Ukraine, probing over 10,700 suspected Russian war crimes, to hold first trial

“The city of Kherson is Russia,” Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Kherson regional administration appointed by Moscow, told Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency,

That raised the possibility that the Kremlin would seek to break off another piece of Ukraine as it tries to salvage an invasion gone awry. Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, which borders the Kherson region, in 2014, a move denounced as illegal and rejected by most of the international community.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it would be “up to the residents of the Kherson region after all to decide whether such an appeal should be made or not.” He said any move to annex territory would have to be closely evaluated by legal experts to make sure it is “absolutely legitimate, as it was with Crimea.”

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak mocked the notion of Kherson’s annexation, tweeting: “The invaders may ask to join even Mars or Jupiter. The Ukrainian army will liberate Kherson, no matter what games with words they play.”

Kherson, a Black Sea port of roughly 300,000, provides Crimea with access to fresh water and is seen as a gateway to wider Russian control over southern Ukraine.

Nadiya Trubchaninova, 70, sits next to a plastic bag that contains the body of her son Vadym, who was killed by Russian soldiers in Bucha on March 30.

Nadiya Trubchaninova, 70, sits next to a plastic bag that contains the body of her son Vadym, who was killed by Russian soldiers in Bucha on March 30.Credit:AP

On the battlefield, Ukrainian officials said a Russian rocket attack targeted an area around Zaporizhzhia, destroying unspecified infrastructure. There were no immediate reports of casualties. The southeastern city has been a refuge for civilians fleeing the Russian siege in the devastated port city of Mariupol.

Russian forces continued to pound the steel plant that is the last bastion of Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol, its defenders said. The Azov Regiment said on social media that Russian forces carried out 38 airstrikes in the previous 24 hours on the grounds of the Azovstal steelworks.

The plant, with its network of tunnels and bunkers, has sheltered hundreds of Ukrainian troops and civilians during a months-long siege. Scores of civilians were evacuated in recent days, but Ukrainian officials said some may still be trapped there.

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In his nightly address Tuesday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy suggested Ukraine’s military is gradually pushing Russian troops away from Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city and a key to Russia’s offensive in the Donbas, the eastern industrial region whose capture the Kremlin says is its main objective.

Ukraine is also targeting Russian air defences and resupply vessels on Snake Island in the Black Sea in an effort to disrupt Moscow’s efforts to expand its control over the coastline, according to the British Ministry of Defence.

Separately, Ukraine said it shot down a cruise missile targeting the Black Sea port city of Odesa.

AP


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