Here is the situation on Friday, April 26, 2024.

Fighting

At least three people were killed and four injured in Russian shelling in the village of Udachne, west of the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk.
Another three people were killed in Russian attacks on Kurakhivka, further south.
A Moscow-appointed official in the Russian-occupied southern region of Zaporizhia said two people were killed in a Ukrainian drone attack that hit a car.
Two people were also killed in Ukrainian artillery fire in the Russian-occupied part of the southern Kherson region, according to Moscow-appointed officials there.
At least 10 people were injured after a Russian missile struck a railway station in Balakliya in the northeastern Kharkiv region. Regional Governor Oleh Syniehubov said the injured were in a passenger train that was standing about 15 metres (50ft) from where the missile hit.

 At least six people were injured after Russia struck critical infrastructure in Ukraine’s central Cherkasy region.

Ukraine has sidelined Abrams M1A1 battle tanks provided by the United States partly because Russian drone warfare has made it too difficult for them to operate without detection or coming under attack, two US military officials told The Associated Press.

Politics and diplomacy

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said China must stop supporting Russia’s war in Ukraine if it wants to enjoy better relations with the West. Beijing says it is neutral in the war. Stoltenberg, however, said it was helping prop up Moscow’s war, noting that Russia imported 90 percent of its microelectronics from China, which were then used in the production of missiles, tanks and aircraft. “China says it wants good relations with the West. At the same time, Beijing continues to fuel the largest armed conflict in Europe since World War II. They cannot have it both ways,” he said.

Alexandra Bayeva, left, and Katerina Tertukhina, Oleg Orlov’s lawyers speak to the press after his hearing was postponed until late next month [Tatyana Makeyeva/AFP]

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he planned to visit China in May. He did not give a date. Chinese President Xi Jinping travelled to Moscow a year ago to meet Putin, and the two men met again on the sidelines of a Beijing forum last October when Xi said the “political mutual trust” between their countries was “continuously deepening”.
Mykola Solsky, Ukraine’s agriculture minister, resigned amid a corruption investigation into his alleged involvement in the illegal acquisition of state-owned land worth $7m. A court is set to decide on Friday whether Solsky should be taken into custody.

Leading Russian human rights group Memorial warned that the health of Oleg Orlov, its jailed 71-year-old head, was deteriorating. Orlov was sentenced in February to two and a half years in prison for “discrediting the armed forces” after he took part in antiwar demonstrations and published an article in which he said Russia had descended into fascism. Orlov had been due in court on Thursday, but the hearing was cancelled.

The Security Services of Ukraine (SBU) said a husband and wife, who had been found guilty of treason for providing information to Russia that allowed its forces to launch a rocket strike on a hospital in the southern Kherson region, had been sentenced to 15 years.
The SBU said it had also detained a former soldier whom it accused of helping Russia plot attacks in the northeastern Kharkiv region. The suspect, who faces up to eight years in prison, had tried to flee to Russian-held territory, it added.
Russia jailed a 26-year-old Siberian man for 10 years on charges of state treason and “terrorism” over plans to join Russian units fighting for Ukraine. The man was detained as he was making his way to Ukraine, according to state news agency TASS.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said a US proposal to use the interest derived from $300bn in frozen Russian assets to aid Ukraine was building support among Group of Seven (G7) countries wary about an outright asset seizure. Moscow said it might downgrade diplomatic ties with the United States if its frozen assets were seized.
Poland and Lithuania could help return Ukrainians of military age back to Ukraine, the countries’ defence ministers said.
Russian celebrity blogger and TV presenter Anastasia Ivleeva, whose “almost naked” party in Moscow caused outrage, was fined 50,000 roubles ($540) for “discrediting” the country’s armed forces by calling for peace in a social media post.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that the risk of military incidents along his country’s border with Ukraine was quite high. Lukashenko also said that “several dozen” Russian tactical nuclear weapons had been deployed in Belarus.

Weapons

US media outlet Politico reported the US could announce as soon as Friday a new $6bn weapons package for Ukraine. Two US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the package was likely to include Patriot air defence systems, artillery ammunition, drones, counter-drone weapons and air-to-air missiles for fighter planes.
Russia brushed off the potential impact of Ukraine’s new long-range weaponry on the battlefield. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted such weapons would “not change the outcome of the special military operation”, as Russia terms its invasion, and would “cause more problems for Ukraine itself”.
Denmark’s government said it was adding 4.4 billion kroner ($630m) to its Ukraine military aid fund. The country is the fourth-largest donor of military aid to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s 2022 invasion, according to the German-based Kiel Institute for the World Economy.