It was another deadly day for civilians throughout Eastern Ukraine, as at least eight people have now died from Russian attacks across several regions on Thursday (including five in the Kharkiv region alone), Interior Minister Igor Klymenko said. Strikes from Ukrainian defense forces killed four others in occupied parts of the Donetsk and Kherson regions, according to Moscow-installed authorities.

Four people died in Kharkiv on Thursday including three rescue personnel who were killed in consecutive missile strikes on the same apartment complex in Ukraine’s second-largest city in the early hours.

Later that day, Russian artillery killed a married couple (aged 53 and 51) in the Donetsk town of Niu York, AFP reported. At the same time, yet another attack launched by Moscow’s forces mowed down a man riding a tractor in a rural village in Kharkiv on Thursday afternoon, the governor of that region said.

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Lastly, a bomb blast killed an energy worker in the border region of Sumy, according to a statement from the country’s energy ministry, bringing Thursday’s death toll from indiscriminate Russian air strikes to eight civilians.

President Volodymyr Zelensky called the assault on the Kharkiv apartment building, and the ensuing volley that killed rescue workers who responded there a “despicable and cynical attack.”

“A few air defense systems could fundamentally change the situation,” Zelensky said in an evening address. “It is totally unacceptable that so many countries in the world are still thinking about how to counter terror, even though only a few political decisions are needed.”

Reports: Ukrainian Marines Retreat From Dnipro Bridgehead, Long-Held Defensive Bastion Lost
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Reports: Ukrainian Marines Retreat From Dnipro Bridgehead, Long-Held Defensive Bastion Lost

Kyiv’s abandonment of Krynky village marked a possible end to months of attempts by Ukrainian forces to hold liberated territory on the left/south bank of the Dnipro River and expand it.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian drones reportedly killed two people in the Russian-occupied section of the Kherson region, according to AFP, citing occupational authorities there. On the same day, the Kremlin-installed leader of the Donetsk region claimed that two civilians were killed by Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) strikes there.

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This photograph taken on April 4, 2024 shows a residential building damaged as a result of a missile attack in Kharkiv, amid the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Russian air strikes overnight in Ukraine's second largest city Kharkiv killed four people and injured 11, officials said on April 4, 2024. (Photo by SERGEY BOBOK / AFP)

This photograph taken on April 4, 2024 shows a residential building damaged as a result of a missile attack in Kharkiv, amid the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war.  (Photo by SERGEY BOBOK / AFP)

Pizzeria killer, Russian collaborator in Donetsk sentenced to life in prison

Prosecutors in the Donetsk region announced that a resident of the city of Kramatorsk, who helped Russia target a missile strike on a pizzeria there last year, has been sentenced to life in prison for high treason.

The unnamed collaborator was approached by Moscow’s spy services to gather information about the restaurant and its clientele, including military personnel and other officials, prosecutors alleged.

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On Thursday, he was convicted of facilitating the missile attack on Ria Pizza that killed 13 people, including author Victoria Amelina. The Lviv-born novelist had been working as a war-crimes researcher for the Ukraine-based Truth Hounds organization, when she was killed by the strike on June 27, 2023.

“The convict agreed to the offer. In the city center, he noticed cars with military license plates in the car park and military themselves in the restaurant,” a statement from the prosecutor’s office stated, adding that he had covertly recorded two videos of the site, which he sent along to his Russian contacts via the social media Telegram platform.

Kremlin spokesman says Russia is now in a “direct confrontation” with NATO

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov said on Thursday that relations between Russia and NATO have “slipped to the level of direct confrontation,” the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported, and he accused the Alliance of encroaching on Russia’s borders.

“This Kremlin narrative is also likely an attempt to pose NATO’s defensive activity in response to Russia’s outright aggression as provocative,” ISW analysts wrote. “ISW continues to assess that Russia has been preparing for a potential conventional war with NATO, including through ongoing conventional military reforms and by recreating the Leningrad Military District (LMD) and Moscow Military District (MMD) in western Russia. Russian officials have accused NATO of giving Russia a reason to reconstitute the LMD directly on the border with Finland.”

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IAEA warns that the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is down to its last power line

A backup power line supplying the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) has gone offline, management of the Russian-occupied facility said on Thursday.

The plant is only keeping “only one of its six units in hot shut down” mode to provide district heating in the region and “process steam for liquid waste treatment at the site,” the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement.

IAEA experts stationed at the plant reported that “the sole remaining 330-kilovolt (kV) line” was shut down the same day, leaving the plant “dependent on its sole remaining 750 kV line for off-site power.” 

In this handout photograph provided by International Atomic Energy Agency on February 7, 2024, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Chief Rafael Grossi (C-L) visits the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine. (Photo by Handout / International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT

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Since January 2023, experts from the agency have had a permanent presence at all Ukrainian nuclear power plants.

The news comes as only about 2,000 employees out of the pre-February 2022 workforce of 11,000 who operated the plant are still there, Enerhodar Mayor Dmytro Orlov said in March. He added that the ZNPP plant for the third year has “been operated as a Russian military base.” 

Before the full-scale invasion, the IAEA said the ZNPP had four 750kV and six 330kV power lines available.

The plant is the ninth-largest in the world and each of its six reactors has a capacity of generating 950 megawatts, enough energy for about four million households. Occupied since March 4, 2022, the ZNPP is one of four nuclear power plants with 15 reactors in Ukraine, according to the World Nuclear Association.

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