Finland expected to apply for NATO membership
Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin delivered a statement of support for NATO amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
“NATO membership would strengthen Finland's security. As a member of Nato, Finland would strengthen the entire defense alliance,” the statement said.
“Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay,” it added.
The Finnish government had recently submitted a report on national security in parliament, which mentioned joining NATO as an option.
Notably, public support for Finland to join NATO has also jumped from 30% to nearly 80% since the war.
Mykolaiv facing daily bombardments, says mayor
The Mykolaiv city in southern Ukraine has been facing bombardments “almost every day,” said Mayor Oleksandr Syenkevych.
The city sits close to the battlefields between Russian and Ukrainian forces in Kherson about 90 km south. Kherson has been under Russian control.
“They launch rockets, and in three minutes they are over our city,” Syenkevych said.
The frontlines have been largely frozen for two weeks and officials expect more aerial attacks, he added.
Russia biggest threat to global stability: EU chief
Russia’s actions in Ukraine and elsewhere are the greatest threat to global stability, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday.
Russia is the “most direct threat to the world order,” von der Leyen said, calling the war in Ukraine “barbaric.”
She also said that Russia’s pact with China was “worrying,” further raising concerns over “their call for new, and very much arbitrary, international relations.”
The comments came after her talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and European Council President Charles Michel in Tokyo.
Video shows Russian soldiers shooting at civilians
Russian soldiers were seen shooting and killing two unarmed civilians as they walked away from an encounter on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, a video obtained by CNN showed.
The video is now being investigated by Ukrainian prosecutors among other alleged instances of war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine since the invasion.
CNN identified the victims as the owner of a vehicle dealership that was looted and Leonid Oleksiyovych Plyats (68), who was employed as a guard there.
Russia dismisses claims of planning to declare martial law
Russian President Vladimir Putin is not planning to declare martial law in the country, said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.
He was answering a direct question on Russia's plans regarding martial law.
The internal political situation in Russia remains stable, Peskov said.
Earlier on Tuesday, US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines had warned that Russia may employ harsher means such as “imposing martial law, reorienting industrial production, or potentially escalatory military actions” to achieve success in the Ukraine war.
‘Russia doesn’t want war in Europe’
Russia does not want a war across the European continent, said Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, quickly adding a warning for western countries.
“If you are concerned about the prospect of war in Europe, we absolutely do not want this, but I draw your attention to the fact that the West constantly insists that Russia must be defeated in this situation. Draw your own conclusions,” Lavrov said.
Zelenskyy thanks US for $40B aid
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appreciated America’s promise to deliver $40 billion worth of aid to Ukraine as the country faces an invasion by Russia.
Zelenskyy thanked US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the House of Representatives and also acknowledged the “friends” of his country.
The US House had approved a bill to send aid to Ukraine on Tuesday evening with 368 votes in favor and 57 against (all Republicans).
Russian troops left ‘deadly traps’ in Kharkiv: Governor
Russian troops have left behind "deadly traps” in Ukraine’s Kharkiv, governor Oleg Synegubov has said.
Hence, Synegubov urged the public to remain in shelters instead of rushing to liberated settlements.
"The enemy is insidious and is doing everything to hurt as many civilian Ukrainians as possible," Synegubov said.
Kharkiv came under heavy fire, he said, adding that "fierce battles” are ongoing in the region.
Over 26,000 Russian troops killed: Ukraine
As many as 26,350 Russian troops have died since the country decided to invade Ukraine on February 24, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence said.
Russia has also lost 2,856 armored combat vehicles, 1,997 motor vehicles and tank trucks, 1,187 tanks, 528 artillery systems, 290 unmanned aerial vehicles, 199 aircraft, 185 multiple launch rocket systems, 160 helicopters, 94 cruise missiles, 41 special equipment units, and 12 ships or boats, it said.
Russia worried over counter-attacks in Kharkiv: Ukrainian official
Russia is “very worried” about counter-attacks in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine, said Vadym Denysenko, an adviser to Ukraine's Interior Minister, citing his country’s ministry.
Denysenko told Ukrainian television that Russia has gathered 20 battalion tactical groups in Belgorod, a city in Russia near the Ukraine border.
Russia has enough strength for another attack in Kharkiv, he added.
Missiles hit Sloviansk in Ukraine
The Ukrainian city of Sloviansk witnessed missile strikes in two regions, said Mayor Vadym Liakh.
The authorities are assessing the damage from the strikes and no casualties have been reported so far, he said.
Sloviansk is one of the regions targeted by Russian forces as part of their updated strategy to focus on the eastern Donbas region.
The Ukrainian military has said that Russians are making attempts to scatter defenses near Sloviansk around Oleksandrivka and Shandryholove, which have seen intense fighting for roughly two weeks.
Putin preparing for long-term war: US intelligence
Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing for a long-term war in Ukraine, US intelligence has warned.
It said that Russian and Ukrainian forces remain in a stalemate despite Moscow’s continued efforts to capture the east of Ukraine (Donbas).
Putin was still intending "to achieve goals beyond the Donbas,” Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, told a US Senate committee hearing on Tuesday.
However, Putin "faces a mismatch between his ambitions and Russia's current conventional military capabilities,” Haines added.
Russia behind huge cyber attack: EU
The European Union has alleged Russia’s hand behind a massive cyberattack that affected a satellite internet network when the invasion of Ukraine had begun.
The cyberattack against Viasat's KA-SAT network had taken place in late February.
It had caused “indiscriminate communication outages and disruptions across several public authorities, businesses, and users in Ukraine,” the EU said.
It had also affected several EU member states, it added.
Rapes, torture, killings: UN reports human rights violations in Ukraine
The United Nations has received reports of human rights violations that “may amount to war crimes” in Ukraine, said Matilda Bogner, the head of the UN human rights monitoring mission in Ukraine.
"Women and girls are the most frequently cited victims," Bogner said, adding that there have been reports of rape, forced nudity, and threats of sexual violence.
Since the invasion began on February 24, there have been 204 documented cases of enforced disappearance.
The UN briefing also mentioned “credible information of torture, ill-treatment, and incommunicado detention.”
44 civilian bodies found in Izyum
The bodies of 44 civilians were found in the Ukrainian city of Izyum, which had previously been occupied by Russian forces, a Ukrainian official said.
The bodies were found under the rubble of a five-story building that had been destroyed by the “occupiers” in March, said Oleg Sinegubov, the head of the Kharkiv regional military administration.
"This is another horrible war crime of the Russian military against the civilian population,” Sinegubov added.
100 civilians stuck in Azovstal plant: Ukrainian official
At least 100 civilians remain struck in the Azovstal steelworks plant in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, said Petro Andryushchenko, an aide to the city's mayor.
Even so, the “density of attacks by [Russian] occupiers” has seen no reduction, Andryushchenko said.
Russia has notably been attacking the Azovstal plant for weeks.
However, Ukrainian forces inside the plant have refused to surrender.
Russia says Ukrainian attempts to retake Zmiinyi ‘thwarted’
The Russian Defense Ministry has said that the country’s forces have thwarted several “desperate” attempts by Ukraine to retake Zmiinyi or Snake Island in the Black Sea.
Over 50 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed during such attempts, said ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov.
Russia has shot down four Ukrainian warplanes, three Mi-8 helicopters, and one Mi-24 helicopter, he said.
"The bodies of 24 dead Ukrainian servicemen were left on the shore of Zmiinyi Island,” he said.
Russian journalists criticize Putin
Two Russian journalists posted over 30 articles critical of President Vladimir Putin to pro-Kremlin news portal lenta.ru.
The articles were available for reading briefly before being taken down.
"Putin and his circle are doomed to face a tribunal after the end of the war,” the journalists wrote.
"Putin and his associates won’t be able to justify themselves or flee after losing this war."
Odesa missile strike leaves 1 dead
Russian missiles reportedly struck a shopping mall and two hotels in the Ukrainian city of Odesa late on Monday.
The attack left one dead and injured five others, authorities said.
The streets had been largely empty at the time of the attack due to a curfew.
Russia used three hypersonic Kinzhal missiles that were shot from a plane, said Sergey Bratchuk, a spokesperson for the Odesa regional military administration.
The attack happened the same day the president of the European Council visited the city.
Peace talks continuing remotely: Russian negotiator
Russia-Ukraine peace talks remain underway and are being held remotely, said Vladimir Medinsky, Moscow’s chief negotiator.
"Negotiations in the remote format have not been stopped," Medinsky clarified while speaking to Interfax news agency.
Face-to-face conversations between Russian and Ukrainian officials would need “more specifics on hand,” he said.
The two sides have not held in-person talks since March 29.