Russia likely continues to consolidate its control over Lysychansk and Luhansk Oblast, says British MoD
“There is still a great deal of shelling in both Luhansk and Donetsk regions. They are shelling everything in their path,” Mr Haidai said, adding that Russia’s regular troops and reserve forces have been deployed in the area to cross the Siverskiy Donets River, considered as a strategic defence line in Ukraine.
“They are sustaining quite heavy losses,” he said.
“Some battalions have been moved there to make up the numbers they need….They are not taking all their wounded with them. The hospitals are full to bursting as are the morgues,” Mr Haidai said.
And, the British defence ministry on Wednesday warned that “there is a realistic possibility that the battle for Sloviansk will be the next key contest in the struggle for the Donbas”.
It added that the Russian troops are advancing in various pockets of eastern Ukraine like Izium, building up battle-like situation in Donetsk’s Sloviansk.
Sergei Lavrov seeks support for Russia on trip to Vietnam
Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has arrived in Vietnam to seek support amid his country’s invasion of Ukraine.
In pictures, he walks with a Vietnamese army official to lay wreath at Ho Chi Minh mausoleum in Hanoi.
He then met Vietnamese foreign minister Bui Thanh Son.
Yesterday, Lavrov was in Mongolia where he met his Mongolian counterpart Battsetseg Batmunkh and president Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh. They discussed a partnership including on trade, investments, and environmental protection.
Ireland’s premier arrives in Kyiv for solidarity meetings
Irish premier Micheal Martin arrived in Kyiv today for a series of meetings in which he will reiterate Ireland’s solidarity with Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.
He will discuss how Ireland and the EU can support the country and will also witness first-hand the damage caused by Vladimir Putin’s forces.
Mr Martin will restate Ireland’s full backing for continuing sanctions against the Russian president’s regime, for Ukraine’s path to full EU membership, and Ireland’s commitment to work with the EU on rebuilding Ukraine.
He said: “The people of Ireland stand with Ukraine and its people in the face of Russia’s immoral and unprovoked war of terror.
“The bombardment and attacks on civilians are nothing short of war crimes and I will use my visit to express Ireland’s support for moves to hold those behind these attacks fully accountable.
“The spirit and resolve of the Ukrainian people has inspired us all and Ireland will provide every support for Ukraine’s path to full EU membership, and continue to welcome and support civilians fleeing this war.”
Battle for Sloviansk in Donetsk will be next key contest in Ukraine, claims UK
The British defence ministry has said that Russian troops are advancing in various pockets of eastern Ukraine like Izium, building up battle like situation in Donetsk’s Sloviansk.
“Over the last week, Russian forces have likely advanced up to another 5 km down the E40 main road from Izium, in the face of extremely determined Ukrainian resistance,” the ministry said in its latest intelligence update on Wednesday.
It added that the Russian forces from the Eastern and Western Groups of Forces are likely now around 16 km north from the town of Sloviansk.
“With the town also under threat from the Central and Southern Groups of Forces, there is a realistic possibility that the battle for Sloviansk will be the next key contest in the struggle for the Donbas,” the British MoD said.
It added: “Russia likely continues to consolidate its control over Lysychansk and Luhansk Oblast. To the north, it has committed most of the remaining available units from the Eastern and Western Groups of Forces to the Izium axis”.
Who will last longer in power, Johnson or Zelensky?
When Boris Johnson dialled Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday, it served a little surprise.
It showed how Mr Johnson resorted to his traditional playbook of once again trying to portray himself as a world leader, a serious man for serious times, deflecting from events as Westminster burned around him, set alight by his own lies and inadequacies, writes International Affairs Editor David Harding in this editorial letter.
He also points to a recent pub discussion about the permanency or the lack of it, of world leaders.
Who of these would be in power longer: Johnson, Zelensky or Putin? How about Johnson, Zelensky, Putin or Biden? What about which of these would be in power in three years’ time: Johnson, Zelensky, Putin, Biden or Trump? All were agreed that whatever happened, Xi, Orban and Modi would definitely be there longer than any of them.
It was also a game not just of what-ifs, but also what might be. There seems little reason, from the viewpoint of Putin’s logic, to end the war. If somehow the conflict can stretch out to the next US presidency, who knows what might happen?
Read the full editorial here:
Despite leading a country under invasion and being destroyed by a relentless war machine, Zelensky doesn’t have to contend with backbench Tory MPs, says David Harding
Air alert sounded over entire Ukraine after days, says Zelensky
Volodymyr Zelensky has said that Russian army is tasked with just one duty which is to take people’s lives as the war in Ukraine marked its 133rd day.
“The Russian army does not take any breaks. It has one task – to take people’s lives, to intimidate people – so that even a few days without an air alarm already feel like part of the terror,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly address to Ukrainians.
He added that on Tuesday night, an air alert was announced over almost the entire territory of our country.
“…This evening, Kyiv and again almost the whole of Ukraine heard the air alarm. As of now, there are reports of strikes at the Khmelnytskyi region – victims, wounded are now being specified,” he said.
“Before that, there has been no air alert in the capital and in some regions for some time, and some people even felt particularly anxious because of such unusual silence,” the Ukrainian president said.
Mr Zelensky added: “They were overthinking, dreading, looking for some kind of explanation – as if the occupiers were preparing for something… Actually, you shouldn’t overthink. You should not look for logic in the actions of terrorists.”
Heavy shelling as battle for Donetsk rages: ‘Shelling everything in path’
Russia has launched heavy fighting in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, officials in the region confirmed, as they reported widespread artillery fire, within 48 hours of Moscow confirming their victory in Luhansk.
Regional governor Sehiy Haidai said that the edge of Luhansk region witnessed heavy fighting as he claimed that the Russia’s regular troops and reserve forces have been deployed there to cross the Siverskiy Donets River, considered as a strategic defence line in Ukraine.
Mr Haidai said: “They are sustaining quite heavy losses.”
“Some battalions have been moved there to make up the numbers they need….They are not taking all their wounded with them. The hospitals are full to bursting as are the morgues,” he said.
“There is still a great deal of shelling in both Luhansk and Donetsk regions. They are shelling everything in their path.”
Officials in Kyiv have said that they now expect Mr Putin’s fighters to focus their efforts especially on the cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk in Donetsk, just a day after they took control of Lysychansk, the last bastion of Ukrainian resistance in Luhansk, Ukrainian.
Good morning! Hello, Arpan Rai here, I’m taking over our rolling Ukraine coverage now.
Stay tuned as we bring you the latest updates.
That will be all for The Independent’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine until tomorrow morning. Thanks for following, we will be back in a few hours.
Russian strikes hit Mykolaiv
Russian rocket strikes hit the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych said.
The southern city on the main highway between Kherson and Odesa has been a target for Russian forces throughout the war. A report in The Economist said Ukrainian troops were preparing for a counter-offensive launched from Mykolaiv to take back Kherson from Russia.
After the strikes this morning, Mr Senkevych said on Telegram: “Residential buildings were again damaged by shelling.
“More than 200 windows were blown out by the blast wave and debris in seven high-rise buildings, entrance doors were damaged in entrances, and people had to cut locks in some apartments in order to get out.”
Finland and Sweden one step closer to Nato membership after accession protocol signed
The Nato membership bids of Sweden and Finland have been sent for approval after the 30 member countries of the alliance signed accession protocols for the two Nordic countries (Holly Bancroft writes).
The protocol means that Finland and Sweden can now join in on Nato meetings and have greater access to intelligence. However they will not be protected by Nato’s defence clause, that an attack on one ally is an attack on all, until ratification.
“This is truly an historic moment,” Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said alongside the foreign ministers of the two countries. “With 32 nations around the table, we will be even stronger.”
The inclusion of Finland and Sweden is the most significant expansion of the defensive alliance since the 1990s.
‘This is truly an historic moment’, Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said