The EU has imposed a new round of sanctions on Russia, expanding import and export bans and blacklisting individuals over Moscow’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian president, told European heads of state gathered in Prague that Ukraine must win so that Russia does not “advance on Warsaw or again on Prague”.
The Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza, who has been imprisoned in Moscow since April, is being investigated for “high treason”, as the authorities step up their case against him for his criticism of the war in Ukraine.
The United States has accused Russian mercenaries of exploiting natural resources in Central African Republic, Mali, Sudan and elsewhere to help fund Moscow’s war in Ukraine, a charge Russia rejected as “anti-Russian rage”. The US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, has said the Wagner Group of mercenaries are exploiting natural resources and “these ill-gotten gains are used to fund Moscow’s war machine in Africa, the Middle East and Ukraine”.
Ukrainian emergency services said three bodies were pulled from rubble after a Russian rocket strike destroyed a five-storey apartment block in the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia.
The Kremlin denied reports that 700,000 Russians had fled the country since Moscow announced a mobilisation drive it said would call up hundreds of thousands to fight in Ukraine.
Two Russians who said they fled their country to avoid compulsory military service have requested asylum in the US after landing in a small boat on a remote Alaska island in the Bering Sea, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski’s office said Thursday.
The UN nuclear agency chief is en route to Kyiv to discuss creating a security zone around Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, after Vladimir Putin ordered his government to take it over. “On our way to Kyiv for important meetings,” the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head, Rafael Grossi, wrote on Twitter, saying the need for a protection zone around the site was “more urgent than ever”. Grossi is also expected to visit Moscow in the coming days to discuss the situation at the plant. The IAEA said it had learned of plans to restart one reactor at the plant, where all six reactors have been shut down for weeks.
Ukraine’s forces are pushing their advance in the east and south, forcing Russian troops to retreat under pressure on both fronts. Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukraine’s military had made major, rapid advances against Russian forces in the past week, taking back dozens of towns in regions in the south and east that Russia has declared annexed. Military experts say Russia is at its weakest point, partly because of its decision not to mobilise earlier and partly because of massive losses of troops and equipment.
Ukraine has extended its area of control in the Kherson region by six to 12 miles, according to its military’s southern command. Zelenskiy confirmed the recapture of the villages of Novovoskresenske, Novohryhorivka and Petropavlivka, saying the settlements were “liberated from the sham referendum and stabilised”, in an address on Wednesday.
Moscow’s forces have left behind smashed towns once under occupation and, in places, mass burial sites and evidence of torture chambers. In Lyman, which was retaken by Ukrainian forces on Sunday, more than 50 graves were found, some marked with names, others with numbers, the Kyiv-based outlet Hromadske reported on Wednesday.