Russia’s defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, said Moscow’s forces have control of 97% of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. Russian forces have seized residential quarters of the key eastern city of Sievierodonetsk and are fighting to take control of an industrial zone on its outskirts and the nearby towns, Shoigu said. The Luhansk governor, Serhiy Haidai, conceded that Russian forces control the industrial outskirts of the city.
Ukraine accused the Russian army of abducting about 600 residents in the Kherson region in the south of the country and keeping them in “torture chambers”. Tamila Tacheva, the Ukrainian presidency’s permanent representative in Crimea, said about 300 people, “mainly journalists and activists”, are being held in Kherson city and the rest are in other settlements in the region.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said fighting has taken to the streets of Sievierodonetsk while admitting that Russian forces have the numerical advantage. In his latest national address, Zelenskiy insisted that Ukraine’s forces had “every chance” of fighting back and are “standing strong”.
The Ukraine president also said he believed Russian troops intend to capture the city of Zaporizhzhia, a large industrial hub in the south-east of the country, which would allow its military to advance closer to central areas. “There are more of them, they are more powerful, but we have every chance to fight on this direction,” he said.
According to Ukraine’s general staff of the armed forces, Ukrainian helicopters reportedly struck at clusters of enemy forces in the Kherson region, and planes at ammunition depots in the Mykolayiv region. “The enemy lost more than 20 people and up to 10 units of military equipment,” the report added.
One person was killed and three injured after a Russian strike hit Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv, according to its mayor, Ihor Terekhov. Russia “does not leave Kharkiv alone and constantly keeps people in fear”, Terekhov said on national television.
Russia has begun handing over bodies of Ukrainian fighters killed at the Azovstal steelworks, the fortress-like plant in the destroyed city of Mariupol where their last-ditch stand became a symbol of resistance against Moscow’s invasion. Dozens of bodies have been transferred to Kyiv, where DNA testing is under way to identify the remains, according to both a military leader and a spokesperson for the Azov battalion.
Russian officials in occupied Mariupol have shut down the southern port city for quarantine over a possible cholera outbreak, according to Ukrainian authorities. Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, said the Russian-occupied city is bracing itself for an epidemic as dead bodies and litter are piling up in the city.
The leader of Ukraine’s pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk, Denis Pushilin, has confirmed the death of a Russian general, Maj Gen Roman Kutuzov, during the war in Ukraine. A reporter of state-run Rossiya 1 earlier said Kutuzov was killed while leading forces from the Russian-controlled east into battle. If confirmed, he would be at least the fourth Russian general to have been killed in combat since February, and Ukraine claims the number is higher.
Some Russian fighters have gone public with appeals to Vladimir Putin for an investigation into battlefield conditions and whether their deployments to the front are even legal. Russia’s assault on Ukraine’s east has brought it some battlefield success but there is evidence that high-level casualties are growing and some units may be approaching exhaustion.
Ukraine’s first deputy minister of agrarian policy and food, Taras Vysotskyi, said it would take six months to clear the coast of Russian and Ukrainian mines. His remarks dealt a blow to a proposal under discussion where ships leaving Ukrainian ports would be given safe escort by Turkish naval vessels.
Russian lawmakers voted to take Moscow out of the jurisdiction of the European court of human rights. The Russian state Duma approved two bills, one removing the country from the court’s jurisdiction and a second setting 16 March as the cutoff point, with rulings against Russia made after that date not to be implemented.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, declared himself “very happy” at the UK prime minister Boris Johnson’s confidence vote win. Zelenskiy described Johnson’s narrow victory on Monday evening as “great news”. In a cabinet meeting today, Johnson said Zelenskiy must not be “pressured” into accepting a bad peace deal with Russia and that Britain would “remain at the forefront” of support for Kyiv.
The former Russian president and close ally of Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Medvedev, lashed out at those who “hate” Russia, calling them “degenerates” and vowing to “make them disappear”. Medvedev, who is now deputy head of the security council, did not say who “they” were but his remarks are an example of the increasingly aggressive language used by Russian officials.
Ukraine’s state nuclear company, Energoatom, has criticised a plan by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to send a delegation to a Russian-occupied nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia, southern Ukraine, saying it “did not invite” such a visit.
The UK Ministry of Defence’s daily assessment of the situation on the ground says: “Russia’s broader plan likely continues to be to cut off the Sieverodonetsk area from both the north and the south. Russia made gains on the southern, Popasna axis through May, but its progress in the area has stalled over the last week. Reports of heavy shelling near Izium suggests Russia is preparing to make a renewed effort on the northern axis.”
Sexual violence in Ukraine remains prevalent and underreported as Russia’s invasion is “turning into a human trafficking crisis” according to the UN. “Women and children fleeing the conflict are being targeted for trafficking and exploitation,” Pramila Patten, the UN special representative on sexual violence, told a UN security council on Monday. “Sexual violence is the most consistently and massively underreported violation.”
The Ukrainian navy said it has pushed back a fleet of Russian warships more than 100km from its Black Sea coast. The group of Russian vessels were “forced to change tactics” after carrying out a naval blockade on Ukraine’s coast for weeks, the navy command of Ukraine’s armed forces said on Facebook. It has not been possible to independently verify this information.
The defence ministry in Belarus has said its armed forces have begun conducting combat-readiness training exercises.
A court in Fiji has ruled Russian-owned superyacht Amadea be removed from the Pacific island nation by the US because it was a waste of money for Fiji to maintain the vessel amid legal wrangling over its seizure. The yacht is linked to sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov.
On Monday the European Council president, Charles Michel, accused Russia of using food supplies as “a stealth missile against developing countries” and blamed the Kremlin for the looming global food crisis. Michel’s remarks prompted Moscow’s UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, to walk out of a security council meeting.
Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, said there were credible reports that Russia was “pilfering” Ukraine’s grain exports to sell for its own profit. Blinken said the alleged theft was part of broader Russian actions to export Ukraine’s wheat crop and worsen a global food security crisis. “Now, Russia is hoarding its food exports as well,” he said. Ukraine’s President Zelenskiy said there could be as many as 75m tonnes of grain stuck in Ukraine by autumn.