A new barrage of Russian shelling has killed at least 10 Ukrainian civilians and wounded 20 others in a day, the office of Ukraine’s president has said. Regional officials said towns and villages in the east and in the south that are within reach of the Russian artillery suffered most. Six people died in the Donetsk region, two in Kherson and two in the Kharkiv region, the officials said.
A day earlier, Russian-fired missiles and self-propelled drones were reported to have hit deeper into Ukrainian territory, killing at least 11 people.
Ukrainian troops were locked in “fierce” fighting with Russian forces on Friday for control of the town of Vugledar, south-west of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. Both sides claimed success in the small administrative centre, a short distance from the strategic prize of the village of Pavlivka, Agence France-Presse reported. “Soon, Vugledar may become a new, very important success for us,” Denis Pushilin, the Moscow-appointed leader of the Donetsk region, was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies. But Kyiv said the town remained contested.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy has described the situation on the frontline as “extremely acute”, particularly in the eastern Donetsk region, where Russia is stepping up its offensive. The Ukrainian president reported major battles for Vuhledar and Bakhmut, to the north-east. Local Ukrainian officials reported heavy shelling in the north, north-east and east.
Ukraine’s army claims to have killed 109 Russian soldiers and wounded another 188 in one day during fighting around Vuhledar. Serhii Cherevatyi, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian armed forces’ eastern operational command, said the death toll was recorded on Thursday, adding: “Fierce fighting is ongoing. The enemy is indeed trying to achieve an intermediate success there, but thanks to the efforts of our defenders, they are unsuccessful.”
Poland will send an additional 60 tanks to Ukraine on top of the 14 German-made Leopard 2 tanks it has already pledged, the Polish prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has told CTV News.
A total of 321 heavy tanks have been promised to Ukraine by several countries, Ukraine’s ambassador to France said on Friday. Vadym Omelchenko told French TV station BFM that “delivery terms vary for each case and we need this help as soon as possible”, while not specifying the number of tanks per country.
Belgium announced an additional €93.6m ($104.7m/£84.5m) package in military aid for Ukraine in what the Belgian prime minister, Alexander De Croo, said was – including previous spending – the largest of its kind Belgium had ever given another country.
Ukraine says it is setting up drone assault companies within its armed forces that will be equipped with Starlink satellite communications, as it presses ahead with an idea to build up an “army of drones”, Reuters reported. Commander-in-chief Valeriy Zaluzhnyi signed off on the creation of the units in a project that would involve several ministries and agencies, the general staff said.
Ten regions of Ukraine are instituting emergency power outages due to a power shortage in the network after Thursday’s Russian attacks, Ukraine’s state broadcaster has reported. Repairs to damaged facilities are continuing.
The Kremlin claims Joe Biden has the key to end the conflict in Ukraine by directing Kyiv to settle but has not been willing to use it. “The key to the Kyiv regime is largely in the hands of Washington,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Friday. “Now we see that the current White House leader … does not want to use this key. On the contrary, he chooses the path of further pumping weapons into Ukraine.” Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova accused Washington of engaging in a “hybrid war” against Moscow.
The European Union wants swift accountability for “horrific” crimes in Ukraine, EU justice ministers have said while meeting in Stockholm. But the member states differ over how to bring prosecutions, seek evidence or fund war damage repairs. .
Hungary will veto any European Union sanctions against Russia affecting nuclear energy, the prime minister, Viktor Orbán, told state radio on Friday.
Russia is violating the “fundamental principles of child protection” in wartime by giving Ukrainian children Russian passports and putting them up for adoption, the head of the UN’s refugee agency, Filippo Grandi, has said.