The Russian-controlled administration in the Ukrainian city of Kherson has announced that it will seek Moscow’s annexation. a move that would confirm the Kremlin’s permanent occupation of Ukrainian territory, which it has seized since February. Kyiv said Moscow plans to hold a fake referendum on independence or annexation. The Kremlin replied that it is up to the region’s residents to decide whether to join Russia, but any decision must have a legal basis.
Russian and Ukrainian forces appear to be entering a grueling and deadly standoff in eastern Ukraine. Despite claims by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that Ukrainian counter-offensives around Kharkiv and elsewhere were pushing back invading Russian forces, Ukrainian gains appeared to be limited to the extreme north-east and south-west flanks of the 300-mile front line for the time being.
Ukraine claimed it had recaptured Pytomnyk, a village north of Kharkiv, about halfway to the Russian border. “Occupying powers went on the defensive to slow down the pace of our troops’ offensive,” Ukraine’s General Staff of Armed Forces said in its latest report. “The settlement of Pytomnyk…was liberated.”
Boris Johnson has promised to support Sweden and Finland in any way necessary against possible Russian threats. The British Prime Minister traveled to both countries to sign mutual security agreements, with their governments considering NATO membership following the invasion of Ukraine. Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö said the accession would serve to “maximize security” and would not be offensive in any way.
Ukraine has announced it will halt the flow of gas through a transit point, which it says provides almost a third of the fuel routed from Russia to Europe through Ukraine. GTSOU, which runs Ukraine’s gas system, said it would halt supplies via the Sokhranivka route from Wednesday, declaring “force majeure,” a clause invoked when a company is hit by something outside its control. Gas flows from Russia’s Gazprom to Europe via Ukraine fell by a quarter on Wednesday.
Zelenskyy warned Kyiv that he was running out of patience for talks with Russia amid mounting evidence of atrocities being committed by Russian forces in his country. He said the opportunity for negotiation “disappears” with “every new Bucha, every new Mariupol.”
The war will end when Ukraine will reclaim everything that Russia took from it, Zelenskyy claimed. “The war will only end for the Ukrainian people when we get back what is ours,” he said in an online address to students from leading universities in France, academia and the media.
Three Russian prisoners of war accused of assaulting or murdering civilians and a soldier who allegedly killed a man before raping his wife are reported to be in the dock in the Ukraine conflict’s first war crimes trials. revealed the Ukrainian Prosecutor General. More than 10,700 crimes have been registered by Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office, headed by Iryna Venediktova, since the war began, and a handful of cases have now been filed or are awaiting filing.
Ukraine has proposed to Russia that seriously injured defenders at the Azovstal Steel Plant in the southern port of Mariupol be exchanged for Russian prisoners of war, said Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk on Wednesday. “There is no agreement yet. Negotiations continue,” she said in a post on Telegram.
Russia has demanded a formal apology from Poland and threatened possible future reprisals after its ambassador was doused in red paint at the Soviet military cemetery in Warsaw on Monday. The Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement came after it summoned Polish Ambassador Krzysztof Krajewski to hear his protest.
A former Chinese ambassador to Ukraine, Gao Yusheng, has harshly criticized the invasion of Russia. In a speech that the Chinese press covered before being quickly deposed, Gao said Putin’s frequent “violations” of the territory of former Soviet states are “the greatest threat to peace, security and stability in Eurasia.”
The wives of two of the last remaining Ukrainian militants holed up in the Mariupol steelworks asked Pope Francis to help bring soldiers to a third country. One told him: “You are our last hope, I hope you can save her life. Please don’t let her die.”