Russian efforts to establish a land corridor between Crimea and the Donbas continue to be thwarted by Ukrainian resistance, the UK’s Ministry of Defense says in its latest update.
It also states:
- Russia continues to hit Ukrainian non-combatants, such as those killed in yesterday’s rocket strike on Kramatorsk railway station in eastern Ukraine.
- Russian operations continue to focus on the Donbas region, Mariupol and Mykolaiv, supported by continued cruise missile launches into Ukraine by Russian naval forces.
- Russian air activity is expected to increase in the south and east of Ukraine in support of this activity.
A curfew will be in place in Ukraine’s southern city of Odessa from this evening until Monday evening. This is in response to the shelling of the train station in Kramatorsk, and the threat of a missile strike, reports AFP.
In its latest analysis, the US-based Institute for the Study of War says that Ukrainian forces retain control of defensive positions in eastern and southwestern Mariupol.
Russian forces are continuing to attempt to redeploy troops withdrawn from northeastern Ukraine to support an offensive in eastern Ukraine. However, such troops are “unlikely to enable a Russian breakthrough and face poor morale”, ISW says.
Here are its key takeaways:
- Ukrainian forces continued to hold out against Russian assaults in areas of southwestern and eastern Mariupol, notably in the port and the Azovstal Metallurgy plant, respectively.
- Ukrainian forces continued to repel daily Russian assaults in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.
- A Russian Tochka-U missile struck a civilian evacuation point at the Kramatorsk rail station in eastern Ukraine, killing at least 50 and wounding around a hundred evacuees.
- Russian forces continued attacks south of Izyum toward Slovyansk and Barvinkove but did not take any new territory.
- Ukrainian counterattacks have likely taken further territory west of Kherson, threatening Russian control of the city.
Here is a recap of the comments made by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy in his late night address on Friday. Zelenskiy referred to the missile strike on a railway station in eastern Ukraine as a Russian war crime and said it must be one of the charges to feature at any future tribunal.
Five children were among 50 people killed when a missile hit Kramatorsk railway station on Friday. The US has also blamed Russia, saying it believes it used a short range ballistic missile. Russia has denied responsibility.
Zelenskiy said he expects “a firm, global response”.
“Like the massacre in Bucha, like many other Russian war crimes, the missile strike on Kramatorsk must be one of the charges at the tribunal, which is bound to happen,” he said.
“All the efforts of the world will be aimed at establishing every minute: who did what, who gave orders. Where did the rocket come from, who was carrying it, who gave the order and how the strike was coordinated,” he said.
Zelenskiy also repeated his call for more weapons to be provided to Ukraine, and for greater sanctions to be imposed on Russia.
“The pressure on Russia must be increased. It is necessary to introduce a full energy embargo – on oil, on gas. It is energy exports that provide the lion’s share of Russia’s profits. Russian banks must also be completely disconnected from the global financial system,” he said.
Zelenskiy added that Ukraine had provided details of the military equipment it requires.
“Any delay in providing such weapons to Ukraine, any excuses can mean only one thing: the relevant politicians want to help the Russian leadership more than us Ukrainians,” he said.
Hello, it’s Rebecca Ratcliffe with you as we continue our live coverage of the war in Ukraine. Here are some of the main developments of the last hour so you can get up to speed:
- Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has described a missile strike on a railway station in eastern Ukraine as a Russian war crime and called for a “firm global response”. At least 52 people, including five children, were killed in the missile strike on Kramatorsk train station. The US believes Russia used a short range ballistic missile on the train station. Russia has denied responsibility.
- Two UN agencies have called for “urgent action” to help an estimated 1,000 seafarers stranded in Ukrainian ports and waters with winding supplies.
Some 6,665 civilians were evacuated through humanitarian corridors on Friday, the majority of them rescued from Mariupol and Berdyansk.
- Russian troops have “forcibly deported” more than 600,000 Ukrainians, including about 121,000 children, to Russia, Ukraine’s human rights commissioner, Lyudmila Denysova, said. Denysova also said residents of the temporarily occupied city of Izyum in the Kharkiv region are being forcibly moved to Russia.
- Some Russian military units have experienced major losses, a senior US defense official said, and the Pentagon estimates Russia’s combat power is between 80% and 85% of pre-invasion levels. The US defense department is expecting Russia to shift its focus to the Donbas region and eastern Ukraine.
- International prices for food commodities, including grains and vegetable oils, reached all time highs in March amid Russia’s war in Ukraine. The conflict was causing massive disruptions, the UN said on Friday, threatening millions of people in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere with hunger and malnourishment.
- The European Commission’s president, Ursula von der Leyen, pledged to offer Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a speedier start to his country’s bid to become a member of the EU. At a joint press conference with Zelenskiy, Von der Leyen said: “It will not as usual be a matter of years to form this opinion but I think a matter of weeks.”
- Forensic investigators have begun exhuming a mass grave in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, wrapping in black plastic and laying out the bodies of civilians who officials say were killed during the Russian invasion. Since Russian troops pulled back from Bucha last week, Ukrainian officials say hundreds of civilians have been found dead.
- Russia’s justice ministry has revoked the registration of 15 foreign organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The ministry said in a statement that the Russian units of the organizations “were excluded due to the discovery of violations of the current legislation of the Russian Federation”.