Ukraine war briefing: Russian pressure forces Ukrainian retreat from three villages

  • Ukraine’s troops have made a tactical retreat westwards from the villages of Berdychi, Semenivka and Novomykhailivka on the war’s eastern front, according to Col Gen Oleksandr Syrskyi, Ukraine’s military commander in chief. “The most difficult situation is in the Pokrovsk and Kurakhove directions, where fierce battles continue,” Syrskyi said, referencing two Ukrainian-held cities in the Donetsk region. “The enemy has engaged up to four brigades in these directions, is trying to develop an offensive west of Avdiivka and Marinka, making its way to Pokrovsk and Kurakhove,” Syrskyi said, adding the retreat’s purpose was “preserving the lives and health of our defenders”.

  • Russia’s defence ministry on Sunday claimed its troops had captured the village of Novobakhmutivka in the eastern Donetsk region – about 10km (six miles) north of Avdiivka, which they seized in February. Syrsky said Ukraine’s position on the battlefield had worsened. “In some sectors the enemy had tactical success, and in some areas our troops managed to improve the tactical position.”

  • Russia has consolidated recent battlefield gains and is attempting to break through Ukrainian defensive lines before new US military assistance arrives, Luke Harding reports from Kyiv. Ukrainian security officials described the situation on the battlefront in the Donbas region as “very difficult” but “not critical or catastrophic”.

  • North-west of Avdiivka, Russian brigades have come within about 30km (19 miles) of the city of Pokrovsk, a Ukrainian military hub, and farther north are assaulting the town of Chasiv Yar, near Bakhmut, using airdropped glide bombs.

  • There were unconfirmed reports that the Ukrainian military struck a Russian air defence unit at Cape Tarkhankut, on the western coast of occupied Crimea. Long-range Atacms missiles supplied this month by the US were used, Telegram channels said. Explosions were reported in the northern Crimean town of Dzhankoye after a previous attack there on an airfield and Russian missile launcher system.

  • Early on Sunday, Russian drones hit a hotel in the southern port city of Mykolaiv, said Vitaliy Kim, the region’s governor. A heat-generating plant was also damaged, he added.

  • Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukraine’s president, said on Sunday: “We are still waiting for the supplies Ukraine was promised. We are expecting those volumes and scope that can change the situation on the battlefield in Ukraine’s interests.”

  • After speaking with the US House minority leader, Hakeem Jeffries, about American aid approved last week, Zelenskiy said: “In my conversation with Mr Jeffries, I underscored that Patriot systems are needed, and as soon as possible.”

  • On entry to the European Union, Zelenskiy said Ukraine had met all conditions for accession talks to start, “and now the EU must meet its obligations”. On entry to the Nato military alliance – which the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has said Ukraine will join eventually – Zelenskiy said that every country that shares common values and is ready to defend them “deserves an invitation to the alliance”.

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