Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 79 of the invasion
The UK’s Ministry of Defence has said the failed crossing of the Siverskyi Donets river by Russian forces in the Donbas showed the pressure Russian commanders were under.
Ukrainian military forces released footage on Thursday that they say shows destroyed Russian military vehicles and a pontoon bridge in eastern Ukraine. According to the Ukrainian forces, the images were taken along the Siverskyi Donets River.
The first war crimes trial since Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine has opened in Kyiv in a watershed moment. Vadim Shysimarin, a 21-year-old Russian commander of the Kantemirovskaya tank division, allegedly killed a civilian on 28 February in the village of Chupakhivka while fighting in the Sumy region in north-east Ukraine.
Russia’s defence ministry has claimed its forces struck the Kremenchug oil refinery in central Ukraine, destroying its production capacity and fuel tanks.
Ukraine says it has damaged a Russian navy logistics ship near Snake Island, a small but strategic outpost in the Black Sea.
Kharkiv governor Oleh Synyehubov said “the night was relatively calm” in the region. However he added that in Dergachi “the Russians damaged the humanitarian headquarters, the registry office, part of the clinic, and the ambulance building”, and that in Shebelinka “a Russian shell hit a hangar building. The roof of the hangar and 10 trucks were on fire. Unfortunately, three people died and five others were injured.”
The Ukrainian counteroffensive around the north-eastern city of Kharkiv is “starting to look very similar to the counteroffensive that ultimately drove Russian troops away from Kyiv and out of western Ukraine entirely”, the Institute for the Study of War has said in its latest assessment of the conflict.
Swedish membership of Nato would have a stabilising effect and would benefit countries around the Baltic sea, Sweden’s foreign minister Ann Linde said on Friday, a day after neighbour Finland announced it was in favour of applying to join the 30-nation alliance.
The EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, has said that the European Union would provide another €500m (£425m) worth of military support to Ukraine, and that he was confident a deal could be reached in the coming days to agree an embargo on Russian oil.
British foreign secretary Liz Truss said it was vital to keep up the pressure on Russia by supplying more weapons to Ukraine and imposing further sanctions. “It is very important at this time that we keep up the pressure on Vladimir Putin by supplying more weapons to Ukraine and by increasing the sanctions.”
The Republican senator Rand Paul has blocked the passage of a $40bn aid bill for Ukraine in the US Senate. Paul demanded changes including an inspector general to oversee how it is spent.