Three ships carrying nearly 60,000 tons of grain have departed from Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea and are on their way to Great Britain, Ireland and Turkey respectively. Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister said he plans “to ensure ports can handle more than 100 ships per month”.
Russia says ready to talk prisoner swap with US after Wednesday’s nine-year sentence for American basketball player Brittney Griner. However, the Kremlin says such negotiations should not be played out in public.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has criticized an Amnesty International report – which suggested that Ukrainian troops’ tactics endanger civilians by using some schools and hospitals as bases. Zelenskiy said the report “cannot be tolerated” because there can be “no conditions under which a Russian attack on Ukraine is justified”.
The British Ministry of Defense has expressed concerns about the “security and safety” of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.which is under Russian control. It says Russia has “used artillery units in these areas to attack Ukrainian territory on the western bank of the Dnipro River”.
Vladimir Putin and Tayyip Erdoğan will meet in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Talks between the presidents of Russia and Turkey are expected to focus on Syria, Ukraine and the Russian construction of a nuclear power plant in southern Turkey.
Canada sends up to 225 Canadian Forces to UK to resume training of Ukrainian military recruits, the Canadian defense minister has announced. Canada has trained 33,000 Ukrainian military and security personnel since 2015, but aspects of the training were interrupted in February.
A US official has accused Moscow of preparing to post fake evidence to make it look like the recent mass murder of Ukrainian prisoners in an attack on a Russian-controlled prison was caused by Ukraine. Kiev and Moscow last week blamed the prison strikes in Kremlin-controlled Olenivka, in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine has ceded some of its territory in the Donbas region to Russian forces, with Kiev acknowledging Russia’s “partial success” in recent days. Zelenskiy has described the pressure from his troops in the east of the country as “hell”. They have recaptured two villages near the city of Sloviansk, according to Ukrainian General Oleksiy Hromov, but have been forced to abandon a coal mine considered an important defensive position while troops are pushed to the outskirts of Avdiivka.
Russia may launch offensive in southern Ukraine’s Kherson region to try to regain momentum from Kiev and has visibly built up forces, Hromov said Thursday. Much of the region has already been occupied by Russia after it captured territories at the start of its invasion, but Ukrainian forces have mounted a counter-offensive to reclaim territory.