Prosecutors, police officers and journalists are heading to Izium after authorities there said they had found a mass grave containing more than 440 bodies. Some of the people had been killed by shelling and airstrikes, authorities said. Serhiy Bolvinov, the chief police investigator for Kharkiv province, said forensic investigations would be carried out on every body in the grave, which was reportedly located in woods near the city. While authorities said some had been killed by shelling and airstrikes, investigators have prepared themselves for the worst, after the discoveries of slain civilians bearing signs of torture in Bucha and other previously occupied territories.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy liked the discovery to what happened in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, saying in his Thursday night video address: “Russia is leaving death behind it everywhere and must be held responsible. The necessary procedures have already begun there. More information – clear, verifiable information – should be available tomorrow.”
Andriy Yermakthe presidential chief of staff in Ukraine, accused Russia of being “a murderer country, a state sponsor of terrorism.”
Estonia’s prime minister, Kaja Kallas, urged people “don’t look away” from the images emerging from liberated Ukrainian cities like Izium. She said “This is the face of Russian occupation: towns and cities turned into mass graves. Ukraine has used our military aid with skill and determination. Ukraine can win if we keep supporting them.”
Russia has accused Ukraine of carrying out targeted strikes in the cities of Kherson and Luhansk against local officials who have been collaborating with Moscow. At least five Himars missiles crashed into the central administration building in Kherson. Video from the scene showed smoke pouring out of the complex and debris, and the local Russian-imposed authorities said that at least one person was killed. Ukraine’s military declined to comment on the explosions. Natalia Humeniuk, a spokesperson for Kyiv’s operation command south, said Kyiv was keen to avoid “informational chaos”. “Happiness loves silence,” she remarked.
On the other side of the country, in the eastern city of Luhansk, a pro-Russia prosecutor and his deputy died when their office was blown up. The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear. The Kremlin news agency Itar-Tass said Sergey Gorenko, the prosecutor general for the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic, died at the scene. Zelenskiy’s senior adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Ukraine was not behind Friday’s mysterious explosion.
The Russian-backed separatist authority in Berdyansk has blamed Kyiv for “the double murder” of the deputy head of the military civil administration, and his wife, who headed the city’s territorial election commission for a proposed referendum on whether the region would join the Russian Federation.
Iryna Vereshchukthe minister of reintegration of temporarily occupied territories, has said Ukraine’s government has approved a draft law that will punish people for forcing Russian passports on to Ukrainian citizens.
The Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, Ukraine said’s counterattack against Russian troops had been very effective, but warned nations should prepare for the long haul as this did not signal the beginning of the end of the war. He said: “We need to understand that this is not the beginning of the end of the war, we need to be prepared for the long haul.”
Germany has taken the German subsidiary of the Russian oil giant Rosneft under state control, putting three refineries into a trusteeship ahead of a partial European embargo on Russian oil at the end of the year. The federal network regulator will become the temporary trust manager of Rosneft Germany and its share of refineries in Schwedt, near Berlin, in Karlsruhe and in Vohburg, Bavaria, Germany’s ministry for economic affairs announced on Friday.
The European Union chief, Ursula von der Leyen, said she wanted the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, to face the international criminal court over war crimes in Ukraine. “That Putin must lose this war and must face up to his actions, that is important to me,” she told the TV channel of the German news outlet Bild on Thursday.
Pope Francis said it was morally legitimate for countries to provide weapons to Ukraine to help it defend itself from Russian aggression. “This is a political decision which it can be moral, morally acceptable, if it is done under conditions of morality … Self-defence is not only licit but also an expression of love for the homeland,” he said. “Someone who does not defend oneself, who does not defend something, does not love it. Those who defend [something] love it.”
Vladimir Putin thanked the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, for his “balanced” approach to the Ukraine crisis and blasted Washington’s “ugly” policiesat a meeting that followed the recent setbacks for Moscow on the battlefield.
Ukraine has lost nearly 15% of its grain storage capacity in the war, threatening its role as a key food supplier to the world, a report said. The US government-backed Conflict Observatory said Russians had seized 6.24m tons of food storage capacity, and another 2.25m tons of capacity in Ukrainian hands had been destroyed, Agence France-Presse reported. As a result, farmers were running out of room to store their output for shipment, which could discourage plantings for the next crop, especially winter wheat, the report said.
Germany will supply Ukraine with additional armored vehicles and rocket launch systems but will not provide the battle tanks that Kyiv has long asked for, says the German defense minister, Christine Lambrecht. She said on Thursday that Soviet-made BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles would also “very quickly” head to Ukraine from Greece.
The UN nuclear watchdog’s 35-nation board of governors passed a resolution demanding Russia end its occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, Reuters reports. Thursday’s resolution was the second on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine passed by the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board.
The US president, Joe Biden, announced a new $600m arms package for Ukraine, according to a White House memo sent to the state department on Thursday. Reuters reports the memo does not detail how the money will be used, but sources said it was expected to include ammunition and more Himars rocket systems.