Ukraine war: Putin meets soldiers’ mother
The president, overseeing the conflict from his luxury residence in Moscow, met with troops’ mothers on Friday ahead of Mother’s Day - celebrated in Russia on the last Sunday in November.
Some reports say that around 100,000 have been killed or injured in Mr Putin’s bloody war, which he claims is a “special military operation.”
Speaking on Friday, he told the women: “I would like you to know that, that I personally, and the whole leadership of the country - we share your pain.
“We understand that nothing can replace the loss of a son - especially for a mother,” he aded, breathing heavily, and frequently clearing his throat. “We share this pain.”
Earlier Britain’s Ministry of Defence said many Russian troops are being compelled to serve in Ukraine with "serious" health problems, while those forced to build trenches under fire are likely to have suffered "particularly heavy casualties".
We are pausing our live updates on the war in Ukraine for now. Join us again tomorrow morning.
Welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine
Russia spent $82bn on war in Ukraine since February
Russia has spent $82bn on the war in Ukraine since it started its invasion on 24 February, Forbes has estimated.
The estimate includes the direct costs that are necessary to support military operations but excludes stable defense spending, or losses related to the economy.
The report added that Russia has already spent a quarter of last year’s $340bn revenues on military operations.
Moscow spent more than $5.5bn on the provision of artillery alone, with the average price of a Soviet-caliber projectile at about $1,000.
7 killed, 21 injured in Kherson, governor says
Seven people have been killed and 21 others injured in Kherson Oblast in Russian strikes carried out through Thursday.
Kherson Oblast governor Yaroslav Yanushevych said in a post on Telegram: “Today is another terrible page in the history of our hero city.”
Zelensky says Russian attacks on Kherson 'almost every hour'
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky said repeated Russian attacks on Kherson Oblast continue “almost every hour”.
In his evening address yesterday, Mr Zelensky said the frequent attacks started after Russian forces were forced to withdraw from Kherson Oblast.
“Only the liberation of our land and reliable security guarantees for Ukraine can protect our people from any escalation by Russia,” he said.
“We are working with our partners every day for this.”
Power restored to almost 50% consumers, Ukraine's state grid operator says
Power supply has been restored for up to 50 per cent of consumers as of yesterday evening, Ukraine’s state grid operator Ukrenergo has said, reported The Kyiv Independent.
This after Russia’s mass missile strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure the day before.
“The consequences of yesterday’s missile attack are felt by all regions of Ukraine. It is impossible to tell any terms of full recovery now,” Ukrenergo said.
However, a “significant part” of thermal power plants and hydroelectric power plants are already operating, the company added.
Kremlin denies energy infrastructure attacks were aimed at civilians
Russia has acknowledged that it targeted Ukraine’s energy facilities but denied that they were aimed at civilians.
Defence ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said they were linked to Ukraine’s military command and control system and that the aim was to disrupt flows of Ukrainian troops, weapons and ammunition to front lines.
“We are conducting strikes against infrastructure in response to the unbridled flow of weapons to Ukraine and the reckless appeals of Kyiv to defeat Russia,” said Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia.
Authorities for Kyiv and the wider Kyiv region reported a total of seven people killed and dozens of wounded.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov also sought to shift blame for civilian hardship.
“Ukraine’s leadership has every opportunity to bring the situation back to normal, has every opportunity to resolve the situation in such a way as to meet the demands of the Russian side and, accordingly, end all possible suffering of the civilian population,” he said.
We will endure despite cold and blackouts, Ukraine's first lady says
Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska has said that Ukraine will endure the winter despite the cold and the blackouts caused by Russian missiles.
In an interview with BBC, Ms Zelenska said: “We are ready to endure this.”
“We’ve had so many terrible challenges, seen so many victims, so much destruction, that blackouts are not the worst thing to happen to us.”
She added: “We all understand that without victory, there will be no peace. It would be a false peace and wouldn’t last long.”
ICYMI: Why did Russia invade Ukraine?
Russia’s “special military operation” has now been raging for nine months, the conflict continuing to record devastating casualties and force the mass displacement of millions of Ukrainians.
Thomas Kingsley, Joe Sommerlad explain the ongoing crisis and how it might unfold:
Why did Vladimir Putin invade Ukraine?
Heavy bombardment in Kherson
Over two weeks after Ukrainian forces recaptured Kherson, the city came under its heaviest bombardment yesterday.
Hospitals without power and water are also contending with the gruesome after-effects of intensifying Russian strikes, reported Associated Press.
Russian strikes have hit residential and commercial buildings on Thursday, setting some ablaze, blowing ash skyward and shattering glass across streets.
Ukraine’s general staff said that Russian forces fired 67 cruise missiles and 10 drones during Wednesday’s “massive attack on residential buildings and energy infrastructure” in Kyiv and several other regions in Ukraine.
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