Ukraine has ceded some territory in the Donbas region to Russian forces, with Kyiv acknowledging Russia’s “partial success” in recent days. The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has described the pressure his forces are under in the east of the country as “hell”. They have recaptured two villages near the city of Sloviansk, according to Ukrainian general Oleksiy Hromov, but have been forced to abandon a coal mine regarded as a key defensive position as forces are pushed to the outskirts of Avdiivka.
Russia may launch an offensive in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson to try to wrest back momentum from Kyiv and has been visibly building up forces, Hromov said on Thursday. Much of the region is already occupied by Russia after it captured areas at the beginning of its invasion, but Ukrainian forces have been developing a counter-offensive to regain territory.
Three more ships carrying grain have been authorised to leave Ukraine’s ports on Friday as part of an international accord brokered to unblock grain exports and alleviate the global food crisis. The ships are bound for Turkey, Ireland and the UK. Millions of tonnes of grain have been stuck in Ukraine since Russia invaded just over six months ago.
Ukraine will receive another financing package worth about $8bn from the European Union by September, a German government source told Reuters.
Canada is sending up to 225 Canadian armed forces to the UK to recommence the training of Ukrainian military recruits, the Canadian defence minister has announced. Since 2015, Canada has trained 33,000 Ukrainian military and security personnel but in February paused aspects of the training.
Eight people have been killed and four wounded in Russian artillery shelling in the eastern Ukrainian town of Toretsk in Donetsk oblast on Thursday, the regional governor has said. The shelling hit a public transport stop where people had gathered. Three children were among the wounded, said the area’s governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko.
Nato members are working closely with defence companies to ensure Ukraine gets more supplies of weapons and equipment to be prepared for a drawn out war with Russia, the Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said on Thursday. He told Reuters in an interview: “We are providing a lot of support but we need to do even more and be prepared for the long haul.”
A US official accused Moscow of preparing to plant fake evidence to make it look like the recent mass killing of Ukrainian prisoners in an attack on a Russian-controlled prison was caused by Ukraine. Kyiv and Moscow have traded blame over the strikes on the prison in Kremlin-controlled Olenivka, in eastern Ukraine, last week.
Amnesty International has said the Ukrainian army is endangering the life of civilians by basing themselves in residential areas. The report has been rejected by Ukrainian government representatives, who say it places blame on Ukraine for Russia’s invasion. The human rights group’s researchers found that Ukrainian forces were using some schools and hospitals as bases, firing near houses and sometimes living in residential flats. Ukraine’s deputy defence minister, Hanna Maliar, accused Amnesty of “distorting the real picture” and of failing to understand the situation on the ground.