Russia-Ukraine war at a glance

  • The US president, Joe Biden, will speak to the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, on Friday to discuss Russia’s war against Ukraine “and other issues of mutual concern”, the White House said. Biden is expected to tell Xi he will face “costs” if Beijing rescues fellow authoritarian ally Russia from intense western sanctions.
  • Russia is being forced to divert “large numbers” of troops to defend its supply lines rather than continuing its attacks in Ukraine, British defence intelligence analysts believe. The UK Ministry of Defence’s latest intelligence report says logistical problems continue to beset Russia’s troops.
  • Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his latest address: “The occupants thought they were going to Ukraine which they had seen before, in 2014-2015, which they corrupted and were not afraid of, but we are different now.”
  • Air raid sirens sounded in the western city of Lviv, followed by the sound of explosions and a column of smoke, a few miles from the city centre.
  • In Kharkiv, a rescue worker has died and another was injured after a shopping centre was shelled on Thursday, sparking a fire that has burned through the night. Two residential buildings were also damaged in the attack.
  • About 130 people have been rescued so far from the basement of a theatre hit by a Russian airstrike in the besieged southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, officials said. Hundreds of people were hiding beneath the theatre, which was designated as a shelter for displaced civilians, when it was struck on Wednesday. Serhiy Taruta, a former governor of the Donetsk region, said rescue efforts had been hindered by the complete breakdown of social services and fear of future Russian attacks in the city.
  • About 30,000 civilians have fled Mariupol city so far, local authorities said. Mariupol’s city hall said that “80% of residential housing was destroyed” and about 350,000 residents were hiding in shelters and basements in Mariupol. In addition to the bombing of its theatre, the city hall said a swimming pool sheltering civilians, “mostly women, children and the elderly” had also been shelled.
  • More than 20 people were killed and 25 injured when a Russian airstrike destroyed a school and community centre in Merefa, close to the north-east Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, local officials said. The attack took place at 3.30am local time (1.30am GMT) on Thursday, the Kharkiv prosecutor’s office said. Ten people were in critical condition, it said.
  • The US state department confirmed that a US citizen died in Ukraine today, after local reports that an American was killed during Russian shelling in the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv. Earlier today, Chernihiv regional police said authorities were “documenting the aftermath of enemy shelling of civilians in central Chernihiv” that left more than 50 people dead.
  • The US has anecdotal signs of flagging Russian troop morale in some units in Ukraine, a senior US defence official said, without citing evidence. The US has also observed that the Russian military is moving some forces “from the rear to join their advancing elements” and “some of those capabilities are artillery, long-range artillery”, suggesting they “continue to want to conduct a siege of Kyiv”.
  • The mayor of the besieged Ukrainian city of Melitopol, who was allegedly abducted by Russian forces, was freed in exchange for nine captured Russian conscripts, according to the head of Ukraine’s presidential office. Ukraine had accused Russia of kidnapping Ivan Fedorov last Friday, with surveillance footage appearing to show him being marched across a square in the city centre, apparently surrounded by Russian soldiers.
  • Lawyers are drafting a peace deal between Kyiv and Moscow but a breakthrough depends on the Kremlin accepting a ceasefire, Ukraine’s defence minister has said. Oleksii Reznikov, who has been leading the Ukrainian delegation in the negotiations, said technical work was progressing but that Russia had to stop its shelling for any compromise to be possible.
  • The Turkish foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, said “we have stronger hopes for a ceasefire” after meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, in Lviv. The meeting follows Çavuşoğlu’s visit to Moscow yesterday, where he declared: “We have not lost our belief in diplomacy.”
  • But western officials have warned there remains a “very big gap” between Ukraine and Russia in peace talks between the two countries. Reuters quotes an unnamed official as saying both sides are taking peace talks seriously but that there was little sign of an imminent breakthrough.
  • Zelenskiy invoked the fall of the Berlin Wall in an attempt to persuade German MPs to do everything possible to halt Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Speaking to the German parliament via video, the Ukrainian president upbraided Germany for having persisted in the past in its insistence that the gas pipelines Nord Stream 1 and 2 and other business projects with Russia were “purely economic” and not political.
  • A Russian court has extended the arrest of the US basketball star Brittney Griner for at least two more months, according to the Russian state news agency Tass. Griner, a two-time Olympic champion, has been detained by Russian customs authorities, who claim they discovered vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage at an airport near Moscow.
  • Uzbekistan’s foreign minister has called for a diplomatic resolution of the conflict in Ukraine and said it would not recognise Moscow-backed separatists in the self-proclaimed republics in Luhansk and Donetsk, Reuters reports. Abdulaziz Kamilov’s remarks signalled the strongest anti-war statement to come from Russia’s former Soviet allies so far.
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