Here are the key events so far on Saturday, May 28.
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- Luhansk’s governor, Serhiy Haidai, said Russian troops had entered Severodonetsk, the largest Donbas city still held by Ukraine, but denied the city was encircled. “We will have enough strength and resources to defend ourselves. However, it is possible that in order not to be surrounded we will have to retreat,” he said on Telegram.
- Haidai said 90 percent of buildings in Severodonetsk were damaged with 14 high-rises destroyed in the latest shelling.
- Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think-tank, said while Russian forces would likely struggle to take ground in the city of Severodonetsk itself as they have “performed poorly in operations in built-up urban terrain throughout the war”.
- Russia’s separatist proxies said they controlled Lyman, a railway hub west of Severodonetsk. Ukraine said Russia had captured most of Lyman but that its forces were blocking an advance to Sloviansk, to the southwest.
- President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine would never cede Lyman or Severodonetsk, adding “Donbas will be Ukrainian”.
- Ukraine’s military said it had repelled eight attacks in Donetsk and Luhansk on Friday, destroying tanks and armoured vehicles.
- In the Kherson region north of Russian-held Crimea, Ukrainian officials said Russian forces were fortifying their positions and trapping civilians with constant shelling.
- The US Army has awarded a contract worth up to $687m to Raytheon for anti-aircraft Stinger missiles to replenish stocks sent to Ukraine.
- The United Nations said a total of 4,031 civilians have been killed in Ukraine, including nearly 200 children, since Russia’s full-scale invasion began – although the real number is likely to be much higher.
- Zelenskyy said Russia was weaponising a global food supply crisis and the world must prevent large-scale famine. Moscow did not appear ready for serious peace talks, he said. The Kremlin blamed Kyiv for stalled peace talks.
- US President Joe Biden said Russian forces are “attacking schools, nurseries, hospitals, museums with no other purpose than to eliminate a culture” and added that the war is “a direct assault on the fundamental tenets of rule-based international order”.
- The European Union is seeking a deal this weekend to ban Russian oil deliveries by sea but not pipeline to win over Hungary, which has opposed plans for a full embargo. Zelenskyy has accused the EU of dithering.
- Russia expects to receive 1 trillion roubles ($14.4bn) in additional oil and gas revenues this year, the country’s finance minister has said, adding that part of the windfall will be spent on the Russian offensive in Ukraine.
- Russia will need huge financial resources to fund its military operation in Ukraine, its finance minister said. The economy minister blamed Russia’s economic troubles on low household spending.
- Russia said it paid coupons in foreign currency on two eurobonds, a move that could mean it again averted default.
- S&P cut Ukraine’s credit rating to ‘CCC+/C’ from ‘B-/B’, citing a larger effect of Russia’s attack on the country.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies