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Russia says footage ‘from Black Sea’ shows missile launch targeting region west of Kyiv

Russia claims it has launched missile strikes on a Ukrainian military infrastructure from the Black Sea in the northwestern city of Zhytomyr – around 96 miles from the capital of Kyiv.

A crew of a small missile ship off the Black Sea Fleet launched four Kalibr cruise missiles at military facilities belonging to the Ukrainian Armed Forces from the Black Sea, Russia’s Ministry of Defence said.

“As a result of an accurate hit, the high-precision weaponry destroyed weapons and military equipment depot on the territory of Zhytomyr Region,” it said, in a Facebook post with footage of the blasts.

Russia appeared to be scaling back its ambitions in Ukraine to focus on consolidating control of eastern areas, but the UK warmed that the bombardment of cities would likely continue.

Zelenskyy says his troops have dealt Russia ‘powerful blows’ – live updates on Ukraine

Russia has previously pointed to far bigger ambitions but stiff resistance from Ukraine forces, logistical problems and reported low morale may have taken their toll.

Map of Russia's invasion of Ukraine
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Map of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Chernobyl workers’ town ‘seized’ by Russian forces

Vladimir Putin’s forces have taken control of the town of Slavutych, where workers at the defunct Chernobyl nuclear plant live, the governor of Kyiv region Oleksandr Pavlyuk said on Saturday.

Mr Pavlyuk wrote in an online post that Russian troops had occupied the hospital in Slavutych and kidnapped the mayor. The reports are yet to be verified.

Slavutych protest
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A protest has broken out in Slavutych

However, Sky News verified a video located to Slavutych showing demonstrators gathered outside Slavutych City Hall while gunfire can be heard.

Yesterday, Ukraine said its troops had repulsed the first attack by Russian troops closing in on the town.

Chernihiv ‘surrounded by the enemy’

The Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, in the north of the country, has been cut off by Russian forces, its regional governor said on Friday.

“The city has been conditionally, operationally surrounded by the enemy,” Viacheslav Chaus said, adding that it was being bombarded by artillery and warplanes.

Burning homes in a residential area in northeast Chernihiv Pic: Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies
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Burning homes in a residential area in northeast Chernihiv. Pic: Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk earlier said that Ukraine wanted to open a humanitarian corridor in Chernihiv on Saturday.

Read more: Unlikely beacon of light as families flee Ukraine’s most devastated city

In the eastern city of Kharkiv, four people were killed on Friday when Russian shelling hit a clinic providing humanitarian aid, regional police said.

There is also increasing evidence of mass graves in Mariupol – including one that appears to hold 200 bodies – the head of the UN’s human rights team in Ukraine has said.

Ten humanitarian corridors confirmed for today

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk announced on Saturday that 10 human corridors had been confirmed for the day across the country.

It comes as Ukraine’s prosecutor general office announced that at least 136 children have died since the Russian invasion a month ago.

Speaking on national television, she said civilians trying to flee the besieged port city of Mariupol would have to
leave in private cars as Russian forces were not letting buses through their checkpoints.

People stand in a long queue during the distribution of humanitarian aid near a damaged store of wholesaler Metro in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine March 24, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
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People stand in a long queue as they wait to leave the southern port city of Mariupol

Ms Vereshchuk added that more than 100,000 people needed to be evacuated from the city.

On Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy again appealed to Russia to negotiate an end to the war, but said his country would not agree to give up any of its territories for the sake of peace.

Vladimir Putin’s forces are under great strain in many parts of the country as the US and other countries have accelerated their transfer of arms and supplies to Ukraine.

The UK Ministry of Defence’s latest update on Saturday said the long-range onslaught of Ukraine cities shows no sign of letting up – with more deaths and injuries inevitable.

“Russia continues to besiege a number of major Ukrainian cities including Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol,” it tweeted.

The US also said Russian forces were no longer in full control of Kherson, the first city to fall after the invasion began.

It’s another apparent boost for Ukraine, which also claimed to have destroyed a Russian landing ship near the coastal city of Berdyansk this week.

The remains of a tank in Mariupol. Pic: Maximilian Clarke
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The remains of a tank in Mariupol. Pic: Maximilian Clarke

‘300 killed in theatre attack’

Despite the counterattacks, the death toll mounts – and the council in the southern city of Mariupol said on Friday that it believed about 300 people had died in the bombing of a theatre last week.

It would make it the worst single loss of life in the month-long war.

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Inside bombed Mariupol theatre

“Children” was written in large letters outside the theatre – intended to be seen from above – in the hope of protecting the estimated 1,300 sheltering inside although despite this, the building was still attacked.

The governor of Donetsk has said Ukrainian forces still control Mariupol – despite it being relentlessly attacked for weeks.

Pavlo Kyrylenko said about 65,000 people had fled in private vehicles or on foot, but attempts to facilitate mass evacuations had mostly failed.

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