The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has described a missile strike on a railway station in eastern Ukraine as a Russian war crime and called for a “firm global response”. At least 52 people, including five children, were killed in the missile strike on Kramatorsk train station. The US believes Russia used a short range ballistic missile on the train station. Russia has denied responsibility.
Ten humanitarian corridors have been agreed for Saturday for people from besieged regions, including the city of Mariupol, according to Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk. The governor of Luhansk earlier called for more evacuations, warning that shelling had increased over recent days and that more Russian troops had arrived in the region.
Russian air activity is expected to increase in the south and east of Ukraine, according to the UK’s Ministry of Defence, which said Russian operations continue to focus on the Russian-controlled territories in Donbas, as well as Mariupol and Mykolaiv, supported by continued cruise missile launches into Ukraine by Russian naval forces.
A curfew will be in place in Ukraine’s southern city of Odesa from Saturday evening until Monday eveningin response to the shelling of the train station in Kramatorsk, and the threat of a missile strike.
Two UN agencies have called for “urgent action” to help an estimated 1,000 seafarers stranded in Ukrainian ports and waters with winding supplies.
The US-based Institute for the Study of War says that Ukrainian forces retain control of defensive positions in eastern and south-western Mariupol. Russian forces are continuing to attempt to redeploy units in eastern Ukraine. However, such troops are “unlikely to enable a Russian breakthrough and face poor morale”, ISW says.
Some Russian military units have experienced major losses, a senior US defense official saidand the Pentagon estimates Russia’s combat power is between 80% and 85% of pre-invasion levels.