Mariupol: This once-thriving southern port could become the first major Ukrainian city to fall under Russian control, experts predicted in recent days, as the Kremlin pivots its firepower to solidify control in Ukraine’s east and south. Capturing Mariupol would bridge the easternmost region of Ukraine and Russian-annexed Crimea, allowing the Kremlin to consolidate its gains. The city has been under siege for weeks, creating a humanitarian catastrophe that has seen the deaths of more than 10,000 civilians, according to its mayor.
Odessa: Some 75 miles off the coast of this southern city, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet sank after an attack from Ukrainian forces triggered a “significant explosion,” U.S. officials said. Russia’s Defense Ministry acknowledged the sinking but said the Moskva had been damaged after a fire that detonated ammunition stocks onboard and a “heavy storm.” The episode buoys the morale of Ukrainian forces, who have repelled the Russian invasion for 50 days.
Kharkiv: Ukraine’s second-largest city is only 25 miles from the Russian border, making it a target since the beginning of the invasion. On Thursday, the head of the regional administration reported more than 30 Russian strikes on Kharkiv districts throughout the day. Elsewhere in the region, Moscow has been amassing troops, military vehicles and equipment in preparation for its expected assault on the Donbas region to the east.
Kramatorsk: Two more children who were injured in last week’s bombing at the Kramatorsk train station died, the Ukrainian defense ministry said Thursday, bringing the total fatality from the Russian attack to 59. The authorities said they will send a children’s toy — a blood-soaked stuffed horse that was apparently left at the scene — to the United Nations as proof of Russia’s “barbaric crime.”
Bucha: William J. Burns called the killings of Ukrainian civilians in Bucha “crimes” in his first public speech Thursday as director of the CIA. This suburb northwest of Kyiv has become a symbol of the brutality of the Russian invasion as images of atrocities there emerge.
Luhansk region: New video footage and images from this region — which is part of Donbas — show burned bodies among the rubble of a nursing home destroyed last month. Ukrainian authorities say Russian shelling killed more than 50 people there. Controlling this region, along with the neighboring Donetsk region, is one of Russia’s central objectives in the war.
Donetsk region: Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk regional administration, told local media Thursday that most people living in larger cities there have now left ahead of a looming Russian offensive. The northern and western regions of Donetsk, which is in the contested Donbas region, were attacked Thursday. At least three people were killed, Kyrylenko said in a Telegram post.