– Ukraine strikes Kherson –
Ukraine says it has struck Russian military positions in the southern Kherson region where Kyiv’s army is fighting to reclaim territory captured by Moscow’s forces early in their invasion.
“Our aircraft carried out a series of strikes on enemy bases, places of accumulation of equipment and personnel, and field depots around five different settlements in the Kherson region,” the defence ministry says.
– Donbas cities ‘holding on’ –
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky says Ukrainian forces are “holding on” in the flashpoint eastern city of Severodonetsk.
In his nightly address, he says several “cities in Donbas, which the occupiers now consider key targets, are holding on”.
Ukrainian forces have made positive strides in the Zaporizhzhia and Kharkiv regions outside Donbas, and are in the process of “liberating our land”, he adds.
– Kyiv in ‘no danger’ –
Ukraine’s Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky says there is no imminent risk of Russians marching on Kyiv, but the capital would not let its guard down.
“There is no danger of an attack on Kyiv today,” Monastyrsky says. “There is no concentration of troops near the Belarusian border, but we understand that any scenarios are possible tomorrow,” he tells AFP.
“Therefore, serious training is under way — preparation of the line of defence, training of troops who will remain” in Kyiv and around the city.
– British, Moroccan fighters sentenced to death –
Russian news agencies say pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine have sentenced to death two British fighters and a third from Morocco captured by Russian troops while fighting for Ukraine.
The “supreme court of the Donetsk People’s Republic”, one of two self-proclaimed statelets in the Donbas region, ordered the death penalty for Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner and Saaudun Brahim after convicting them of acting as mercenaries during a three-day trial.
The UK says it is “deeply concerned” by their sentences and accuses the separatists of violating the Geneva Conventions on the rules of war.
– ‘Made in Russia’ no sanctions remedy: Putin –
Russian President Vladimir Putin says producing goods locally to circumvent Western sanctions over the invasion was not a cure-all and that Russia is looking for new trading partners.
“The substitution of imports is not a panacea,” Putin tells a group of young entrepreneurs who complained of a lack of hitherto imported goods in their quest to develop vaccines.
– AU chair urges Ukraine to demine Odesa –
Senegalese President and African Union Chair Macky Sall urges Ukraine to demine waters around its Odesa port to ease much needed grain exports.
Cereal prices in Africa — the world’s poorest continent — have surged because of the slump in exports, sharpening the impact of conflict and climate change and sparking fears of social unrest.
If wheat exports do not resume from Ukraine, Africa “will be in a situation of very serious famine that could destabilise the continent”, Sall tells French media outlets France 24 and RFI.
– War shrinks Ukraine economy-
The war has caused Ukraine’s economy to contract by 15.1 percent in the first three months of this year, the state statistics agency says.
The invasion laid waste to large swathes of the Ukrainian economy, with several companies forced to shut or dramatically recalibrate production.
The International Monetary Fund predicts a contraction in Ukraine’s gross domestic product of 35 percent across the whole of 2022.
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