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Ukraine war latest: Russia trying to break through front in 3 directions; 7 children injured in Kharkiv Oblast attack

by The Kyiv Independent news desk and Kateryna Denisova May 2, 2024 10:43 PM 7 min read
The Ukrainian military fires RPGs at enemy positions as the special military unit "Kurt & Company group" holds the first line of the front line on Nov. 3, 2023 in Donetsk Oblast. (Kostya Liberov/Libkos/Getty Images)
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Key developments on May 2:

  • Military: Russia trying to break through front in 3 directions
  • Authorities: Russian attack on Kharkiv Oblast town injures 7 children, elderly man
  • Switzerland peace summit to take place on June 15-16, Russia not invited "at this stage"
  • Zelensky: Russia drops over 3,200 guided aerial bombs on Ukraine in April
  • HRW: Russia executes surrendering Ukrainian soldiers in possible war crimes

Russia is trying to break through the front line in eastern Ukraine in three directions, Nazar Voloshyn, the spokesperson of the Khortytsia group of forces, said on May 2.

Ukraine has faced a worsening situation on the battlefield in recent weeks that has been compounded by delays in Western assistance. Russian forces have recently intensified offensive operations in the east of Ukraine following the capture of Avdiivka in February.

Heavy fighting is ongoing in the sections of the front line around Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Novopavlivka in Donetsk Oblast, Voloshyn said on air.

Russia "is trying to seize the strategic initiative and break through the front line," concentrating its main efforts in these areas, Voloshyn said.

The General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces reported on May 2 that the Avdiivka section of the front came under attack 32 times, while the Novopavlivka and Bakhmut sections came under attack 22 and 20 times, respectively.

Ukraine believes that Russia aims to capture the town of Chasiv Yar, just west of the Russian-occupied Bakhmut, by May 9, known as Victory Day in Russia.

President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Western allies to speed up deliveries of critically needed military aid during his daily address on April 30, adding that Ukraine needs "a significant acceleration of supply" in light of the situation at the front.

Smelling weakness, Russia presses advantage in Donetsk Oblast
As Ukraine’s defenders and allies display a constellation of weaknesses, Russian forces are taking advantage and pushing forward in Donetsk Oblast. The Russians have begun their assault of Chasiv Yar, while a complementary, flanking assault is slowly pushing up from occupied Avdiivka, in an attempt…

Authorities: Russian attack on Kharkiv Oblast town injures 7 children, elderly man

Russian troops attacked the town of Derhachi in Kharkiv Oblast on May 2, injuring at least eight people, including seven children, Governor Oleh Syniehubov said.

Settlements in Ukraine's northeastern Kharkiv Oblast suffer from daily Russian attacks due to their proximity to the front line and the border with Russia.

Civilian infrastructure came under Russian attack, Syniehubov said. Russia dropped two UMPB D-30SN glide bombs, targeting the area near the sports complex and residential houses, according to the Kharkiv Oblast Prosecutor's Office base on preliminary information.

Seven children between the ages of nine and 15 (six boys and a girl) and a 76-year-old man, are among the injured, according to prosecutors. Another eight-year-old boy reportedly suffered from shock.

"Two children suffered light injuries to their limbs, and four sustained moderate injuries. All the victims were hospitalized," the governor reported.

Derhachi is located 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) northwest of Kharkiv's city center and about 45 kilometers (28 miles) south of the Russian border.

Russia has recently intensified its attacks against Ukraine's second-largest city, dealing multiple casualties and severe damage to Kharkiv's energy infrastructure.

‘Why does everyone have 2 legs but me?’ Children learn to live with prosthetics after being injured by Russia’s war
Eleven-year-old Oleksandr Reshetniak from Kharkiv Oblast still vividly remembers holding the stump of his torn-off leg, trying to stop the bleeding. On Jan. 17, Oleksandr and his 13-year-old cousin Alina were heading to a grocery store in his native village of Malyi Burluk, near Kupiansk, in the ea…

Switzerland peace summit to take place on June 15-16, Russia not invited 'at this stage'

Ukraine's peace summit in Switzerland will be held on June 15-16, based on an agreement between Kyiv and Bern, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on May 2.

The Swiss news agency Swissinfo reported on the date already on April 10. The meeting will take place in the Burgenstock resort above Lake Lucerne in central Switzerland, and 160 national delegations will be invited to the talks.

Russia, the aggressor in the ongoing war, will not be invited "at this stage" of the talks, the Swiss government said.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba justified the decision not to invite Russia in a comment for the Foreign Policy magazine, saying: "Our approach comes from reality, and from the experience that we (have) gained... Between 2014 and 2022, we had almost 200 rounds of talks with Russia in different formats, with mediators and bilaterally."

"But nothing worked. It ended up in the large-scale invasion (of 2022)," he said.

Switzerland has said that Moscow should be involved in the process "sooner or later."

"A peace process without Russia is not possible," the Swiss authorities said. Russia commented it would not participate even if invited.

Zelensky said that the summit will serve as a dialogue platform to "achieve a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace for Ukraine in accordance with the U.N. Charter and the norms of international law."

The founding principles of the event were developed in a series of international meetings and centered around Ukraine's 10-point peace formula.

Zelensky: Russia planning to disrupt global peace summit in Switzerland
President Volodymyr Zelensky said on April 24 that Ukraine has precise intelligence information that Russia is preparing to disrupt a global peace summit set to take place in Switzerland in June.

Zelensky: Russia drops over 3,200 guided aerial bombs on Ukraine in April

Russia attacked Ukraine with over 3,200 guided aerial bombs, nearly 300 Shahed-type drones, and over 300 missiles in April alone, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on May 2.

In recent months, Moscow has intensified its attacks against Ukraine's infrastructure and population centers, inflicting severe damage and civilian casualties. In March, Russia attacked Ukraine with over 400 missiles of various types, 600 Shahed drones, and 3,000 guided aerial bombs.

Ukrainian officials have warned that Russian aerial bombs represent an increasingly serious danger both for Ukrainian front-line troops and cities.

"Our cities and communities from Sumy region to Odesa region, Dnipropetrovsk region, Kharkiv region, Donetsk region, Mykolaiv, and Kherson are suffering from this deliberate and vile terror every day and night," the president said on social media.

"Thousands of our people's lives have been saved thanks to the help of leaders and countries that have already supported our air shield and that are already effectively exerting sanctions pressure against Russia's war machine.

"However, unfortunately, many lives have been taken by these attacks. And it is only through strength that can we stop this terror."

Kyiv has appealed to its partners to provide additional air defenses to help the country repel Russian attacks. Germany has taken the lead, pledging to deliver its third Patriot air defense system and launching an allied air defense initiative for Ukraine.

After the U.S. Congress finally approved additional assistance to Ukraine, the Pentagon also announced the delivery of new Patriot missiles.

Russian strikes overwhelm Ukraine’s overstretched air defense amid Western aid delays
Over March and April, Russian airpower launched a new wave of mass attacks on energy infrastructure in Ukraine. Energy generating facilities, in particular coal-fired and hydroelectric power plants, have come under the heaviest attacks. For the first time, Russia destroyed or damaged several of Ukr…

HRW: Russia executes surrendering Ukrainian soldiers in possible war crimes

Russian forces likely executed at least 15 Ukrainian soldiers who tried to surrender and possibly six who were already surrendering or had surrendered since December 2023, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on May 2.

"These incidents should be investigated as war crimes," the NGO's statement read.

Over the past months, footage of Russian soldiers killing Ukrainian soldiers who have surrendered has emerged online.

"Since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, its forces have committed many heinous war crimes," said Belkis Wille, associate crisis and conflict director at HRW.

"The summary execution – or murder – of surrendering and injured Ukrainian soldiers, gunned down in cold blood, expressly forbidden under international humanitarian law, is also included in that shameful legacy."

HRW's statement mentions five incidents of group executions of Ukrainian soldiers by Russian troops, which the NGO investigated based on drone footage posted on social media, media coverage, and interviews.

The aforementioned incidents took place on Dec. 2 and Dec. 27 last year, as well as on Feb. 16, 19, and 25 of 2024 in Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts. Collected evidence indicates that the Ukrainian soldiers were trying to surrender or had surrendered.

Audio in some of the collected footage also captures orders by Russian soldiers not to take prisoners.

"Guys, kill everyone, the second (Ukrainian soldier) is wounded, shoot him from atop, shoot him, take no prisoners," one recorded voice said.

These are not the first executions of Ukrainian soldiers documented by international and Ukrainian organizations throughout the full-scale war.

Ukraine's Prosecutor General's Office said on April 9 that at least 54 Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) had been summarily executed by Russian soldiers during the war.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported back in March that it has documented at least 32 Ukrainian POWs being executed.

In a particularly deadly incident, over 50 Ukrainian military prisoners were killed in the Russian-occupied Olenivka in Donetsk Oblast in July 2022. According to Kyiv, Russia likely blew up the prison with a thermobaric munition.

Moscow has denied responsibility and blamed a Ukrainian HIMARS strike for the incident, but both the U.N. and Kyiv have rejected this version of events.

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