As the war enters its 430th day, we take a look at the main developments.
Here is the situation as it stands on Saturday, April 29, 2023:
- Russian carried out the most extensive air raids in months that killed at least 25 people, including five children, Ukrainian officials say. Russia, which regularly denies targeting civilians, said its strategic bombers carried out precision missile attacks on Ukrainian army reserve units to prevent them from getting to the front line.
- The Russian-installed mayor of Donetsk city said seven people were killed when Ukrainian shelling hit a minibus.
- Ukraine is making final preparations for a counteroffensive which will begin “as soon as there is God’s will, the weather and a decision by commanders”, Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said.
- The Kremlin said troops that fought in Ukraine will be represented in a parade in Moscow on May 9 to mark the anniversary of the Soviet victory in World War II, Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency reported.
- President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged allies to provide Ukraine with better air defences, including fighter jets after a barrage of Russian missiles hit residential areas.
- Russia’s private Wagner mercenary force, which is leading the assault on Bakhmut city, could soon cease to exist, founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said in video remarks to a blogger released on Friday. It was not immediately clear when Prigozhin had spoken and how serious he was being.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree formally increasing the maximum sentence for treason to life in jail, part of a drive to suppress dissent since the start of Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
- The United States said it was “deeply disappointed” by Russia’s rejection of a US embassy request to visit Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich in prison. Russia said on Thursday it had rejected the request in response to Washington’s refusal to grant visas to a group of Russian journalists.
- Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia agreed to a deal to allow the transit of Ukrainian food exports, the European Commission said, after temporary bans were imposed on the foodstuffs amid farmer protests.
- Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Putin had received a letter from United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on continuing exports of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea but that an extension of the deal was unlikely.
- A UN committee said it was deeply concerned about human rights violations by Russian forces and private military companies in Ukraine, including enforced disappearances, torture, rape and extrajudicial executions.