Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 79 of the invasion
Kyiv court set to hear first war crimes trial of Russian soldier; Moscow threatens retaliation after Finland announces Nato plans
A court in Kyiv will hear the first war crime trial of the invasion. Vadim Shysimarin, 21, a commander in Russia’s Kantemirovskaya tank division, is accused of shooting dead an unarmed man, 62, who was on a bicycle and talking on his phone in the village of Chupakhivka, Sumy. Shysimarin was ordered “to kill a civilian so he would not report them to Ukrainian defenders”, according to prosecutors.
The Russian foreign ministry in Moscow said it would have to take “military-technical” steps if Helsinki applied for Nato accession, after Finland’s president, Sauli Niinistö, and prime minister, Sanna Marin, said it must apply to join the military alliance “without delay”. Sweden is expected to follow within days.
Russia could cut its gas supplies to Finland on Friday, a day after Finnish leaders said they would apply to join Nato, according to reports.
The Republican senator Rand Paul has blocked the passage of a $40bn aid bill for Ukraine in the US Senate. Paul demanded changes including an inspector general to oversee how it is spent.
Michael Carpenter, the US ambassador to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), said that “at least several thousand Ukrainians” have been sent to so-called “filtration centres” in Russia where they are subject to “brutal interrogations”. Tens of thousands more had been evacuated to Russia or Russia-controlled territory. Carpenter said that one survivor said “everyone was afraid to be taken to Donetsk”, where they could be the victim of “further investigation or murder”.
Urgent measures to break the Russian blockade of grain exports from Ukraine’s ports, including by trying to open routes through Romania and the Baltic, are being discussed at a three-day meeting of G7 foreign and agriculture ministers in Germany. Before the war, most of the food produced by Ukraine – enough to feed 400 million people – was exported through its seven Black Sea ports.
Ukraine said it had damaged and set on fire a Russian navy logistics ship in the Black Sea. The Vsevolod Bobrov was near Snake Island, said Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesman for the Odesa regional military administration in southern Ukraine. The Guardian could not independently verify the details and Russia’s defence ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, said “very difficult negotiations” were ongoing to evacuate 38 seriously wounded fighters from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, in exchange for Russian prisoners of war. “We work step by step,’” he said. “We will exchange 38, then we will move on.”
The number of people who have fled Ukraine to escape Russia’s invasion has exceeded six million, the UN’s refugee agency has said. A further eight million people have been displaced inside Ukraine.
Nearly 100 children were killed in Ukraine during April alone but actual figures could be significantly higher, the United Nations children’s fund has said. Unicef’s deputy executive director, Omar Abdi, demanded an end to the bombing of Ukrainian schools, adding that one in six Unicef-supported schools in eastern Ukraine had been “damaged or destroyed” as of last week.
European Union leaders plan to assess Ukraine’s membership next month, according to the French foreign ministry.
The UN’s human rights council has passed a resolution to investigate alleged abuses by Russian troops in parts of Ukraine formerly under their control, with a view to holding those responsible to account. The resolution passed by a strong majority, with 33 members voting in favour and two – China and Eritrea – against. There were 12 abstentions.
The UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, said 1,000 bodies had been recovered in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, in recent weeks. Many of the violations it is verifying since the Russian invasion may amount to war crimes, she said.