Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 28 of the invasion


Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused Russian forces of seizing a humanitarian convoy near Mangush west of Mariupol. “Employees of the state emergency service and bus drivers have been taken captive,” he said, adding that 100,000 people remained in the city living “in inhumane conditions. In a total blockade. Without food, water, medication. Under constant shelling, under constant bombing”.

Russian forces are now inside Mariupol, a senior US defence official said. Two “super-powerful bombs” rocked the city on Tuesday even as rescue efforts were ongoing, local authorities said.

Ukraine’s armed forces say its military continues to defend the southern port city of Mariupol as well as Chernihiv to deter Russia’s advance towards Kyiv, according to a report as of 6am this morning.

Officials said rebels operating in Belarus against Russia’s war on Ukraine partially removed a railway connection between Belarus and Ukraine. The Ukrainian army also claimed that Russia has resorted to recruiting former soldiers to join its war effort in order to make up for heavy losses.

Russia’s combat power in Ukraine has declined below 90% of its pre-invasion levels for the first time since its attack began, a senior US defence official said on Tuesday, suggesting heavy losses of weaponry and growing casualties and describing morale issues, command-and-control problems, a reliance on conscripts and a stalled advance to Kyiv.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons in an interview with CNN on Tuesday. Peskov told the broadcaster that such arms could be used if Russia faced an “existential threat”. Russia has the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear warheads.

The Pentagon later condemned Peskov’s refusal to rule out the use of nuclear weapons.

US President Joe Biden will depart on Wednesday to fly to Brussels where he is expected to announce new sanctions against Russia and new measures to tighten existing ones.

The deputy head of Kyiv’s police force has accused Russia of using white phosphorous munitions in the city of Kramatorsk in Donetsk. Oleksiy Biloshytskiy shared online footage, which could not be independently verified, of material burning fiercely underneath a pile of aggregate. “Another use of phosphorus ammunitions in Kramatorsk,” he said.

Zelenskiy will speak virtually at the Nato summit in Brussels on Thursday, where US president Joe Biden is also planning to push for new sanctions against Russia. “Three important summits are scheduled this week: G7, Nato and the EU,” he said. “New packages of sanctions, new support.”

About 300,000 people in the occupied southern city of Kherson are running out of food and medical supplies, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s foreign ministry said. Kherson was the first major Ukrainian city to fall into Russian hands since the invasion began on 24 February.

Russia plans to unleash a “great terror” on Kherson by kidnapping residents and taking them across the Russian border, an FSB whistleblower has claimed. The Kremlin was no longer willing to “play nicely” with protesters in the Ukrainian city, a letter said.

Russian forces have only three further days of fuel, food and ammunition left to conduct the war after a breakdown in their supply chains, Ukrainian military commanders have claimed. The statements were described as “plausible” by western officials.

Russian forces have “kidnapped” 2,389 children from the Russian-controlled territories of Luhansk and Donetsk, the US embassy in Kyiv has said, citing figures by Ukraine’s foreign ministry. The embassy said: “This is not assistance. It is kidnapping.”

The Ukrainian health minister, Viktor Lyashko, said 10 hospitals had been completely destroyed since Russia invaded. Other hospitals could not be restocked with medicines and supplies because of nearby fighting, the minister added.

The UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, said it is time for Russia to end its “absurd” and “unwinnable” war in Ukraine, as the EU prepared to set up a “trust fund” aimed at helping Kyiv repel the invasion and rebuild afterwards. Speaking to reporters at the UN’s headquarters in New York, Guterres said the war was “going nowhere, fast”.

The United States and its western allies are assessing whether Russia should remain within the Group of Twenty (G20) grouping of major economies following its invasion of Ukraine, sources involved in the discussions told Reuters on Tuesday.

The war in Ukraine has killed 121 children so far, the office of the prosecutor general said on Wednesday in a message on Telegram, adding that the number of wounded children stood at 167.