Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 102 of the invasion

  • Several explosions have taken place early on Sunday in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, the city’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, said. “Several explosions in Darnytskyi and Dniprovskyi districts of the capital,” Klitschko wrote on Telegram messaging app. “Services are already working on site.” There were reports of smoke in the city after the explosions. Air raid sirens had gone off earlier across much of Ukraine, including in the Kyiv region.

  • Ukrainian forces have been managing to push back against Russian troops in fierce fighting in Sievierodonetsk despite Moscow “throwing all its power” into capturing the key eastern city, Ukrainian officials said on Saturday. In an interview aired online, the Luhansk regional governor, Sergiy Gaiday, said the Russian army has taken control over most of Sievierodonetsk, but that Ukrainian forces were still pushing them back.

  • According to the Russian army, however, some Ukrainian military units have been withdrawing from Sievierodonetsk. “Some units of the Ukrainian army, having suffered critical losses during fighting for Sievierodonetsk, are pulling out towards Lysychansk”, Sievierodonetsk’s twin city, which sits just across a river, the defence ministry said in a statement.

  • The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has said Moscow’s anti-aircraft forces have shot down dozens of Ukrainian weapons and are “cracking them like nuts”, in an interview that aired on Saturday. According to Reuters, Russian news agency RIA, which first cited the comments, quoted Putin as responding to a question about US-supplied arms by saying Russia was coping easily and had already destroyed the weapons by the dozen.

  • Kyiv has rebuked the French president, Emmanuel Macron, for saying it was important not to “humiliate Russia”. The Ukrainian foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, tweeted in response: “Calls to avoid humiliation of Russia can only humiliate France and every other country that would call for it. Because it is Russia that humiliates itself. We all better focus on how to put Russia in its place. This will bring peace and save lives.”

  • Western sanctions would not have an effect on Russia’s oil exports, the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said. Lavrov also predicted a significant increase in profits from energy shipments this year, Russian news agency Tass reported.

  • A EU decision to extend sanctions against Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko to his wife is “irrational” because she has never held Russian citizenship or resided in Russia, a representative for the couple said. The EU sanctioned Melnichenko’s wife on Friday as part of a sixth round of sanctions against Russia for waging a war against Ukraine.

  • The Ukrainian defence minister, Oleksiy Reznikov, said that while it was impossible to predict when the war would end, “my optimistic prognosis is that it is realistic to achieve this as early as this year”, Reuters quoted the defence ministry as saying.

  • Negotiations with Russia will only resume after new weapons arrive from the west and Ukraine’s position is “strengthened”, said David Arakhamia, a member of Ukraine’s negotiation group with Russia. Another negotiator, Mykhailo Podolyak, said there was no point in talks with Russia until Moscow’s forces are pushed back as far as possible towards Ukraine’s borders.

  • Ukraine’s intelligence services are in communication with hundreds of captured Azovstal steelworks fighters and Kyiv is doing all it can to ensure their release, according to Ukraine’s interior minister, Denys Monastyrskiy. Ukraine wants the fighters to be returned in a prisoner swap. However, some Russian officials have said forces could be tried or executed.

  • The US expressed support for international investigations into war crimes committed in Ukraine, the US embassy in Kyiv announced. “Those responsible for war crimes – including direct perpetrators and those who ordered them – must face justice,” the embassy tweeted on Saturday.

  • A famous monastery in eastern Ukraine, Svyatohirsk Lavra, caught fire after it was hit by Russian shelling. The monastery is affiliated with the Moscow Patriarchate, which is run by Putin’s ally Patriarch Kirill. There were reports that four monks were killed as a result of the attack .

  • The Ukrainian first lady, Olena Zelenska, and other officials commemorated 261 children killed by the Russian war against Ukraine by hanging bells near St Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv. The bells symbolise the voices of killed children, Euromaidan Press reported.

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