Severodonetsk: Officials in this key city, the easternmost under Ukrainian control, are bracing for a major, drawn-out battle as experts anticipate a Russian bid to take control of it. “Significant Russian offensive operations are confined” to near Severodonetsk, the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, reported Friday, adding that Russian forces made “marginal gains” to the north, west and south of the city. Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai said that “the Russians are destroying Severodonetsk, like Mariupol.”
Kharkiv region: At least seven people were wounded, including an 11-year-old, in a Russian missile strike in Lozova, Zelensky said, referring to the violence as “absolute evil.” At least 1,000 apartments, 11 educational institutions and a cultural center were damaged in the attack, according to the city’s mayor. Regional governor Oleg Synegubov said the strike was deliberate. Russian forces had sought to encircle the city of Kharkiv, the second largest in Ukraine, but have been forced to retreat after Ukrainian troops mounted a successful counteroffensive.
Donetsk region: Russian forces aiming to encircle Ukrainian troops and capture the Donetsk and Luhansk regions have moved toward the city of Slovyansk. The Russians have tried to erect a pontoon bridge over the Severskyi Donets river and have conducted artillery strikes, according to the Institute for the Study of War. Moscow’s forces killed seven civilians and injured 10 others in the region Saturday, according to the head of the Donetsk Regional Military Administration.
Mariupol: The last of the fighters at the Azovstal steel plant have surrendered, the Russian Defense Ministry said, marking the end of the resistance in the southeastern port city. Ukraine has not verified the plant’s capture.
Odessa region: A Russian missile struck an infrastructure facility in the region, causing a fire, Odessa regional military administration spokesman Serhiy Bratchuk said on Telegram. No one was hurt.