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What occurred within the Russia-Ukraine battle this week? Meet up with the must-read information and evaluation | Ukraine

Each week we wrap up the must-reads from our protection of the Ukraine battle, from information and options to evaluation, visible guides and opinion.

Blame sport over Kremlin drone blast

The US and Ukraine each dismissed Moscow’s accusations of involvement in a drone mission that noticed one of many machines explode above the Kremlin Senate on Wednesday.

John Kirby, the US Nationwide Safety Council spokesman, mentioned of Putin spokesman Dimitry Peskov’s claims: “One factor I can let you know for sure is that the US didn’t have any involvement with this incident, opposite to Mr Peskov’s lies, and that’s simply what they’re: lies.”

Dramatic video footage on Wednesday confirmed two flying objects approaching the Kremlin and one hitting the rooftop of the an 18th-century mansion inside the grounds of the president’s official residence. Nobody was damage within the incident, Russia mentioned.

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, mentioned on Wednesday: “We don’t assault Putin, or Moscow, we combat on our territory and defend our cities and cities. We depart it to the tribunal.”

The reply as to who was behind it will not be recognized till lengthy after the battle, Dan Sabbagh studies, however it’s curious what number of need to speculate a couple of Kremlin false-flag operation.

Kyiv had its personal drone menace to take care of on Thursday. The air pressure shot down certainly one of its personal drones over the capital after it “misplaced management”.

A drone explodes and falls to the earth in Kyiv on Thursday.
A drone explodes and falls to the earth in Kyiv on Thursday. {Photograph}: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

The incident got here as Zelenskiy visited cities in Europe, calling for Vladimir Putin to face justice throughout a go to to The Hague, which hosts the worldwide legal court docket (ICC).

The Ukrainian president mentioned: “All of us need to see a special Vladimir right here in The Hague, the one who deserves to be sanctioned for his legal actions right here, within the capital of worldwide legislation. The aggressor should really feel the total energy of justice. That is our historic duty.”

In a speech on Thursday, Zelenskiy mentioned just one establishment was able to responding “to the unique crime, the crime of aggression” and that was a tribunal. “Not some compromise that can enable politicians to say that the case is allegedly achieved, however a real, actually true, full-fledged tribunal.”

The ICC, which Zelenskiy visited throughout his journey, has issued an arrest warrant for Putin and different senior Russian officers over the kidnapping of Ukrainian kids. But it surely doesn’t have the ability to attempt crimes of aggression, as a result of Russia has not ratified the ICC treaty.

Ukraine primed for counteroffensive

Territorial defence fighters training for the spring offensive somewhere in Donbas region in Ukraine.
Territorial defence fighters coaching for the spring offensive someplace in Donbas area in Ukraine. {Photograph}: Emre Çaylak/The Observer

The final time “Luh” served within the navy, he was a Soviet conscript, crusing the Arctic Ocean with the USSR’s northern fleet over 4 many years in the past. When Russia seized the Crimean peninsula and Russian-backed proxies moved into his dwelling area of Luhansk practically a decade in the past, he cheered on the Ukrainian military however thought his preventing days had been behind him.

Then in February final 12 months, the 64-year-old signed up once more to serve. “I didn’t volunteer in 2014 as a result of I assumed the nation might do that with out me, however then final 12 months I noticed they couldn’t.” It was volunteers like Luh – a railway engineer in civil life – who helped propel Ukraine to victories over Russia’s navy final 12 months that surprised even shut allies, Emma Graham-Harrison and Artem Mazhulin reported.

Now they intention to do it once more, in a counteroffensive anticipated to start out inside weeks, maybe even days, that shall be a essential check for Ukraine.

Eight new Ukrainian “storm” brigades of troopers have been fashioned to participate within the counteroffensive, Dan Sabbagh reported, amid rising hypothesis about its timing and whether or not it could possibly achieve inflicting a severe defeat on the Russian invaders.

Residents in the important thing southern metropolis of Kherson started stocking up on meals and water after extra heavy Russian shelling and in anticipation of “one thing massive” over the approaching days as Ukrainian forces additionally stepped up their shelling of Russian positions.

Earlier, Russian missile strikes injured 34 civilians and apparently broken railway infrastructure and an ammunition depot in south-eastern Ukraine, hours earlier than an explosion inside Russia derailed a freight practice.

The assaults on either side of the border on Monday apparently aimed to disrupt navy logistics earlier than a major Ukrainian counteroffensive towards occupying Russian troops, anticipated to start out shortly within the south or the east.

The Russian strike within the Ukrainian metropolis of Pavlohrad was a part of the second wave of missile assaults in simply three days; on Friday, 23 individuals had been killed when a missile hit an condominium block in central Uman metropolis, and a girl and her daughter died in Dnipro.

Greater than 20,000 Russian troopers killed in 5 months

Graves of Russian Wagner mercenary group fighters are seen in a cemetery near the village of Bakinskaya in Krasnodar region, Russia.
Graves of Russian Wagner mercenary group fighters are seen in a cemetery close to the village of Bakinskaya in Krasnodar area, Russia. {Photograph}: Reuters

Greater than 20,000 Russian troopers have been killed and greater than 80,000 injured in simply 5 months of preventing in Ukraine, an acceleration in already heavy losses for Moscow, US intelligence officers estimate, Emma Graham-Harrison reported.

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Most of the troops were killed in brutal trench warfare for the small eastern city of Bakhmut, which Russia has repeatedly claimed it was on the brink of capturing, White House national security council spokesperson John Kirby said when he revealed the new estimate on Monday.

The losses are an acceleration in Russian casualties even from the bloody first days of the war, and overshadow some of the bloodiest allied battles of the second world war, Kirby added. That includes the Guadalcanal campaign, the first major Allied offensive against Japan, which also lasted five months.

When Russia targets ordinary homes

A woman carries a portrait of a child Uliana Troichuk (8), killed during the Russian attack on a residential building, during her funeral on 30 April 2023 in the village of Apolyanka, outside Uman, Ukraine.
A woman carries a portrait of eight-year-old Uliana Troichuk – killed during the Russian attack on a residential building – during her funeral on 30 April in the village of Apolyanka, outside Uman, Ukraine. Photograph: Roman Pilipey/Getty Images

To the military that bombed schools and hospitals in Syria, and tried to freeze Ukrainians from their homes this winter, Soviet-era apartments might have looked like a convenient target, Emma Graham-Harrison and Artem Mazhulin report.

If the aim is terrorising a whole country, destroying these ordinary blocks overlooking a courtyard where tulips are about to burst into bloom may have a twisted logic. When there is no obvious reason why a place is targeted for a missile strike, Ukrainians are forced to understand that one could come anywhere.

Strikes like this are one reason why many Ukrainians have fled even peaceful parts of the country. Missile fragments from the same Friday morning raid that targeted Uman also killed a young girl and her mother on the outskirts of Dnipro city, in a rural area they moved to for safety after a similar missile strike on an apartment block there.

Every scrap of land is contested in the battle for Dnipro delta at Kherson. Peter Beaumont reported on the devastating fighting on the least accessible of the frontlines.

Pawn shops and bread queues: poverty grips Ukraine

Local residents prepare bags of bread to distribute them to people in Siversk, Donetsk region, on 2 May 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Local residents prepare bags of bread to distribute in Siversk, Donetsk region, on 2 May. Photograph: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images

In the Treasure pawn shop in Kyiv, Oleksandra, 40, a well-turned-out woman in a hooded wool coat and Nike trainers, has come to redeem her sewing machines. Like all those visiting the store, she does not want to give her family name. Oleksandra leaves clutching her belongings, save for a mobile phone she has decided not to redeem.

The scene in the pawn shop illustrates the crisis of growing poverty in Ukraine, Peter Beaumont reports, the reality of which stands in contrast to the surface bustle of Kyiv’s busy restaurants and bars where it is often hard to get a table, with many living a precarious existence.

Poverty increased from 5.5% to 24.2% in Ukraine in 2022, pushing 7.1 million more people into poverty with the worst impact out of sight in rural villages, according to a recent report by the World Bank. With unemployment unofficially at 36% and inflation hitting 26.6% at the end of 2022, the institution’s regional country director for eastern Europe, Arup Banerji, had warned that poverty could soar.

Books flourish in blackout-hit Ukraine

Victoria, the owner of the bookshop holding her favorite Skovoroda book in Podil, Ukraine.
Victoria, the owner of the bookshop holding her favourite Skovoroda book in Podil, Ukraine. Photograph: Emre Çaylak/The Guardian

“They have popped up like mushrooms after rain,” says Maria Glazunova, who works at the Dovzhenko Centre, Kyiv’s film archive. “They are lovely places where you can drink coffee, read, and just sniff the books.”

After the terrifying early months of 2022, and a brutal winter of drone attacks and blackouts, a crop of new independent bookshops is hardly what one would expect to find in the Ukrainian capital. But, in defiance of Russia’s ongoing invasion, they are springing up all around Kyiv, Charlotte Higgins reports.

In the central Pechersk district, Misto, meaning “city”, opened in December. At the time, Russian missile attacks were regularly casting Kyiv into darkness. Everyone told Diana Slonchenko, its owner, that she was mad. But war, she says, “changed my mindset”. Her desire to open a bookshop had switched from “something I’ll do one day, to something I need to do now”.

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