Sir Andrew Wood, a former British Ambassador to Russia and Moldova, has been interviewed on Sky News in the UK. Asked about the prospect of a big shift in the war or Russian tactics as the 9 May Victory Day holiday approaches, he said:
They thought [Putin] was going to win the war a long time before that. In fact he is losing heavily. And I think we have to realise that he cannot win the war in the sense of achieving a settled outcome. Nobody in Ukraine is going to forget what he’s done, and what his forces have done, and the way they have done it. That in itself is a defeat.
On the prospects for peace talks, Wood said:
I don’t think there could be any real dialogue until the results in the eastern region are clear. If Russia continues to lose troops at the rate they are, then they could have talks about Russia retreating, essentially. If [Putin] wins, in the sense of slaughtering more Ukrainians, it still isn’t a victory because it isn’t a permanent solution.
He said that the support Britain had given to Ukraine so far was “stalwart and effective” and had increased the standing of the UK of the eastern half of the EU. He said the possibility of Sweden and Finland joining Nato was a “radical change” in Europe.
He finished by saying “I can only hope that in the end, the Putin regime will take account of some new realities. And be different.”
The United States has provided intelligence that has helped Ukrainian forces kill many of the Russian generals who have died in the Ukraine war, the New York Times has reported, citing senior US officials.
The targeting help is part of a classified effort by the Biden administration to provide real-time battlefield intelligence to Ukraine, the newspaper said.
Washington has reportedly provided to Ukraine details on Russia’s expected troop movements and the location and other details about Russia’s mobile military headquarters, and Ukraine has combined that help with its own intelligence to conduct artillery strikes and other attacks that have killed Russian officers.
Intelligence also includes anticipated Russian troop movements gleaned from recent American assessments of Moscow’s secret battle plan for the fighting in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, the officials said.
Ukrainian officials said they have killed about 12 Russian generals on the battlefield, according to the New York Times. Officials declined to specify how many generals had been killed as a result of US assistance, the newspaper added.
The UK is providing £45m in funding to help the most vulnerable in Ukraine and at its borders, the government has said.
The money will go to UN agencies and charities delivering vital aid and supporting survivors of sexual violence in the war-torn nation, PA Media reports.
This means the UK’s full £220m humanitarian aid package for Ukraine has now been allocated. Foreign secretary Liz Truss said:
Britain has stood shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine throughout this conflict. As one of the largest humanitarian donors we will continue to make sure those bearing the brunt of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s vile war have the lifesaving aid they need.
British aid is supporting the most vulnerable in Ukraine, particularly women and children, who are facing increased risk of sexual violence and exploitation.”
Of the 45m, 15m will go to the UN Ukraine Humanitarian Fund which distributes food, water, shelter and other basic necessities, as well as working to prevent sexual violence, the agency added.
Martin Griffiths, UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief co-ordinator, said: “This generous contribution from the United Kingdom will enable the UN’s Ukraine Humanitarian Fund to scale up the delivery of fast, effective and lifesaving aid to people who are caught up in this unfolding nightmare.”
Another 15m will go to children’s agency Unicef to provide food to pregnant women and mental health support for children.
Aid organisations in Moldova and other neighbouring countries will receive 10m to protect those fleeing the war, while 5m will go to the International Federation of the Red Cross in Ukraine.
Truss also announced the UK will send more medical supplies, in addition to more than 5m items already delivered, including some 380,000 packs of medicine and wound care packs to treat 220,000 wounded.
Britain has already committed 2m of food supplies to parts of Ukraine encircled by Russian forces, with 17 trucks already having delivered more than 50,000kg of pasta, 10,000kg of rice, 60,000 tins of corned beef and more than 80,000 litres of water.
Some 30 million in humanitarian support is going to Poland to help refugees there and get supplies into Ukraine.
Nearly 16 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance within Ukraine, according to the UN. Some seven million are internally displaced, while 5.5 million refugees have spilled into neighbouring countries.
Russia has said it will implement a ceasefire for three days from Thursday to allow more civilian evacuations from the Azovstal plant in the besieged city of Mariupol.
“The Russian armed forces will from 8 am to 6 pm (Moscow time) on May 5, 6 and 7 open a humanitarian corridor from the territory of the Azovstal metallurgical plant to evacuate civilians,” the defence ministry said on Wednesday.
“During this period, the Russian armed forces and formations of the Donetsk People’s Republic will unilaterally cease any hostilities,” the ministry added.
However, Ukraine has claimed Russia resumed its offensive on Mariupol in order to take control of the plant, saying heavy fighting continues.
Russian occupiers are focusing their efforts on blocking and trying to destroy Ukrainians units stationed in the Azovstal steel works area, officials said in a recent report released by Ukraine’s general staff of the armed forces.
Ukrainian forces earlier said they are fighting “difficult bloody battles” against Russian troops inside the Azovstal steelworks.
“I am proud of my soldiers who are making superhuman efforts to contain the pressure of the enemy … the situation is extremely difficult,” Denis Prokopenko, the commander of the Azov regiment, said in a video message posted on Telegram.
Russian forces entered the territory of Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks on Wednesday, a Ukrainian official said. Video from a Russia-backed account reportedly shows airstrikes hitting the plant as civilians seek refuge inside, but it’s not entirely clear when the strikes happened.
Another 344 people have been rescued from the besieged city of Mariupol in a second evacuation operation, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy confirmed in his latest national address.
The second stage of our evacuation operation from Mariupol was completed today. 344 people were rescued – from the city and its suburbs. That’s how many people departed to Zaporizhzhia today…
They all receive the necessary help. All of them will receive the most caring treatment from our state.”
Zelenskiy said negotiations continue to rescue people trapped in the Azovstal steel works. “There are still civilians. Women, children,” he added.
To save them, we need to continue the silence. The Ukrainian side is ready to provide it. It takes time to just lift people out of those basements, out of those underground shelters. In the current conditions, we cannot use special equipment to clear the debris. Everything is done manually.”
Zelenskiy also asked the UN secretary-general, António Guterres, for help evacuating people still trapped in the plant.
“The lives of the people who remain there are in danger. Everyone is important to us. We ask for your help in saving them,” he said.
Russian forces rehearsed for a Victory Day Parade set for 9 May in Moscow on Wednesday as the Kremlin denies it is preparing to declare all-out war in Ukraine.
Russia has dismissed speculation that it will declare all-out war in Ukraine in the coming days as “nonsense” amid speculation from western officials that President Vladimir Putin could use the 9 May Victory Parade to announce an escalation of military action.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there was no truth to the rumours “at all”.
Last week, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the Moscow parade – an annual event that commemorates the defeat of the Nazis and end of World War Two – might be used to drum up support for a mass mobilisation of troops and renewed push into Ukraine.
“I would not be surprised, and I don’t have any information about this, that he is probably going to declare on this May Day that ‘we are now at war with the world’s Nazis and we need to mass mobilise the Russian people’,” he told LBC radio.
Ukraine has regained control over several settlements surrounding Mykolayiv and Kherson in the country’s south, military officials have said.
Due to the successful actions of Ukrainian defenders, Russian forces “lost control over several settlements on the border of Mykolayiv and Kherson regions,” the latest intelligence report from Ukraine’s general staff of the armed forces reads.
Russian forces have fought heavily in the southern region of Kherson, seeking to create a land bridge between the Crimean peninsula and the eastern Donbas region.
However, heavy fighting continues in Mariupol where Russian occupiers are focusing their efforts on blocking and trying to destroy Ukrainians units stationed in the Azovstal steel works area, officials added.
With the support of aircraft, the enemy resumed the offensive in order to take control of the plant, the report continued.
Russia is also “provoking tensions” in the Transnistrian region of Moldova, Ukraine claimed.
Hello and welcome back to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine.
I’m Samantha Lock and I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments until my colleague Martin Belam in London takes the reins a little later.
Ten weeks into a war that has killed thousands, destroyed cities and driven millions of Ukrainians to flee their homes, Moscow is showing no signs of pulling back.
It is 8am in Ukraine. Here is everything you might have missed:
- Ukrainian forces are fighting “difficult bloody battles” against Russian troops inside the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, Reuters reported, citing a Telegram video message from the commander of the Azov battalion. A Ukrainian official said on Wednesday that Russian forces entered the steelworks where the city’s last resistance has been holding out but contact remained with the defenders.
- Another 344 people have been rescued from the besieged city of Mariupol in a second evacuation operation, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has confirmed a national address.
- Russia has said it will implement a daytime ceasefire for three days from Thursday to allow more civilian evacuations from the Azovstal plant. “The Russian armed forces will from 8 am to 6 pm (Moscow time) on 5-7 May open a humanitarian corridor from the territory of the Azovstal metallurgical plant to evacuate civilians,” the defence ministry said.
- The UK is providing £45m in funding to help the most vulnerable in Ukraine and at its borders, the government has said. The money will go to UN agencies and charities delivering vital aid and supporting survivors of sexual violence in the war-torn nation, PA Media reports.
- Joe Biden said he would speak with other G7 leaders this week about potential additional sanctions against Russia. His treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, said the US was in constant discussions with its partners about this.
- The United States has provided intelligence that has helped Ukrainian forces kill many of the Russian generals who have died in the Ukraine war, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing senior US officials. Washington has reportedly provided to Ukraine details on Russia’s expected troop movements and the location and other details about Russia’s mobile military headquarters.
- Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he believed Ukraine would again see peace despite Russia’s war but warned that what happens in Ukraine will have important consequences for the rest of Europe. Addressing the people of Denmark on the 77th anniversary of their liberation from Nazi occupation, he said: “I do believe our day of liberation is coming close.”
- Russia has practised simulated nuclear-capable missile strikes in the western enclave of Kaliningrad, sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania along the Baltic coast. Forces rehearsed simulated “electronic launches” of nuclear-capable Iskander mobile ballistic missile systems, the defence ministry said.
- Sweden has received assurances from the US that it would receive support during the period a potential application to join Nato is processed by the 30 nations in the alliance, the Swedish foreign minister, Ann Linde, said in Washington.
- Brazilian presidential frontrunner Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has said Zelenskiy and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, bear equal responsibility for the war, putting the leftist candidate at odds with western powers.
- The bodies of 20 more civilians were found in the past 24 hours in the Kyiv region, according to Kyiv’s regional police chief, Andriy Nebytov. The latest discoveries, in the town of Borodianka and the surrounding villages, raise the total number of civilian bodies found in the region to 1,235.
- The European Union is proposing to ban all Russian oil imports in a sixth package of sanctions. The European Commission’s president, Ursula von der Leyen, said Putin had to pay a “high price for his brutal aggression” in Ukraine. Hungary’s international relations minister, Zoltán Kovács, said his country would veto the EU proposal.
- The head of the Russian Orthodox church, Patriarch Kirill, is reportedly on the draft blacklist of the EU’s next round of sanctions. An EU document claims Kirill has been “one of the most prominent supporters of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine” and a key player in amplifying Vladimir Putin’s rhetoric on Ukraine.
- Ukraine has accused Russia of planning to hold a Victory Day military parade in the captured city of Mariupol on 9 May to celebrate victory over the Nazis in the second world war. Ukraine’s military intelligence said an official from Russia’s presidential administration had arrived in Mariupol to oversee plans for the parade.
- The Kremlin dismissed speculation that it will declare all-out war in Ukraine in the coming days as “nonsense” amid speculation from western officials that President Vladimir Putin could use the 9 May Victory Parade to announce an escalation of military action. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there was no truth to the rumours “at all”.