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While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 19

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A Ukrainian serviceman mans a position in a trench on the front line near Avdiivka, in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, on June 18, 2022.


After EU blessing, Ukraine vows to prevail against Russia

With a blessing for its EU ambitions and a pledge of unwavering support from Britain, Ukraine vowed on Saturday to prevail against Moscow as it battled Russian assaults near a key eastern city and multiple locations came under shell and missile attack.

European Union countries are expected at a summit next week to grant Ukraine EU candidate status following a recommendation from the bloc’s executive on Friday, putting Kyiv on course to realise an aspiration seen as out of reach before Russia’s Feb 24 invasion, even if actual membership could take years.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a surprise visit to Kyiv on Friday and offered training for Ukrainian forces.

Back in Britain on Saturday, he stressed the need to avoid “Ukraine fatigue” after nearly four months of war.


Israel says warplanes hit Hamas sites in Gaza after rocket fire

Israeli warplanes hit Hamas military sites in the Gaza Strip on Saturday in retaliation for rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave run by the Islamist movement, the Israeli army said.

“A short while ago, in response to the rocket attack, (Israeli military) aircraft struck a number of Hamas terror targets in the Gaza Strip,” the army said in a statement.

The strikes came after Hamas “launched a rocket… towards Israeli civilians in southern Israel”, it said, adding the projectile was intercepted by Israeli air defences.


Spain battles wildfires as it swelters in heatwave

Firefighters battled to bring raging wildfires under control in Spain on Saturday and people sought relief with fans, shade and plenty of water as an unseasonable heatwave pushed temperatures close to record highs.

Spain was heading towards its hottest early summer temperatures in decades, with forecasts of between 40-42 deg C in Zaragoza in the north-east and areas of Navarre and La Rioja in northern Spain, according to national weather agency AEMET.

Many areas of Western Europe have been sweltering under unseasonably hot temperatures over the past few days, compounding climate change fears.


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