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Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (June 21)

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova meet in Krakovets, along the Ukrainian border with Poland, on Tuesday.
Nariman El-Mofty
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova meet in Krakovets, along the Ukrainian border with Poland, on Tuesday.

As Tuesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day:

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland visited Ukraine for discussions with Ukraine's top prosecutor on suspected Russian war crimes. Garland is launching a war crimes accountability team, which will share expertise in forensics, evidence collection and legal advice. He says the team will play a key role in ongoing war crimes investigations. The U.S. is already sending money to Ukraine to help the country gather, preserve and analyze evidence of suspected war crimes, including the killing of civilians. Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova says the country has identified more than 15,000 potential Russian war crimes.

Ukraine's parliament and various government agencies are working in overdrive to adopt European-style standards, including approving the Istanbul Convention on gender-based violence prevention. A summit later this week will consider Ukraine's European Union candidacy.

A U.S. citizen was killed fighting in Ukraine. The State Department said Stephen Zabielski died in Ukraine but wouldn't elaborate on details. According to an obituary in The Recorder newspaper, Zabielski died on May 15, at age 52, while fighting in Ukraine. He is at least the second American confirmed killed in the Ukraine war, following Willy Joseph Cancel, who was killed in April.

Russia says two Americans captured fighting for Ukraine won't be protected by international law from possibly facing the death penalty. News reports last week said the two former U.S. service members were captured in the war in Ukraine. The Kremlin acknowledged them this week, and spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said they wouldn't be covered under the Geneva Convention because they're accused of being mercenaries. Earlier this month, three other foreign fighters received death sentences in a court in Russian-backed separatist territory in Ukraine.

Russian Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov's award medal sold at auction for $103.5 million, which Muratov is donating to UNICEF to help Ukrainian refugee children. The sale price is a record for a Nobel medal. Muratov, a founder and editor of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, was jointly awarded the Peace Prize last year with Philippine journalist Maria Ressa. Novaya Gazeta was shut down in March, shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine.


Russian forces have captured nearly all of Sievierodonetsk, a key city in eastern Ukraine.

Russian attacks are concentrating on southeastern agriculture and logistics hubs.

The war in Ukraine enters a new phase: Listen to NPR's Here & Now check-in on the latest.

Special report

Russia's war in Ukraine is changing the world: See its ripple effects in all corners of the globe.

Earlier developments

You can read more daily recaps here. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find more of NPR's coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR's State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.


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