Fifty Days Into The War, Heavy Fighting Continues As Moscow Push Towards The Donbas Region, And US And EU Rush $1.3 Billion In Military Aid To Ukraine

Fifty Days Into The War, Heavy Fighting Continues As Moscow Push Towards The Donbas Region, And US And EU Rush $1.3 Billion In Military Aid To Ukraine

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6 hr 3 min agoIt’s 2 p.m. in Kyiv. Here’s what you need to knowThe Russian Navy cruiser Moskva, bottom, is seen in port in Sevastopol, Crimea, on April 7. (Maxar Technologies)Today marks 50 days since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and there has been a marked shift in Moscow’s approach. Ukrainian officials have warned for days they expect a major offensive by Russian forces in the eastern Donbas region.

French military spokesperson Col. Pascal Lanni said Wednesday Russia is potentially preparing for a “large-scale offensive” in the east in the coming days.

Here are the latest developments:

Russian warship evacuated: Conflicting reports have emerged from the Russians and Ukrainians about an incident involving a Russian warship in the Black Sea. The Russian Defense Ministry claimed the Moskva was evacuated after a fire onboard detonated ammunition, seriously damaging the vessel, according to Russian state media. But Odesa state regional administrator Maxim Marchenko claimed Ukrainian forces hit the ship with “Neptune” missiles, causing serious damage to it.Bridge destroyed as Russians crossed: A Ukraine special-operations unit destroyed a bridge as a Russian convoy crossed it while it headed toward Izium in southeastern Kharkiv region, the Command of the Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine claimed in a statement Thursday. They said the Ukrainian unit destroyed the bridge with an explosive charge as a convoy of a Tiger armored vehicle and several trucks crossed it.Nearly 200 children now killed: Some 197 children have died and 351 have been injured during the war in Ukraine, the country’s prosecutor general said Thursday, citing figures from juvenile prosecutors. Bodies of children aged four and 10 were found along with the burnt body of a 17-year-old boy in Hostomel and Bucha, officials said. New, heavier weapons: For the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US is providing Kyiv with high-power capabilities, including Mi-17 helicopters and 18 155 mm Howitzer cannons. The new weapons package represents the starkest sign to date that the war in Ukraine is shifting, to deal with the type of fighting that’s likely to take place in the Donbas region — open terrain rather than the close fighting in urban and wooded areas. The EU has also approved an additional 500 million euros for military equipment for Ukraine.Evacuations resume: Nine evacuation routes for civilians to leave besieged Ukrainian cities have been agreed for Thursday, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a Telegram post. Vereshchuk said there were no evacuation routes on Wednesday, adding Russians blocked buses in the Zaporizhzhia region and violated the ceasefire in the Luhansk region.The fight for Mariupol: The commanders of two Ukrainian units defending besieged Mariupol said they were able to join forces, as Russia claimed advances in the city. It comes as Ukrainian forces remain blockaded inside Mariupol. The Russian military has repeatedly claimed to have taken strategic positions in the city, but has also faced stiff resistance. On Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said Mariupol’s commercial seaport had been captured. CNN was not independently able to verify that claim.7 hr 12 min agoDiscussions with Russia “ongoing,” Ukraine presidential advisor says, with focus on guarantorsFrom CNN’s Olga Voitovych in Lviv

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak speaks to the press in this file photo from March 29, after the first talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations in Istanbul. (Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty Images)Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said in televised remarks that consultations were “ongoing” on a potential roadmap to peace, but added that a sticking point remains the number of countries that would act as security guarantors for Ukraine.

“Consultations on what legal obligations need to be made, how it will be in terms of a multilateral treaty are ongoing now,” he said in televised remarks.

Podolyak added: “We have to understand that the Russians categorically do not want to increase the number of countries that can be guarantors of security. It is important for us to have as many of those countries as possible.”

Some background: At a recent meeting in Istanbul between Ukrainian and Russian teams, negotiators hammered out very preliminary agreements about the possibility of neutral status for Ukraine, but protected by international security guarantees.

Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week described that negotiating process as being at a “dead end,” but Podolyak said work has continued.

7 hr 35 min ago197 children killed in Russia’s war on Ukraine, Ukrainian officials sayFrom CNN’s Olga Voitovych in Lviv

Some 197 children have died and 351 have been injured during the war in Ukraine, the country’s prosecutor general said Thursday, citing figures from juvenile prosecutors.

Bodies of children aged four and 10 were found along with the burnt body of a 17-year-old boy in Hostomel and Bucha, in the Kyiv region, the statement said.

The statement added that a father and his minor son were killed in the Chernobyl zone near the village Dytiatky in the Kyiv region when Russian servicemen fired at a car stopped at a roadside.

Seven children died as a result of a Russian strike on the Kramatorsk train station, the statement said.

On Wednesday, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office said that the burnt bodies of a 16-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy had been found in the villages of Borodianka, northwest of Kyiv, and Korolivka, in western Ukraine.

7 hr 59 min agoSpecial-operations unit destroys bridge in Kharkiv region as Russian convoy crosses, claims UkraineFrom CNN’s Olga Voitovych in Lviv

A Ukraine special-operations unit destroyed a bridge as a Russian convoy crossed it while it headed toward Izium in southeastern Kharkiv region, the Command of the Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine claimed in a statement Thursday.

Ukrainian officials have reported heavy fighting in the vicinity of Izium in recent days, saying that Russian forces are trying to reach the eastern Donbas region from the direction of the town.

The statement claimed that the Ukrainian unit destroyed the bridge with an explosive charge as a convoy of a Tiger armored vehicle and several trucks crossed it.

CNN could not independently verify the claim. Ukrainian forces destroyed a key bridge in the Kyiv region to slow the advance of Russian forces in the opening days of the war.

Some background: On Wednesday, a CNN team witnessed intense shelling of the residential district of Saltivka, in northeastern Kharkiv, with a local official saying they believed Russia was stepping up attacks amid a new phase of military operations in the region.

Ukrainian officials have warned for days that they expect a major offensive push by Russian forces in the neighboring eastern Donbas region, as Russia repositions troops and equipment following a failed push to take Kyiv, the capital.

8 hr 29 min agoAustralia imposes more sanctions on 14 Russian state-owned enterprisesFrom CNN’s Wayne Chang in Taipei, Taiwan

A line of Kamaz trucks stand outside a showroom in Libertow, Poland on April 4. (akub Porzycki/NurPhotoAustralia has sanctioned another 14 Russian state-owned enterprises of “strategic and economic importance” to Russia, according to a statement from Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne on Thursday.

The latest round of sanctions targets defense-related transportation firm Kamaz, as well as shipping companies Sevmash and United Shipbuilding Corporation.

It also targets electronic component manufacturer Ruselectronics, which produces approximately 80% of all Russian electronics components, and Russian Railways, one of the largest single contributors to Russia’s economy.

“Our targeting of Russia’s state-owned enterprises in coordination with key partners undermines their capacity to boost the Russian economy,” Payne’s statement said. 

“By preventing dealings with these important sources of revenue for the Russian Government, we are increasing the pressure on Russia and undercutting its ability to continue funding [Vladimir] Putin’s war.”

Some background: Australia is one of a number of countries, including the US, that have been continually imposing fresh sanctions on Russia s

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Fifty days into the war, heavy fighting continues as Moscow push towards the Donbas region, and US and EU rush $1.3 billion in military aid to Ukraine

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