There are “many dead” in a Russian missile strike near Chernihiv, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He has accused Russia of a “deliberate and criminal attempt to kill as many Ukrainians as possible.”
Here are the latest developments on the war in Ukraine.
Donbas “completely destroyed”: Zelensky said there are “constant strikes on the Odesa region, on the cities of central Ukraine, and the Donbas is completely destroyed.” In the Chernihiv region north of Kyiv on Thursday, Russian missiles hit the village of Desna leaving many dead, Zelensky said. Desna is 40 miles from the border with Belarus.
Mammoth US aid bill: US President Joe Biden will sign a $40 billion emergency aid package to Ukraine into law while he is in South Korea, an official says. The package was approved by the US Senate on Thursday. The Biden administration also announced another $100 million security package for Ukraine.
Food export crisis: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he discussed ways to “unblock” Ukrainian food exports with his UK counterpart, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. The blockade on Ukrainian exports was also discussed by Zelensky and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a call Thursday. A failure to open closed ports in Ukraine to ship grain out will bring millions of people to the brink of starvation, according to the World Food Programme.
Some Azovstal defenders still fighting: While hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers left the Azovstal plant in Mariupol this week, there are likely still hundreds inside the besieged complex — and they appear to include some senior commanders. Maj. Bohdan Krotevych, chief of staff of the Azov regiment, suggested that he would not be surrendering, saying that “the fight continues.” Russia’s defense ministry said over 1,700 Ukrainian soldiers have surrendered at the complex since May 16.
Biden offers “strong support” for NATO bids: The leaders of Sweden and Finland met with US President Joe Biden at the White House after they submitted their NATO membership applications on Wednesday. The Biden administration will submit reports to the US Congress on the applications. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan again maintained that his country “will say no” to the entry.