Today at 12: 15 a.m. EDT|Updated today at 3: 25 p.m. EDT
Heavy fighting continues around the Azovstal steel plant, where Mariupol’s mayor says defenders are dealing with difficult conditions. Officials from Ukraine claim that Russian troops are clearing out debris in preparation for an upcoming parade. This will make Mariupol the centre of Russia’s Victory Day celebrations on May 9.
Ukrainian officials say Mariupol residents are being forced to work to clear blockages, but Russian officials say “peaceful life” is being established in a city they control. Addressing speculation that President Vladimir Putin may use the Russian holiday to officially declare war on Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “This is nonsense.”
Meanwhile, the European Union moved to cut off a key source of funding for the Kremlin by proposing a plan to phase out imports of Russian oil by the end of the year. Diplomats and officials said that the proposal needs to be approved by all member countries, but it could be formalized as soon as next week.
Here’s what else to know
- As Russia intensifies missile attacks across Ukraine, its forces appear to be targeting key infrastructure points — including transport hubs and power stations. According to the Pentagon, such attacks in Ukraine’s western region appear to have been launched with the intent of disabling railways.
- Belarus has launched large-scale drills that aim to test its armed forces’ ability to respond quickly to “possible crises” and counter threats from the air and ground, the country’s Defense Ministry said.
- The E.U. plans to boost military aid to Moldova, European Council President Charles Michel said Wednesday, amid fears of spillover from Russia’s unprovoked Ukrainian war after recent explosions in the breakaway region of Transnistria.
- The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.