Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 78 of…
Finland must apply to join Nato without delay in the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, its president and prime minister have said, confirming a historic change in the Nordic country’s security policy after decades of military non-alignment.
Finland shares an 810-mile (1,300km) border with Russia. Public support for Nato membership has trebled in Finland. The president, prime minister and senior cabinet ministers will meet on Sunday to make the formal decision on submitting the country’s membership application. A positive decision would then be presented to parliament for approval early next week.
Dmitry Peskov said Finnish entry to Nato is “definitely” a threat to Russia. The Kremlin spokesperson said everybody wants to avoid a direct clash between Russia and Nato, and that Nato expansion will not make the world or Europe more stable.
Finland’s president, Sauli Niinistö, has said he has spoken today to Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, and that Zelenskiy supported Finland’s steps towards Nato membership. Other European Nato leaders from Estonia, Denmark and Romania have also voiced support.
The UN human rights chief has said 1,000 bodies had been recovered in the area of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, in recent weeks, adding that many of the violations it was verifying since the Russian invasion may amount to war crimes.
Russian news agencies have reported that Russian forces hit two ammunition depots in the Chernihiv region of Ukraine overnight. The defence ministry also said Russia had destroyed a Ukrainian S-300 air defence missile system in the Kharkiv region and a radar station near the city of Odesa.
Firing from Ukraine has killed one person and wounded seven in the Russian border village of Solokhi in the province of Belgorod, the regional governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, has said.
Overnight the Ukrainian defence ministry published photos of what it said were destroyed Russian tanks and other equipment in the village of Bilohorivka, that had been struck when the Russians were attempting to construct a pontoon-bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River.
The Russian-controlled administration in the Ukrainian city of Kherson has said it plans to request annexation by Moscow, a move that would confirm the Kremlin’s permanent occupation of Ukrainian territory captured since February.
The withdrawal of Russian forces from Kharkiv is a tacit recognition of Russia’s inability to capture key Ukrainian cities where they expected limited resistance from the population, the UK’s Ministry of Defence has said in its latest intelligence update.
Russia “is today the most direct threat to the world order with the barbaric war against Ukraine, and its worrying pact with China,” the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, has said after talks with the Japanese prime minister, Fumio Kishida.
The UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, reiterated that a normalisation of relations with Vladimir Putin seemed impossible, accusing the Russian president of having “grossly violated human rights” and international law, saying “he’s guilty of absolutely barbaric onslaught on a totally innocent country”.
A freelance journalist from Spain, Pablo González, is spending his 10th week in Polish custody while prosecutors there investigate what they claim is a case of espionage linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.