Russia pushes Ukraine despite claims of de-escalation

The secretary of Ukraine’s national security council, Oleksiy Danilov, on Wednesday said at least part of the Russian military’s assertions are correct. Some Russian units have moved to eastern Ukraine and “the enemy is strengthening their formation there”, he said.

However, Mr. Danilov warned that it would be too early to conclude that Russia had given up trying to advance towards the capital, even as it was sending in some troops.

In the Donetsk region of the Donbas, fighting escalated on Wednesday, the Ukrainian military said in a statement, as Russian forces “increased their offensive and fire activities” with airstrikes and rockets. fire. The Ukrainian military also said Russia had shelled and bombed the city of Kharkiv, one of the initial targets of the invasion.

War casualties are difficult to confirm. The United Nations, which organizes the daily tally, said wednesday that at least 1,189 people have been killed so far, although that is almost certainly a very low number.

The possible legal consequences for Russia for targeting civilian structures in Ukraine – a potential war crime – were resolved on Wednesday with the formation of a panel United Nations investigation. The panel said the three-man panel, named by the UN Human Rights Council, would “determine the facts, circumstances and root causes” of any crimes arising from the invasion.

Amid the barrage of negative news, there is a potential bright spot: A NASA astronaut returned to Earth on Wednesday with two Russian colleagues, showing that despite their aversion to the crisis. crisis in Ukraine, the United States and Russia can still cooperate in space.

Anton Troianovski reported from Istanbul, Megan Specia from Krakow, Poland, and Julian E. Barnes from Washington. Report contributed by Andrew E. Kramer from Kyiv; Valerie Hopkins from Lviv, Ukraine; Melissa Eddy from Berlin; Ivan Nechepurenko from Istanbul; Shashank in Bengali from London; Kenneth Chang from New York; Lara Jakes from Algiers and Nick Cumming-Bruce from Geneva.

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