Ukraine Russia today39s war news Moscow surrounds Avdiivka Kiev

Ukraine Russia, today's war news | Moscow surrounds Avdiivka, Kiev accuses: “Russia is using phosphorus bombs”

• Massive Russian attack on Kiev, Dnipro, Zaporizhia and Lviv
• Stoltenberg (NATO): “Weapons production must adapt to the pace of war”
• At Avdiivka, the Russians take control of Ukraine's main supply route

10:16 a.m. – Zelenskyy has arrived in Germany

The Ukrainian president himself reports this on his Telegram channel.

10:14 a.m. – “The Russians killed a Ukrainian priest in Kherson”

Russian soldiers killed Ukrainian priest Stepan Podolchak in the town of Kalanchak in Moscow-occupied Kherson Oblast. This was announced by the city's military administration, adding that Podolchak had been kidnapped from his house two days earlier. According to Suspilne, the priest had continued to perform services in Ukrainian even during the Russian occupation and refused to be transferred to the Moscow Patriarchate.

10:07 a.m. – Lisbon is not sending F-16s to Kiev: “But we are participating in the war effort”

Portuguese Defense Minister Helena Carreiras, who attended yesterday's summit of NATO ministerial colleagues in Brussels, announced that Portugal would not send its F-16 fighter jets to Kiev, but would train Ukrainian pilots. The aid package also includes the delivery of 155 mm ammunition. Portugal also agreed to participate in efforts to strengthen Ukraine's navy, in particular through deliveries of maritime drones and three speedboats.

10:03 a.m. – Kiev: Russia uses phosphorus bombs on Avdiivka

Kiev accuses the Russian army of using phosphorus bombs on Avdiivka, the Ukrainian city in Donetsk where fighting is taking place between Moscow and Ukrainian soldiers. This is what Kiev's third attack brigade says on Telegram, publishing a video showing the fuel oil tanks of a factory in Avdiivka catching fire after being attacked by a phosphorus bomb attack. RBC-Ukraine reports about it. In addition, according to Ukrainian soldiers, Russian attacks continue day and night, while land attacks do not stop. “But our units continue to face the enemy with dignity, leading the defense and inflicting record losses on them,” the Telegram message said.

8:54 a.m. – The Russians surround Avdiivka, the Ukrainians are about to retreat

(Lorenzo Cremonesi, sent to the Avdiivka front)

The soldiers of the Third Brigade wrote on Telegram that the Russian attacks in the semi-enclosed area were “worse than in Bakhmut” a year ago. Avdiivka seems to be on the verge of falling.

About 30,000 people lived in this city before the war, and a few hundred older people still live there. And the Ukrainian units are in great difficulty and are on the verge of retreat. It would be their biggest land defeat since the loss of Bakhmut.

As we write this, the earth is shaking from the explosions and the Russians are raising their flags in various eastern neighborhoods. “We have to fight at 360 degrees,” brigade commander Andrei Bilezky was quoted as saying by local media. The Third Brigade was deployed a week ago to support and possibly replace the depleted units of the 47th Brigade. But they already say they are extremely concerned.

“We have killed hundreds of enemy soldiers and destroyed many of their vehicles in the last few hours. But they continue to attack. A year ago in Bakhmut we encountered Wagner mercenaries who came from the poor provinces on the outskirts of Russia. But today we are facing the special forces of Putin's regular army, well-trained and well-armed,” noted Mikhail Volokov, commander of the Terra Battalion. The Ukrainians only have one escape route left, and the Russian vanguard is only a few hundred meters away. We are about twenty kilometers away. The artillery thundered all night long. In the villages of this hot section of the Donbass front, directly in front of the city of Donetsk, which has been occupied by pro-Russians since 2014, water and electricity are arriving intermittently. A large part of the population has been displaced for some time. In recent days, the new commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi, along with Defense Minister Rustem Umerov also visited here. They promised help. But today it seems that a corridor is being prepared to ensure redeployment without too much loss.

Syrsky himself is keen to change his reputation as a heartless commander who was willing to sacrifice thousands of men to defend Bakhmut and was able to work toward an orderly withdrawal. Already in the countryside, directly in front of Avdiivka, they are setting up new defensive positions coming from the Ukrainian front. There is also concern in the Robotyne enclave, opposite Zaporizhia to the south, where the Russians have concentrated fresh troops. In the next few hours, Volodymyr Zelensky will travel to Paris to meet European allies and to the Munich conference to conclude new pacts with European allies. The French and Germans will seek help. The Germans and French should help deliver at least some of the weapons that the Americans have frozen for now.

8:21 a.m. – Zelensky meets Scholz, Macron and speaks at the Munich conference

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has a busy schedule today for his second official visit to Germany since the start of the Russian invasion. The Ukrainian leader will meet German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, with whom he is expected to sign a security agreement tied to the leaders' decisions during the NATO summit in Vilnius in July. In Berlin, Zelensky will also meet German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier before flying to Paris, where he is expected to meet Emmanuel Macron. The signing of a bilateral security agreement is also expected with the French head of state. Finally, Zelensky will speak at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday and hold a series of bilateral meetings, including one with United States Vice President Kamala Harris.

7:28 a.m. – Ukraine: Army, “fierce clashes” with the Russians in Avdiivka

Ukrainian and Russian troops are engaged in “fierce battles” in Avdiivka, a city in the east of the country under siege by Moscow's forces, Ukrainian General Oleksandr Tarnavsky said on social media. “Fierce fighting is taking place inside the city,” said the general who leads Kiev’s forces in the east. “Our troops are using all available forces and means to contain the enemy,” he added. Avdiivka, a key city in eastern Ukraine, is the scene of some of the fiercest fighting in the final months of the war.

05:26 a.m. – Ukraine, Moscow: 5 Kiev drones shot down over Belgorod and the Black Sea

Moscow says it shot down a Ukrainian drone in Russia's southwestern Belgorod region and four others over the Black Sea today. “Another attempt by the Kiev regime to use fixed-wing drones to carry out a terrorist attack on the territory of the Russian Federation” has been foiled – said a statement from the Russian Defense Ministry quoted by the Tass agency -. Air defense units in operation intercepted and destroyed Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles over the Belgorod region and the waters of the Black Sea,” the statement from Moscow said. Six people were killed and 19 others injured in a rocket attack by Kiev forces on the city of Belgorod yesterday, according to Russian authorities.

00:03 – Zelensky: Let's do everything we can for Avdiivka

In the evening, Ukrainian President Voldymyr Zelensky said that the country's armed forces were “doing everything possible” to support soldiers on the Eastern Front in the war against Russia, particularly focusing efforts on Avdiivka. The city, located on Ukraine's front line, is at risk of being captured by Russian forces, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said, calling on the House of Representatives to approve vital military aid for Kiev. “Unfortunately, we are receiving reports from the Ukrainians that the situation is critical and the Russians continue to put pressure on the Ukrainian positions every day. “Avdiivka is at risk of coming under Russian control,” Kirby said