Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, marked the 100th day of war with a video message in front of the presidential office in Kyiv where he pledged that “victory will be ours”.
Flanked by some of his closest allies, including Ukraine’s prime minister, Denys Shmyhal, and presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, Zelenskiy said: “The leaders of parliamentary factions are here. The president’s chief of staff is here. Prime minister of Ukraine Shmyhal is here. Podolyak is here. The president is here. 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. Victory shall be ours.”
Russian forces currently occupy about 20% of Ukraine’s territory, Zelenskiy said yesterday in a video address to the Luxembourg parliament. The frontlines of battle stretch across more than 1,000km (620 miles), the Ukrainian president said, adding that 100 Ukrainians were dying daily in eastern Ukraine, and another 450-500 people were wounded.
Ukraine has had “some success” in the battles in Sievierodonetsk but it is too early to tell, according to Zelenskiy. “The situation there is the hardest now, just as in the cities and communities nearby – Lysychansk, Bakhmut and others. Many cities are facing a powerful Russian attack,” he said in his latest national address.
About 60% of the infrastructure and residential buildings in Lysychansk, one of only two cities in the east still under at least partial Ukrainian control, have been destroyed from attacks, according to a local official. Oleksandr Zaika, head of the Lysychansk City military-civil administration, said 20,000 people were left in the city, down from a pre-war population of 97,000.
The scale of destruction in Ukraine “defies comprehension”, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a statement to mark the 100th day of the conflict. Thousands of people “are living with the anguish of not knowing what happened to their loved ones”, ICRC’s director general, Robert Mardini, said.
About 800 people, including children, are hiding underneath the Azot chemical factory in Sievierodonetsk, according to Serhiy Haidai, the governor of Luhansk region. The UK’s ministry of defence said Russia had taken control of most of Sieverodonetsk, a key eastern Ukrainian city that has come under intense Russian shelling.
Russia is now achieving tactical success in Donbas and controls more than 90% of Luhansk, the UK Ministry of Defence has said in its latest intelligence report released early this morning.
Civilians are being urged to flee the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk as Russia bombing intensifies. With no water or electricity, 100 people heeded the mayor’s call on Thursday to evacuate.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Podolyak has said Ukraine does not intend to use US-supplied weapons to attack Russian territory, and said it is disinformation from Russia to suggest they would. He said “Our partners know where their weapons are used.”
Ukraine’s defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov has said he believed the Kremlin was trying to move the war into a “protracted phase” by building layered defences in occupied regions in the south of the country, primarily in Kherson.
Pro-Russian officials in the occupied Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine said a decree had been issued to “nationalise” state assets in the south-eastern region. The deputy head of the Moscow-imposed administration, Andrei Trofimov, said the nationalisation would affect land, natural resources, and facilities in strategic sectors of the economy, as well as property owned by Ukraine as of 24 February.
Ukraine’s parliamentary speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk has pleaded with Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz during a visit to Berlin to supply Kyiv with state-of-the-art weapons systems to help it resist Russia’s advance in the east of the country.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, has said the EU stands with Ukraine as she marked 100 days since Russia’s latest invasion of the country. She said she would discuss “the EU’s current & future support to the country” with French president Emmanuel Macron later today.
Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko said in an interview with a local newspaper that his country was ready to discuss possible transit of Ukraine’s grain via Belarus.
Kyiv’s ambassador to Ankara has said Turkey is among the countries that is buying grain that Russia stole from Ukraine.
Nato’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said the alliance was in touch with Turkey to find a “united way” forward to address Ankara’s concerns over Sweden and Finland’s bid to join. Stoltenberg’s latest remarks come after he told reporters yesterday that he would convene senior officials from Finland, Sweden and Turkey in Brussels in the coming days to discuss the issue.
Ukraine has granted citizenship to prominent Russian journalist Alexander Nevzorov, who fled Russia in March with his wife after denouncing the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia has been seeking the arrest of Nevzorov, accusing him of spreading false information on his YouTube channel, which has over 1.8 million subscribers, after he reported Russian forces had deliberately shelled a maternity hospital in the city of Mariupol. Russia has denied the bombing, accusing Ukraine of a “staged provocation”.
Russia’s foreign ministry has said it was summoning the heads of US media outlets in Moscow to a meeting next Monday to notify them of measures in response to US restrictions against Russian media.
The UK has taken in fewer Ukrainian refugees per capita than all but one of 28 European countries, a Guardian analysis of official figures from across the continent has found. Seven million people have fled Ukraine for other European countries since Russia invaded on 24 February, according to the United Nations high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR).
Ukraine more than doubled interest rates to 25% on Thursday in a move to try to stem double-digit inflation and protect its currency, which has collapsed since Russia’s invasion. In the first interest rates intervention since president Vladimir Putin’s troops attacked on 24 February, the Ukrainian central bank’s governor, Kyrylo Shevchenko, increased the benchmark interest rate from 10% to 25%.
The White House announced a fresh round of sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, targeting Russian government officials and elites as well as several yachts linked to Putin. The sanctions were announced as Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said he was “grateful” to the US and its secretary of state, Antony Blinken, for a new $700m weapons package for Ukraine.
EU ambassadors dropped the leader of Russia’s Orthodox church, Patriarch Kirill, from a proposed blacklist, according to diplomats. The removal of Patriarch Kirill from the list of sanctioned individuals allows the EU to agree on a new round of sanctions after opposition from Hungary.
Russia has accused the son of a Conservative MP of involvement in the killing of a Chechen brigade commander in Ukraine. Russia’s national guard said one of its commanders, the Chechen fighter Adam Bisultanov, was killed on 26 May in a clash with a “group of mercenaries from the UK and the USA” that included the “son of a British parliamentarian”, Ben Grant.
UN aid chief Martin Griffiths is in Moscow on Friday to discuss clearing the way for exports of grain and other food from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. Since the invasion, Ukrainian grain shipments from its Black Sea ports have stalled and more than 20m tonnes of grain are stuck in silos, while Moscow says the chilling effect of western sanctions imposed on Russia has hurt its fertiliser and grain exports.
Ten Russian servicemen who looted the property of Bucha residents have been identified and reported on suspicion of violating the laws and customs of war. “Pre-trial investigation in criminal proceedings is carried out by investigators of … the national police of Ukraine,” Ukraine’s prosecutor general said in a statement on Thursday.