any disloyalty within its ranks.

Earlier that day, media outlets, including CNN and the New York Times, reported that the Russian security services possibly knew about the Wagner rebellion in advance.

Wagner mercenaries remain in Russian-occupied Ukraine

The U.S. Defense Department continues to see Wagner Group mercenaries in Russian-controlled regions of Ukraine, Pentagon spokesperson Pat Ryder told reporters during a June 29 briefing.

"Right now, we continue to see some elements of the Wagner Group in Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine," Ryder said.

Ryder said it is "too early to tell right now" in what capacity the Wagner Group will operate for the duration of the war. He also had no information as to whether satellite images in southern Belarus indicate plans for a permanent Wagner camp there.

Russian attacks killed 6, injured 7 in Kherson, Zaporizhzhia oblasts

According to the regional authorities, Russian attacks against Ukraine's Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts killed six civilians and wounded seven over the past 24 hours.

Russian attacks were reported in another seven oblasts in the past day, but there were no casualties. Those are Sumy, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Luhansk and Donetsk.

Ukraine Defense Ministry media center said on June 30 that 102 Ukrainian settlements and 49 infrastructure facilities were hit. Russian troops reportedly used mortars, grenade launchers, tanks, artillery, multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), anti-aircraft systems, drones, and tactical aviation.

According to the regional administration, the Russian military struck 16 settlements in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, killing three civilians in Novodanylivka, Orikhiv, and Mala Tokmachka. A 52-year-old woman was injured and hospitalized in Orikhiv.

The attacks damaged civilian infrastructure and destroyed 31 homes in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, the regional authorities wrote on Facebook. On the morning of June 30, Russian troops shelled Kherson, seriously injuring a 72-year-old woman, according to Oleksandr Prokudin, the regional governor. Kherson Oblast's village of Mykhailivka was also hit, and an elderly man was wounded.

Earlier on June 29, Russia struck the southern region 72 times, hitting residential areas, a humanitarian aid point, and medical and educational facilities, said Prokudin. Three people were reportedly killed, and four more were injured on that day. Russian forces attacked at least seven settlements and three communities in Donetsk Oblast, damaging 19 houses, a shop, a warehouse, and water and gas supply lines, reported Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko.

The regional authorities found out about two residents who had been wounded earlier, but there were no casualties in the June 29 attacks.

Orbán comes out against $55 billion EU aid package for Ukraine

Hungary opposes a European Union plan to provide financial aid of 50 billion euros ($55 billion) to Ukraine, Telex news portal cited Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on June 30.

Orbán complained that Ukraine has already received $76 billion in the space of a year and a half and now is bound to receive $55 billion more.

"One thing is clear, we Hungarians ... will not give more money to Ukraine until they say where the previous ($76 billion) worth of funds had gone," he said.

He also slammed the EU policy toward the Russo-Ukrainian War, urging the need for a ceasefire and peace talks.

The EU proposed a four-year financial assistance package for Ukraine worth $55 billion on June 20. Individual member states should cover the contribution.

Hungary has been at odds with Ukraine and the West over its amicable stance towards Russia despite the full-scale war. Orbán himself said that Ukraine is a financially "non-existent" and "no longer sovereign" state due to its "dependence" on international support.