Ukraine: Russian missiles shot down • Pope offers help for Ukrainian children to return

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In this live blog you can read the most important developments regarding the war in Ukraine.

Ukraine: majority of Russian missiles shot down

Firefighters at the site of the missile strike in Pavlograd

Ukraine’s anti-aircraft systems have repelled most of last night’s Russian missile strikes. According to the Ukrainian authorities, 15 of the 18 Russian missiles have been shot down, although this cannot yet be independently verified. As far as is known, there have been no civilian casualties, according to the Ukrainians.

However, a storage depot for ammunition in the Ukrainian city of Pavlohrad was hit, experts deduce from images of the explosions there. At least 19 apartment buildings and 25 homes are said to have been damaged or destroyed. There are no reports of casualties in Pavlograd.

Last night’s shelling is probably intended to frustrate the long-awaited Ukrainian offensive. Earlier, the Ukrainian army command said that such an offensive can start when it is decided to do so.

Explosions heard in Kyiv

The Ukrainian authorities report that air defenses in and around the capital Kyiv again repelled a number of Russian missile attacks last night. Witnesses say explosions are heard throughout the city. The air raid alarm has also gone off. It is not known whether any targets were hit.

“Air defense is at work!”, a local government agency wrote on messaging app Telegram around 4 a.m. (Dutch time). “Keep calm! Stay in the bomb shelters until the air raid sirens stop!”

Ukrainian media also reported explosions in the Dnipro and Sumy regions.

Pope offers help to return Ukrainian children from Russia

The Vatican is ready to assist the return of Ukrainian children taken to Russia. This is what Pope Francis offered on a visit to Hungary. He also said that a secret “mission” is being launched, but did not give details.

Thousands of Ukrainian children have been held in Russian re-education camps since the start of the war, US investigators reported in February. The International Criminal Court in The Hague has issued an arrest warrant against President Putin on suspicion of deportations. Russia denies the allegations, claiming the children were moved for their own safety.

The pope wants to help get the children back to their parents. He emphasizes that the Vatican has already assisted in the exchange of prisoners of war between Moscow and Kyiv. “There will be a mission that is not yet public. As soon as it is, I can tell you more about it.”

Pope Francis visiting Hungary today

Kremlin confirms deputy defense minister’s resignation

The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed rumors of the resignation of Deputy Minister Mikhail Mizintsev. He is succeeded by Aleksey Kuzmenkov. The Deputy Secretary of Defense is primarily responsible for supplying the military.

Yesterday, the head of the Russian mercenary army Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, threatened to withdraw part of his troops from the hard-fought Ukrainian city of Bachmut because the Russian army would not supply enough ammunition.


Welcome to this week’s live blog about developments in Ukraine. Last week’s blog can be read here.

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