Ukraine war latest: Fuel tank ablaze in Crimean city after 'drone strike'; Wagner Group 'could cease to exist', founder warns (2023)

Key points
  • Fuel tank ablaze in Crimean city after 'drone strike'
  • Wagner Group 'could cease to exist', founder warns
  • Spring counteroffensive is almost ready, says Ukraine
  • Watch: Bloodied woman tells of surviving attack on city
  • Atrocity shows Russia lies when it says it does not target civilians | Alex Rossi
  • Live reporting by Bhvishya Patel, with Russia correspondent Diana Magnay in Moscow


South Korea 'considering options' when it comes to lethal aid to Ukraine

Seoul is considering its options when it comes to sending lethal aid to Kyiv, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol has said.

In a speech at Harvard University's Kennedy School on the fifth day of a state visit to mark the 70th anniversary of the US-South Korean alliance, President Yoon said the Russian invasion was a violation of international law and the rights of Ukrainians.

"We should prove that such attempts will never reach success, to block further attempts being made in the future," he said.

When asked about the possibility of South Korea providing lethal aid to Ukraine, the South Korean leader replied: "We are closely monitoring the situation that's going on the battlefield in Ukraineand will take proper measures in order to uphold the international norms and international law.

"Right now we are closely monitoring the situation and we are considering various options."

On Wednesday, President Yoon met Joe Biden at the White House and the US pledged to give South Korea more insight into its nuclear planning over any conflict with North Korea.

The pair also discussed the crisis in Ukraine.


Wagner Group 'could cease to exist', founder warns

Russia's Wagner Group, which is leading the assault on the eastern city of Bakhmut, could soon cease to exist, its founder Yevgeny Prigozhin has warned.

In video remarks to Russian war blogger Semyon Pegov, Mr Prigozhin said: "Now, with regard to the need in general for shells at the front, what we want.

"Today we are coming to the point where Wagner is ending.

"Wagner, in a short period of time, will cease to exist. We will become history, nothing to worry about, things like this happen."

It is not clear when Mr Prigozhin spoke and how serious he was being.

The Wagner chief has complained repeatedly about how Russia is conducting the war in Ukraine and has previously said his men are not being given the ammunition they need from the Kremlin.

He is known for his combative style and ironic sense of humour and earlier this week joked that his forces would stop shelling Bakhmut to allow Ukrainian forces to show the city to US journalists.

Last week he also expressed concern about a counter-attack by well-equipped Ukrainian troops in Bakhmut.


Fuel tank ablaze in Crimean city after 'drone strike'

A fuel tank has caught fire in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol after what appears to be a drone strike, a Moscow-installed governor has said this morning.

In a statement on the Telegram messaging app, Mikhail Razvozhaev wrote: "According to preliminary information, the fire was caused by a drone hit."

Mr Razvozhaev also said no one was hurt in the fire.

"The situation is under the control of our firefighters and all operative services," the governor added.

"Since the volume of fuel is large, it will take time to localise the fire."

Sevastopol, on the Crimean peninsula that Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, has come under repeated air attacks since Russia's invasion of Ukraine last year.

Russian officials have blamed the attacks on Ukraine.

Kyiv almost never publicly claims responsibility for attacks inside Russia or on Russian-controlled territory in Ukraine.


Good morning - here's your early rundown

Welcome back to our live coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Here are five things you need to know this morning:

  • Russia bombarded Ukrainian cities with missiles yesterday, killing at least 25 people in the first large-scale attack in nearly two months. At least 23 civilians were killed while they slept in the centralcity of Uman, while two others died in the southeastern Dnipro city. Several children were among the victims;
  • Meanwhile, the Moscow-appointed mayor of Russian-occupied Donetsk city claimed that Ukrainian shelling killed seven civilians on the same day;
  • Oleksii Rezkinov says Kyiv has almost completed preparations for a widely anticipated counteroffensive and his troops will push ahead "as soon as there is God's will, the weather and a decision by commanders";
  • The US is "deeply disappointed" by a decision from Russia not to allow embassy officials to visit Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich in prison, more than a month on from his arrest;
  • A UN committee said it is deeply concerned about human rights violations by Russian forces and private military companies in Ukraine.

Stay with us as we bring you the latest updates from the conflict throughout the day.


Zelenskyy calls Russia 'absolute evil' over Uman strike

Volodymyr Zelenskyy says "only absolute evil can commit such terror against Ukraine" after an early-hours missile strike which killed nearly two dozen people in Uman, central Ukraine.

He confirmed in his nightly video address that 23 people had been reported killed in the attack.

The Ukrainian president thanked "everyone who took part in the rescue operation and supports the rescued people".

Mr Zelenskyy also sent his condolences to the victims and loved ones involved in Russia's bombardment across Ukraine today, which resulted in the deaths of several children.


Deal reached in principle to allow transit of Ukrainian grain through EU countries

Five EU countries have struck a deal in principle with the European Commission to resume the transit of Ukrainian grain after days of negotiations.

Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia had introduced restrictions on imports over concerns that a flurry of cheap grain from Ukraine bound for other countries had ended up stuck due to bottlenecks, pushing down prices for local farmers.

European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskistweeted that the EU executive had reached "an agreement inprinciple" with the countries "to address concerns of bothfarmers in neighbouring EU countries and Ukraine".

The deal includes a withdrawal of unilateral measures, "exceptional safeguard measures" for wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seed and a €100m support package for affected farmers.

He did notprovide any further details on the measures.


Delay over modern fighter jets prolonging war, Ukrainian security chief warns

A delay to the decision-making process over whether to send Kyiv modern fighter jets is only serving to prolong the war, a Ukrainian politician has said.

Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine's national security and defence council, said "peaceful people" in his country are dying "every day" the conflict goes on.

Kyiv has long campaigned for F-16 jets from the US and its western allies as it prepares for a counteroffensive against Russia's invasion.

The US has to sign off on release of the jets due to export rules, but a decision is yet to come from the White House.

Fears have been raised previously that provision of the modern fighter plans to Ukraine would be deemed an escalation of the war.


Aftermath of deadly Russian strike

More now on this morning's deadly Russian strike on a residential building in Uman, central Ukraine.

Search and rescue efforts have been taking place throughout the day, following the early-hours strike which killed at least 23 people while they slept.

Ellison Barber, correspondent for Sky News' US partner NBC News, has been at the scene today.

She says rescuers in Uman have been digging through basement apartments in the hopes of finding survivors, before making their way to higher floors.

"Everyone who lived in this building - they were people, sleeping in the middle of the night, waking up to the sound of air raid sirens and then explosions," Barber says.

Watch the full report here:


Intense military drills near the front line

Army members have been taking part in intense military drills at a training ground in Ukraine's southern Zaporizhzhia region.

Troops fire machine guns and practice using anti-tank grenade launchers as part of the training.


Army tanks bound for Ukraine are in Poland

Spanish defence minister Margarita Robles says six Leopard 2 tanks bound for Kyiv arrived in Poland today.

She confirmed the German-made tanks would be sent by train to Ukraine, Spanish news outlet The Objective reports.

The tanks left Spain by ship a week ago.

Madrid has pledged a total of 10 Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine, which is preparing for a widely anticipated counteroffensive.

Earlier, Ukrainian defence minister Oleksii Reznikov said preparations are almost complete and troops would push ahead "as soon as there is God's will, the weather and a decision by commanders".


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