The evacuation of wounded Ukrainian troops from the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol is under way, Volodomyr Zelenskiy confirmed, with more than 260 fighters transported out of the plant. The troops have fulfilled their combat mission, the general staff of the armed forces said. Ukraine’s deputy defense minister has said an “exchange procedure will take place” to bring evacuees home.
Ukraine’s Joint Forces Task Force said on Monday that 20 civilians, including a child, were killed in Russian shelling in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Western military sources say that Vladimir Putin is involved in the war in Ukraine “at the level of a colonel or brigadier”. The Russian leader is reportedly so personally involved he is helping determine the movement of forces in the Donbas.
Ukrainian officials claimed that Ukrainian troops in the country’s north-east had pushed back Russian forces from the city of Kharkiv and advanced as far as the border with Russia.
Ukrainian forces in the east of the country could be slowed by Russia’s ally Belarus, which is mobilising special forces along Ukraine’s northern border, British intelligence has warned.
Russian forces have shelled frontline positions in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas area as fighting becomes increasingly focused on Severodonetsk, the easternmost city still held by Ukrainian forces after more than 11 weeks of war.
After Sweden and Finland yesterday confirmed plans to join Nato, Sweden is seeking to quell Turkish opposition by sending diplomats to the country. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said Turkey will not approve the bids, and that delegations from the countries should not bother coming.
Vladimir Putin said Russia had no issue with Finland and Sweden, but that the expansion of military infrastructure on their territory would demand a reaction from Moscow, as the Nordic countries move closer to joining Nato, which Russia has branded a mistake with far-reaching consequences.
Hungary has been accused of “holding the EU hostage” over its refusal to agree an oil embargo against Russia, as the bloc struggles to reach consensus on its latest sanctions aimed at eroding the Kremlin’s ability to wage war.
American fast-food giant McDonald’s will exit the Russian market and sell its business in the increasingly isolated country, the company said on Monday. Other multinationals to have pulled out of Russia since February include H&M, Starbucks and Ikea.
Meanwhile, the Moscow city government is to take over a factory belonging to the French carmaker Renault and use it to revive the Soviet-era Moskvitch in Russia’s first major nationalisation of a foreign company during its war in Ukraine.
Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 83 of the invasion – The Guardian