Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, has announced that today there will be nine humanitarian corridors available to evacuate civilians from areas in Ukraine under attack by Russia.
There were no corridors set up yesterday, in part, she had said, because Russia was unable to control its forces on the ground and observe agreed local ceasefires while people were fleeing. The claims were not independently verified.
The 5 Kanal news service in Ukraine is carrying a little more detail on Ukrainian claims it sabotaged a bridge as a Russian military convoy was crossing it.
They report Ukraine’s armed forces stopped the advance of military equipment towards Izyum, a town that is in the east of Ukraine.
A military statement posted to Facebook has described the ambush, saying:
Having established the route of the enemy column, the SSO operators of Ukraine surveyed the facility that was most suitable for an engineering ambush. It was a bridge on the path of enemy equipment. Then – painstaking professional work: determining the location of charges, calculating the required amount of TNT equivalent. explosives to a designated place, SSO operators of Ukraine were waiting for the enemy, who unsuspectingly went to meet death.
The claims have not been verified independently.
- This is Martin Belam in London taking over the blog from my colleague Samantha Lock. I will be here for the next few hours, and you can contact me at email@example.com
Almost 6,500 alleged war crimes committed by Russian troops in Ukraine are under investigation, Ukraine’s prosecutor’s office has said.
A total of 6,492 cases have been reported and 197 children have been confirmed to have been killed, the office added.
Ukraine’s president Zelenskiy called for an oil embargo in his latest national address.
First of all, we need an oil embargo. And Europe’s clear readiness to give up all Russian energy.
The European Union must stop sponsoring Russia’s military machine.”
Zelenskiy added that he discussed western sanctions policy with a group of international and Ukrainian experts who “assessed the sanctions imposed and how Russia is trying to circumvent them”.
The group has prepared concrete proposals on how to remove sanctions loopholes and how to immediately enhance sanctions to make it tangible for Moscow, Zelenskiy added.
Ukrainian troops have blown up a bridge carrying Russian forces heading to Izyum, a city on the Donets river in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine, the military has said.
An entire column of Russian troops was reportedly destroyed in an operation using a UAV drone.
Russian troops are stepping up activity in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, Zelenskiy said in his latest national address.
They are trying to retaliate for their defeats. Rocket bombings and artillery strikes continue. New columns of equipment are being brought in. They are looking for reserves. They are trying to recruit residents of the south of our country – that is, from these temporarily occupied areas in addition to the so-called mobilisation in certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.”
However, Zelenskiy noted that the recent “feverish activity” of Russian forces reflects Russia’s insecurity and inability to defeat Ukraine.
Even with significant stocks of Soviet military equipment and a significant number of soldiers, whom the commanders do not spare at all, the Russian troops doubt their ability to break us, to break Ukraine. Well, we do everything to justify their doubts.”
“This war against Ukraine can only end in Russia’s strategic defeat – sooner or later,” he added.
Either the Russian leadership will really seek peace, or as a result of this war, Russia will leave the international arena forever.”
Russia is attempting to mobilise up to 70,000 people in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian military claims.
It has been established that the Russian command has assigned the task of mobilising 60-70,000 people in the territory of the so-called ‘DPR’,” the general staff of the armed forces said in its latest morning operational report, adding that the specified figures were completed “by only 20%”.
Russian forces continue to expand units near the eastern border and restore and replenish ammunition, officials added.
Ukrainian troops thwarted eight Russian attacks over the past 24 hours in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the report read.
As many as 300 people were taken by Russian forces as hostages for four weeks in the basement of a school in Yahidne north of Chernihiv, Ukraine’s ministry of defence has claimed.
The hostages allegedly kept track of the days they were held on a wall.
The names of 18 people alleged to have been killed or died in the conditions were also found written on the wall, Ukrainian officials said.
Reuters previously spoke to seven residents of Yahidne who said that, in total, at least 20 people died or were killed during the Russian occupation. No official death toll has been released by Ukrainian authorities.
Negotiations are reportedly underway on the exchange of 169 servicemen of the National Guard of Ukraine who were taken prisoner at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, Ukrainian officials say.
The ministry made the announcement in an update on the Telegram messaging app, citing Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs, Denis Monastyrsky.
Chernobyl is a tragic page in our history. Unfortunately, we have to state that 169 servicemen of the National Guard were taken prisoner there.
Today, some of them, according to our information, are in the territory of the Republic of Belarus, some – in Russia. We were at the place where they were kept. This is a dungeon without light, without the ability to communicate properly. They were deprived of all means of communication while they were there. And then they were taken out. Unfortunately, I can’t say what their fate is.
Negotiations are underway to exchange them. But we understand that this will probably be only after the end of the active phase of hostilities.”
Here are some of the latest images to come out of Ukraine today.
A 12-year-old boy holds a cat standing on the debris of his house destroyed by Russian forces’ shelling in the outskirts of Chernihiv, Ukraine.
His mother, Liudmila Koval, had to have her leg amputated and was injured in her abdomen after shelling. She is still waiting for proper medical treatment, the Associated Press reports.
Chernihiv, a northern Ukrainian city, has been besieged by Russian forces.
Shells and bombs that rained down on the city for weeks have reduced its buildings and neighbourhoods to rubble.
US President Joe Biden earlier announced an additional $800m in military assistance to Ukraine including heavy artillery ahead of a wider Russian assault expected in eastern Ukraine.
The package, which brings the total military aid since Russian forces invaded in February to more than $2.5 billion, includes artillery systems, artillery rounds, armoured personnel carriers and unmanned coastal defence boats, Biden said in a statement after a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
This new package of assistance will contain many of the highly effective weapons systems we have already provided and new capabilities tailored to the wider assault we expect Russia to launch in eastern Ukraine. These new capabilities include artillery systems, artillery rounds, and armoured personnel carriers.”
Biden said he had also approved the transfer of additional helicopters, saying equipment provided to Ukraine “has been critical” as it confronts the invasion.
“We cannot rest now. As I assured President Zelenskiy, the American people will continue to stand with the brave Ukrainian people in their fight for freedom,” Biden said.
The new package includes 11 Mi-17 helicopters and 18 155mm howitzers, along with 40,000 artillery rounds, counter-artillery radars, 200 armoured personnel carriers and 300 additional Switchblade drones.
It will be the first time howitzers have been provided to Ukraine by the United States.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said some of the systems, like the howitzers and radars, will require additional training for Ukrainian forces not accustomed to using American military equipment.
“We’re aware of the clock and we know time is not our friend,” Kirby said when asked about the speed of deliveries.
The Russian defence ministry said the entire crew of the warship Moskva, reported to be struck by two Ukrainian missiles in the Black Sea late on Wednesday night, has been evacuated after an ammunition explosion and fire on the ship.
The ship was famously defied by Ukrainian troops on Snake Island at the start of the war. The Moskva is the flagship of the Black Sea fleet.
“The cruiser ‘Moskva’ of the Black Sea Fleet was seriously damaged as a result of the detonation of ammunition that occurred as a result of a fire, the crew was evacuated,” Russian state media outlet TASS reported, citing the Russian defene ministry.
“As a result of a fire, ammunition detonated on the Moskva missile cruiser. The ship was seriously damaged. The crew was completely evacuated,” the ministry added.
Earlier this evening, Ukraine said it struck and damaged a Russian warship in the Black Sea, according to a Telegram messaged posted by Odesa governor Maksym Marchenko.
“Neptune missiles guarding the Black Sea caused very serious damage to the Russian ship. Glory to Ukraine!” Marchenko’s message read.
“It has been confirmed that the missile cruiser Moskva today went exactly where it was sent by our border guards on Snake Island!”
On the first day of the invasion, the small garrison refused calls from the ship for it to surrender, telling the ship to “go fuck yourself”.
Ukrainian presidential aide Oleksiy Arestovych said the 12,500 tonne ship could have as many as 510 crew members on board.
Russian news agencies said the Moskva was armed with 16 anti-ship ‘Vulkan’ cruise missiles, which have a range of at least 700km (440 miles).
Last month Ukraine said it had destroyed a large Russian landing support ship, the Orsk, on the smaller Sea of Azov to the northeast of the Black Sea.
Hello and welcome back to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine.
I’m Samantha Lock and I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments before my colleague Martin Belam takes the reigns a little later on.
Here is where the situation currently stands:
- The Russian defence ministry has said the entire crew of the warship Moskva, reported to be struck by Ukraine in the Black Sea late on Wednesday, has been evacuated after an ammunition explosion resulted in a fire on the ship. “The cruiser Moskva of the Black Sea Fleet was seriously damaged as a result of the detonation of ammunition that occurred as a result of a fire, the crew was evacuated,” Russian state media outlet TASS reported, citing the Russian defence ministry. The ship was defied by Ukrainian troops on Snake Island at the start of the war.
- A Ukrainian official earlier said the Moskva had been hit by two missiles but did not give any evidence. The 12,500-tonne ship has a crew of about 500.
- Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy called for an oil embargo in his nightly address on Wednesday. “First of all, we need an oil embargo. And Europe’s clear readiness to give up all Russian energy. The European Union must stop sponsoring Russia’s military machine.”
- Zelenskiy confirmed forensic experts from the international criminal court visited Bucha on Wednesday to investigate possible war crimes. “Responsibility for the Russian military for war crimes is inevitable. We will drag them all to the tribunal. And not only for what was done in Bucha.” International Criminal Court chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, told reporters “Ukraine is a crime scene” after visiting Bucha on Wednesday.
- US president Joe Biden announced an additional $800m in military assistance to Ukraine including heavy artillery ahead of a wider Russian assault expected in eastern Ukraine. The package, which brings the total military aid since Russian forces invaded in February to more than $2.5bn, includes artillery systems, artillery rounds, armoured personnel carriers and unmanned coastal defence boats, Biden said in a statement after a phone call with Zelenskiy.
- The US state department on Wednesday defended Biden’s charge that Russia is carrying out a genocide in Ukraine, saying its forces are trying to destroy the country and its civilian population. Biden levelled the accusation at president Vladimir Putin’s forces for the first time on Tuesday, saying it had “become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of even being able to be a Ukrainian”. US state department official, Victoria Nuland, told CNN: “I am going to predict that what president Biden called it is what we will ultimately likely find when we are able to gather all of this evidence. Because what is happening on the ground is not an accident.”
- The French president, Emmanuel Macron, declined to repeat Biden’s accusation that Russia was carrying out “genocide” against Ukrainians, warning that verbal escalations would not help end the war. Zelenskiy responded: “Such things are very painful for us, so I will definitely do my best to discuss this issue with him.”
- More than 1,000 Ukrainian marines defending the besieged port city of Mariupol have surrendered, Moscow has claimed. In one of the most critical battles of the war, Russia’s defence ministry said on Wednesday that 1,026 soldiers from Ukraine’s 36th Marine Brigade, including 162 officers, had “voluntarily laid down their arms” near the city’s Ilyich iron and steelworks. There was no independent confirmation of the claim.
- The Russian retreat from around Kyiv has led to the discovery of large numbers of apparently massacred civilians, drawing international condemnation and calls for a war crimes investigation. The Kyiv district police chief said the bodies of 765 civilians, including 30 children had been found around the capital.
- Negotiations are reportedly underway on the exchange of 169 servicemen of the National Guard of Ukraine who were taken prisoner at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs said.
- The presidents of four countries bordering Russia – Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia – travelled to Kyiv in a show of support for their Ukrainian counterpart and his embattled troops. It follows Kyiv’s reported refusal to meet the German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who visited Poland on Tuesday and said he had planned to go on to Ukraine but “was not wanted”.
- Senior US officials are weighing whether to send a top Cabinet level official to Kyiv as a high profile representative in a show of solidarity with Ukraine, a source familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.
- Zelenskiy told Estonian MPs, without providing evidence, that Russia was using phosphorus bombs in Ukraine. Ukrainian forces in Mariupol said a drone had dropped a poisonous substance on the city, but there has been no independent confirmation that Russia used banned chemical weapons.
- Zelenskiy also warned that the war will become an “endless bloodbath, spreading misery, suffering, and destruction” without additional weaponry.
- In a speech at the Atlantic Council on Wednesday, US treasury secretary Janet Yellen said that countries on the fence of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine could face global isolation. “The unified coalition of sanctioning countries will not be indifferent to actions that undermine the sanctions we’ve put in place.”
- Finland’s prime minister, Sanna Marin, said the country would decide on whether to apply for Nato membership “within weeks”. Speaking at a joint news conference with her Swedish counterpart, Marin said that as a Nato partner – but not a member – Finland was not covered under article 5, which states that an attack on one member should be considered an attack on all.
- The UK government has imposed sanctions on another 206 individuals, including 178 people it said were involved in propping up the self-proclaimed republics in Luhansk and Donetsk. Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, said the latest sanctions were imposed in a direct response to the “horrific rocket attacks” on a train station in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, that killed dozens of civilians.
- Australia has also imposed targeted financial sanctions on 14 Russian state-owned enterprises on Thursday, including defence-related entities such as truckmaker Kamaz, and shipping companies SEVMASH and United Shipbuilding Corp.
- A Russian court ordered an artist to be held behind bars for allegedly replacing supermarket price labels with messages protesting against Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine.
- Russia is imposing sanctions on 398 US House representatives and 87 Canadiana senators, Interfax news agency reported.
- The European Space Agency said is has ended cooperation with Russia on three missions to the Moon due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, following a previous decision to do the same for a Mars mission.
- Russia will seek peace or leave the international arena forever, Zelenskiy said in his latest national address. “Either the Russian leadership will really seek peace, or as a result of this war, Russia will leave the international arena forever.”
- UN chief, Antonio Guterres, said that a ceasefire in Ukraine “doesn’t seem possible,” possibly indicating that the UN is still waiting on a response from Russia on evacuating Ukrainian civilians and providing aid.