Russia rockets hit an apartment building in Chasiv Yar, Donetsk, where six were reported killed and dozens trapped under rubble. A US-based military think tank said recent actions suggest the Kremlin intends to annex part or all of an area that includes Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city.
Canada said it’s releasing to Germany a key part for the Nord Stream 1 natural-gas pipeline that got caught up in sanctions. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy dismissed Ukraine’s ambassadors to Germany, Hungary, India and several other countries, saying hours later that the moves were part of a normal diplomatic rotation.
The US announced $368 million in humanitarian aid focused on providing food, safe drinking water and emergency health care for Ukraine. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Group of 20 countries leaned on Russia to lift its blockade of Ukrainian grain exports. He specifically called on China to put pressure on its ally to relent.
(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)
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On the Ground
Kremlin forces have control of most of the Luhansk province and are grinding west into Donetsk Six people were killed and dozens trapped when a Russian missile struck a multi-storey apartment building in Chasiv Yar, southeast of Karmatorsk in Donetsk, the region’s governor said. Russia is looking to hinter Ukraine’s attempts to push its forces away from Kharkiv, according to the Ukrainian general staff. Russian troops hit the city with an “Iskander” cruise missile fired from the Belgorod region bordering Ukraine. After the capture of the last major Ukrainian-held cities in Luhansk region, Russia is probing Ukrainian defenses further west near Slovyansk, according to the military. Ukrainian artillery forces hit Russian command posts, equipment and munitions depots in Chornobaivka in the country’s southern Kherson region.
(All times CET)
Russia Intends to Annex Kharkiv Region, US Think Tank Says (7:45 a.m.)
Comments by Russian-backed occupation authorities that the Kharkiv region is an “inalienable part of Russian land” suggest Moscow intends to annex part or all of the area, which includes Ukraine’s second largest city, said analysts at the Institute for the Study of War.
The speed in establishing a civilian administration and introducing martial law in occupied areas of the region this month shows “the Kremlin is aggressively pursuing the legitimization and consolidation” of the occupation administration’s power “to support this broader territorial aim,” the US-based think tank said in a report Saturday.
Russia Focused on E40 Highway in Donetsk, UK Says (7:30 a.m.)
Russian forces have likely made some further small territorial advances around Popasna in the western part of Luhansk, the UK military said in an update.
Control of the section of the E40 highway that links Kharkiv to Donetsk via Izium, “is likely to be an important objective for Russia as it attempts to advance through Donetsk oblast,” the UK said.
Canada Clears Pipeline Part’s Return to Germany (10:40 p.m.)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government cleared Siemens Canada to return repaired Nord Stream 1 turbines to Germany, resolving an impasse over sanctions affecting the Russian natural-gas pipeline that’s key to European energy supplies.
Canada will “grant a time-limited and revocable permit” to support Europe’s ability to access reliable and affordable energy in the transition away from Russian oil and gas, a spokesman for the Ministry of Natural Resources said in a statement.
German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck publicly pleaded with Canada for the release, saying the equipment needs to return before Nord Stream 1 maintenance begins on Monday — eliminating an excuse for Russia to keep the conduit closed.
Zelenskiy Fires Envoy to Germany, Others (6:16 p.m.)
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy dismissed his ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, along with ambassadors to Hungary, the Czech Republic, Norway and five Asian countries, including India, according to decrees on the presidential website.
In a nightly speech to the nation, Zelenskiy said the firings were “a normal part of diplomatic practice” and that new candidates were being prepared by the foreign ministry.
Melnyk has been viewed as controversial in Germany for strongly-worded comments and Twitter posts, including what he decried as hesitation by Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government to expedite modern weapons to Ukraine. Israel’s embassy in Berlin recently criticized Melnyk, saying he had belittled the Holocaust in an interview, an accusation he called “absurd.”
Zelenskiy Meets French Senate President (4:10 p.m.)
Ukraine’s president met with Gerard Larcher, French Senate president, and a delegation of upper house lawmakers. More military aid to Ukraine and postwar reconstruction were among the topics discussed.
The French delegation attended a session of the Rada, Ukraine’s parliament.
Blinken Announces $368 Million in Humanitarian Aid (2:17 p.m.)
The US will provide another $368 million in humanitarian aid to those affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
The funding includes nearly $288 million through the State Department and more than $80 million through the U.S. Agency for International Development, he said. The funds will provide food, safe drinking water, cash assistance, protection, accessible shelter, emergency health care, logistics, and humanitarian coordination.
The new funds take US humanitarian assistance since the war started in February to over $1.28 billion, said Blinken, who’s in Bali for the G-20 foreign ministers meeting.
Ukraine Soldiers Arrive in UK for Training (12:30 p.m.)
The first cohort of Ukrainian soldiers taking part in a UK-led training effort have arrived in the UK. As many as 10,000 troops will be take part over the coming months, the UK military said.
The training will give volunteer recruits with little to no military experience the skills to be effective in frontline combat, the UK said.
Blinken Blasts China’s Support for Russia (10:54 a.m.)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken blasted Beijing over its support of Russia after more than five hours of talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at the G-20 foreign ministers meeting in Bali.
Blinken said he told Wang that China wasn’t neutral on the Ukraine war because there’s no such thing as being neutral when there is a clear aggressor.
Russia Shells Zelenskiy’s Home Town (8:30 a.m.)
Russian troops early Saturday shelled residential areas of Kryvyi Rih, the central Ukrainian city that’s Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s home town. The Ukrainian president visited the area on Friday.
Ten missiles were fired with fragmentation and cluster munitions, most likely from a distance of more than 70 kilometers (44 miles), said Olexandr Vilkul, head of Kryvyi Rih military administration.
A 41-year-old woman was killed and two more civilians with shrapnel wounds were taken to hospital, he said.
UN Says Ukraine Shares Blame in Nursing Home Deaths: AP (6:17 a.m.)
A United Nations report has found that Ukraine’s armed forces bear a large, and perhaps equal, share of the blame for an attack on a nursing home in Stara Krasnyanka, Luhansk, in early March, that killed dozens of elderly and disabled patients, the Associated Press reported.
Ukrainian soldiers took up positions inside the facilities a few days before the attack by Kremlin-backed rebels, making the building a target, according to the UN.
Dozens of patients, many of them bedridden, were killed when fire swept through the nursing home after Russia’s assault started a blaze.
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