Key events

Thursday’s attacks on Kiev are the ninth in May

It was the ninth time this month that Russian airstrikes have targeted the capital, a clear escalation after weeks of calm and ahead of a long-awaited Ukrainian counter-offensive using newly delivered advanced Western weapons.

The attack was carried out by strategic bombers from the Caspian region, probably with cruise missiles, and Russia later deployed reconnaissance aircraft over the capital. According to preliminary information, all enemy targets were destroyed, Serhiy Popko, head of the Kyiv military administration, said in a Telegram post.

Flight alert in Mykolaiv

The flight alert for Mykolaiv has ended, Governor Vitaly Kim just announced on Telegram.

The military also reports “cruise missile” attacks in the central Vinnytsia region Ukraineand local media reported explosions in Khmelnytskyi, about 100 kilometers further west.

One person was killed in Odesa

One person has been killed in Russian missile strikes on Odesa, military administration spokesman Serhiy Bratchuk said on Telegram. Two people were injured.

“Most of the enemy’s missiles were shot down over the sea by the air defense force. Unfortunately, an industrial object was hit: 1 person died, 2 were injured,” he wrote.

Attacks “unprecedented”, says Kyiv City Regional City Administration

This morning’s attacks on Kiev are the ninth in a series of recent raids Russia which are “unparalleled in their power, intensity and variety,” the Kyiv City Regional City Administration (KMBA) wrote a short time ago on Telegram.

Air raid warnings are still in place for Kyiv.

“This time the attack was carried out by strategic bombers Tu-95MS, Tu-160 from the Caspian region, probably with cruise missiles of the X-101/555 type. After firing the rockets, the enemy deployed its reconnaissance UAVs over the capital,” KMBA wrote.

Ukraine’s army reported several explosions in Kiev and other parts of the country early Thursday morning and urged people to stay in bomb shelters.

A fire broke out at a business in the city’s Darnytskyi district as a result of falling debris, and an explosion was recorded in the Desnyansky district, according to Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko.

“The attack on the capital continues. Do not leave the shelters during the air alert!” he pleaded on Telegram.

Opening summary

Welcome back to our live coverage of the war in Ukraine with me, Helen Sullivan. Air raid sirens are sounding in Kiev, where the clock is approaching 7am, as people are told to seek shelter.

Russia fired missiles at Kiev, with falling debris causing a fire in a commercial building, authorities reported.

Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko wrote on Telegram a short time ago:

“Fire in a garage cooperative due to falling debris in Darnytskyi district. Debris fell in several places in the same area. Earlier, there was also an explosion in the Desnyan district. The attack on the capital continues. Don’t leave cover during an airstrike!”

We’ll bring you more news as it arrives.

Here are the other important recent developments:

  • The Black Sea grain deal has been extended by another two months, in what UN Secretary-General António Guterres hailed as “good news for the world”. It comes a day before Russia may have left the pact over barriers to its grain and fertilizer exports.

  • Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, told a top Chinese envoy at talks in Kiev on Wednesday that Ukraine would not accept any proposals to end the war that involved losing territory or freezing the conflict, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said. Li Hui, China’s special representative for Eurasian affairs and former ambassador to Russia, visited Ukraine on May 16-17.

  • China has told several foreign embassies in Beijing not to display “politicized propaganda” on their buildings, diplomats have told Reuters, adding that the request appeared to target Ukrainian flags flown since Russia’s invasion.

  • The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, has asked EU governments to add 3.5 billion euros ($3.85 billion) to the European Peace Facility (EPF), a fund used to finance military aid to Ukraine. EU sources have said. The EPF has already allocated EUR 4.6 billion in military aid to Ukraine.

  • However, Hungary said it would block the next installment of EU military aid and any new sanctions against Russia unless Ukraine removes the Hungarian bank OTP from its list of war sponsors.

  • Britain can support Ukraine’s military by enabling other countries that want to supply fighter jets and other military equipment. the British Defense Secretary has said. “What we can obviously contribute is training and support, again, within limits, because we don’t have F16 pilots,” Ben Wallace told a press conference in Berlin with his German counterpart when asked about international plans to send jets to Ukraine.

  • The Dutch foreign minister said there was no progress to report in international talks on the possible delivery of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. “We have not reached a solution yet,” Wopke Hoekstra said on Wednesday in response to questions about previously announced talks between the Dutch with Britain, Denmark, Belgium and others partners.

  • The German government is exploring mechanisms to secure war reparations for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including the possibility of using Russian assets, a government spokesman said. The chancellor, Olaf Scholz, was among the European leaders who agreed to establish a reparations register during a meeting in Reykjavik, Reuters reported.

  • Belarus, one of Russia’s closest allies, has partially restored control of its border, This was said by Belarusian Foreign Minister Sergei Aleinik on Wednesday. This is the first time in 28 years there have been checks at the 770-mile border, AP reported. According to Aleinik, it is to avoid the entry of third-country nationals into Belarus, prior to the implementation of an intergovernmental agreement on mutual recognition of visas.

  • The number of Kazakhs who believe that neighboring Russia might invade the former Soviet republic has doubled in the past six months, a poll of Kazakh researchers showed on Wednesday. The Central Asian country of 20 million has close ties to Moscow but has maintained neutrality in the Ukrainian conflict and refused to recognize Russia’s annexations.

  • Ukraine denied on Wednesday that a Russian hypersonic missile had destroyed a US-made Patriot missile defense system during an airstrike on Kyiv. Two US officials said a Patriot system had probably been damaged but did not appear to have been destroyed.

  • Ukrainian military spokesman Serhiy Cherevatyi has claimed that Ukrainians have made new advances in Bakhmut. Reuters quotes Cherevatyi as saying: “We are successfully conducting a defensive operation, counter-attack and during this day our units have penetrated up to 500 meters in some parts of the Bakhmut front.”