Ukraine has claimed “colossal” Russian losses have taken place in the effort to fully capture the eastern Donbas region. While acknowledging its own heavy losses from Russia’s attacks in the east, Kyiv said casualties in the invading army were worse. “We have serious losses, but the Russians’ losses are much much bigger … They have colossal losses,” said a Ukrainian presidential adviser, Oleksiy Arestovych.
The Pentagon press secretary, John Kirby, has spoken of Vladimir Putin’s “cruelty and depravity” in Ukraine, calling his actions “unconscionable” and his justifications for the invasion “BS”. “It’s hard to square his … BS that this is about nazism in Ukraine, and it’s about protecting Russians in Ukraine, and it’s about defending Russian national interests, when none of them, none of them were threatened by Ukraine,” Kirby said. “It’s brutality of the coldest and the most depraved sort.”
European Union countries are likely to approve a phased embargo on Russian oil as early as next week, according to EU officials. European ambassadors are reportedly expected to agree to a finalised proposal by the end of next week after meeting on Wednesday, according to several EU officials and diplomats involved in the process.
The US did not believe the threat of Russia using nuclear weapons despite a recent escalation in Moscow’s rhetoric, a senior US defence official said. Russia was days behind its schedule on its military operations in Ukraine’s Donbas region, a US defence official said, and Russia’s fighting with Ukraine in the Donbas region would be a potential “knife fight”.
Moscow has confirmed it carried out an airstrike on Kyiv during a visit by the UN secretary general, António Guterres. The defence ministry said two “high-precision, long-range air-based weapons” destroyed the production buildings of the Artyom missile and space enterprise in the Ukrainian capital on Thursday night.
The mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, however, said a 25-storey residential building in the capital’s Shevchenkivskyi district was hit. Klitschko said one body had been recovered. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said one of its staff, the journalist and producer Vera Gyrych, had died “as a result of a Russian missile hitting the house where she lived” during Guterres’ visit.
The situation inside the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the city of Mariupol was “beyond a humanitarian catastrophe”, a Ukrainian commander inside the facility said. Serhiy Volyna, from the 36th separate marine brigade, said there were hundreds of people in the steelworks, including 60 young people, the youngest of them four months old. Ukraine hoped to evacuate civilians holed up in the steel plant with the last fighters defending the southern city, Zelenskiy’s office said.
Two British aid workers who were reportedly captured by Russian forces in Ukraine have been named. Presidium Network, a UK-based NGO that says it carries out evacuations of families and individuals from war zones, identified Paul Urey and Dylan Healy as the captured men. The UK Foreign Office said it was seeking further information about the claims of their capture.
A former US marine has been killed fighting alongside Ukrainian forces, the first US citizen known to have died in combat in the war with Russia. Willy Joseph Cancel, 22, was killed on Monday while working for a military contracting company that sent him to Ukraine, his mother told CNN. The US defence department warned US citizens that they should not go to Ukraine to fight.
The US speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, said it would vote to pass Joe Biden’s $33bn request for aid for Ukraine “as soon as possible”. Speaking at her weekly press briefing on Friday morning, the House speaker framed the administration’s request as one of a number of “emergencies” Congress needed to address urgently.
Britain will send investigators to Ukraine to help gather evidence of war crimes, including sexual violence, the foreign secretary, Liz Truss, has said. Ukrainian prosecutors and the international criminal court have been investigating potential war crimes in Ukraine since Russia’s 24 February invasion.
The US has begun training Ukrainian armed forces at sites located outside Ukraine. A Pentagon spokesperson said it was happening at three sites outside the US, including one in Germany.
Putin could announce the mass mobilisation of Russians on 9 May, Ben Wallace, the UK defence secretary, has said. Wallace said that Putin could declare that “we are now at war with the world’s nazis and we need to mass mobilise the Russian people”.
In an interview with Polish journalists, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said that since Russia’s withdrawal from Kyiv, 900 bodies had been uncovered in mass graves. The Guardian’s Lorenzo Tondo confirmed with the deputy head prosecutor of Kyiv’s region that 900 bodies had been found so far, buried in several mass graves around the region.
In his latest address, Zelenskiy thanked the US for its support via a revived second world war-era lend-lease programme. He also thanked countries that have resumed diplomatic operations in Kyiv, saying: “Such gestures, together with strong defensive, financial and political support from the free world, mean that the need to end the war is becoming more and more obvious to Russia.”