Fighting in eastern and southern Ukraine escalated on May 10 when missile strikes hit the southern port of Odessa in an apparent effort to disrupt supply lines, and the United States warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin was preparing for a long war.
Washington’s prediction came as Germany sent its foreign minister to kyiv for talks with his Ukrainian counterpart, who praised Berlin for changing its stance on a Russian oil embargo and arms supply to the ‘Ukraine.
Ukraine said its forces had recaptured villages from Russian troops near the city of Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine, while Russian forces were stepping up their attacks on a steel mill in the southern port of Mariupol where the last Ukrainian defenders, many of whom were wounded, and at least 100 civilians were still holed up.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk mentioned May 10 that more than 1,000 Ukrainian fighters remained in the sprawling Azovstal steelworks, the last pocket of resistance after nearly three months of heavy fighting that leveled the city.
“There are hundreds of injured people. There are serious injuries who need to be evacuated urgently. The situation is deteriorating every day,” Vereshchuk told AFP news agency.
Although the majority of non-combatants have been evacuated from Azovstal, at least 100 civilians remain inside, an aide to the city’s mayor said May 10.
Russian forces have so far failed to complete the occupation of Mariupol, which would deprive Ukraine of a vital port, give Russia a land corridor to the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula and free up troops to fight elsewhere.
The Odessa city council said late on May 9 that missiles had been fired at the city, destroying several buildings. One person was killed and five injured when seven missiles hit a shopping center and a depot, the Ukrainian Armed Forces said on Facebook.
The port city is a gateway for grain shipments and its blockade by Russia is already threatening global food supplies.
Defense Ministry adviser Yuriy Saks said Ukrainian successes in recapturing towns around Kharkiv were pushing Russian forces beyond the city’s reach.
The United Nations said on May 10 that the number of civilian casualties in Ukraine had slightly exceeded 7,000 since Russia launched its unprovoked invasion in February.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said in a statement that by early May 9, 3,381 people, including 235 children, had been killed and 3,680 injured.
The bureau said most of the recorded civilian casualties were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including bombardments from heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems, and airstrikes. aircraft and missiles.
“OHCHR believes that the actual figures are considerably higher, as the receipt of information from some locations where intense hostilities took place has been delayed and many reports are still awaiting confirmation,” he said. added, citing towns such as Mariupol, Izyum, and Popasna, where there are allegations of numerous civilian casualties.
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But the head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said the actual death toll was thousands higher than official UN figures.
“We’ve been working on estimates, but all I can say right now is that it’s thousands more than the numbers we’ve given you right now,” Matilda Bogner said during a press briefing in Geneva.
On the diplomatic front, the foreign ministers of Germany and the Netherlands paid a surprise visit to Ukraine, stopping in the Kyiv suburbs of Bucha and Irpin, where Russian forces are accused of committing war crimes before stepping down last month.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has become the first German minister to visit Kyiv since Russia launched its unprovoked attack on Ukraine in late February.
Baerbock announced the reopening of the German embassy in Kyiv and pledged to wean Germany off Russian energy “forever”.
Wopke Hoekstra, his Dutch counterpart, also made the trip, and the two met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba later in the day.
Kuleba lobbied for the European Union to admit his country.
“Ukraine’s EU membership is a matter of war and peace in Europe,” Kuleba said after meeting Baerbock. “One of the reasons this war started is that Putin was convinced that Europe doesn’t need Ukraine.”
Zelensky said 36 foreign missions are operating in the capital, and the resumption of diplomatic work in kyiv “confirms Europe’s confidence in the future of Ukraine”.
The sixth sanctions package planned by the European Union against Russia, including an oil embargo, is “certainly a package we need” with energy sanctions, Zelenskiy told the Slovak parliament on May 10 in an address. video.
The British Ministry of Defense said in its daily intelligence bulletin on May 10 that Russia’s misjudgment of Ukrainian resolve had led to failures on the battlefield and prevented Russian President Vladimir Putin from bragging success during his speech at the May 9 military parade in Moscow.
Underestimation of Ukrainian resistance led to ‘demonstrable operational failures’, ministry says mentioned“preventing Putin from announcing significant military successes” on May 9.
In Washington, US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told a Senate committee that the US believed Putin was preparing for a long conflict in Ukraine.
There are indications that Russia wants to extend a land bridge to Transnistria, the breakaway region of Moldova, Haines said, adding that Putin is counting on Western resolve to weaken over time.
Haines also told the committee that Putin should become more unpredictable and may order martial law in Russia.
Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the committee that Russia had resorted to indiscriminate and heavy-handed methods in response to Ukrainian resistance. He said between eight and 10 Russian generals have been killed in the war and neither side is currently winning.
“The Russians don’t win and the Ukrainians don’t win and we’re kind of at an impasse here,” Berrier said.