Live updates | Ukraine reports combat gains and difficulties


KYIV, Ukraine – A regional governor in southern Ukraine said Russian troops retreated and blew up bridges to thwart a possible Ukrainian advance.

Mykolayiv regional governor Vitaliy Kim claimed on Wednesday that Russia is on the defensive in the Telegram messaging app.

“They are afraid that the Ukrainian Armed Forces will make a breakthrough, but we are not afraid and support our troops,” he wrote.

Kim did not specify exactly where the retreat he described took place. Parts of Mykolayiv region recently controlled by Russian forces are close to the large Russian-occupied city of Kherson.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a Tuesday night speech that Ukrainian fighters have seen “some success in the direction of Kherson”.

Russia is trying to seize most of its military power in the entire Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.



– Report: China bans Russian airlines from foreign planes

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BRUSSELS — The number of people from former Soviet countries seeking international protection in Europe has skyrocketed since Russia started the war in Ukraine, the European Union’s asylum agency said.

The agency said on Wednesday that around 14,000 Ukrainians sought asylum in March, which is about 30 times higher than before the war began on February 24.

That number exceeds the estimated 3 million Ukrainians who have applied for emergency protection under an EU program that provides shelter, access to jobs, medical treatment and education to war refugees.

The largest increase in asylum requests was recorded among citizens of Belarus, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. However, the EU agency says it is not clear whether these people came from their home country or lived in Ukraine when the war started.

The number of Russians seeking asylum in the EU also rose to 1,400 in March, the highest level since 2018.

Asylum is usually granted to persons at risk of serious harm because of their race, religion, nationality, political views or membership of a social group, and to those fleeing war, torture and degrading treatment.


BERLIN — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said his country will supply Ukraine with modern anti-aircraft missiles and radar systems and will increase arms deliveries amid criticism that Germany is not doing enough to help Kiev.

Scholz told German lawmakers on Wednesday that the government has decided to supply Ukraine with IRIS-T missiles developed by Germany in conjunction with other NATO countries.

He said Germany would also provide Ukraine with radar systems to help locate enemy artillery.

The announcements came amid allegations at home and abroad that Germany has been slow to provide Ukraine with the weapons it needs to defend itself against Russia.


KYIV, Ukraine – A regional governor in eastern Ukraine said Russian forces control 70% of Sievierodonetsk, which has become the focus of Moscow’s attacks in recent days.

Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai said in a Telegram post Wednesday that some Ukrainian troops were fighting the Russians in the city, while others were retreating.

“The evacuation (of civilians) has been stopped. “There is no possibility to bring humanitarian aid,” Haidai said.

He said the only other city in the Luhansk region not taken by Russia or Moscow-backed separatists – Lysychansk – is “wholly” under Ukrainian control.


KYIV, Ukraine – Ukraine’s president said the country is losing between 60 and 100 soldiers a day in clashes with Russian forces.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the American television channel Newsmax that “the most difficult situation is in the east of Ukraine”, including the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces.

“The situation is very difficult. We lose 60-100 soldiers a day as martyrs and around 500 wounded in action. That’s why we protect our defensive perimeter,” said Zelenskyy.

Ukraine has largely avoided disclosing its military losses since the beginning of the Russian invasion, but Zelenskyy previously said the country is losing between 50 and 100 soldiers a day.


VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has called for an end to the stalemate in Ukraine’s grain shipments and called for all-out efforts to prevent an important commodity from being “used as a weapon of war”.

Francis appealed Wednesday at the end of his general audience.

The Pope said he was concerned that a Russian naval blockade would seize millions of tons of grain and deprive poor countries of essential foodstuffs needed to feed the millions.

“I urge everyone to do everything possible to solve this problem and ensure that the universal human right is nurtured,” Francis said.

“Please do not use the staple food grain as a weapon of war,” he added.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to decriminalize the growing world food crisis, pressing the West to lift sanctions on Moscow over the war in Ukraine.


MOSCOW — Russian state gas giant Gazprom has confirmed that it has cut gas supplies to Shell Energy Europe and Danish Ørsted after the two companies refused to pay for deliveries in rubles.

Gazprom said on Wednesday morning that it had not received payment from either company for the gas supplied in April and has therefore stopped deliveries.

Earlier this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree stating that foreign buyers must pay for Russian gas in rubles from April 1.

Moscow offered customers who bought its natural gas to open an account in dollars or euros, and then a second account in rubles, with Gazprombank, Russia’s third largest bank. The importer would pay the gas bill in euros or dollars and direct the bank to convert the money into rubles.

Shell Energy Europe, Ørsted and Dutch gas trader GasTerra refused to pay in rubles, and Gazprom this week stopped supplies to three companies.


BEIJING – China has banned Russian airlines from flying foreign jets into its airspace, Russian news outlet RBK reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has cast doubt on the ownership of jet planes by allowing the planes to be re-registered in Russia to prevent them from seizing it under sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The European Union, home to major aircraft leasing companies, banned the sale or lease of aircraft to Russian carriers in February. Putin responded by passing a law allowing plans to be registered in Russia.

Citing two unidentified sources, RBK said China’s weather regulator had asked all foreign carriers to update ownership information and other details last month.

RBK said Russian airlines that failed to provide documentation showing their planes were “deregistered abroad” were banned from flying to China.


WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said in a guest article published in The New York Times on Tuesday evening that he has decided to provide the Ukrainians with more advanced rocket systems and ammunition that will allow them to more precisely hit key targets on the battlefield.

The expectation is that Ukraine will be able to use rockets in the eastern Donbas region, where they can both block the Russian artillery and eliminate Russian positions in cities such as Sievierodonetsk, where conflicts are intense.

This town, 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of the Russian border, is in the last pocket of Ukrainian government control in the Luhansk region of Donbas.

In his New York Times article, Biden said the United States does not encourage or allow Ukraine to cross its borders and does not want to prolong the war “just to inflict pain on Russia”.

US officials familiar with the decision did not detail how much the aid would cost, but it will be the 11th package approved so far and will be the first to use the $40 billion aid recently passed by Congress.


WASHINGTON — The Biden administration announced on Tuesday that it will send a small number of high-tech medium-range rocket systems to Ukraine.

This is a critical weapon that Ukrainian leaders beseech as they try to stop Russia’s advance in the Donbas region.

While the US plan does not provide weapons that would allow Ukraine to hit targets deep inside Russia and trigger an escalation of the war, it tries to strike a balance between a desire to help Ukraine fight brutal Russian artillery fire.

U.S. officials say the aid package, expected to be announced Wednesday, will send what the U.S. considers to be medium-range rockets — they can typically travel about 45 miles (70 kilometers).

The expectation is that Ukraine will be able to use rockets in the eastern Donbas region, where they can both block the Russian artillery and eliminate Russian positions in cities such as Sievierodonetsk, where conflicts are intense.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC.


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