Ship boat

Ukraine sets fire to a Russian supply ship. thwarts

Ukrainian forces destroyed a pontoon bridge and parts of the Russian armored column as it tried to cross a river in the Donbass region, video footage released by the Ukrainian military was released on Friday, and a ship of the Russian Navy was burned in the Black Sea.

Russia has suffered battlefield setbacks as Ukraine drives its troops from the region around the second-largest city of Kharkiv, the fastest advance since it forced Kremlin forces out kyiv and the northeast more than a month ago.

Reuters reporters have confirmed that Ukraine now controls territory stretching to the banks of the Siverskiy Donets River, about 40 km (25 miles) east of Kharkiv.

Footage released by the Ukrainian Airborne Forces Command appeared to show several burnt-out military vehicles and segments of a bridge partially submerged in the river. Images showed many other damaged or abandoned vehicles, including tanks, in the woods and on the track leading to the river.

Providing a daily intelligence update on Friday, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said the footage suggested Russia had lost armored maneuver elements from at least one battalion battle group and pontoon equipment deployed during the crossing the Siverskyi Donets River west of Severodonetsk.

Reuters could not immediately verify the report, or when or where the clash took place.

The British Ministry of Defense said Russia was investing a major military effort further south of Kharkiv, near Izium and Severodonetsk, and attempting a breakthrough towards Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.

The Kremlin calls its February 24 invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation” to demilitarize a neighbor threatening its security. He denies having targeted civilians.

Ukraine claims that it poses no threat to Russia and that the deaths of thousands of civilians and the destruction of towns and villages show that Russia is waging a war of aggression.

In the capital kyiv, wives and relatives of Ukrainian fighters locked up in the Azovstal steelworks in the southern port of Mariupol marched and chanted for their rescue.

Russian forces shelled the steel mills, the last stronghold of Ukrainian defenders in a city almost entirely controlled by Russia after a siege lasting more than two months.

“I want all the defenders who are there to go home so they can live a normal life with their children and loved ones,” said Maria Zimareva, whose brother is inside the steelworks. “They deserved it. Why can others walk down the street with their loved ones and they can’t? Why isn’t anyone helping them?”

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk told 1+1 television that negotiations were underway for an evacuation, starting with the most seriously injured.

In kyiv, a court is due to begin hearing the first war crimes case since the war began in February on Friday. A Russian soldier is to stand trial for the murder of a civilian in Chupakhivka, northeastern Ukraine on February 28.

A FIRE RUSSIAN SHIP

The renewed fighting around Snake Island in recent days could become a battle for control of the western Black Sea coast, some defense officials say, as Russian forces struggle to advance in the north and east of Ukraine.

Ukraine said it damaged a Russian navy logistics vessel near the island, a small but strategic outpost, and set it on fire.

“Thanks to the actions of our sailors, the support ship Vsevolod Bobrov caught fire – it is one of the newest in the Russian fleet,” said Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesman for the Odessa regional military administration. .

Reuters could not independently verify the details. The Russian Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Satellite images provided by Maxar, a private US-based company, showed the aftermath of what it said were likely missile attacks on a Russian Serna-class landing craft near the island, near the maritime border between Ukraine and Romania.

The footage also showed recent damage to buildings on the island, which became famous for the rude defiance of its Ukrainian defenders at the start of the invasion.

NATO EXPANSION

As fighting continued across the country, wider diplomatic moves increased pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Foreign ministers from the G7 group of wealthy nations aim to give what Germany called a ‘powerful sign of unity’ as they meet on Friday to discuss the conflict and fears it could spill over into Moldova.Read the full article

Finland’s plan to seek NATO membership, announced on Thursday, and the hope that Sweden will follow suit, would lead to the expansion of the Western military alliance that Putin aimed to prevent.

Abandoning the neutrality they maintained throughout the Cold War would be one of the biggest shifts in European security in decades.

Moscow called Finland’s announcement hostile and threatened retaliation, including unspecified “military-technical” measures.

“Helsinki must be aware of the responsibility and the consequences of such a decision,” the foreign ministry said.

Finland’s 1,300 km (800 mile) border will more than double the length of the border between the US-led alliance and Russia, putting NATO guards within hours’ drive of the northern outskirts from Saint Petersburg.

Putin cited potential NATO expansion as one of the main reasons he sent forces to Ukraine.

Thursday also saw an escalation in disputes over Russian energy supplies to Europe – still Moscow’s biggest source of funds and Europe’s biggest source of heat and power.

Moscow said it would halt gas flows to Germany via the main pipeline over Poland, while Kyiv said it would not reopen a pipeline route it closed this week unless that he regains control of the areas of pro-Russian fighters. Gas prices in Europe have jumped.

(Reporting by Reuters bureaus; Writing by Lincoln Feast, Stephen Coates and Simon Cameron-Moore; Editing by Nick Macfie)