Russia’s offensive in eastern Ukraine is intensifying with the war having entered the ninth week and a ceasefire far from sight. The war-hit nation’s capital city of Kyiv witnessed missile strikes, Ukraine said, at a time when UN chief Antonio Guterres was in the city in another sharp escalation of tensions. Guterres made a visit to the conflict-battered country just right after visiting Russia. US president Joe Biden, meanwhile, has sought a $ 33 billion aid to bolster Ukraine’s fight against Russia. “The world must and will hold Russia accountable. And as long as the assaults and atrocities continue, we’re going to continue to supply military assistance,” he was quoted as saying in reports.
Here are ten updates on the Ukraine war:
1. Shortly after a meeting between Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and the UN chief on Thursday, Russia was accused of striking the capital city as the attack claimed a life and injured several others, news agency AP reported. The Shevchenkivskyi district of the city, according to Mayor Vitali Klitschko, was hit twice, and two high-rise buildings caught fire. The Ukraine president has called for an “appropriate and powerful response”.
2. Kyiv had sprung into normalcy in the days before this strike – said to be one of the boldest by the Kremlin in recent days. “Russia stroke Kyiv with cruise missiles right when UN Secretary General @antonioguterres and Bulgarian PM @KirilPetkov visit our capital. By this heinous act of barbarism Russia demonstrates once again its attitude towards Ukraine, Europe and the world. (sic),” Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote in a tweet on Thursday night.
3. Antonio Guterres has sought a probe into the alleged war crimes. Moscow has been accused of thousands of war crimes in the country. Guterres also visited Bucha where visuals of mass graves and bodies strewn on streets had shocked the world.
4. Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov was also in Kyiv on Thursday and Zelensky said he held “very substantive and warm talks” on energy and defense cooperation with him. Moscow has cut off natural gas supplies to two NATO countries – Bulgaria and also to Poland – for their support to Ukraine.
5. The Pentagon is analysing the latest strikes on Kyiv. “We’re still trying to analyze this and figure out what happened here, what was struck and with what kind of munition,” press secretary John Kirby was quoted as saying by news agency Reuters.
6. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Thursday has expressed grave concern over a Ukrainian report that a missile had flown directly over a nuclear power station – near the city of Yuzhnoukrainsk, some 350 km (220 miles) south of Kyiv on April 16. “Had such a missile gone astray, it could have had a severe impact on the physical integrity of the plant, potentially leading to a nuclear accident,” he said in a statement, Reuters reported.
7. Thanking the US president for his latest remarks on the 33 billion aid, Zelensky in his nightly address, said: “President Biden rightly said today that this step is not cheap. But the negative consequences for the whole world from Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and against democracy are so massive that by comparison the U.S. support is necessary.”
8. The eastern and southern parts of Ukraine are witnessing intensified offensive.
9. Around 22,800 Russian troops have died so far in the war, according to Kyiv.
10. More than 5 million in Ukraine have fled the war since its start on February 24.
(With inputs from AFP, Reuters)