Multiple journalists are reporting a series of explosions in the southern port city of Odessa this morning.
A Reuters witness also heard a series of explosions and saw smoke rising. The cause is unclear.
It’s feared Odesa, Ukraine’s largest port and the base of its navy headquarters, could face heavier Russian attacks as its forces focus on the south. The Sunday Times reports this morning that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to arm Ukraine with anti-ship missiles to prevent Russian warships from advancing on the city.
Here is a recap of Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy address late last night.
- Russia aims to “capture both the Donbas and the south of Ukraine”. Zelenskiy said Ukrainian armed forces had regained control of areas in the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions. However, he said that Russia has reserves to increase pressure in the east of the country. “We are strengthening our defenses in the eastern direction and in Donbas… What is the goal of Russian troops? They want to capture both the Donbas and the south of Ukraine.”
- Ukrainians cannot “cherish empty hopes” that Russian troops will simply leave. Peace will only be achieved if Ukrainians work “in hard battles, and in parallel, in negotiations”. The “global security architecture has failed”.
- Ukraine has “not yet received enough modern western anti-missile systems”. Zelenskiy said western allies had not given sufficient modern anti-missile systems, nor given aircraft. He added: “Every Russian missile that hits our cities, and every bomb dropped on our people, on our children, only adds black paint to the history that will describe everyone on whom the decision depended.”
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has agreed to “tangible” defense support. Zelenskiy said he had “a meaningful, pleasant conversation” with Johnson, in which they agreed on a new defensive support package for Ukraine. “We also agree on the strengthening of sanctions against Russia,” he said.
- Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán was “virtually the only one in Europe to openly support Mr Putin.” The whole of Europe is trying to stop the war, to restore peace, Zelenskiy said. “Then why is Budapest opposed to the whole of Europe, to all civilized countries? For what?” Zelenskiy said he had spoken frankly about Orbán. “This is called the honesty that Mr Orban lacks. He may have lost it somewhere in his contacts with Moscow, ”he said.
- Promised justice for civilians injured while protesting against Russia. He praised the “courage and resilience” of those defending Ukraine, including “heroic Mariupol”, and residents in the town of Enerhodar, in the south, who he said were fired at by Russians after protesting against the invasion. “There will be an answer for each wounded person,” he said.
Images sent by news wires show scenes of devastation in the newly liberated city of Bucha.
The city is heavily destroyed and littered with corpses, reports AFP. The bodies of at least 20 men in civilian clothes, one of whom had his hands tied, were found lying in a single street.
Witnesses have told the observer of alleged war crimes against civilians in Bucha. In one account, a 33-year-old mother and her two sons, eight and four, were shot dead by troops in a Russian armored vehicle, along with a 62-year-old man, as they had sought to flee in two cars .
Hello, it’s Rebecca Ratcliffe with you as we continue our live coverage of the war in Ukraine. Here are some of the main developments of the last hour so you can get up to speed:
- Ukrainian troops have retaken the entire Kyiv region, but they have discovered widespread evidence of what the Kyiv government says are war crimes committed by Russian forces. This includes bodies found in the streets, evidence of killings of civilians, mass graves and murdered children.
- Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and a number of other authorities have accused Russian troops of leaving behind mines and other explosives in their retreat of the Kyiv region. In Irpin, crews have found 643 explosive objects.
- Russia has specifically been accused by Ukraine’s attorney general of using children as “human shields” while regrouping its forces, as the first witness accounts from the newly liberated town of Bucha, north-west of Kyiv, emerge.
- Zelenskiy repeated his warning that Russian troops want to capture the Donbas and the south of Ukraine. In his nightly video address, the Ukraine president said “we are aware that the enemy has reserves to increase pressure in the east” but complained that western allies had not sent enough anti-missile systems.
- Poland’s deputy prime minister has accused France and Germany of being too close to Russia. In an interview with a German paper on Sunday, Jaroslaw Kaczynski said “the German government did not want to see what Russia was doing under Putin and we see the result today.”
- Ukraine’s peace negotiator reportedly said that Russia ‘“verbally” accepts the Kyiv’s position on peace talks, AFP reported, except for the issue of Crimea. Moscow had also agreed that a referendum on the neutral status of Ukraine “will be the only way out of this situation.”
- Turkey is the likeliest venue for peace talks between Zelenskiy and Vladimir PutinInterfax Ukraine has reported.
- A Red Cross convoy heading to Mariupol will try again to evacuate civilians from the besieged port as Russian forces appeared to be regrouping for new attacks in the south-east.
- Maksim Levin, a Ukrainian photographer, was also found dead near Kyiv. The defense ministry said Levin, whose work appeared in reports from the BBC and Reuters, had been shot twice by Russian soldiers.
- The UK said authorities were working to collect evidence of Russian war crimes. Liz TrussBritain’s foreign secretary, tweeted that she was looking at new information coming out of the Kyiv region.
- The Baltic states have halted all Russian oil importsand are encouraging the rest of the European Union to follow suit.
- UK military intelligence says Russia has still not been able to destroy Ukraine’s air force and air defenses. This failure has “seriously hampered their efforts to gain broad control of the air, which in turn has significantly affected their ability to support the advance of their ground forces on a number of fronts”.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism