Here is the situation as it stands on Thursday, May 4, 2023:
- At least 21 civilians were killed in a Russian attack on the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson and the surrounding region, with dozens more wounded, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
- A 58-hour weekend curfew was imposed in the city, the head of Kherson’s regional military administration, Alexander Prokudin, said on Telegram: “From 20:00 Moscow time on May 5, a curfew will begin in Kherson, [it] will last until 06:00 on May 8.”
- Ukraine denied Russia’s claim that it tried to attack the Kremlin overnight.
- Russia opened an investigation into “terrorism” after it shot down two alleged drones it said were aimed at President Vladimir Putin’s residence.
- Zelenskyy said Ukraine would launch its counteroffensive against Russian forces “soon”. The head of Russia’s Wagner Group of mercenaries said there was increased activity along the front line and claimed the counteroffensive had already begun.
- Rail deliveries to Russia’s Black Sea port of Taman will be restricted until further notice, Russian Railways said on its website after a fuel depot caught fire near a bridge.
- Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that talks between Russia and the United Nations on the Black Sea grain deal would be held in Moscow on May 5.
- Nordic countries support Ukraine’s efforts to join the European Union and NATO, the leaders of Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland said in a joint statement with Zelenskyy who was in Helsinki.
- NATO’s intelligence chief David Cattler said there was a heightened risk that Russia might sabotage undersea cables to punish Western nations for supporting Ukraine.
- Pope Francis greeted the foreign envoy of the Russian Orthodox Church days after revealing a secret “mission” to end the war in Ukraine.
- Germany condemned the eight-year prison sentence handed down to Belarusian activist Roman Protasevich who was arrested after his flight was forced to land in the country.
- The United States approved a $300m military assistance package for Ukraine, including additional ammunition for the HIMARS rocket system, howitzers, and artillery and tank ammunition.
- After weeks of disputes, Sweden, the current holder of the EU’s rotating presidency, said the group’s ambassadors had finalised a decision “to support the Ukrainian Armed Forces through 1 billion euros for joint procurement of ammunition and missiles”. The scheme is designed to provide Ukraine with 1 million artillery shells within the next 12 months.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies