In its latest analysis, the US-based think tank the Institute for the Study of War reports that Russian occupation authorities have begun issuing Russian passports in Kherson City and Melitopol, but adds “they continue to face challenges establishing societal control over occupied territories and ending Ukrainian partisan actions.”
ISW also provides the following commentary on the conflict:
• Russian forces conducted unsuccessful assaults southeast and southwest of Izyum and west of Lyman but remain unlikely to secure major advances towards Slovyansk.
• Russian forces made minor gains in the eastern part of Severodonetsk, but Ukrainian forces continues to launch localized counterattacks in Severodonetsk and its outskirts.
• Russian forces did not attempt to launch assaults on Avdiivka.
• Russian forces failed to regain lost positions in northeastern Kherson Oblast and continued to defend previously occupied positions.
More than 1,400 cases of treason and collaboration with the Russian army have been brought against Ukrainian citizens. Guardian correspondents Lorenzo Tondo and Shaun Walker in Kharkiv report on the difficult decisions facing prosecutors.
For the Ukrainian authorities, it is important to show that punishment for those who helped the Russian invasion will be swift and stern. But at the same time, the process comes with lots of tricky questions.
These include whether Ukraine’s prosecutors and judges, who for years have battled accusations of corruption and nepotism, can be trusted not to abuse the process. Numerous high-ranking officials may also be asked questions about negligence at the beginning of the invasion, or even treason.
Ukraine’s military said on Saturday that Russia had reinforced its troops and had used artillery to conduct “assault operations” in Sievierodonetsk, Reuters has reported.
But Russian forces had retreated after failed attempts to advance in the nearby town of Bakhmut and cut off access to Sievierodonetsk, Ukraine military said.
On Friday, Serhiy Gaidai, the head of the eastern region of Luhansk, said on national television that Ukrainian forces have recaptured around 20% of the territory they lost in Sievierodonetsk.
From Odesa, Guardian correspondent Luke Harding reports on calls for a campaign of “de-Russification” once Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine comes to an end.
Ukraine has already twice dismantled Soviet-era state symbols. In the 1990s many Lenin statues were removed, including those in Odesa. Kyiv’s parliament embarked on a further round of “decommunisation” in 2014 after the Maidan uprising against the country’s pro-Moscow president, Viktor Yanukovych, and Putin’s annexation of Crimea and his war in the eastern Donbas region.
In Russian-occupied areas this process is going into reverse. In April Russian troops erected a new statue of Lenin outside the main administration building in the southern city of Henichesk, in Kherson province. They have torn down blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flags from municipal buildings and hung Russian and Soviet ones in their place. This “re-Russification” is part of Putin’s attempt to erase Ukraine, Kyiv says.
Images taken in Ukraine over the past 24 hours show the devastation of the war, defiance and a longing for peace.
Hello, I’m Rebecca Ratcliffe and welcome to our rolling coverage of the war in Ukraine.
Here are some of the key developments of the past few hours.
- Ukrainian forces have recaptured around 20% of the territory they lost in Sievierodonetsk since Russia’s invasion, according to Ukrainian officials. “Whereas before the situation was difficult, the percentage [held by Russia] was somewhere around 70%, now we have already pushed them back by approximately 20%,” Serhiy Gaidai, the head of the eastern region of Luhansk, announced on national television on Friday.
- “Victory shall be ours,” Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a video featuring the same key ministers and advisers who appeared with him in a defiant broadcast on 24 February, the day his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, launched his unprovoked assault. “The armed forces of Ukraine are here. Most importantly, our people, the people of our country, are here. We have been defending Ukraine for 100 days already … Glory to Ukraine,” Zelenskiy added.
- Vladimir Putin says exporting grain from Ukraine is “no problem”, after Moscow’s invasion raised fears of a global food crisis. The Russian president said in a televised interview on Friday that exporting could be done via Ukrainian ports, via others under Russian control, or even via central Europe. Putin accused the west of “bluster” by claiming Moscow was preventing the grain exports from Ukraine.
- The African Union head and Senegalese president, Macky Sall, said he was “reassured” after meeting with Putin in Sochi regarding food shortages caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, he told Putin that Africans were the victims of the war in Ukraine.
- Leading US general Mark Milley has met Finnish president Sauli Niinisto to pledge US support for Finland’s and Sweden’s Nato membership bids, which Turkey is blocking. Milley told reporters it was clear that, if the two countries’ applications were approved, “they will bring a significant increase in the military capability of Nato”, Agence France-Presse reported. After Helsinki, Milley was expected to visit neighbouring Sweden on Saturday.
- European president Ursula von der Leyen said that Ukraine must meet all the necessary standards and conditions for accession. She went on to call on the EU to help Ukraine achieve its goals.
- A driver transporting two Reuters journalists in eastern Ukraine was killed and the two reporters lightly wounded on Friday, a company spokesperson said. They had come under fire while en route to Severodonetsk. “They were travelling in a vehicle provided by the Russian-backed separatists and driven by an individual assigned by the separatists,” the international news agency said.
- French president Emmanuel Macron says Putin has committed a “historic and fundamental error” by invading Ukraine and is now “isolated”. “I think, and I told him, that he made a historic and fundamental error for his people, for himself and for history,” Macron said in an interview with French regional media on Friday. “Isolating oneself is one thing, but being able to get out of it is a difficult path”.
- 14 million Ukrainians have been forced to flee their homes, the majority women and children, the UN Crisis Coordinator for Ukraine, Amin Awad, said on Friday. In a statement released on the 100th day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Awad spoke of displaced Ukrainians, describing the “scale and speed of [their] displacement not witnessed in history”.
- Moscow will help restore and rebuild Luhansk and Donetsk, Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced on Friday after a visit to Luhansk. About 1,500 specialists from various departments of the Moscow municipal economy complex and 500 pieces of equipment had arrived in Luhansk, the mayor said.
- Ukraine’s ambassador to Ankara, Vasyl Bodna, accused Russia of “stealing” and sending Ukrainian grain abroad. “Russia shamelessly steals Ukrainian grain and sends it overseas from Crimea, including to Turkey,” Bodna said in a tweet on Friday.