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Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (June 17)

Smoke rises from a burning house following shelling in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, on Friday.
Alexei Alexandrov
Smoke rises from a burning house following shelling in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, on Friday.

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

Ukraine's bid to join the European Union came one step closer as the EU's executive arm recommended giving Ukraine official candidate status. Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission head, tweeted: "Ukraine has clearly shown commitment to live up to European values and standards." EU leaders will take up the recommendation later this month, but membership in the bloc can take years to formalize.

Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a scathing critique of the United States, saying the U.S. was to blame for a crisis in global relations, food security, inflation and trade. In his speech at Russia's annual economic forum, Putin presented his country as part of a new global order willing to challenge an America clinging to its past status as the world's lone superpower. He also said he had no objection to Ukraine's bid for EU membership because it isn't a military organization.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and offered "major" military training and continued aid. It was Johnson's second visit to Ukraine since Russia invaded the country.

Ukraine won this year's Eurovision song contest, but won't be hosting the competition next year due to the war. The European Broadcasting Union, which operates Eurovision, announced "with deep regret"that hosting next year's contest in Ukraine is not a viable option. Britain, this year's runner-up, is now the possible 2023 host. Ukrainian Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko said on Twitter that his country didn't agree with the EBU's decision and posted a statement saying, "We demand additional negotiations on hosting Eurovision 2023 in Ukraine."


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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.

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