Ukraine-Russia war latest: Moscow ramping up pressure on Ukrainian forces; major missile attack kills eight in Dnipropetrovsk (2024)

Key points
  • Two detained after hammer attack on Navalny aide
  • Moscow ramping up pressure on Ukrainian forces
  • Major Russian missile attack kills eight
  • Kremlin responds to US shift on aid to Ukraine
  • Analysis:Russia is exploiting Ukraine's lack of air defences
  • Mark Stone:Ukraine funding vote is a curious twist in America's political chaos
  • The big picture:What's happening with the war this week?
  • Your questions answered:How long will it take for any aid to turn the tide militarily?
  • Live reporting by Samuel Osborne


Latest update on advances in Ukraine war

This map by the British Ministry of Defence shows the latest update on advances in Russia's invasion of Ukraine.


Von der Leyen inspects security situation at Finland-Russia border

The head of the European Union's executive branch has visited Finland's border with Russia to assess the security situation there.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Finland's decision to close its border crossings with Russia over a surge in migrants was a security matter for the whole 27-member bloc to consider.

"We all know how Putin and his allies instrumentalise migrants to test our defences and to try to destabilise us," she said.

"Now Putin is focusing on Finland, and this is no doubt in response to your firm support of Ukraine and your accession to NATO."

Finland shares a 832-mile (1,430km) land border with Russia.

"This is not just about the security of Finland, but it is about the security of the European Union. We are in this together," Ms von der Leyen said after visiting the border in Lappeenranta with Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo.

"We should be more Finnish when it comes to security."

Finland joined NATO in April 2023 in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine in a major blow to President Putin.


Slovak crowdfunders raise nearly €2m for Ukraine

Slovaks angered at their government's refusal to give military aid to Ukraine have raised nearly€2m (£1.7m) in a drive to help supply ammunition to Kyiv.

Although ammo supplies are a pressing need for Ukraine after two years of war, Slovakia has refused to join a plan led by the Czech government to buy hundreds of thousands of artillery rounds for Ukraine.

"When I heard about the Czech government's initiative, I wasvery pleased to hear that all ways are being sought to helpUkraine defend itself against the [Russian] aggressor, becausethere is no other way," said Otto Simko, a 99-year-old Holocaustsurvivor and journalist who helped spearhead the Slovakcrowdfunding campaign.

In a video posted on the crowdfunders' YouTube page he said Russia needed to be expelled from Ukraine so"peace can be spoken of on terms that suit Ukrainianindependence".

Slovakia halted state military aid to Kyiv last year, arguing the conflict did not have a military solution.


'Imperative' Ukraine gets more resources immediately, US secretary of state says

It is "imperative" Ukraine gets more resources immediately to help it fight off Russia's invasion, the US secretary of state has said after a meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) major democracies.

"It needs more air defences, it needs more munitions, it needs more artillery - allies and partners including the G7 countries are committed to delivering on that," Antony Blinken added.

Mr Blinken went on to say that if China wants better relations with Europe it cannot continue helping Russia while it attacks Ukraine, adding that Beijing was the primary contributor to Russia's defence industrial base.

He made the remarks after Kyiv's foreign minister said the G7 had identified "specific steps" needed to help Ukraine in its fight against Russia, Kyiv's foreign minister has said.

Dmytro Kuleba also warned Europe would be engulfed by war if Russia triumphed in its invasion.

"We identified specific steps which Western partners willmake to help Ukraine," Mr Kulebatold reporters on the Italian island of Capri, where G7 foreignministers are meeting.

He said the West had the capacity "to provide Ukraine withall necessary resources as soon as possible to save Europe froma larger war."

Meanwhile, Italian foreign minister Antonio Tajani said the G7 was looking to see if it could use frozen Russian assets held in the West and not just the interest from the funds.

Mr Tajani said there was an established legal basis for using the interest from the frozen funds, but experts were now looking to see if the capital itself could be used to help Ukraine.

The West has frozen some $300bn (£241bn) of sovereign Russian assets, which the UK and US want to be used to pay for the Ukraine war effort - though European Union member states have questioned the legality of such a move.


Polish man arrested on suspicion of aiding Russian plot to assassinate Zelenskyy

A Polish man has been arrested over allegations of being ready to help Russia's military intelligence in an alleged plot to assassinate Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Polish prosecutors said.

The man, identified only as Pawel K, was accused of being prepared to pass airport security information to Russian agents and was arrested in Poland on Wednesday, the office of Poland's National Prosecutor said in a statement.

The man was seeking contact with Russians directly involved in the war in Ukraine and was expected to pass on detailed information about theRzeszow-Jasionka airport in south-eastern Poland, near the border with Ukraine, it said.

The airport is under the control of US troops and serves as a gateway for international military and humanitarian supplies for Ukraine.

If convicted, the man could face up to eight years in prison, the statement said.

It said the arrest was the result of close cooperation with the prosecutors and security services of Ukraine, who tipped them off and provided crucial evidence.

The Kremlin has declined to comment.

It comes after German prosecutors said two German-Russian men had been arrested on suspicion of espionage (see 8.44 post yesterday).

One of them is accused of agreeing to carry out attacks on potential targets including US military facilities in the hopes of sabotaging aid for Ukraine.


Zelenskyy visits frontline troops

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has visited troops near the frontline in the east of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian president joined a paratroopers' medical platoon in the Donetsk region.

"Today - Donetsk region. Visited our defenders who are undertreatment," he said on Telegram.

Mr Zelenskyy said he talked with the soldiers and gave them awards, adding: "Thank you for your service and protection of Ukraine! Our country is proud to have such soldiers."


Two detained in Poland after hammer attack on Navalny aide

Two people have been detained in Poland on suspicion of a hammer attack on the top aide of the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Lithuania's president has announced.

Leonid Volkov suffered from hammer blows in the attack on 12 March outside his home in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital.

Lithuanian counterintelligence has said the attack was the work of Russian special services and the Kremlin has declined to comment.

President Gitanas Nauseda said the suspects would be transferred to Lithuania.

Mr Volkov had blamed Vladimir Putin for the attack and he thanked Lithuanian police for working"energetically and persistently" over thepast month on this case.

"I am very glad that this work has been effective", hetweeted. "Well, we'll find out the details soon. Can't wait tofind out!"

Navalny, Mr Putin's most prominent critic, died in a Russian arctic prison in February - his followers believe he was killed by the authorities, which the Kremlin denies.


In pictures: Aftermath of Russian missile attack

These pictures show the aftermath of a major Russian missile attack which killed at least eight people and injured over 25 more in the central Dnipropetrovsk region of Ukraine (see 8.08 post).

Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the attack damaged multiple storeys of a residential building and a train station in the regional capital Dnipro.


Russian refineries adding anti-drone nets following Ukrainian attacks

A Russian oil and gas company has equipped key facilities at its refineries with anti-drone nets, the RIA news agency has reported.

It comes after a series of Ukrainian drone attacks on refineries in Russia.

RIA cited the head of the Russian republic of Bashkortostan, Radiy Khabirov, saying the company, Bashneft, was in talks with Russia's defence ministry about boosting the security of its refineries.


Ukraine says it shot down Russian strategic bomber 'for the first time'

Ukraine has said it shot down a Russian strategic bomber "for the first time".

The Russian defence ministry claimed the Tu-22M3 bomber had crashed in Russia's southern Stavropol region, hundreds of miles from Ukrainian-controlled territory, as it returned to base after carrying out a combat mission.

It said the crash appeared to have been caused by a technical malfunction.

But Ukrainian Air ForceCommander Mykola Oleshchuk said Kyiv had "destroyed" thebomber, which is capable of carrying long-range missiles.

"For the first time, anti-aircraft missile units of the AirForce, in cooperation with the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine,destroyed a Tu-22M3 long-range strategic bomber, a carrier ofKh-22 cruise missiles used by Russian terrorists to attackpeaceful Ukrainian cities," Commander Oleshchuk said.

The Russian regional governor said the bomber's four pilots had ejected but one had died and a rescue operation was ongoing for the fourth.

It comes after Russia conducted a major missile attack on the central Dnipropetrovsk region earlier today, which killed at least eight and injured 25.

Ukraine-Russia war latest: Moscow ramping up pressure on Ukrainian forces; major missile attack kills eight in Dnipropetrovsk (2024)


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