A Ukrainian military official has said its forces have reclaimed some ground in the key city of Severodonetsk, as Russia intensifies its assault and ramps up its air raids in the eastern part of the country.
Here’s the latest on Russia’s war in Ukraine:
Air activity remains key for Russian military: Russia’s air activity “remains high” over eastern Ukraine and has contributed to Russia’s “recent tactical successes,” but has “failed to have a meaningful impact on the conflict,” the latest intelligence assessment from the UK’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday. “The increased use of unguided munitions has led to the widespread destruction of built-up areas in the Donbas and has almost certainly caused substantial collateral damage and civilian casualties,” the update added.
Ukraine regains territory in the east: Ukraine now controls about half of Severodonetsk, said Serhiy Hayday, head of the Luhansk region military administration.
Hayday was responding to a question about the UK’s intelligence assessment, which also predicted Russia would control all of the Luhansk region within two weeks. The Russians “had previously managed to capture most of the city, but now our military has pushed them back. They are really suffering huge losses,” he said in further comments on Saturday.
Zelensky urges US mayors to cut Russian ties: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on US mayors to cut “brotherhood” ties with Russian cities and to take part in “the largest economic project of our time” by helping to rebuild Ukraine after the war, during a video address to the 90th Annual Conference of US Mayors.
Civilians flee Sloviansk: Hundreds of people are fleeing the city of Sloviansk in eastern Ukraine every day, with evacuation numbers almost doubling this week, said the head of the city’s military administration, Vadym Lyakh, on Saturday. “The number of people leaving (the city) has almost doubled, both by evacuation buses and their own vehicles, people are actively leaving,” Lyakh said. He said a missile strike that killed three people in the city on Tuesday had “pushed the citizens to leave.”
UN renews call for an end to violence: United Nations Secretary General António Guterres made a call for an end to violence as Ukraine marked 100 days of Russia’s war on Friday. “I renew my call for an immediate halt to violence, for unfettered humanitarian access to all those in need, for safe evacuation of civilians trapped in areas of fighting and for urgent protection of civilians and respect for human rights in accordance with international norms,” Guterres said. “The sooner the parties engage in good-faith diplomatic efforts to end this war, the better for the sake of Ukraine, Russia and the world.”