Oleksandr Gimanov/AFP via Getty Images
As Wednesday draws to a close in Kyiv and Moscow, here are the key events of the day:
The most intense battles in Ukraine are still taking place in the east, but clashes have also intensified in the north and south of the country. Ukraine’s military says it has carried out attacks on Russian positions on Snake Island, an outpost in the Black Sea, suggesting the use of long-range weapons recently provided by Western countries. In northern Ukraine, Russia has stepped up shelling of Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city, where Ukrainian authorities say long-range Russian shelling has killed at least 15 civilians this week. Ukraine pushed back Russian troops from the outskirts of the city more than a month ago.
Ukrainian officials are preparing to receive the status of a candidate for the European Union. In their latest comments, Ukrainian leaders, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said they expected unanimous support from all EU members to put Ukraine on the long road to possible membership in the bloc. An EU summit begins in Brussels on Thursday.
The Kremlin has threatened to retaliate against Lithuania for blocking some goods bound for Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea. A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said the retaliation would not be diplomatic but practical, raising fears of a confrontation between Russia and NATO. Kaliningrad is a part of Russia that is surrounded by Lithuania and Poland, both members of NATO and the EU. Lithuania said it was banning the movement of goods such as steel and other metals into Russian territory as part of EU sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russia commemorated the 81st anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II. Activists held candle-lighting ceremonies across the country and, according to Russia’s new RIA agency, also in the occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol. President Vladimir Putin laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin in honor of the estimated 27 million Soviets killed in what Russia calls the Great Patriotic War. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created the largest refugee crisis since then.
Microsoft reported that Russian state-backed hackers have targeted organizations in 42 countries allied with Ukraine. The report identified the United States as the main target, followed by Poland, a key logistics hub for aid to Ukraine. Hackers were able to infiltrate networks 29% of the time, and at least a quarter of those intrusions resulted in stolen data. Microsoft said the key targets were governments, but also included think tanks, humanitarian groups, IT companies and providers of energy and other critical infrastructure.
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